Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sayulita - Days 7 & 8

Andi, Janie and Tory set out for breakfast Monday morning – our 7th day in Sayulita – while Aden and I waited back at the condo. They stopped by Orangy for the second time to buy smoothies, and also picked up freshly-baked croissants from Casa Gourmet bakery across the street.

The five of us ate breakfast together at the condo, then headed straight to the beach. Each day of vacation, there was a sweet spot of time late morning when the sun had warmed the air and before Aden's mid-day nap when we tried to squeeze in as many trips to the beach as possible. The beach is nearly deserted at that time and the sun isn't so hot for the kids. Once again, we had the best time together.    

We headed back to the condo when the kids were ready for lunch and naps. Then, Andi and I scooted off to tour the international school in town. Curiosity had peaked our interest, and we thought this was the perfect opportunity to see how the local private schools work in a beachfront community.  

Before heading back, Andi and I stopped in town for lunch at ChocoBanana, and shared a plate of nachos and one of the restaurant's famous frozen chocolate bananas on a stick. We talked about our thoughts of the school and our children's future in general. Who knows, maybe someday we'll call a place like Sayulita home.

Early evening, we decided to check out a rodeo taking place at the fairgrounds. A lady at the farmer's market the Friday before told us about it, and we thought the kids might enjoy seeing the horses and real Mexican cowboys. The five of us loaded into our golf cart and put the pedal-to-the-medal down the long stretch of highway that headed out of town. Except when we arrived at the fairgrounds, there wasn't anything going on. Was the rodeo info lost in translation?

Turns out, the rodeo was the following day (Tuesday) which we would've easily noticed on the fairgrounds'  signage if one of us was able to read Spanish. (Mental note: hire a Spanish tutor before traveling the world together...)

We did see one lonely horse which scared the bejesus out of Aden.

Oh, well. Vacations are all about adventure, right?

So our outing wasn't completely for naught, we stopped at Sayulita's one playground in town to let Tory burn off some energy. She was in heaven running, climbing and playing all over the equipment made of repurposed and recycled materials. The director of the international school we toured earlier in the day told us families in their school had worked to fund the park several years prior.

As we arrived back at our condo, we met Pancho and Beatrice (our hired cooks) for one last dinner with them during our vacation. On this night, they made us homemade coconut shrimp served with rice and fresh fruit. It goes without saying, the coconut shrimp dinner was excellent. Pancho made two homemade salsas to accompany the shrimp -- mango habanero and honey chipotle, which contributed the perfect amount of sweet and heat to the meal.

The fresh, local fruits served were mangoes, pineapple, cantaloupe and jicama, and Beatrice brought along a seasoning called Tajin which she sprinkled on the jicama and mango specifically to give it more of a savory flavor. We'd never tasted anything like it. Janie ran right out the next day to buy a couple of bottles to bring home with her. It was that good.

We had to laugh as the four of us sat on the sofa after dinner -- Andi, Janie, Tory and I; Aden was already in bed for the night -- while Pancho, Beatrice and their son Javiar cleaned up the kitchen. This is so not our typical MO, letting other people do the cooking and cleaning for us. It almost felt uncomfortable ... except, we were on vacation and had hired this service. So, we sat back and enjoyed the luxury.

Meeting Pancho and Beatrice was truly a trip highlight for our family. They were so gracious and kind and in four days' time, felt like we'd known them for ages. Janie, Andi and I agreed one of our favorite things about having Pancho and Beatrice cook for us was trying new foods and flavors. There's something to be said for home-cooked Mexican food vs. meals in a restaurant. The food was more authentic; our environment relaxed, and the conversation more fun.

After Pancho and Beatrice left and the kids were in bed, Andi convinced me to go out for a night-cap in town. How often do we have a built-in babysitter while we're in a tropical location? We'd better take advantage ....

Andi and I drove the golf cart into town, parked it, then strolled along the nearly deserted beach taking in the quiet scenery. We stopped into a beachside rooftop bar called Estela's for a drink. Andi ordered a white sangria and I had one of the best mojitos I'd ever tasted. This place would be the perfect place to catch a fabulous Sayulita sunset on the beach.

After drinks we debated going back to the condo, but decided to check out the festival that's taken place every day since we've been in Sayulita. I'm not sure of the exact name (Sayulita Days, maybe?) but there are vendors, music, food and carnival rides set up by the would-be baseball fields. Oddly enough, Monday night seemed to be the biggest night of the festival and tons of Mexican families were there playing games and having fun. The entire scene was so different than anything Andi and I had ever seen. Case in point ...

Carnival games that included throwing rocks at empty beer bottles on a wall. The sounds of glass shattering filled our ears as countless men lined up to take a stab at the game. And, the prize? Broken bottles for beers.

Of course, Andi had to have a turn ...

His rock-throwing skills were a little rusty, but his gun-shooting skills were spot on. Take this game, for instance, where patrons are encouraged to shoot tiny metal objects WITH REAL GUNS. Andi had quite the crowd gathered cheering him on for this one.

You may be wondering where on Earth (i.e.: the United States) you'd be able to shoot real BB guns at in a crowd of people. So were we. It seemed commonplace at this Mexican festival. Andi was giddy with excitement over all these games of chance and skill. I was more in the camp of WTF.  

How about this game where the object is to throw a softball at the face of "the devil" which is a man taunting the contestant through a hole in a piece of wood? 

Prizes for some of the games were stuffed Marlboro cigarettes, statues of Mother Mary, framed pictures of Jesus, boxes of Ramen Noodles, candy and fruit. It was all so interesting. Andi and I hadn't laughed so much in a long time. (And not because we were making fun of the carnival, the games or the prizes; just that we'd never seen anything like it.) It was crazy.

Eventually, we gravitated toward the fireworks show happening nearby. Hundreds of spectators were gathered around a man holding a wire contraption shooting fireworks. That's right, he was HOLDING THE FIREWORKS (think Roman Candles shooting sparks in all directions). The man wasn't wearing any protective clothing on his hands, face or body and there were little kids running and playing IN THE SMOKE AND SPARKS. Andi and I glanced at each other in disbelief. I think ALL CAPS are necessary here to convey the craziness. It was nuts.


And, it got better. (Or worse? Crazier, for sure.) Next, Fireworks Man lit a fuse connected to a tall tower of fireworks. The structure was two (maybe three?) stories tall and didn't seem be secured by anything other than a couple of ropes tied to a fence. I had visions of it swaying in the wind and falling over into hundreds of people.

The fuse lit a bottom section of fireworks which ignited, then tagged another section of fireworks which went off, and so on until fireworks until all of the fireworks were extinguished. Each fireworks section displayed a picture -- a fish, a Chihuahua, a flower, etc. The crowd ooh'd and aww'd. It looked ... sketchy.

Finally, big boomers erupted into the sky, and everyone cheered. This part was pretty neat since the fireworks were directly overhead.

What a totally unexpected and fun evening with Andi. I think that's the greatest part of traveling -- the unexpected. You never know what you'll encounter when traveling in a new place. The people; the entertainment; the fun. We loved it all.


Day 8 was our last day in Sayulita, and it was a yucky one. During the night, Tory became ill and was down-for-the-count all of Tuesday and Wednesday morning. I'm not sure if she had the flu, or if it was from the water. Of course, we didn't drink water from the tap but it could have been caused from a cutting board, dishes ... or, who knows. We all ate the same foods, so that ruled out food poisoning. Anyway, we laid low at the condo all of Tuesday with a sick little girl.

Aden learned how to drink from an applesauce packet, so that was an exciting turn of events. 

And, Andi and I were able to sneak away to catch one last sunset at the beach Tuesday evening. 

We're going to miss you, Sayulita!


  1. Once again, we didn't plan a get away this winter so reading about your adventure will have to be the next best thing. Riley keeps telling us she wants to go to Mexico so I will have to keep Sayulita in mind. It looks like it's a great little town and that you had a wonderful time. Now I just have to convince my mother in law to travel with us. Great idea!

  2. I actually LOLed over the stuffed Marlboros. Sometimes Mexico is like a little slice of no-rules 1970s.

    I told Dave about Sayulita tonight and he already has a condo picked out for next January. Yessss.

    1. YES. No-rules 1970's sums it up in all the best ways!

  3. Loved reading all about your trip!! : ) The weather looked AMAZING!! I loved seeing all the pictures of the kids playing on the beach, and of course the great food!