Tuesday, January 31, 2012

San Pancho - Day Trip

We are always curious about Real Estate, and a shop owner in Sayulita mentioned to us that perhaps real estate would be less expensive in the neighbouring town of San Pancho.   San Pancho turned out to be very expensive compared to Sayulita.   It is a little Mexican town that is being taken over by gringo vacation and retirement homes.   

You can see Sayulita in the background of these two pictures.   San Pancho is only a few kilometers to the north of Sayulita.

San Pancho proved to be another deserted beach.   Yet there are several beautiful, empty resorts.

There is quite a bit of construction, and a large gringo community.  


We came across a vendor of roosters.  It is the first time we have seen them caged or tethered.   These two cocks are beautiful, but I had a feeling they were to be sold for cock-fighting.   I am not 100% positive, but I googled  "cock fights San Pancho" and found this link.   http://www.jaltembasol.com/20111/June%2012%202010/cock%20fighting.htm     It is very disturbing.    

This park seemed strangely out of place to us.   

 This Mexican home is typical of the town.    Of course the gringos homes are in a separate neighbourhood and sell for upwards of 250,000.00 .   It really struck us how the two communities seem to be segregated, even to the point of two town squares.  

SAN PANCHO, MEXICO HISTORY   cut and pasted from http://sanpancholife.com/

In the early stages of San Pancho’s development , the story goes that the town evolved out of a hacienda and later communal ejidal territory into a humble fishing village still named after the patron saint San Francisco. For decades, the handful of families that made up the town fished for their subsistence, and raised livestock and local fruit crops. The development of San Pancho, Mexico would have continued slowly and unremarkably--in step with all the other pueblos along the Bahía de Banderas coast--if the President of Mexico had not taken a special interest in the town during his term that lasted from 1970 to 1976.

After a visit to San Pancho, and the construction of what was once his family’s vacation mansion Vista Mágica, Luis Echeverría  became very invested in the unique development of the town. During his term, President Echeverría adopted San Pancho as the site for his particular vision of a “third world” “self-sufficient” model town. As a result of his special interest, funds were poured into the humble village that at the time did not even have electricity. Nonetheless, an infrastructure was constructed. Roads were laid and proper housing was built for the small population of fishermen and farmers. Not to mention schools, a fishing museum, industrial factory, and modern fully-equipped hospital were all constructed and inaugurated by the president as part of his dream of turning San Pancho into a “university of the Third World”.

While the factory that processed local fruits went on to provide jobs for the community well on into the 1980s, the rest of Echeverría’s vision for San Pancho was brought to an abrupt halt with the end of his presidential term and the miserable state of the Mexican economy at his term’s end.  Consequently, the ventures the President had proposed failed, and San Pancho drifted back into a drowsy tranquility. The fishing museum that had once housed perhaps the largest palapa in Mexico and was graced with elegant fountains, shortly fell into disrepair. Once the fruit processing plants closed down, and the “university” building went vacant without any students or professors to fill it, the overgrown tropical vegetation reclaimed the new developments and San Pancho went back to its sleepy existence. The town’s inhabitants went back to fishing and growing fruit, and with San Pancho still hard to reach, little changed.

Yet with the cobblestone streets, schools, and fully-functioning hospital, San Pancho still remained clearly unique and desirable, and in recent years has received the interest of an increased amount of tourists especially as a 2nd-home destination. Development in San Pancho, Mexico has still been much slower than that of the neighboring towns to the South, partly due to the fact that there is still no reliable bus service that reaches the town, and the beaches’ strong undertow does not lend towards water sports. Yet those two apparent negative attributes have had the oppositely positive effect of allowing San Pancho to develop as a genuine alternative to the mass-market holiday options, and therefore to attract a very special and eclectic international group of residents and visitors.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Taking a Stroll in Sayulita - so beautiful here

We decided to take a stroll to a place we found before Christmas that overlooks the rock-tunnels that join two beaches.    After having driven the Michoacan Coast, we were not as awestruck by the the view; even so, it still has the power to take your breath away.    The first picture is the rock-tunnels, you can clearly see four tunnels from this vantage point today.   Right above the rocks you can see the next beach, and by lifting the camera up just a few inches.....

!! Aqui !! (voila for the French speakers)

It never ceases to amaze me that so often there are no people on these beaches.    This view has it all...blue skies, blue water, sandy beach, rocks, and the forest.


As we stroll through the woods so close to waters edge we are treated with views such as this one of the ocean.    As we approach these spots, first we can detect the sound of the waves crashing.         

This building, in the middle of nowhere, appears to be under construction, yet abandoned.   It has not changed since we last walked past it in the forest over a month ago... even the two bottles of tequila on the window sill are in the same spots.     

I haven't been able to determine exactly what kind of palm tree this is.   Perhaps these are Cohune nuts?  When I look at pictures on google it seems to indicate these are Cohune nuts, but when I read up on Cohune nuts it says they are ivory white and usually high up off the ground.   This cluster of nuts was no more than 2 feet off the ground.     

Strolling along the path you can hear birds, squirrels, and lizards-types all going about their business.   It is far from quiet, yet it is utterly relaxing.   

If you keep your eyes peeled, oft times you will see old stair cases...which apparently lead nowhere.   I find myself wondering how old they are.   They certainly aren't Mayan ruin old....I get the impression they were built only a couple of generations ago.    Were all these old structures abandoned then destroyed by nature, or were they destroyed by nature then abandoned?      

The last path back down to the beach before the main branch takes you into town.   Neither of us are feeling well yet, so we decide to forgo taking the hilly streets that wind their way back into town.    We are not so sure walking the beach was any less exhausting!!!   


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Surfing Dude

Sayulita attracts a lot of surfers.   They provide us with hours of passive entertainment.    

It is perfect for beginners, and gives experienced surfers opportunity to practice their moves in an easy surfing environment.   There are several surfing instructors and board rentals set up along the beach.

 This guy makes it look so easy.   

Coming in for a landing!!!!!

He doesn't even get his hat wet!!!!

We haven't done much in the last couple of days.   Gerry has been suffering with a two day migraine.   On top of that we both thought we were shaking the bug we picked up when we went home for Christmas, but it fooled us and came back with a vengeance.   I think we did too much the day we both felt pretty good, and we were knocked back down that very night.   We both did two rounds of antibiotics, to no avail.   It is not unusual for me to have to take two or three rounds of antibiotics to get rid of a bacterial infection, but Gerry never has to do more than one.   I guess whatever it is, it's likely viral.   I'm feeling a bit a better after resting the last two days.    Gerry has vowed he is never going home during the winter again.   If anyone wants to see him, they will just have to come to Mexico!!!!   Me, well, I'll just go home without him.   :)

I am flying home on February 2nd and returning on the 13th.   Gerry will be staying in Sayulita .... it's a tough job, but someone has to do it.  :)


Rip Currents

 Another thing I really like about the beach in front of our trailer park is the attention they pay to Rip Currents.   From time to time they post these signs.   Notice how far apart the red flags are....about 20 feet.    The rip current runs between the two flags.
The sign clearly warns people against swimming between the flags. 

Then it goes on to explain how to get out of a rip current if you were to find yourself in one.

Understanding rip currents is very important for anyone who wants to surf, swim, snorkel or scuba in rough waters.  They are easy to escape if you know what to do and keep your head.  Two of our grandchildren are coming to visit us on the 13th of February.  These facts along with these flags reminded me of the importance to educate them before sending them out there with their first surfing lesson.   Toward that end I cut and pasted the following information from HowStuffWorks.com and won't let either of them go in the ocean until they have read it.  :)     It's an easy read, and could save your life one day.....enjoy.    

"If you get caught up in a rip current, it's crucial that you keep your wits about you. Your first instinct may be to swim against the current, back to shallow waters. In most cases, even if you're a strong swimmer, this will only wear you out. The current is too strong to fight head-on.
Instead, swim sideways, parallel to the beach. This will get you out of the narrow outward current, so you can swim back in with the waves helping you along.   If it's too hard to swim sideways while you're being dragged through the water, just wait until the current carries you past the sandbar. The water will be much calmer there, and you can get clear of the rip current before heading back in.

People drown when they thrash about in the water or expend all of their energy swimming. To survive a rip current, or any crisis in the water, you have to keep calm, and you have to conserve your energy. If you don't think you can swim all the way back to the beach, get past the rip current and tread water. Call for help, signal to people on the beach and, if all else fails, wait for the waves to carry you in.
If you're on the beach and see somebody else caught in a rip current, call for help from a lifeguard or the police. Don't immediately dive in and swim out to the person. It's too risky to swim out there yourself unless you have a raft, boogie board or life preserver with you."

"Rip currents are responsible for about 150 deaths every year in the United States. In Florida, they kill more people annually than thunderstorms,hurricanes and tornadoes combined. They are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards: About 80 percent of all beach rescues are related to rip currents.

Despite these startling statistics, many swimmers don't know anything about rip currents, and they have no idea how to survive when caught in one. In this article, we'll find out what causes rip currents, how you can recognize them and what you should do if one takes you out to sea.

A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water running perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet (61 to 762 m) lengthwise, but they are typically less than 30 feet (9 m) wide. Rip currents can move at a pretty good speed, often 5 miles per hour (8 kph) or faster.
These currents are often called "riptides," but this is a misnomer. Tides are the rising and falling of water levels in the ocean. They are primarily caused by the moon's gravitational pull and they change gradually and predictably every day. Rip currents are caused by the shape of the shoreline itself, and they may be sudden and unexpected.

Rip currents may also be referred to as "undertow," which is just as inaccurate. Undertow describes a current of water that pulls you down to the ocean bottom. Rip currents move along the surface of the water, pulling you straight out into the ocean, but not underneath the water's surface. A rip current may knock you off your feet in shallow water, however, and if you thrash around and get disoriented, you may end up being pulled along the ocean bottom. But if you relax your body, the current should keep you near the surface.

Rip currents are terrifying because they catch you off guard: One minute you're bobbing along peacefully in the surf, the next you're being dragged out to sea at top speed. They occur in all sorts of weather and on a wide range of beaches. Unlike violent, crashing waves, you probably won't notice a rip current until you're right in the middle of it. "

Friday, January 27, 2012

We must learn Spanish/Debemos aprender español

! Hola !    My keyboard doesn't have an upside down exclamation or question mark, so I can't actually write this correctly.   The exclamation or question is opened with an upside down mark before the sentence and closed off with the normal (to us) punctuation. 

The Mexicans make it far too easy for us to get around without Spanish, or should I say "Los mexicanos lo hacen demasiado fácil para nosotros para moverse sin españoles."?   Many people speak a little English, and even when they don't they will grab someone who does.   They are very accommodating.    We find ourselves having to make the effort to encourage them to speak Spanish to us.  lol.   Of course, then we have to ask what they said because we our Spanish sucks.   I suppose it gets tiring for them.     

We have looked for Spanish lessons to download for over a year, and never really found anything that turned our crank.   However, over the past few days we have been watching a young lad named Senor Jordan on youtube.    It has been very useful.  He has 62 beginner youtubes to watch, then another 42 advanced.  

We found his videos when I (Brenda) came to the realization that I need to know the Spanish alphabet and how to pronounce all the letters and vowels in order to learn the language.   I googled Spanish alphabet and quite a few youtube videos came up.  I liked Senor Jordon's the best.    We like the way he has broken learning the language into chunks.

This is his alphabet youtube:

After playing this a few times, we realized we were using up of band width to play the same thing over and over, so we decided to learn how to download youtubes.  It's as easy as pie.   Go to download.cnet.com and download software called Youtube Downloader.  It is free.   We put the videos on a flashdrive, so now we can watch these videos on our tv or computer even when we can't get the internet.   

You can check out Senor Jordan's website here:


I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fun Day

We've been pretty sick for the last few days, the cold we picked up while we were back home finally took hold and caught up to us.    The first round of antibiotics didn't do any good, but the antibiotics we got yesterday seem to be working.   We were still off, and somewhat weak today so we decided not to try to walk up any hills.   We took a stroll over the beach that had the whale bone when we were here in December.    OMG!!!!!  It was gone!   This is what the spot looked like only 4 weeks ago. 

And this is what it looks like now.  (picture taken from the opposite side)   We looked around the trails leading to this beach and concluded the whale head bone had to have left via the Pacific.   Either the tide took it out, or someone pulled it out while the tide was in.    We were very disappointed because we lost all our pictures and wanted to get some pictures with our new camera.    Fortunately, we were able to pull the above picture off an old blog. 

The Rock Tunnel

The rock tunnel was different from before as well.   At first we couldn't quite put our finger on it, then we realized there are two tunnels.   The first time we were here, the tunnel closer to the ocean was filled with water because the tide was partially in.   We hadn't even noticed it.   This time the tunnel we went through before was half filled in with sand.   We couldn't go through it unless we crawled, and didn't think it would be safe to be in there when the waves come crashing in.

 This is the tunnel we hadn't noticed before.    When the waves come in it fills up about 2 feet deep.

 We went through the tunnel, trying to time it so we would get through to the other side between waves.  Oops,  I didn't quite make it.   When the wave came in, I stopped and held onto the wall.    Half way in, there is a third entrance into the tunnel.   This entrance goes straight out to the Pacific!!!!   Beautiful, and powerful.    We had such fun playing in this tunnel.    We ended up soaking wet up to our butts.
This is the other tunnel.  It is hard to tell how short it is, but if you look closely you can see the bottom half of someone's legs on the other side.   This whole tunnel almost fills up completely between waves.  

This is a picture from the other side, the water is just starting to come in.


The Fisherman


The walk really took a lot out of us.   We probably tried to bite off more than we could chew being the first day we felt halfway decent.   We took the beach back to Myrtle and was treated with this sight.    It was quite humorous watching him try to fish with a net in these waves.   The surfing was great today!
 Holy moly, here comes a big one!

The Butterfly
Finally I was able to get a picture of a butterfly!   I can't remember ever seeing a green butterfly before.   I'm liking this camera.   

Sick Day

Yesterday we were pretty sick, this cold is getting us both down.   Plus these migraines are not helping; coughing when your head is splitting is no fun.  We went to the Pharmacy and got another round of antibiotics.   The last batch did nothing.    They gave us amoxicillin the first time, and cipro this time.   We stopped in a different pharmacy first, and were told that since 2010 it has been illegal to get antibiotics in Mexico without a prescription and they offered to send us to the doctor next door.   We declined, and went back to the first pharmacy who happily gave us another round.    We will have to look into that, either we and the pharmacy broke the law, or the other pharmacy was trying to pull one over on us.     
Yesterdays excitment around here was the bocce ball tournament.  It went on all day and is going again today.T  his is there 5th annual tourney.    They all seem to love it.    I have never played it and didn't get involved in this one because we have been too sick.

So the day was sitting around watching bocce ball and reading.    Plus the added bonus of seeing some whales.   I just looked up at the right time.  When the girls get here we are going out to get a close  up of this action.

That was it for yesterday.   Hope we feel better today so we can get some real adventure in.   We lost all our pictures from before Christmas so we are looking forward to replacing them with even better shots with our new camera.