Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Pelapa in Yelapa!

As the saying goes... A pelapa in Yelapa is better than a condo in Redondo. Ha!
Well, we ventured out on our mighty Incognito today to a tiny jungle town called Yelapa (settled by hippies in the 60's) which is about an hour cruise down the coast from Puerto Vallarta. It was THE perfect Christmas Eve adventure! And.. Today is the day in Mexico that everyone celebrates for Christmas!! (Instead of Christmas Day)
As we pulled into Yelapa Bay, we had planned to anchor & then go ashore for lunch. However, for some very odd reason the depth of the bay a few hundred feet from shore was almost 250'. We didn't have to anchor because luckily some enterprising boys (who looked to be about 12 & 14 years old) cruised by in their panga boat and told us we could rent their mooring buoy for the day... In fluent English nonetheless! It was a deal... We actually got the last mooring and happened to arrive before everyone headed to the beach for lunch. Getting off the panga was a feat unto itself as we had to hurry off between each wave that crashed ashore. Then, we quickly learned that the panga boys dropped us off in front of their fathers restaurant called "Domenicos"! Such convenience. Haha!! It was hilarious to imbibe in their mini "shakedown!" They picked out a bunch of lounge chairs for us, set up some umbrellas and had drinks in our hands in a flash. We were shown the fresh catch of the day & lunch orders were made. Our first "unusual"sighting was a woman with a basket on her head made of some kind of food that looked a little creepy. It turned out that she was selling slices of various flavored pies. Somehow we passed on those nuggets of joy. Kat was tempted though! Next up were the local jewelry peddlers...One guy who looked to be in his 70's had bags around his feet and makeshift shoes on. Kat & I felt so bad for him and knew we needed to buy a $15 silver bracelet. Carly thought he was a big faker and we had a good laugh. She was probably right, but we all had a feel good moment nonetheless. A stroll to the back of the restaurant, under the ubiquitous palapa.. Is where we found the baños, some random dogs, the owners laundry, their primitive kitchen, and a heard of turkey vultures! Haha!!! They were waiting for the food scraps that they are served everyday. What a sight!
We then had a visit with a handsome iguana (loved his spiked hair) and thoroughly enjoyed the local "people watching" as it's mostly locals & hippies that live there. More peddlers stopped by our barcaloungers.. Bookmarks, pareos, bowls, bracelets, etc... All the local junk was there for a "special price"! It amused us tremendously and the kiddos enjoyed playing in the surf as the day went on. We then decided it was a good time for a horseback ride which the "restaurant boys" of Domenico's arranged for us within minutes. (Notice the Domenico shirt in the photo below... It shows their global locations, however they are all "made up" with Yelapa the only outpost. Makes for clever advertising & a giggle!)
Somehow Matt & Matt thought better of a ride and decided they'd wait for us back on the boat with the kiddos. So off we went into the jungle on our über mules with Carly on the only horse in the herd... And what an adventure we had!! The boys surely missed out! We rode through the tiny town up a hill into the deep jungle and headed to see their local town waterfall.
I was truly taken aback by the fluent English everyone spoke so well along the way and at least 70% of all signage in the town was in English. The only transportation in town is either a 4 legged animal or a motorcycle of some kind. Somehow everyone peacefully coexists! We saw many old time hippies, smelled their "jungle smokey", rode past the town market, saw more peddlers who are posted on the main drag, even shopped for some jewelry while on our mules and made a "turquoise" purchase! Tell me where in the world can you do that?! We saw the local wood shop men making some pretty wood vases and various wood specialties for sale, and finally made it to their beautiful waterfall. Brad got there first & had his "ta-da" moment with the grand unveiling of that special spot. It was beautiful! The entire ride was really special as it gave us a peek into their everyday life. They are definitely hard working and ingenious villagers where everyone looks out for each other! I felt like a lucky guest invited to peer into their world and glimpse some stolen moments. Everything was so clean, organized & well kept. They even have a guy who rides his horse with his pooper-scooper & bucket in hand and cleans up all the manure! (his photo below) I'd venture a guess that he composts it for his garden too. It was amazing to see just how industrious the locals were, how much pride they had and their sense of true community. Hard to believe all that they had built for themselves on the side of a mountain in the jungle!
The one animal we didn't see slithering above us (like 2' above our heads) was a big brown boa constrictor!! Aaaah! We went back to take a photo of it and it was hard to get as we didn't exactly want to hang out under it.. So our guide Ramon took the pic and its hard to tell the snake from the tree branch. Lol. O-well. We were having such a fun time exploring on horseback that we took a zillion photos. We could even spot Incognito from the back of our mules. What a fun day... And to be Christmas Eve made it all the more special! We wish you and yours a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

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