Aden woke up at 4am for a very early start to Day 3 in Sayulita. I think teething was to blame, though it could've been a different environment, an adjustment to travel, new foods; who knows. Janie, Andi and Tory woke up around 7:30am and I made the executive decision to go back to bed when they did. I was tired and grumpy, and there was no need for all three of us to entertain the kids. I went back to bed, slept until 9am and felt much better for it. Meanwhile, Andi and Tory slipped out to grab breakfast for everyone at Orangy, a popular smoothie shop in town.
Aden woke up around Noon and we all decided to go into town for lunch. We stopped at a place called Tacos on the Street. Oddly enough, it's an actual restaurant, not a pop-up shop where they sell tacos on the street. The menu was simple; I ordered one chicken and one fish taco, Andi ordered one steak and one fish taco, and Janie had a chicken quesadilla. We asked the waiter for a plate of diced chicken for Aden and they brought it to our table immediately with a side of steamed vegetables which I thought was very considerate. It’s actually been fairly easy to feed Aden during our Mexican vacation, considering his dairy allergy. There are quite a few meal options without cheese, and most restaurants are accommodating when we ask for special plates of steamed veggies or diced meats for him.
After lunch, we stopped for gelato at Buousimmo, as promised if Tory’d eat her cheese quesadilla at lunch. As we left the restaurant in our golf cart, I said “To the beach!” to which Tory responded, “No, Mom, ice cream first then the beach.” That kid doesn't miss a beat. At Buousimmo, Andi ordered a scoop of strawberry gelato for Tory and a scoop of berry sorbet for Aden. It was Aden's first encounter with an ice cold treat of the sort, and he absolutely loved it. In fact, he devoured the entire cup.
Afterwards, the five of us walked down to the beach but decided against staying when we saw how crazy busy it was. Plus, the sun was blazing hot and we were all a little light-headed from the heat. We decided to cruise back to the condo and spend the afternoon at our complex pool instead. Back at the condo, Andi hopped on a conference call for work and Janie and I laid both Tory and Aden down for their afternoon naps. They each slept about 1 ½ hours, so we had plenty of quiet time to lay around the condo and chill.
When Tory was up from her nap, I took her down to the pool to swim while Janie stayed in the condo with a still-sleeping Aden. As soon as he woke up from his nap, Aden and Janie joined Tory and I at the pool. Suddenly, the skies turned overcast and it was actually a bit chilly in the water. We packed up shortly afterwards for dinner.
As part of our stay in Sayulita, Andi arranged for a chef to come into our condo and prepare dinner for our family on several of the nights. He hired a couple named Pancho and Beatrice, someone highly recommended by his work associate who'd suggested vacationing in Sayulita. Pancho and Beatrice both speak English and Spanish, and are well traveled as they've lived in various parts of Mexico and the United States. We truly enjoyed our conversations with the couple as they cooked for us on Thursday evening. We'd hired a private chef to come in and cook for us one night on vacation in Cabo last year, and we found it much more enjoyable to eat in the comforts of our own space with the kids. That way, we're actually able to enjoy our meal while the kids play near us.
Andi met Pancho earlier in the day on Thursday to determine our menu for the week. Then, Pancho went to the market to select fresh, local ingredients as well as a few other grocery items we'd asked him to procure (bottled water, Coca-Cola, yogurt for Tory, fruit, etc). Pancho prepared chicken with mole sauce for our dinner the first evening, accompanied by sides of rice and beans. The food was simply delicious; nothing fancy, but more like a traditional Mexican dinner they'd serve in their own home. The mole sauce was thick and chocolate-y, with a hint of spice. I'd never tasted anything like it. Pancho and Beatrice also made the kids chicken and vegetables, marinated in broth with spices. Tory and Aden each had two plates full of their meal for dinner, so it must've hit the spot. Then for dessert, Pancho purchased flan drizzled with caramel sauce from The Cake Lady in Sayulita's busy town square. This lady's business may officially be titled something else, but everywhere in town she's known as "the cake lady" who sets up a card table and sells home-baked cakes daily. I was too stuffed to eat any dessert but Janie, Tory and Aden each had a slice of flan after dinner, and loved it.
Andi and I decided to scoot out for a quick golf cart ride after Janie and the kids were in bed for the evening. We drove around the town, checked out “Gringo hill” where many Expats have moved to Sayulita permanently and now live. Then, Andi and I stopped at the "Mexi Gras" carnival happening in Sayulita's baseball fields. The festival was such an interesting cultural experience. There were hundreds of Mexican families there, but very few tourists. Though, Andi and I felt welcome to walk around amongst the locals. We were drawn to a stage where a talent show of sorts was taking place. As we approached, two teenage Mexican boys were embattled in an MC rap battle. Of course we couldn't understand a word they were saying, but the crowd was going wild as they rapped back and forth to one another. Next, an announcer called a teenage square-dancing couple to the stage and then finally a set of traditional Mexican dancers wearing colorful, flowing skirts. The ladies performed a synchronized dance to traditional Mexican music, and then men wearing cowboy hats, button-up shirts and jeans joined them. Now the couples tapped danced to another song together, and it was seriously one of the neatest things I've seen in a long time. The crowd cheered for their local friends and family performing on stage, and Andi and I felt to privileged to have had the opportunity to take in the show first-hand. Of course, neither of us were carrying a cell phone or a camera so you'll just have to take my word for how moving it was.
The small-town atmosphere of Sayulita has truly changed our perception of Mexican cities in general. This place is vibrant with culture, community-based, safe and welcoming. We haven't seen a bit drug abuse or prostitution, and there are very few peddlers on the streets and beaches. Finally, I continue to be amazed by the number of families with small children visiting Sayulita. There are kids everywhere, especially younger children Aden and Tory's age. So far, Sayulita is proving to be a great place to spend our week's vacation together.