Jonnie and I already knew what the casita looked like. Steve (the owner) had sent me photos. And, nicely enough, the place looked exactly like the pictures. One thing that Steve’s photos did not show was an air-conditioner, but, thank heavens, the little casita had one! When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, the temperature was probably in the mid- to high 90s Fahrenheit and the humidity must have been about the same.
For at least half of my life, I lived in areas where high heat and humidity were standard for six months of the year. But for the past 10 years, since I left the Everglades in Florida, I had been residing in places where generally high humidity was not a factor (i.e. Zion National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, and here around Lake Chapala in Jalisco, Mexico). So not only had I forgotten how miserable one can be living in such an environment, my body didn’t acclimate as quickly as it might once have done.
My southern grandmother had always told me that horses sweat, gentlemen perspire, and ladies glow. Well, let me tell you that within minutes of being out in that heat and humidity my face was glowing like Rudolph’s nose! I was reminded of one day at Petrified Forest when the humidity was high and I had actually exerted myself. My friend Brenda, the Navajo manager of our cafe, took one look at me, shook her head, and mumbled “and they call US redskins!”.
But between the air-conditioner and the pool located two steps from the casita, I knew that relief was in sight. And I was happy. Very, very happy.
Juan, the property manager from whom we had picked up the keys and who had shown us the way to the casita, had also recommended a couple of places to eat in Cuyutlan. He recommended a couple of places on the malecon (walkway alongside the ocean) that, he said, “gringos like.”
Now those two words should have tipped us off that they would probably not be places that Jonnie and I like. Oh, sure, we’re gringas, but we are expats who live in Mexico year-round. So we don’t really dine at “gringo places” very much. Our usual haunts are places where both Mexicans and gringos eat…where we go for the quality of the food, not necessarily for the ambiance.
Nonetheless, because Jonnie and I were both starving, not having eaten all day, we drove back into “downtown” Cuyutlan, parked near the malecon, and started looking for one of the places that Juan had recommended. Friends, I must tell you that the malecon is LOADED with restaurants! From end to end, the malecon is about 4/10ths of a mile long and almost every inch contains a restaurant, all, not unexpectedly, specializing in seafood.
After a short hike, we found one of the places that Juan had recommended and headed on in. Like all of the other dining establishments on the Cuyutlan malecon, this one contained a covered area close to the entrance and then more tables and chairs out on the sandy beach, each table covered by a large umbrella.
By this time, I was “glowing” so hard that salty drops of perspiration were rolling down my forehead and into my eyes. So I was happy to sit down on a plastic chair on the beach under a big umbrella and feel the slight breeze. Unfortunately, that was the best thing about the restaurant we had chosen. The service was very slow, the prices were relatively high, and the food, when it finally came, was cold. Well, except for the salad, which was warm.
Nonetheless, Jonnie and I were both happy to be in Cuyutlan!
When we finally got our bill and paid, we headed back to the casita. Jonnie immediately changed into her swimsuit and hit the pool. It’s not heated, but it certainly didn’t need to be. The temperature on the pool thermometer read, I believe, 86 degrees. It wasn’t the temperature of the water that I personally was concerned about, but the depth of the water in the pool.
In the house that I rent in Jocotepec, there is a lovely swimming pool. Unfortunately, I can’t really use it for two reasons: (1) the small area of the shallow part is about 4-1/2 feet deep, but it almost immediately drops to 8 feet deep; and (2) there is no handrail to use to get in and out of the pool, although there are some built-in steps. The depth of the pool is a major factor for me because I can’t really swim. I can do a few strokes, but once I am over my head (literally), I panic. And you don’t ever want to see me try to get out of a pool without some sort of railing or ladder to help me get out! It involves me scooting up the steps on my butt, then rolling onto the cement around the pool, getting on all fours and then pushing myself up into a standing position. It’s ugly, my friends!
But the pool at Steve’s casita in Cuyutlan is only about 4-1/2 to 5 feet deep all over and while it does not have a handrail or ladder for getting out, you can hold onto the sides of the pool for most of the steps. Kids, I was a happy camper! I too could go into the pool to cool off.
But that first night at the casita, I didn’t. Why? Because by the time I had had a few Micheladas (beer, Kermato, and ice) the sun was starting to go down, the breeze from the Pacific had picked up, and the temperature was dropping a bit. I did, however, do something that I never do in public….I put on shorts and a tank top. Oh, sure, I hang around the house all day dressed like that, but I try to never let anyone see me in such a get-up. It’s just too embarrassing, and the bright whiteness of my legs might actually blind someone, and I don’t wanna be responsible for that!
So I sat in a poolside chair and waited for the sun to go down over the Pacific. And, friends, it was a lovely sight. I wish that cameras took better pictures of sunsets, but mine, at least, does not. However, here are a few photos of what it looked like that first night from just outside the gate to the beach at the little casita:
Makes you wanna be there, doesn’t it??