SURPRISING HUATULCO, MEXICO
The ship was just docking Starboard side as we were having breakfast on our deck. We were all tied up and ready by 8am. The daily program, The Explorer, stated: “Please note that there is NO shade on the pier. Also, it is a 2 ½ ships length walk to the bus/taxi area” That would be about 2500 feet.
We decided to go to the beach and also just look at what some of the possibilities would be for the day. The beach was right off the bow of the ship. Very strange to have the ship so close to the beach area.
So off we walked, away we walked. The beach area near the ship was so similar to the beach area in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa that we felt right at home. Restaurants, shops, fishing boats and sand under your feet at the outdoor beach cafes.
We managed to get a good map from the tourist booth and decided to head into the city on foot. After a couple of blocks we realized that, being 34C, it was a bit too hot to be walking around with street clothes and bathing suits underneath. So, since we were not that far from the pier, we headed back on board, changed and then headed straight for the taxi stand.. :>) So, for $3.00 we took the cab right to the centre of La Crucecita which is all part of the Huatulco area.
This is a resort town. It was obvious as soon as we stepped off of the pier. Not only do tourists from outside the country come to vacation here but also the local people living in the surrounding areas. There were actually more Mexicans on the beach than foreign tourists.
Using our trusty map we were able to find and visit the big church, the plaza with the wonderful shade trees and the market.
The market setup was exactly as we had found it in Zihuatanejo a few years ago. There are a few openings to the street to get into the market but the main market itself is rows and rows of corridors with small booths lining the corridors behind the main entrances. Tight, hot, smelly but vibrant. Every possible type of merchandise is available to purchase and more. Fabrics, shirts, skirts, toys, electrical appliances, everything for the do-it-yourself-ers. Food of all kinds from yellow chickens to the most delicious pastries. Then cafeteria row. Everyone speaking to you at the same time, all of them wanting you to purchase something from them. Children tugging at your clothes wanting to sell you gum or some trinket that their mother, grand mother or great-grandmother had made or the like.
But as we meandered through the market maze we still felt totally safe. The booths were run by whole families. The atmosphere was rather jovial actually. I soon realized that they were intrigued by our height. Most of the merchandise is hung on the walls and right over the walkways. I also soon realized that the kids would really start to giggle if I bumped my head on things so it became a bit of a dodge ball game, just for the fun of it.
We were looking for a tablecloth but in the end we came out empty handed. We found one that we liked but it was on one of the tables in the restaurant. The owner, however, was not willing to part with it. So after a good laugh we parted ways. Not that we weren’t offered one of equal quality and value but beige wasn’t the Mexican colour we had in mind.
We left the market place and found a small sidewalk café a couple of blocks away from the market and sat down for some refreshments and just to watch the life of the city.
It was garbage day. So here is what happened. The truck slowly makes it’s way down the street. The swamper on the back of the truck hit the metal box of the garbage truck with a metal bar, that being the signal to the businesses and residents to bring their own garbage and toss it into the back of the truck. Every once in a while the swamper would activate the bin crusher to empty the back and then start banging on the truck. Everybody brought their bags and cans of garbage and dumped them into the truck themselves. The truck was no different than what we use back home but with a personal twist. Unfortunately I was so amused in watching this process that I totally forgot to take a picture.
$3.00 later we were back at the port and back on the ship for a quick change and then off to the beach for a swim and some WiFi updating.
Here is the issue with the Blog right now. If I am on the ships WiFi, which is very costly, my blog template is in English. As soon as we go ashore and use WiFi on shore, the template changes to the language of the host country. So in the Caribbean the template was Dutch. I could make out what I had to do so I didn’t have a problem. But since then the blog is in Spanish so I have to keep the blog very basic and I have no idea what the word edit is in Spanish. PLUS, none of the Spanish on-shore WiFi stations have allowed me to download pictures onto the blogs. That’s why you are getting pictureless blogs at the moment. Once I figure that out I will try and edit them back in. If that doesn’t work I will add the pictures when I get back home.
Back to the beach. We found a nice beach table on the sand under this wonderful, shade palapa (canopy) with free WiFi if you ordered something to drink and a snack. So we did. We were right next to the water so we took turns going in for a swim and a walk along the beach. Lucy loved the fact that she could have her feet in the sand while sitting in the shade watching the happenings round her. We didn’t want to leave all of our stuff just lying around unattended. And, just like in Ixtapa, the merchant sellers would come by on a regular basis with all the jewellery and trinkets for sale. And besides that we had to shoo away these black birds that kept flying right onto the table and stealing our tortilla chips. The birds are not black birds nor crows but some skinny melding of the two.
The area of Huatulco processes all their sewage and there is no dumping of raw sewage into the ocean. This results in a very clean ocean shore area. Even the part of the ocean right under the ship, as it seemed we were, was crystal clean, teaming with marine life and safe for swimming.
I started this blog by saying Huatulco was a surprise. We had read up about it but didn’t realize that it was as well established as it was. We felt welcome and the people seemed to be quite used to having foreign tourists around. We felt safe in every part of the areas that we visited. And we liked the fact that the area is a vacation spot for Mexicans as well. We both feel that this could be a place that we could come back to for a vacation.
Since we were so close to the ship we didn’t really worry about the time and stayed at the beach only until we needed to get back on board.
One of the things that I have spent a lot of time doing is watching the docking and undocking process. I am very intrigued by the intricacies of the process. From the “final horn” for the last call for boarding to the final push-off never ceases to amaze me. I’m usually at the railing on whichever side is adjacent to the pier and watching. I have had the fortunate opportunity to watch this process three times from our own patio when we were docked starboard as the ship usually docks port side.
Tomorrow will be a day in Puerto Vallarta, then a day in Cabo San Lucas, then another sea day and then we are back in San Diego where we will do our final disembarkation and transfer to the airport for our flight home.