Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beach trip to Melaque, Mexico

In our married life (8 years this week), Jared and I have never stayed in a hotel for more than 2 nights, and never been on a vacation where we have truly just relaxed on our own schedule! This means that work was kept to a bare minimum (my sister asked me, "That means you did a little work, right? Okay--just checking---just wanted to make sure you were still my sister!")!
Pretty odd that we have never accomplished this, considering the amount of traveling we have always done (moving each 6 months for the past 8 years!).

3 nights without packing a suitcase was pretty cool. Hey--a small step for us...but a good step!

Instead of staying at the cheapest place we could find (the normal route), we instead found a place that we would enjoy spending 3 nights at. It was right on the beach, had a pool, separate bedroom, and was spacious enough with a full kitchen and beautiful ocean view.
The beach was beautiful, but the waves right in front of our hotel were not recommended for swimming. We had to walk down the beach quite a ways to find calmer water. Whoops.
Our bedroom suite is on the 2nd story above the pool, and had a great view of the ocean. Loud crashing waves were a bit hard to get used to the first night, but by the 2nd and 3rd night...they were like music to our ears!
Here is Jared and the kids trying to run away from the fierce waves!

We arrived Monday morning, and on Tuesday we packed up and went to a beach 20 minutes North, Boca de Iguanas. We scoped it out on our last trip in 2008, and decided to return to it since it was more secluded and had a flatter beach with shallow water (safer for kids playing). It was a great choice!! And we were the whitest people on the beach, as always...(but I admit--we are in the States, too!)
Ella ate some sand, I'm sure.

This is where I hid out most of the day, trying to avoid the sun (like Mother, like Daughter!). Somehow I still managed to get burned. Ugh. Ethan was unscathed, and slept in his portable little tent under our shaded beach canopy. A good investment, to say the least!

Maiya was a bit scared of the waves, so she opted for floating on the sand.
The beautiful beach....

An inner-tube vendor who had a brilliant way of displaying his wares....
We caught the Melaque street market on Wednesday. We saw a Barbie stall with handmade clothes...and tried to distract the girls while still taking this photo....
The wide, but quaint streets for Melaque. Nice shopping area, too...and REAL American ice cream (a rarity--ice cream down here is icy, not creamy).

I still don't know what the name of this meat is. I've never bothered to ask--because I steer clear of it! (My friends, Lourdes, just told me it is Tacos al Pastor!)
A blow fish lamp (it lights up with a bulb inside)! I stepped on one of these on the aforementioned trip in 2008. Ouch!
I took a photo of a random stranger who was getting a fruit nieve or smoothie topped with chili. Everything. Is. Always. Topped. With. Chili.
The aftermath of our trip.

Lessons learned:
SPF 30 doesn't cut it
Re-apply sunscreen a minimum of every hour (not every 2 1/2)
Buy more protective swimsuit covers (found some 2nd hand ones at the street market....Maiya is modeling below)
We packed African Quinoa Soup for the trip, so we only had to eat out once on the coast (okay--we didn't have to--it was by choice!). We stopped for lunch on each 5 hour drive to and from the beach. I was actually very excited to see a Burger King in Colima on the drive there. There is something *happy* about the predictability of American menus (as sad as I am to admit it!).

On the drive back, someone recommended we take a more direct route back to the Guadalajara area (3 hours tops, they said). Haha!! Well, it is was a windy mountain road, and while beautiful, it had Ella moaning, and Maiya throwing up all over. Maiya never complains--she simply informs us afterwards (or before, if she's fast). Poor kid.

We stopped at a nice restaurant in Autlan, on the drive back. Ella was beyond wearing shirts (for 3 days) she just had to cover up to walk into the restaurant and hide in a corner chair.

Jared's lunch on the drive back home was a hamburguesa. You never know what topping
s you're going to get here. This one included sprouts and jalepenos.
I ordered a sope, and a few other dishes for the kids that weren't available. They kept trying to recommend the more expensive meat dishes, and I clearly said several times, "No Carne" (no meat!). Well, instead of bringing out my sope, they brought me out a plate of steak strips. I looked at it with complete confusion. While trying to talk to the waiter about if this was supposed to be my sope (obviously not), Jared decided he would eat my meal too, and solve the problem. I assumed they wouldn't bring out my sope, then...and so I ate the side dish to the meat, that was pico-de-gallo with cactus (WOW-YUM!). Low and behold, they still brought out my mushroom sope I had ordered.
They also brought us a pitcher of fruit water (very common here), instead of the natural water we thought we had been clear about. All in all, the mistaken orders (or trick orders, possibly) cost more than our entire meal would have cost--therefore more than doubling our cost for lunch. Oh well--you win some--you lose some!

Speaking of interesting food...we kept seeing these being sold on the road side during the drive back. It is called Pitaya, or in China is known as Dragon Fruit. A friend recommended it, so we picked up some this weekend.

They are a cactus fruit and have spiky peels that you remove to eat the stringy fruit inside. It is a seriously weird texture--even Ella compared it to eating brains (without me saying to her--but that is EXACTLY the image that comes to mind!). Little stringy worm-like fruit with no large core, just tiny, crunchy seeds. Wild!
But not too bad. The girls enjoyed it, too!
All in all--a nice break :) The girls return to school this Monday, and we are looking forward to our "vacation" from them! Haha!!


Cara said...

Wow girl. You make me want to pick up and move down there too!

As always, I love all the pictures and hope your back feels better!

I love how my little red-head is a cheesy diva too... Maybe it comes with the territory of the red hair. As a red head yourself, what do you think?

leadatortilla said...

Looks like it was a fabulous vacation! I love Maiya floating on the sand - LOL!! And someday you will laugh when you remember all your struggles with the language barrier - someday! Was that Ella's back? or yours? OUCH!

Lara said...

Poor Ella's little back! Looks like an amazing time. So jealous!

Morgan -Ing said...

What a fun trip, but can I mail you some SPF 70??? Say no to skin cancer.

Alisa said...

we are now well stocked on 50 SPF spray sunscreen, and 80 SPF lotion. That is Ella's back (as if mine could look that cute!)

Alisa said...

and yes, Cara--all redheads must be divas. I can't think of any girl redheads that aren't :-) Oh wait...just thought of one. but she was definitely the exception!

Youngberg Family said...

What an adventure! It's so fun to see the new experiences you guys are having all the time down there. Those sunburns looked miserable! Hopefully now you'll be prepared for the next time.

Richard and Donna Kane said...

Hi Alisa, what a great report on your recent road trip - we think of you often as you make your amazing way through life in Mexico. We also visited Melaque and know exactly where you are coming from, it is a lively lovely little beach town. Also, we love your photos... Thank you for being our 'blogger' inspriation and we are counting on you to continue checking all the surroundings and every nook and cranny 'outside the box'!! xoxo from Richard and Donna in Calgary

Jenny said...

Beautiful beach pictures! It's good to see you guys enjoying life and having fun as a family!