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

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.


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."