Twas a sweet afternoon on the beach in the rustic little village of Platanitos. We walked the rough narrow road that winds 1 km through the jungle that leads from Villa Estrella to Platanitos. We always go to Ruiz’s restaurant, basically some wooden poles with palm thatch roof, and plastic chairs that have Corona written on them. Ruiz himself is there grinning and shows us the fine selection of fresh caught fish in his big ice chest by the smoky mesquite fire pit. We looked inside his ice chest and picked out the fish we wanted him to bbq for lunch. We chose a 2kg Pargo. The specialty here is the Pescado Serandeado. The whole fish is opened up and flattened wide, spiced, and grilled over an open mesquite fire, right at the front of the restaurant.
The place was full of happy Mexican families, grandparents, kids and babies. We found a table at the edge facing the beach, simple plastic table, feet in the sand, watching the kids play in the waves, teenagers playing soccer on the beach, vendors selling inexpensive jewellery, banana bread, a wonderful ice cream cart, and a bunch of strolling mariachis with very old beat-up looking instruments. We were the only “white folks” on the whole beach. This place is the real thing. There are several restaurants like Ruiz’s all lined up tightly beside each other, and each restaurant has its own blaring juke box, pumping out that typically Mexican variety of songs, of love and heartbreak. It wouldn’t be Mexico without a bit of chaotic noise.
In a few minutes Pepe, Ana, Tania their daughter, and her brand new husband Zithi showed up, we ordered a bucket of iced beers, some shrimp empanadas and waited for the fish to arrive. Lovely people, warm hearted, loving, we are best of friends, communicating only in Spanish. I would get so good in Spanish if I had to do this every day. Of course, within minutes the ladies had snagged the wandering jewelery vendor, who proceeded to lay out all his wares on the table. This took a good half hour of sifting through a few hundred items and trying everything on. This is my kind of shopping, the goods are cheap, I don’t have to go to a store, no standing around with tired feet, and best if all, I can sit in comfort on the beach with my friends and a beer.
Next thing you know, the wandering weathered looking thin older man with the beatup guitar turns out to be an old friend of Pepe and Ana from Ixtapa down the road. Apparently he writes a lot of his own songs as well. We are in for a treat as he serenades us in a lovely voice and excellent guitar playing for a good 20 minutes. He sang a special song that he wrote himself, dedicated to Jackie and me, entitled “Tequila y Rum”
The succulent tender fish arrives, a huge feast, the entire fish laid open on a huge tray, grilled a golden brown with wonderful aromas. It comes with a bunch of plastic forks, some little plates, rice and tortillas. Everyone digs in, finger licking, lip smacking good. I’ve never had better fish than this. Of course the pretty waitress keeps bringing us more cold ones.
Next thing we signal the lady on the beach operating the ice cream cart, apparently she is known to Pepe and Ana as well. It seems her family are highly regarded ice cream makers from Zacualpan. I have the limon, others have fresa, or coco, lovely ices in nice crunchy cones, 6 ice creams for 50 pesos, not a bad deal.
After lunch we all piled into Zithi’s pickup, the men in the open rear truck bed, Mexican style, and we bump our way back up the hill back to Villa Estrella, me holding on for dear life. We made coffee, sat and talked, as the sun dropped ever lower in the sky. As the orange ball came close to sea, we wandered out to the point under the big fig tree, the nightly sunset ceremony has become a wonderful tradition, a time when day slips into night, accompanied by a spectacular orange glow of sky. We toast the end of the day as the final glimmer of sun slips under the waves.
The romantic lights under the palapa gradually come on, one by one; conversations grow deeper, easy laughter, wine flows. Eventually, after large lunches, endless talking, kissed by sun and breeze, cool wine, fatigue sets in, time to break up the party and head home, hugs and goodbyes all around. The villa returns to magical silence. Surrounded by the black night, the chirping of crickets, the soft surge of waves on the rocks below. We sink into the comfort of cushions and lounges, nap a bit, read a bit, cherishing the peace and silence.
Just another day in paradise.