Welcome to Raicilla Dreams, please make yourself comfy....you will find many photos, anecdotes and tales of Yelapa told by amigos that lived there before electricity and before it was totally discovered by the tourist world. I welcome your own memories and photos.


Start at the very bottom with archives and work your way up if you want to follow the order I posted. Otherwise, just feel free to skip around and read what suits your fancy...faye

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm sorry there have been no posts in 2014. I am waiting for promised stories, but, I guess, everyone is too busy with life. This is good, no?
As for myself, I finally put together a website for my art and include it here.

Those of you asking me to connect you with people from the past, I did the best I could. If you ask again, I'll try again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adventures of a Technical Mexican

I invite you to check out Jesse Rose Roberts blog. Jesse grew up in Yelapa and has returned to live and run the B & B Los Suenos along the trail in Yelapa. I knew her folks Jerry and MaryBeth and marvelled that their kids could live freely in such a magical place.

http://technicalmexican.blogspot.mx/2011/12/blogged-for-first-time.html

Cliff Barney Spins a Tale

Drop in on Carolina McCall Art and more of Cliff Barney's tale of meeting Peggy.

http://carolinamccall.com/blog/68987/the-two-peggys-and-the-three-sheet-shuffle

Sunday, December 8, 2013

MICHAEL A. ROBINS Obituary


MICHAEL A. ROBINS 1936-2013 In his own words The Dove Elusive, uncanny bird Withdrawn to a high twig of pine, Still as a noonday shadow, Cooing in the pace of lament, Sighs counted for the fallen, For those who said their last word And will not waken To sunrise tomorrow. Survived by his loving wife, Maureen Curran Robins, his son Nico Robins and wife Melissa, and the mother of his son, Donna Rae Peth. In his memory, please perform an act of kindness.

Published in Santa Fe New Mexican from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spelling Can Be So Important!

Cliff Barney was asking if I knew someone named Peggy Mandel...I told him her last name was Muendel and it sounds like the very same Peggy to me. Great story from Cliff!

i did know peggy, in a special way.

when carolina got to yelapa, i was still working in silicon valley. i arrived about a year later and we set up shop at casa ventana; and she told me about a friend of hers whom i might like — peggy mandel. we visited her one afternoon and had a great time. peggy and i took to each other immediately; i liked her enormously, and we talked nonstop for several hours, during which time her dogs, of whom there were several, frolicked about. they were very friendly and i spent much time playing with them, scratching their ears, etc. when i got home that night i was overtaken by a bout of itching like none i had ever experienced. i wanted to jump out of my skin, it was so bad. the only thing that affected it was to stand in a shower so hot i could hardly stand it - but anything, even being boiled alive, was better than the itch!

we looked it up in the merck manual, and decided that i had sarcoptes scabiei, or scabies. of course carolina got it immediately from me, and we fought it for the next several weeks. nothing seemed to work against it until we finally found a solution: we covered ourselves in noxema cream and did not bathe for two weeks. during that time we changed our sheets every day. we took the sheets from the bed and put them in buckets of bleach; we took the sheets that had been bleaching and hung them on the line, and we took the ones on the line and put them on the bed. we called this routine the “three-sheet shuffle.” i wrote a demented poem about it and we made it a big joke in our lives. but despite the real affection i felt for peggy, i never dared to go to her house again, and in fact never saw her again since she rarely went out. i always regretted this, but i never risked another bout. (vets will tell you that humans don’t get scabies from dogs, but we knew better.)

now, it happens that when i was an undergrad at dartmouth, my roommate, who was editor of the college newspaper, got a letter from a fellow named jerry tallmer, who had been several classes ahead of us and was a legendary editor of the paper, having restarted it after the war. he was then working at the nation, and he invited ted to visit him in new york. i tagged along and met jerry and his then wife, peggy, a young, slim, very attractive woman who swore like a sailor. they were both very kind to us, a couple of undergraduate bozos - introduced us to their friends in the village and even let me stay at their apartment when i was in town, which was as frequently as i could make it. i went to their parties and met jackson pollock at one of them. he made a pass at peggy and she told him to fuck off.

later i lost touch with them and though i heard that jerry had helped found the village voice, which i read later when i lived in new york, i never saw either of them again. (peggy wrote a shopping column for the voice for a while. jerry is still alive, full of years and honors - he had a great journalistic career in new york.) i did hear that he and peggy had separated, and i always wondered what became of her. i had been attracted to her even then, but basically i was afraid of her - she seemed so capable and familiar with the new york scene, and i was a yokel from new hampshire.

so last night, in a fit of nostalgia, i googled “peggy tallmer,” and was led to a column by jerry in which he revealed that her full name was “peggy meundel tallmer.” i then googled “peggy meundel” and was led to raicilla dreams.

now i always supposed that the peggy i had met here spelled her name “peggy mandel,” because that was the way everyone pronounced it. but from the few items i read about “peggy meundel,” i suspect that she must have been peggy tallmer once.

abrazos.......cliff barney

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Art as Medicine

Read my interview wih Cliff Barney on his blog below and be sure to view Caroline McCall's artwork that hosts the blog. http://carolinamccall.com/blog


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stories From the Baile


In the 70's in Yelapa there was virtually zero "night life", in fact, I think most people were asleep by about 9 or 10pm at the latest on a regular basis.  Occasionally there was a "dance" at the local "meeting hall" on Sunday evenings.  I think it was mostly for the kids and it definitely was primarily the Yelapa locals, but it being an "unusual" event, most of the ex-pats would show up and were welcomed.  There was an old style "box" record player like you had when you were a kid, and there was a generator running somewhere out back because there was electricity, lights and music, etc.
 
The local kids would ask a girl to dance and it was all very Jr. High School in tone, but the kids seemed to be having fun.  The kids would be dancing and then something always happened that took me a while to figure out what was going on.... the grandmother (usually) of the girl that was dancing would walk up to the boy and tap him on the shoulder and the boy would stop dancing and the girl would look mildly uncomfortable... the boy would dig in his pockets and hand the grandmother something and she would go away and the kids would start dancing again.  This happened on every dance and with every local couple and I was not sure of what was going on, but I would watch this take place with fascination until I couldn't stand it any longer.
 
I got up from where I was sitting and asked one of the local men I knew ( I don't remember whom), what was going on.  He explained to me that the grandmother was getting a peso or three from the boy for the privilege of dancing with the girl.  They called it a tostone or as I later learned, that is the slang word for tip in Spanish.  How about that... Taxi Dancers in Yelapa!  These dances took place according to what schedule I never did figure out, but everyone in the village always seemed to know when one was going occur. The majority of the town would be there with lots of Raicilla and beer to be had for all!
 
Leaving this event and walking home on Shit Trail at night was always an exciting time as well.  You never knew what you were going to run into along the trail from the giant pig we called Big Ugly to local men lying in the dirt very, very drunk.  It was on this night that one of the strangest things I have ever seen came into my view.  There was a place on the trail after you left town where there was a big rock that was on the side of the trail and leaning up against this rock was a very drunk Yelapan with a small burro backed up against him... both of them were making a lot of noise and it took me a minute to focus and realize what I thought was going on was really going on!  Incredible!  It totally gave me a new appreciation for the relationship between the locals and their burros. Obviously it impressed me as I still remember it very vividly 35 or so years later!...Tony Collins
 

Monday, June 3, 2013

And the Winner Is....


...a short Raicilla story for you:
My business partner Graham G. from Toronto and I had been hanging out at Casa de Alacron for quite a while and we had gotten into a rut.  We would go to Juan Cruz's store almost daily and buy a jar of Aladin Crema de Cacahuate and one of the homemade Pan Mangere (SP?) loafs and get a couple of bottles of Eliadoro's Raicilla... in those days you had to bring your own bottles to get them filled from his gas cans that he had carried down the mountain from Chacala; you didn't want to lose your bottles!  This would be our dinner, we had gotten too lazy to cook, too lazy to fish, and otherwise too lazy to leave our hammocks for very long. We wouldn't even both go to the store and it was usually me because my Spanish was better.

So after eating our peanut butter and bread we would proceed to drink our bottles of Raicilla, as these were liter bottles, this would take around 3 to 4 hours to finish the bottle and you needed the peanut butter and the bread to help absorb the liquor. As the bottle was finished, it became a ritual that we would rub the bottles vigorously until they were hot and then torch the top of the bottle off with a lighter. If the Raicilla was good that week (it was often better or worse from week to week and I am pretty sure that Eliadoro would "cut" it for both profit and safety's sake.)...you would get a flame like a blow torch jumping out of the top of the bottle and a WHOOMP noise that was just great. 
The point of this exercise was of course, to determine whom would get the biggest flame and WHOOMP. In order to even qualify for the competition, your flame had to jump at least 6 inches out of the bottle or you were disqualified.  A winning flame would be 10 inches or better...There would be much debate as to whom was able to get the most spectacular flame and WHOOMP and thus, we had to bring in 3rd party judges to declare the winner. As there were generally from 4 to 8 people staying with us at the house, there were no shortages of judges, until the judges would try to become contestants. That did not happen often... you had to be able to finish your bottle in one evening, a feat, that not just anybody could do.

I was generally but not always the winner of this endurance contest and I guess that makes me THE BIGGEST LOSER! to use the parlance of the day. Thankfully my liver still functions and we only did this for a couple of months straight before we decided that we were overindulging in the Raicilla just a bit......Tony Collins

Thursday, May 30, 2013

...more Puppy tales from Tony Collins


"Like I said, in Yelapa I pretty much stayed in the house and had lots of visitors come and go form the States and Europe.  When I was in Vallarta, I was much more social, going out to the clubs every night etc.... then I would go out to Bucerias sometimes and stay in my friends house and just hang out with local Mexicans as there were no gringoes out there in those days.  The house was directly across the highway from the restaurant La Perla Negra and on top of the hill looking over the highway and out to see.  Did you know that Mr. Jacuzzi of the spas lived in Bucerias and was in a wheelchair which is what led him to invent his pools?

Here is a funny Vallarta story:  My dog Puppy was also very well known in Vallarta as I was and so... I used to have to "sneak" out of my cottage I rented in Vallarta on the highway just past Capriccio, when I wanted to go out; otherwise he would just come with me.  He would wake up when I was gone and would just come looking for me as he knew my routine which always started the evening at O'Brian's., if I wasn't there he would head down the street to Casa Blanca etc until he found me.  One night he couldn't find me as I was already up the hill at Capriccio where I was close with Pepe and Chava (the owners).

So he is walking across town looking for me and a cabbie that knew me and Puppy spotted him and yelled at him to get in the car because he knew "where I was".  The cabbie told me this later.  So, here comes this cab pulling into the Capriccio parking lot, pulls up close to the front door, and gets out and opens the door for Puppy to get out.  Well, as you know, at the clubs there was always a line of tourists waiting to get in and they have the Doorman etc,.with the rope and the whole deal.  All these people are standing in line waiting to get in... and here comes this little dog in a cab by himself and walks up to the front door and the doorman knows the dog and opens the door for him to go inside and telling him that "Tony is inside, come on in!"

During this whole show, I was actually sitting in the gazebo that was on the other side of the parking lot at the top of the stairs that went down to Baby Jaws and the area below at sea level.  I saw this whole thing happen and was cracking up because the tourists were starting to freak out and asking "Hey, you let a dog in, why can't we get in?"... It was hysterical.  The tourists couldn't believe a dog was getting in before them!

It was the same at O'Brian's, Leon would see Puppy and would give him a plate of chicken to eat just inside the door in front of all the people in line... Leon would say..."Tony's not here Senor Puppy, are you hungry?"  Tourists would just freak out!"

...more from Tony Collins


"Living in Yelapa helped me find my center in a time when I needed it.  In the days that I was living there, there was not a lot of socializing going on in Yelapa other than at peoples houses, the Yacht Club was closed and once the tourists left at 3pm every day, there wasn't much to do except go home.  I had a crowd of people coming and going to Casa Arriba and we pretty much stayed to ourselves up there.  I can remember not going in town or leaving the house for days at a time often.  I had a lady named Evangelina that took care of me and the house and often I never left the house.  The view from Casa de Alacron (which is what we all called it) was so fantastic and we had a garden in the back and so many fruit trees on the property that there just wasn't much reason to go anywhere.  And it was the rest and escape from the hectic world that I was craving and so, just hanging out in the hammock was right up my alley at the time.
Short story involving my dog again:  My wife had met Fey Waybill (Quaalude from the Tubes) in Vallarta and she asked me to stay in Yelapa for awhile at the house and I stayed in Vallarta.  Remember we were separated but friends at this time.  Fey started hanging out with my dog and my ex-wife and stayed at Casa Alacron for about 3 weeks.  They would also go into Vallarta and Fey would take my dog to Bings for ice cream in the afternoons.  They were good buddies. I never met Fey at the time.  So one evening about a year later I was in the SFO airport and I saw Fey and his guys at one of the gates.  I walked up to him, and said.... "Hey, you know a dog named Puppy?"  He grabbed me and hugged me and said.. "You must be Tony!".  We hung out and partied in Sausalito for the next couple of days.
Yelapa was like that... I was walking on the beach one day and saw a guy waving his hands through the air in a memorable way... it was Richard Calder from the Haight and a close friend.  He had been living in Vallarta for about a year at the time, I had been living in Yelapa for several months... and we had never crossed paths until that day.  Ran into Patty from Vallarta the same way.  She was another old friend from the Haight." 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gloria Elies RIP

*thanks to Kathleen Harris for her story about Gloria Elies who passed in the last year.

http://theoldgringa.com/?p=3699

Five Year Anniversary!

I just realized I started this blog on May 31, 2008! It will be 5 years old on Friday and I thank you for participating as a reader and contributor.

Please keep sending your stories and photos. You can't believe how many folks
contact me when they accidently come across Raicilla Dreams and want to
know more. I started this blog for my own selfish desires to record my stories and photos before I forgot them. Now, it's a source for all of us to remember our wonderful lives in Yelapa. 

Down Memory Lane by Tony Collins


I received this nostalgic email from Tony Collins who lived in Yelapa in the 70's. I don't know Tony, but his entry certainly took me back. I think you'll enjoy this.....faye

"I had been to Yelapa for a day trip in 1972 but went back in October of 1974 and stayed there until about Feb of 1977.  I spent most of my time in Yelapa at Casa Arriba but I rented a cottage in Vallarta also and had the use of a friends house in Bucerias so I had 3 different living experiences during that time period.  There was 1 period that I did not leave Yelapa even to go into Vallarta for 7 months.  There were other periods when I would stay in Vallarta for 3 or 4 days at a time. I had been coming back and forth to Vallarta since 1970 and a few friends from California had ended up in Yelapa and Vallarta for a while; I became one of them as well even before I realized they were there.
 
In Yelapa I first stayed at the little white house that was immediately at the top of the trail from the beach where you turned right to go to town.  Enrique who had a small store on the beach let us stay there for a few days, then we moved in to Byron and Bets' rental guest house for a couple of weeks.  During that time, I had met the Alaskan guy that was staying in Casa Arriba and he introduced me to Don Arturo Cruz and I made arrangements to move into the "House Above" as the Alaskan guy was leaving to go back to Alaska.  We also stayed in Pipeline Jim's house for 1 night and did not like the house except for the roof.  Of course, living next door to Benny Shapiro has a million stories in itself, but not all of them so nice. So, I will try to stay away from the bad ones.  Benny was OK, he was just Benny.
 
Casa Arriba had been going downhill in repairs etc. prior to my moving in and so we did some minor things to fix it up,  I bought and had delivered a new refrigerator and had some tiles repaired and replaced on the balcony, some brickwork, but nothing major.  My understanding is that after we moved out it went downhill again for several years but Lance(?) has it now and it appears that he has made substantial changes and repairs to the house which is a good thing. The main bath house has been changed substantially from what I can see in new photos.
 
I paid for 6 months rent to Don Arturo at one point by "bouncing" to the states for 2 days and bringing him a nice professional style chainsaw.  In fact during the two plus years I rented the house from him, we usually did similar "trades" for the rent.  I brought him a Honda generator at one point and some other things which slip my memory.  Those were the days!
 
I stayed in the house during all the seasons and in fact, summer is one of my favorites as I like the rain and less people.  One of my fondest memories of Yelapa are the sounds the frogs made at night, it would get so loud sometimes it was unreal... I used to call the sounds like "spaceships taking off and landing".  Now that there is electricity in most of the area and more people, I would imagine that it is not quite so "natural" in the sounds at night.  Of course, the Raicilla helped.  I swear it has psychedelic properties, or maybe that was just the rust from Eliadoro's gas cans that used to bring it down the hill from Chacala.
 
Regretfully, I have no photos of the time period.  I wish I did, but I just wasn't a camera guy in those days.  Yelapa was so quiet in those days, that during the summer of 1975 we had nightly readings out loud of pages from the book Shogun with us all sitting around the tables on the balcony of Casa Arriba by bomba light.  Very exciting and missed times.  Dodging the banana bats and plotting which bananas off of the stalk you were going to eat for breakfast tomorrow were other highlights of nightly activities.
 
Names I am bad with, but characters seem to stick with me.  One of my first friends in Yelapa was Santiago, we went fishing together many times and I think everyone probably knew Santiago at one time or another.  Rita Tillet of course, although we were never close.  Benny Shapiro and his family.  Enrique, Byron and Bets, Simon (the artist and beachcomber, always wore white) The two gay guys that lived up the river just a bit and right next to it, can't remember their names, but very nice folks.  Juan Cruz, Don Arturo Cruz and others from their family.  People in Vallarta I was close to were Leon Rosales, a bald headed guy named Al...  Silver, Joy (Alegria), Carlos Anderson (when he was in town), Chico Perez, Pepe Gutierrez from Tepic, Guillermo Wolfe and his sons, Memo, etc. Miguelon of the JPF and many others.  Pancho from Obrien's, the guys from Capriccio and City Dump, etc. Octavio the Police Chief (my wife trained his horses) and many others.
 
There was a dog in Yelapa named Rufus.  Rufus was a pitt bull and the story was that Rufus had become abandoned when his people got arrested in one of the Federali sweeps that used to happen about every 2 years.  They used to come to Yelapa and check everyone's papers that they could find.  Rufus got left behind and became the baddest dog in the valley and everyone had stories about him.  All the other dogs were afraid of Rufus and frankly, not a lot of Mexican dogs had personalities like the American dogs.  When my dog came to town. things changed... Rufus became King of The Beach, and Puppy (yes, that was his name... he was a Basenji) became King of The Mountain.  There were 3 inevitable confrontations over the next 2 years, in their first battle, Puppy was hurt and it took him a while to get better.  The 2nd battle was a few months later, Rufus was hurt and kind of disappeared for a while, but he got better and returned to strutting his stuff on the beach.  No one ever seemed to know where Rufus spent his nights, he would come and go at various peoples houses but never seemed to get "attached" to any other humans.  In time, the 3rd and final battle occurred and Puppy (sadly) killed Rufus in the fracas (I think he was getting older).  Puppy became the stuff of legend for a while and this was in addition to the fame that had become Puppy's due to his swimming ability and the Captain of the Paladin telling people about his swimming.  If I would catch a ride into Vallarta for the night on the Paladin, Puppy would chase the boat 2 or 3 miles out to sea before he would turn around and go back to shore.  The Captain would be asking me if I wanted him to stop and pick up the dog, This of course would drive me crazy, but there wasn't much I could do about it as you can't really keep a dog in a house with no walls.
 
I was called "Ballena" by the people of Yelapa because I did something regularly the people were not used to seeing.  In the mornings I would come down the mountain from Casa Arriba and go down to the beach.  I would them proceed to swim straight out to sea for 2 or 3 miles and would be gone for quite a while before people would notice me coming back to shore.  I grew up as a surfer in both Hawaii and California and in my younger days had spend a few months surfing up and down the coast of Mexico which is how I discovered Vallarta and Yelapa in the first place.  My swimming strokes where very long and strong and I would blow water and breath up and out of my mouth on every other stroke and it would spray up in the air quite a ways.  Hence, people started saying "la ballena viene" when I would be coming back to the beach.  It stuck.  There are many people around Latin America who call me "La Ballena" to this day."
 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Another example...


Another example of lack of communication took place with Helscheins. After several tries from her family to reach Susi with telegrams, etc. an agent from DHL showed up in his sweaty brown uniform ringing the house bells. He was sent to deliver a telegram and had taken one of the tourist boats at the time from PV (before taxi pongas) which unloaded at the main beach. He walked all the way to the Point, sweating profusely in the heat to the house and proudly delivered his telegram. Completing his job, he returned to the beach and the boat to PV.

So, you see how isolated we were and how transformed life in the digital age has become for places like Yelapa.

Smoke Signals


I was thinking about how easy it is now to be in contact with anyone in Yelapa.  Nearly everyone has access to a phone or internet and news can really travel. Those of you that never lived here before electricity and digital times, have no idea how hard it was to send or get messages from home. Telegrams would arrive, sometimes, in PV...but, we never received them here in Yelapa. They would stack up in PV and you would simply be out of luck. Plus, you had to travel to town and find a phone. Not easy. Usually we went to one of the hotels and paid them to make a call for us. You could not do this yourself at a hotel...they had to dial and place the calls for you.

Here is what happened to me in the late 70's. A friend I had met in Half Moon Bay showed up in Yelapa. He wanted me to go to the states to look at a boat he was interested in buying for fishing. We flew up to CA to check it out and while there, I decided to contact my family back in the Midwest. I couldn't get through to anyone in my family. Finally, out of despiration and knowing they should be home, I got in touch with my x and asked him to contact a cousin and see if he knew where everyone was. It turned out that my younger sister's husband had a relapse of cancer and had been in the hospital for over a month! I had no idea. I finally tracked them down in Ohio.  He passed away without me knowing a thing. They were traumatized and said they had been sending me telegram after telegram. Of course, I knew none of this in Yelapa. I tried to fly home immediately from SFO, but United was on strike and it was the only airline that flew to Nebaska then. I had to wait another week to get home.  I brought my sister to Yelapa for a month right away. I knew she would heal better here than anywhere. We were walking on the trail one day and Silent Jim approached. My sister's mouth fell open...and she just stared at him. He looked a lot like her young husband that died.

She had been crying a lot and her eyes were generally puffy and red. We ran into Conrad and Sara's boy Nilo who was about 4-5 then on the trail. He stopped her in the path and said: "You look like a clown". My sis and I looked at each other and then back to him and burst into laughter. It was the turning point of her healing.

Since then, my family still does not trust that I will get messages and I try to call them often so they feel more secure.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Days are drifting by!

I can't add to the blog without your input and wonderful stories and photos....!

Please send! If you don't have a scanner, consider sending them to me. I will do it and send them back to you. That goes for any of you out there reading this blog. 

I'll be back in Mexico end of November...you can tell me your anecdotes live if you just can't write them down. I'll do the best I can to tell your story. 

Email me and I'll send you my address for shipping photos.


Donovan video

Promises, promises...from Yelapans for great stories of the past...where are they??? Please people send me these anecdotes before they are forgotten. 

Thanks for video link goes to Tally Shapiro.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Early Days from Lawry Sager

I have lots of slides from the late '60s there but didn't go out of my way to photograph many of the people at the time; Tom Newman, Lea from the Smother's Bros. TV show  (there weren't many people there!). .and NO houses upriver. I didn't recognize many of the folks pictured altho' I used to see Lisa Law around Truchas, NM. And one of the last pictures of the series shows the late Kenny Hilton who passed away down there around 1980 if memory serves...drank peppermint schnapps to excess! If I can scan some pics I'll send 'em along. Wish I could recall the woman's name that used to serve dinner for only 3 or 4 of us a night...she'd worked in Wash D.C. and come back to her childhood home in Yelapa. The generator was only fired up on Saturday evening...helados and cold beer. An old gentleman used to dry coffee beans on the ground, turning them with an oar, in front of the tiendita on the plaza. Was Pedro, a Cubano, still keeping the village in smoke in the '70s?



Yes, I do remember. The lady in question (who insisted we speak Spanish regardless of how pitiful, and, of course, helped us with it) served her evening meals in a small front room that opened onto the plaza almost directly across from the Cruz store. There was no menu; she just told us what she was serving and took "reservations" early in the day. As I recall there were only one or two tables. I'll drag out the slides and see what I have of "downtown".


If anyone has any input on these questions please write. Juan Cruz used to dry the coffee beans in their plaza, and Peggy Muendel was the designer...but I don't know who the cook could be....faye

Friday, March 23, 2012

Glen Blakesley 10/1/46 - 3/21/12

I could not express my feelings any better than Allen did...so, I'm posting his partial comment from Yelapa Friends on FB.


It is with great sadness that our friend Blakesley passed away last Wednesday 3/21/12. Peggy Bassett was with him holding his hand as he took his last breath. She said he had been agitated this afternoon and kept telling the nurses he had to go. And he did. On the Spring Equinox. He was at peace at his time of death. So, good bye dear friend. I am thankful for our thirty years of friendship, and I am so glad you are not suffering any longer. Rest in Peace Blakesley, and God bless your wonderful spirit, now in transition. You will be greatly missed by all of your Yelapa Family. Namaste....................AAAAh! Dios mi buen amigo. Let us all light a candle in his honor to guide his way back to spirit. .....allen helschein

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Time in Old Yelapa by Jerry Bernhaut

                                             
I spent five months in Yelapa in 1968, having come straight from two months in the Haight-Ashbury, where I put the finishing touches on my initial two years of psychedelic experience. I joined two friends who were already settled in a Palapa. I came to the Haight from Chicago, where I had dropped out of a PHD program in philosophy and where I had been teaching at a community college. This was the begining of my drop-out odyssey.

Yelapa in 1968 was a small rural Mexican village with only dirt paths and no electricity, which happened to be located in one of the most beautiful, easy to live in places on earth. An inlet in the large Bay of Banderas with a beautiful beach and minimal commercial development. As best I can recall, there were a few palapas for tourist rental at one end of the beach and two small restaurants serving basic Mexican food. There was hardly any boat traffic. Two small boats would bring day tourists from Vallarta, who would walk into the pueblo or take a tour to the waterfall uphill from the pueblo, guided by a local child. There were occasional small private pleasure boats, but the inlet was free of any ongoing boat presence. The water was clear and ideal for swimming. The formation of the inlet cut the currents so that it was like a salt water lake. I  would do yoga on the beach and go for a long swim every day with no concern about an undertow.    

Going up river from the beach I recall only some local homes and small plantations. I remember walking up river watching iguanas sunning on the rocks. There was only one path which ran uphill from the beach into the pueblo where simple dwellings were clustered along the coast and a short distance uphill  for about half a mile.  The center of the pueblo consisted of one store, a canteena and a small dock. There were a few local homes where people did some cooking or baking, made tortillas for sale. There were some basic palapas for rent to tourists scattered through the pueblo. 

Walking on a path in Yelapa you were likely to encounter one of the village’s large sows trundling towards you, who would move off the path if you said “hutch” with authority. The paths were liberally strewn with animal droppings which the pigs consumed. You were also likely to pass chickens, horses, mules and donkeys. The children seemed especially fond of the donkeys. Whenever you passed someone, it was customary to greet them-“buenos dias señor”, “buenos tardes señora”. The pace of life was essentially aligned with the natural environment, not much sense of external pressure. There was no electricity and you seldom heard engine noise. People lived with kerosene lanterns and cooked on simple propane stoves or over open fires. Most nights it was quiet except for nature sounds. If there wasn’t much moon light, it was dark. I recall feeling enveloped in the pulsing rhythms of the insect life, which were more intense back then.

By 1968 the natural beauty, simple life style and affordability of Yelapa had begun to draw a small but steady stream of people from the psychedelic subculture who would stay for varying lengths of time. I came with three hundred dollars and stayed five months. I rented a basic but beautiful palapa, with a flush toilet and running cold water for twelve dollars a month. I ate simply, a lot of fresh fish from a local fisherman with whom I developed a friendship, Santos Hoya. Santos had a dugout canoe, cut out of a substantial tree trunk. He let me and my friend Ken, who was an avid fisherman, take the canoe out in the bay. Ken and Santos would fish together, Ken with his modern gear and Santos with heavy line wrapped around bleach bottles, the hooks baited with life forms Santos pried off the rocks with a crow bar. When he got a bite, he hauled in good sized fish hand over hand, no rod, no reel, no gloves.

At that point in time Yelapa was an extraordinary intersection of  modern and  pre industrial life. One image that remains in my mind is the women of the pueblo listening to transistor radios while washing laundry by beating it on the rocks in the creek. They did my laundry. It was the cleanest, freshest smelling laundry I ever had. For people like myself going through deep transformations of consciousness, it was a special gift to be able to experience this basic way of life in such a beautiful environment. 

The fact that I could live there so cheaply was, of course, a function of an unjust inequality between the U.S. and Mexico, a dominant - subservient exploitive relationship. At the time that $300 was my total assets, but that was by choice. Back then I was more focused on my own personal evolution than on the underlying social injustice. I think to some extent I also rationalized that despite the poverty of most Yelapans, they were in many ways living  more wholesome tranquil lives than people in developed economies. Looking back I didn’t know enough about their lives to make that judgment. I was mostly absorbed in my own trip and the counterculture I was a part of.

I don’t think most Yelapans related internally to the changes in consciousness we hippies were going through, but I believe a few did, my friend Santos being one. We communicated in Spanish, mine being very limited, so that much of our communication was intuitive, non-verbal.   One day he walked into my palapa after I had dropped a tab of LSD. He took one look at me and said “you look different today”. I said “how so”. He said “there is more energy around your body”. He said this matter of factly like it was an everyday type of observation for him. I explained why there was this energetic difference and he accepted that explanation and said that drugs were OK for the Gringos but they made the Mexicans crazy. I’ve never met anyone else in my travels in the counter culture, the Buddhist meditation community, with that level of sensitivity, completely natural, not cultivated by any practice or enhanced by any substance. He had natural gifts that drew him to people like me. Yet he was also very much a man of his culture and like most Mexican men he was attracted to the Gringitas and the sense of sexual freedom in the counter culture. There was a particular young woman he expressed interest in and I asked him how he would feel if his wife, who had borne him 9 children, stepped outside their marriage. He looked at me directly with his big brown eyes and said “she would no longer be allowed in my house”. He understood completely the sense of double standard I was raising and he conveyed to me that was the way it was for his culture. We could have that kind of exchange heart to heart, without judgment. I don’t say that as in any way a justification of the double standard, just as an appreciation of the kind of communication we had and the complexity of his personality. 

At that time there was not much interaction I was aware of between the hippies passing through Yelapa and the deep indigenous spirituality of the Huichols. I don’t remember any of their artwork in Yelapa back then. Somewhat later, Gringos who settled in Yelapa, like Isabel, developed a strong connection with them. As I was leaving Mexico after my five-months in Yelapa , I encountered a Huichol man as I was coming out of the Institute des Indios in Tepic, where I had purchased some Huichol art work. We had a brief conversation about the objects I had purchased. After we parted I felt deeply moved, on the verge of tears, just from that brief interaction. I was as sensitive and open right then as I’ve ever been. There was no way I could maintain that state and function in the world I was returning to.   

I returned for brief stays in Yelapa, once in the seventies and once in the eighties. After that second visit I felt that Yelapa had changed in ways that I could no longer relate to, still being so attached to that initial experience. Recently I ran into Cate Sims, an old friend from the Sonoma Valley, who told me she lived in Yelapa part of the year. I thought maybe a further transformation had occurred that might have turned Yelapa into a place I could enjoy again, now that so much time had passed and I could let go of any expectation that it would feel like the old days. That turned out to be the case. The proprietors of Casa Isabel, where I stayed, have created a beautiful environment that preserves the connection with the land, with a few amenities to be sure. The big beach where I swam every day for five months has succumbed to commercial development. I spent no time there on this visit, but I swam off Casa Isabel beach and in Pesota, and hiked up river.  Fernando, who took a small group of us to the Mariettas for snorkeling, told us that there is pressure from some in the jurisdiction that governs development decisions, especially from those who live further inland, to really open Yelapa to Vallarta type development, but that so far the residents of Yelapa have successfully resisted.  That would be the loss of what remains of a very special place, if Yelapa went the way of Vallarta. That’s for the locals to decide. From my perspective as an environmental attorney, the most likely scenario is that by 2050, if not sooner, as a result of climate change and sea level rise, the low lying areas of Yelapa, including the big beach, parts of Casa Isabel and other houses near the water, will be under water. I doubt that the developers are planning for that. In the meantime, I plan to spend more time in the current Yelapa.

     

Friday, December 30, 2011

What, Another Year?

Time apparently is not waiting for me to get off my duff. Getting ready to head back to Yelapa and I have no stories completed. Lots of promises from you out there, but, no one has actually sent one. Come on! Share some tales with me this year for the blog.

Thanks to Kathryn Hill for sending some photos which I just posted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Primo Garcia Dies Suddenly



We just lost one of my very favorite people in all of Yelapa. Primo Garcia died suddenly yesterday. I don't know what I am going to do without his warm daily greeting. Hug your friends...Kathryn Hill

We said Adios to Primo...The Capitan, Gregorio called him, from the times Primo steered the Cargo boat and all those hippies and veterens would hop on the bags of rice and beans and make the 3 hour trip to Yelapa. One time the storm was so bad coming back, Gregorio said it was amazing how Primo saved their lives, using the anchor to keep them away from the rocks. . I will cherish our last visit which i remember well...sitting on the wall....bye for now Primo...Kelley Chesley

One by one, Yelapa's old guard is leaving us. With their departure we are losing a
way of life (like saying, "hola amigo" on the trail to everyone) that is the essence
of why all of us were attracted to it in the first place. We have to keep those
smiles going...and be reminded of the pure place they came from...Nina Grand

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why Pichon, I asked Reyna?

He was called Pichon - we were los Pichones. It's cuz we were instructed by my father to stick close so we were following like a dove with babies. Or duck.
We were also inseparable as kids and they'd say we were like pigeons  - whatever that means - they were synonymous with doves but it's still a strange thing. 

We'd celebrate our birthdays together even though his was in June and while very young I remember a cake with doves on it all over - how strange because my father would not allow us to have any - it was for the guests - all adults there.

Oh, well - now I love dark chocolate and can have as much as I like - (same rules applied to chocolate - only 1/2 of one Carlos IV to share with my bro. I guess it could have been worse and I'd have no teeth now - dentures or something. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reyna's Childhood Memories

Today is a laundry day and of course ironing as well as the part of work that I’ve brought home that still needs to be finished. 
As I’m changing laundry from washer to dryer I have bits of memory that take me so far away – Yelapa way.

Yelapa things:
Toilet – early toilets were a Nido can with a plastic bag in it – beside it was sand, ash and dirt.  A scoop of each for #2 was the habit.
There was another can if you were going to do #1 – it was thrown over the edge. (If you’re wondering of toilet paper, you picked your green leaves before you did your business – no Charmin here – if #1 you drip dry)  I have no idea what women with their periods did – Honestly – I’m thinking they were at the waterfall all 5 days – I would have not survived.
It was perfectly normal to see someone peeing on the side of the road – mostly men.  Women would be found only if a bush was moving along the side of the road.

Laundry – you’d take a bundle up river and set yourself up near rocks – one good flat one and a stick of soap – yes a stick, long like a stick of butter.
Wet clothes, rub with stick of soap and rub clothes against stone then rinse – twist to remove water and throw over a clean rock 
One could only do this in the AM so that in the afternoon one could swing by and pick up the dry clothes.
Or you could have the help take care of it all for you. ( I liked how Basi did our clothes)  These were great locations to find out what was going on in town.

Table and chairs – my father had taken a square piece of wood – put two hinges on one side of it and attached it to the two posts that held up the house – a stick that sat in the corner was used to hold it up when it was in use – the rest of the time it remained put away – flat down against the wall. Chairs were Nido cans, the large ones – sometimes with a pillow on them but mostly not.  

Fruit and Veggies – You’d only get what you’d eat today or tomorrow – everything was ripe and ready to eat.  Bananas were bought in raisimos which were how they grew.  You’d have to wrap a gunny sack around it at night so that fruit bats would not get to them.  I do not remember ever buying; coconuts, guayavas, guanavanos, mangos, coyules or many others that were in the local trees – you’d climb the tree and get them.  Cuastecomates would fall from trees and break open with the black insides – they smelled so nice.  My father had the people who lived near the tree make a drink with it that had chocolate and raicilla in it – very good stuff.

Milk – you could get it fresh from town but most just got Nido milk – powdered milk that was not bad if it’s what you grew up on – cow’s milk would be fresh and if boiled would create a thin layer on top that was good with frijoles.

Gas to cook on – Well, back in the day you’d order it from PV, the panga would bring it in and you’d have to have someone bring the large long tank to your house and hook it up.  Our first one was interesting because we had to rearrange the kitchen a bit to attach the tank.  We used to gather wood to cook until they started bringing the tanks into town.

Refrigerator – There were not any for a long time – we got the first one that was gas – I have no idea how my father found it but it arrived and we had one – small like a crate.  It was hooked to the gas tank that the stove was hooked to and it worked great.  Basi, our help, loved it. 

Drinking water - when we first arrived there was a water hole, up near the waterfall.  That one once got contaminated and made everyone sick – they moved it somewhere else.  You’d have to go with your bucket and gourd.  You’d carry it back to your house on your head. The first couple times my brother and I went we came home with 1/2 buckets each. We learned quickly how to do it properly.  My father would boil it and put some stuff in it – cant remember what, and we’d put it in a cantaro with a drinking cup on top of it.  The water tasted so fresh and cool.

Showers/baths – You took care of washing up at the river or the waterfall – the river that comes through town from the waterfall was good too – it used to be the in town clothes washing spot back in the day before they put the bridge in. (we’d used to have to walk over the rocks and when the river was high and it could not be crossed, we’d move goods from one end of town to the other through a rope attached to a house on each end of the river.  Baskets of goods would be transferred back and forth.
After we got tanks that would get filled with water through pipes that came from above the waterfall, we’d all have bathrooms built that could have real toilets, septic tanks were built and my father had a bucket that had a handle that you’d pull and it would rain on you – that was a fun shower.  Mostly there was a large tin container billed with water with a gourd in it and the maid, Basi, would wash us with cold water – it was not cold like Oregon cold, it was Yelapa cold. (not cold at all)
There were no baths.  OK, maybe Rita had a bath.  Everyone else had showers.

Fresh meat – well, once a month there was a man who owned cattle and he’d kill a cow and sell the meat – we’d all go watch the event, early in the AM. Chickens were easy, you’d just talk to anyone who sold eggs and ask when they’d have chicken to sell.  Pork was the same way – anyone that sold chicharron would have pork – we did not eat that so much. Our main meals were of fish and chicken.  Mostly beans, veggies, fish and bread. Back in the day, there were only three stores in town – one cantina in town and the boat club in town.  A couple of restaurants – the cantina and Steve and his wife’s – that is in town – on the beach were all the restaurants but most of the town if you were going to go eat, it would be in town and not at the beach.  If you ate at the beach it was after the tourist left because you’d eat with all the cooks and cooking staff – that was the best of all.

Clothes – well, it’s strange you think that someone would come to town with a very large bundle that they’d open up and you’d buy your clothes from them -  or you’d go to PV and the main mercado for stuff.  I liked the “Tambache man” he had everything  including bras and under wear.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

1 A/B  In this picture my father had taken us to PV for what he called a day to be civilized – whatever he meant, no one really could understand – these two combined are the before (when we arrived in PV) and after (the civilized look) as you can see, we don’t even look like the same kids – It’s so funny to think that he thought we were not civilized the way we were.

2 A/B  In this pic it was Pichon and Reyna at the campo santo and the other was taken as we played in our front yard – It was our playground.

3 A/B  In the last picture we’re at the beach and my father was taking the picture – my brother and I were always together – notice the bathing suite, it’s the one that Rita designed for me and named after me. Honestly, it’s not a new look but I loved that suit – I only had one other that I had gotten in PV I only wore it for about a year before I got this one – I’d started to develop and it was not acceptable for me not to wear a top so it had to match – whatever :)  Those were my father's ideas.  ..........Reyna S.

Background on Rick the Stick

My father came from a well to do family from Germany – history said that they made clothes for the Czar of Russia back in the Day.

Anyway, I digress – they became import-exporters and when my grandfather came here (Flushing, NY) to settle he expanded the business.  He returned to Germany for a wife and in 1916 my father was born. 

Marion, his mother died 3 days after giving birth to him.  Willy, his father got care for him and when he was old enough my father traveled with him all over the world – his primary language – German.  When he was of age for school, he’d be sent off to Military schools and schools in Germany, 

in vacations he’d travel with his father.  When the market crashed Willy lost much of his business and hung himself. My father joined the military with much protest of the family back in Germany – some disowned him as a family member for that but he had his own ideas.

He’d gone to school to be an architect but I guess he felt he would do the service for a bit – which turned out to be the rest of his life. While traveling in the military he had a nak for languages – he learned many including Chinese – who’d a thought ha?

Anyway, the German thing was a familial tie, I think.  I recently found his cousin’s son in Valparaiso Chile – he could not believe it was me – I guess there used to be much talk of my father and how he’d been disowned by the family.  Many have died back in Germany and the inheritance went to those in Chile – good for them – I hope they needed it.  Money is not everything, it’s only a small part of our experience here.
Anyway – that’s the story.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More.....from Reyna

1. First one is of my brother and I at Karen’s (Karina) house – we’d gone to visit and see how the new addition was going – sand had been piled up to continue the construction – while adults discussed things we were instructed to go look at the beautiful view of the bay.

2. OK, this is a strange photo because my mother had sent a large box which included that doll that my father named Peanuts – I don’t know why – we did not grow up with dolls and we did not know what to do with it – so we dragged it around to see what we’d do with it.  In the pic is my brother, Pichon, my father Rick the Stick and me, Reyna.

3. In this pic is my father, Rick the Stick, and, I think his name was, Bob Lewis.  I don’t remember.  I'm sure that my father was having a cup of coffee and his friend was having a beer because there are no pics of him drunk or drinking – must have been his vanity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From a Child's Point of View

Please, dear Yelapa friends, go fetch yourself a beer or a shot of tequila and sit yourself down for a most endearing read. This was sent to me by Reyna Schlichter who is the daughter of Rick the Stick, William H. Schlichter. Her remembrances of Yelapa as a child touched my heart and will yours, too.




Here are some things that many don’t know and are not aware of.
My father, Rick the stick, retired from the Army in 1959 and truly dropped out. He was very interested in moving somewhere quiet. You see, after WWII and Korean War and years of military school, I guess he’d had enough. He spoke many languages and he could be very quiet. He met my mother in Puerto Vallarta in 1960, I was born in 62, my brother in 63 and my mother was only 19 when she got pregnant. My father was much older, about 55 or so.

My mother had the idea that she’d married an American and that she’d be on her way to the States in no time.  She also expected to have blue eyed, blond hair babies, clearly not what the plan was at all. When my mother realized that that she was not going to the US, she left us with my father, I was 3 and my brother was 2. When my father realized he’d be raising us alone, he moved to Yelapa. That would be 1965. I remember when we arrived, we’d have to gather wood at the beach for my father to cook each meal – it was an adventure. As we grew and more people arrived we had more friends.

My father did not allow us to play with the children in town much, I don’t know why. We were  only allowed to play with the children of his friends – The Glumas kids were my first friends. They had a restaurant right near Avenida Fuchi at the bottom of the hill on the left. A small creek ran by their restaurant and house.  The Elies kids were older and Daria was in school somewhere else so we never really saw her – Jeff was always fishing or making something. I spent a lot of time with Gloria – she’d let me look at her National Geographic's at her studio – she had a wall full of them. It was heaven and I saw many things that I never knew existed.

We went to the local school only when teachers would come to town and the rest of the time my father would hire the summer visitors to provide us with art, language and history lessons. It was a well rounded education. We learned in French, German and sometimes they tried us in English – we did not do so well in that language. We mostly spoke Spanish around town, French and German only with my father – my brother did not speak much – I was bashful to speak French around Daria and Jeff, they spoke it so much better and much faster.

My father would take us for outings up to one end of the point past Karen’s house – she was an artist that had the last house at one end of the bay – he’d also take us up the river for hikes.  They were magical walks because he’d teach us about the plants, the animals and during the different seasons he’d explain how things worked in nature.  We would get the same teachings about the ocean.  We’d stay up a night just long enough to see the phosphorus in the ocean and see the fish that glowed in the dark come through in particular seasons.  Once he hired someone to take us out in a canoe past the shit rock so we could see the whale migration up close. 

When whales were ill and they’d come into the bay he’d find a teaching opportunity to go down and touch them, see what animals were attached to the whales and why they were in our bay – he’d explain that they were tired of living and that something must have happened to them so they were here to rest or to die.  If one died, it was our responsibility to help them not be messy about their death – they’d be burned on the beach.  What a mess that turned out to be, but I guess it was less stinky than keeping them in the water.

The first time I saw a manta ray come into the bay it scared me – it looked like a black school of fish in very strict formation. I got to see one up close once, and they were large.  From where we lived, it was a great vantage point because one could see everything even the spotted ray that came through one day.  During a particular season there were schools of sardines that would come through the bay and that was fun, because you got to see them shimmer in the water or you could get into the water and feel them swimming past you and between your legs, that was a very interesting experience.  There was also jelly fish season, there were all kinds, round ones, blobs and some that were just clear others with black dots on them and tentacles. There were some that stung, some could kill you and others that were harmless – to this day I can not get them straight – best advise I ever got - “stay away from all of them”

There were particular people I remember the most – Peggy – the 20 dog woman.  I used to think she had everything at her house, but most of all when we’d go to her house for dinner, we’d always stay the night.  We’d sleep in the tapanco or in either the sewing room or the mask room. I loved the sewing room – She only wore huipiles – and native jewelry – I loved that about her.  I remember that one day she called my father over because one of her dogs had a big gash and the gash had worms in it – maggots.  My father took care of what ever it was that she was afraid of and the dog was fine.  He was not a vet but he knew a thing or two about curing things I guess.  My favorite memory of staying at Peggy’s house was when I’d stay in the sewing room and she’d come in and open the window for me – she’d say that the moon would cover me in calm rays and that the frogs in the river would put me to sleep. She was very kind.

Ruby near the lake was also someone I remember, she loved to laugh and have us over for dinner.  Her house was the best – I loved the garden she had and how she had huts for her guests.  She had a lemongrass plant that I loved to smell as a child.  She was also a great cook.  I remember when she was ill prior to dying.  She’d come home from the hospital many helped her to be comfortable in her last days.  Daria and I took turns taking care of her so that others who cared for her could rest.  It was the least we could do for someone who through the years gave us such joy.  

Then there was my father's favorite hang out buddy, Gloria.  Gloria was like the mother I never had, she was always teaching me something.  I remember sitting under a stump she used to chip away at a block of wood she was sculpting into something.  The chips would fall on me while she talked to me in 1/2 Spanish and French as I paged through the newest National Geographic she’d received.  I made sure I did not wrinkle the pages because she’d let me see it before she was done reading the articles.  She’d sit and read out loud to me in English but I did not understand a word.  She’d look at me and let out a laughter that brought out nothing but joy to your heart – she’d rub my head and pull me to her bosom, I just love her.

Then there was Rita, she had the large artifact store with her designs and native clothes.  It was the only tourist shop in town and her children were a bit too good for the rest of us. I did work there for a bit, to practice my language skills but my joy was looking and learning about the statues and artifacts she had, you  see, I’m an archeology and anthropology buff even to this day.  Rita made batik material that she transformed into beautiful bathing suits, she named one after me – the Reyna – it had a front skirt like on the bottoms and a twisted sort of top – it was cute.  I remember that I’d watch her when she’d color her hair, I always wondered why she’d do that to herself.  She had a couple cats that my brother would sell her fish for, we’d both fish right in front of her house.

The Shapiro’s were another family in town that I thought were the life of all and every party they had.  I never knew this until after I’d been here for many years but my father's mother was Jewish and he never knew her, she died giving birth to him.  They’d invite us to all the parties they had and we always had a ball – I learned to eat all kinds of different things at their house and the most memorable was the pillow they had that was a “dick”, when you unzipped the zipper on the shaft, it also had a vagina.  It was the strangest thing I’d ever seen but it was a pillow.  They had the first waterbed in town – wow! Was that fun!!!  Their house had a hanging bed that looked out to the river and bean bags that we’d never seen before.  It was fun there. I did play with Tali but she was very reserved and maybe older than I, not sure really why we did not click.  I remember her brothers and sisters, they had a large family and knew how to have fun.

As anyone in Yelapa knows, people seem to travel through the place.  I met two young guys who’d come for a bit and then I never saw them again – Tony and Giles.  I don’t remember their last names but they lived up the river a ways – their house had a waterfall in the back that practically ran through the house. The grass in their front area was tall, we’d play Marco Polo there and it was lots of fun.  There was a large rock in the middle and if you climbed to the top of it you could see the grass move where people were walking through – it was heaven there.

We once had an American teacher who came with her son to town.  She tried very hard to teach us English, I don’t think we did very well at all.  Her son, Todd, was always bothered by some thing or another –another words (sic) -  a cry baby.

In the evenings my father would play his classical music, listen to the radio news form the BBC and at times read to us in French or in German, only once in English, he had to translate a lot for us.  Some seasons brought bugs that would eat his books, some seasons brought bats that would eat the banana raisimos that we had to cover in pillow cases, others brought ejejenes and well, there was always the beauty of the bay and the Macaws that flew around, the Iguanas that had their mating season and of course there was always the boa constrictor that lived above in the tree near our house – it would drop out of nowhere to get an iguana or some rodent on the ground. During army ant season my brother and I would fight bugs, yes – you hear right – we’d get red ants and fight them with black ones.  There was always the random question if a cuichi could get away if a large crab grabbed it real quick... It was a child's mind at work in the simple times.

Who could forget the tourist that would wait all day for the boat that my father would tell them would come and pick them up if they waited – at the bottom of the hill in front of Rita’s place – you see they did not want to climb the hill and they wanted another way to get over it.  He’d laugh and say how these stupid Americans will believe anything.  We’d know when the Princes Cruise was in PV because the tourist would come with their white box lunches and litter the beach – my father always said one day they’d be turning with their trash in tow if he was in charge.  He never really wanted to be in charge of anything, I think he’d had enough of being in charge after so many years in the Army  - who would not understand.

Ah, the magical days of being at the beach in the morning for a little snorkeling, then a swim around the hotel side of the beach and then lay on the beach for a bit to finish the day around noon to go home, have lunch, a nap for 2 hours then go for a walk to visit friends or do a little grocery shopping.

Some may remember my father as the alcoholic that binged once a year – yes, it’s true – he was a drunk – he’d drink for one to two months out of the year and then be all well and functioning for the rest of the time – people in town would care for us – once we were staying with Don Rogelio’s family for a bit.  Another time, a woman in town took us and of course when our caregiver Basi was in town she’d do it.  People were incredibly kind and if I could remember everyone who took care of us, I’d say a large “Thank You” because I never really knew them well and too much time has gone by to remember their faces but they know who they are.

Faye – that’s all I have for now – there’s much more but that’s for my book. Thanks, Reyna