Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Unique Massage Experience at Casa Pacifica and a Whale Sighting!!

Enduring our long winters at home leaves me feeling colour deprived. Everything is so alive here but I feel like I missed the stepping stone of Spring. Now I am surely on colour overload! The above photos give just a glimpse of the lovely gardens which surround Casa Pacifica. This place is owned by Americans I believe and is located close to the (spoken in a hushed tone) "Gated Community." Trucks come and go along my road all day long hauling construction materials to this community. It is the only one around that I'm aware of. There are plenty of rental properties to be found in town which are safe and very nice but they don't have a locked gate and guards. Back to Casa Pacifica, it's simply a little piece of heaven sprung right out of the jungle. You can rent rooms there or rather ... suites. There's an open rooftop patio where breakfast is served daily from 8-10 am and non-guests are welcome to eat here. I arrived about 8:30 for a breakfast of watermelon, french toast made on homemade bread, bacon, fresh squeezed orange juice and tea. The menu is in English so I didn't have to resort to ordering quesidillas for breakfast again. Quite yummy. I had arranged a massage here at 10 am so had plenty of time to enjoy the ocean view and linger over my french toast. Within minutes of my arrival, I was thrilled to be able to see the "tail end" (yuk yuk) of a whale in the bay! I spent the rest of my breakfast staring intently into the bay for another sighting but it was to be that I just got that one quick glimpse. Very exciting. The folks at the next table enjoyed it too. Here's a photo of the view from the patio at Casa Pacifica (minus the whale.)

I wandered around the grounds waiting for my massage with Poncho. I was to find out that Poncho's real name was Francisco but as in many Latin American countries, many people have a nickname. Francisco lives in Las Varas but has travelled to the US many times and once to Montreal. I think he thought the whole of Canada was French. Before he arrived I had time to check out the massage facilities. Hmmmm ... I'd never had a massage outside before. It was a cool morning, in fact cool enough with the breeze to have to wear long sleeves. The table was placed in the shade and sitting there waiting, I was feeling a little cool and wondered how comfortable it would be to be on that table in just my bathing suit.

Oh! My bathing suit! I forgot about wearing it when I was getting ready that morning. Francisco arrived as I was thinking that thought and I told him that maybe a massage in the shade would have been just a little too cool and that we should postpone it for a warmer day. Or for later in the day. He suggested we could move the table out into the sunshine. I told him I had forgotten my bathing suit. I think I was stalling. I wasn't real sure about this. I had trusted my gut and it had served me well thus far so I went back to the casa for my bathing suit. When I returned, and I'm not sure how he managed it given the weight of that table, it was moved into the sun. Gracias Poncho. I was accustomed to having massages at home in an enclosed room where they play a cd with sounds of the ocean. Another new experience presented itself here. I considered the situation for a few minutes and decided to go with it and hope for the best. And he did make the effort to make it comfortable for me. When I first climbed onto the table I had a sheet to cover me just like I was used to. I felt a wee bit exposed but it quickly passed a few minutes into the massage. The feeling of relaxation was immediate. I could feel the energy of the sun on what skin was exposed as I relaxed into the experience. These were real ocean sounds I was hearing, not a tape! Francisco and I chatted and I discovered that he had been doing this for 30 years. That became evident as the massage progressed. I enjoyed the hour long treatment but it was over before I wanted it to be. I totally forgot about my self-consciousness and couldn't give a rat's ass who was watching! He told me more than once that I needed the sun and that the energy of the ocean and the open sky was a very good thing for me. He was right. At the end of the treatment, he placed a towel over my eyes and asked me what colour I could see. I immediately saw turquoise. He removed the towel, and put it back on my eyes and asked me again. Turquoise. No question. (I swear I was seeing the northern lights or something.) He was silent. Then I just had to ask ... is that good? He said it meant I was "healing." Hmmmm. He's so right. Well as the saying goes, "all good things come to an end." I hate that expression. Poncho was packing up his stuff and I noticed a large jar of oil with what looked like long strands of seaweed in it. It was clear that that's what he had poured into a bottle and used as my massage oil. I asked him what was in the oil. He told me "marijuana ... marijuana mixed with peyote." To which I replied, "is that what you used for my massage?" He said that he had and that he picks the peyote himself somewhere. He went on to explain the healing properties of the herbs and I told him I was aware of the medicinal benefits for chemotherapy patients and he was interested in hearing about this. He then proceeded to try to sell me a bottle to take home for $25 US but I declined. "I wouldn't want to try to get that through customs!" He assured me others had done it but I thought it wise not to buy any of the joy juice. So now that you have enjoyed this story (I hope) here's Poncho and my little table in the sunshine.

I noticed a sign at Casa Pacifica about sunrise yoga on the beach. I asked Poncho about it and he told me that he was the instructor. The classes are Mon/Wed/Fri mornings at 7 am on the beach. Tomorrow is Monday and I'm going to attempt to wake up at 6 am to try it out. I have an alarm clock with me but you need a degree to figure out how to set the alarm so I will count on the roosters, which shouldn't be a problem. I'm not new to yoga but am a little rusty so it should be interesting.

Well, it wasn't even noon yet and I'd already had quite a day! I went back to the casa to change and felt so euphoric that I had to keep going and head to the beach. I had a little chat with Allan and Magda about obtaining a phone card in Las Varas and told them about my most excellent massage experience. They were having a well deserved day off from the workshop. I headed down to the beach with the intention of checking out a restaurant I wanted to try called "Las Brisas." Linda (the sunset girl) was there enjoying a cafe and piece of chocolate cake so I joined her for lunch. We had a nice chat and took a long walk on the beach and she showed me an interesting tree just to the right of the campground that Poncho had told her had magical powers. (Poncho and Linda had met earlier that day.) It was funny because I sat on my blanket in front of that tree a few days before that on the beach. I considered that there was a reason I was drawn to that spot. Ahhhh ... this kind of stuff just never ends around here. Then again, I had just been massaged by marijuana and peyote. Ommmmmmmmm ....

This feeling of light-heartedness continued for the entire day. In what seemed like a few minutes, the sunset had started to grow near. We found some low chairs and sat ourselves down to enjoy it. Earlier, we met up with John, another workshop participant, and I invited him to join us for dinner at Las Brisas that night. He had just been body surfing and said that he would change and come back to meet us and bring another couple, Bill and Stacey, with him. After the sunset, Linda and I settled at a table and ordered dinner. We had such a nice day together, discovering things about each other's lives that were very similar in nature. We were like-minded about why we had made this journey but I really felt that I should have attended the workshop. She was a few steps ahead of me in that regard. John arrived and the laughing began. I had ordered "beef quesidillas" for dinner. (Will I ever escape the quesidillas!?) My meal arrived and yes, there was one tiny cheese quesidilla on the plate, almost as an afterthought. The main attraction on the plate was this huge slice of thin beef which reminded me of a piece of shoe leather waiting to be made into footwear! When I tried to cut it up, it wasn't any better. I actually tasted it and it didn't improve anthing. I joked that maybe they had served me the dead sea turtle! Oh well. Every restaurant here is an adventure in itself. John and Linda's meal looked much more appetizing. Bill and Stacey arrived and Linda decided to call it a night. I found out that Bill and Stacey lived on a farm in Illinois but that Bill was originally from Kentucky. I didn't think that accent sounded Illinois-an! We had a nice time chatting and laughing. Allan and Magda were out for an evening stroll and joined our table. They shared a Margarita with two straws. How sweet. John had me laughing so hard that the tears were streaming down my face. I hadn't laughed that much in a long time and it felt really good. John has this quiet sense of humour that kind of sneaks up on you. He reminded me of Jack, my cousin Anne's husband, in that way. And I had only had 2 Modelo Negras! John treated us all to dinner and Bill picked up the tab for the drinks. Here's a few photos of this very memorable evening. Bill and Stacey hadn't arrived yet but they will be here for another 10 days so I'll try to get a picture of them later. Allan and Magda too. The first pic is Linda and John and then John and I.

All very nice folks. Linda and John went back to their respective home turfs today. They are both from "Santa something", California but I keep getting the names mixed up. We exchanged emails and I sent them the pictures. John and I had lunch today before he left for the airport.

It's Sunday now and the the day has been quiet. It was an overcast day and the sun really didn't come out all afternoon. I did some reading and fell asleep. When I woke up I made some dinner and have been watching the tv for the first time. Of all things, the Grammy awards! I never miss it at home either. The commercials are in Spanish. Actually, it's a great way to learn Spanish.

To backtrack (so much happened yesterday, it's easy to forget what I want to tell you) Linda and I heard some music coming from a building on the beach and we wandered over to see what it was all about. There was a birthday party going on for a local child and they were being entertained by real live super heros! The kids were having a great time.

The spirit of St. Valentine was everywhere this week. I truly feel blessed by all that has taken place. Here's evidence of Valentine's Day in Mexico. This was taken at Las Brisas. This is a great restaurant. I just have to be careful of what I order next time!

Manana ... sunrise yoga. On a Monday morning. Won't that be a welcome change from Monday morning at home going to work? I want those damn roosters to wake me in time. Just watch, they'll decide to sleep in tomorrow.

Es todo ... from Chacala for today.
Here's a picture Allan took of me the other day out on the patio ... by surprise!



Anonymous said...

Dear Charmie
Thanks for the ooooo's and the ah's and the smiles. I'll keep them all day. Love Mary

Anonymous said...

Mom! Your friend John looks excatly like Larry David!! I thought it was him! He's the guy that created Seinfeld and has the show "Curb your Enthusiasm" I think you've seen it...
You're getting quite the tan senorita!

Charmalita said...

Haha ... you're right little Chica, he does look just like Larry David!