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Breakfast in Melaque.

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Our hotel in Cuastecomate, 2 km N of Melaque.

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Bonnie at our hotel room in Cuastecomate.

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The beach at Cuastecomate.

 

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Conifer-Hunting in Mexico

Day 13: Wednesday, February 16

On our second day at Melaque, Bonnie and I took off in the morning and drove up to a beach called Tenacatita, another 30 km up the coast. This is supposed to be the finest marine sanctuary in Jalisco. It provided us with much better snorkeling than we found at Cuastecomate. It has an actual coral reef, though it still has only one structurally significant species of coral. It has mostly the same fishes that we saw at Cuastecomate, somewhat greater species diversity, and much larger numbers of fish–dozens of rays, schools of scorpion fish, parrotfish, squirrelfish, and a fish with a big bulb on its forehead. The water was clearer and warmer than at the other site, and it was also a much larger site. People park their RVs on the beach there and tour groups come up in pangas from Barra Navidad, but there's room enough for everybody. We spent several hours there and had a grand time.

Later in the day, we went back in to Melaque with Bob. Our hotel was kind of a pit – it was hot and stuffy at night, we couldn't sleep very well, there were mosquitoes at night – Melaque was entirely a more pleasant spot. So, we went back to town, and hung out at a succession of beachfront bars and restaurants. The Melaque/Barra Navidad beach has dozens of such places lined out along the miles of beaches fronting the bay. Most of the people are norteamericanos so its very much a “vacation” scene but it's still fun for awhile. We had some fabulous food – ceviche mostly, at three different places. We sampled a few more margaritas, all of them undistinguished, and a few more beers, all of them undistinguished.

Margaritas have nowhere been very good this trip. Mexicans rarely drink them. Most are made with a blender and very little tequila, all but one have been made using a prepared mix, and they are commonly very expensive – 35 to 60 pesos. One place in San Miguel Allende (near the end of the journey) actually used limons and a decent ration of tequila, producing the best margaritas we ever had for only about 20 pesos each, but even those were inferior to the ones we usually make at home.

As regards beer, the Mexicans are in a class with the Chinese and Australians – they like their beer cheap, plentiful, weak, and almost tasteless. The strongest stuff, Negra Modelo, is probably less than 4% and has a mild amber color reminiscent of truck stop coffee. The most common stuff, Tecate, packs the punch of Coors or XXXX. We stopped over a few hours in the San Francisco airport on the way home and enjoyed a couple of memorable pints of draft Anchor Porter, as good a “welcome home” as I can think of.

Meanwhile, back in Melaque, we stayed out pretty late watching the beach scene and listening to live music of various forms – strolling guitarists, small combos playing on the beach a la street musicians. It was one grand evening of traditional Mexico vacation.

Continue to Day 14

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Last Modified 2010-12-18