Greetings Folks! Thanks for visiting my first blog post. On the left is a photo of "El Faro", the casita I have rented for a month beginning February 10/08. I explain more fully later in this post. To begin at the beginning ... how did I arrive here? Well I have an exciting adventure ahead of me and being a writer, I thought I would like to record my thoughts and experiences and share them with any of you who are interested. If you are thinking of taking a similar journey, I have one word of advise. Do it! Already I know it is the right choice for me and I haven't even left yet. So how did I arrive at this decision? Last year I visited a friend in Sayulita, Mexico which is off the beaten track, some 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita has grown from an small fishing village to a world class destination in a very short period of time. The town's infrastructure has suffered along the way but the people who decided they wanted to stay have risen to the challenge and made the necessary changes and the town is thriving. I had planned on returning to Sayulita for an extended holiday in 2008 but discovered that I could no longer afford to stay there. Yes. The old adage, paradise comes with a price, had never been so true. The new sewer system had to be paid for somehow. Sayulita holds a lot of charm but practicality sent me north, to a place called Chacala.
I found Chacala from reading a blog written by a American woman who had settled there for the past 4 years. Reading her blog became a daily part of my life and came to give me a smile, even when I was having a very bad day. Her photos and experiences have been very inspiring. I saw something in her daily life that I was missing. I approached her by private email and told her I was looking for longer term accommodations in the Chacala area this winter and she made a suggestion to link with an online newspaper called "Jaltemba Sol." It turned out I did find a small casita on the ocean in La Penita, a town 30 minutes south of Chacala. I made arrangements to rent the casita for the month of January 2008 with the possibility of staying for February. My life here took a few turns and I was unable to depart as early as January and I lost the opportunity to visit La Penita. I contacted my blogger friend in Chacala with this news and she helped me find "El Faro" -- "The Lighthouse" in Spanish. I prefer to think of it as "House of Light." Being down to wire with just a little over a month until my departure, I was running out of options as many of the suitable rentals were spoken for in high season. I truly believe none of this was an accident. I spoke to the owner of "El Faro" who lives in California. The unit had been spoken for during the period I wanted to rent it, but for whatever reason, he made it happen for me. He told me about Allan, who had been renting the back unit of the casita since November 2007. He told me about Allan's website called http://www.joydancer.com/ and explained that he had been on a sabattical to finish a book he was writing. Allan is a Toltec master and follows the traditions and teachings of don Miguel Ruiz, author of "The Four Agreements." Oddly enough, I owned this book and was very much impressed by its teachings and wisdom, but had placed what I had learned from this book on the back burner a few years ago. From reading the website, I learned about a "Relationship Workshop" that was taking place in and around the beach in Chacala, the very week I was to arrive! During Valentine's Week, no doubt. Apparently it was to change the way we think about relationships in a very positive light. Things haven't been exactly rosy in this area of my life for several years now, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to jump in, especially since I was familar and in total agreement with the teachings of the book. I have written to Allan, expressing my interest and to date haven't heard back yet. At any rate, I'm sure we will have more than a few enlightening conversations once I arrive. Sooooooo .... suddenly .. this solo journey wasn't so scary anymore, given the prospect of joy dancer, a fellow writer, sharing my accommodations, my blogger friend just down the street, and my long term friend just down the road in Sayulita. My daughter will be visiting for a week toward the end of February to celebrate her 23rd birthday and to immerse herself in authentic Mexican cooking. She is at the crest of starting her own catering business and this experience will only enhance her qualifications. During my search for accommodations, I found it was common in Mexico to only be provided with a hot plate for cooking. "El Faro" has a full cooktop stove and oven. Of course! When I visited Sayulita last winter, one of my favourite things to do, besides watching the sunset every night, was preparing delicious meals, with the freshest available vegetables and seafood every day. I had never seen shrimp that big! And they were caught that very day and were so affordable. On that note, I will leave you with an authentic Mexican recipe for Salsa that I prepared when I was in Sayulita:
By the way, Salsa is just another word for a sauce or gravy of any kind, but we tend to think of it as something that only goes with tortilla chips. And for anyone who watches Seinfeld re-runs, people just like saying that word! S.A.L.S.A. It rolls off the tongue in a most agreeable way. :))
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 Serrano chiles finely chopped for medium hot
(remove seeds and veins if you want a mild spice)
1/2 tsp salt
juice of one lime
1/2 seeded cucumber finely chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve, mix before serving. Serve with tortilla chips, in tacos, or over fish. Do try this at home!
You’re just as likely to come across it referring to salsa, the dance. Originally from Latin America, this style of music includes many different rhythms and melodies, from mambo to rumba to chachachá. What they all have in common is that the rhythm is essentially Afro-Caribbean.Some people claim that the name comes from a Cuban song - Échale salsita Put some sauce on it - which mentioned the songwriter’s favourite type of sausage, which needed some sauce on it! The term really took off when a New York record company marketed it in the sixties as a way of describing a popular style of Latino dancing. It is now, of course, a worldwide phenomenon
Side note: Things to look forward to in Chacala. Roosters crowing outside my window at dawn, dogs barking down in the street, the essence of the sea breeze, spectacular sunsets, the warmth of the sun. If you are thinking of taking this journey, make the decision and make it happen. The universe in turn, will cooperate.
Peace and light,