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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

More Magic

I left out one magical Yelapa moment. While staying with Ratza and Gregg that summer, I was walking down the beach one morning. Suddenly,  I heard voices calling my name. I heard Carolyn? Is that Carolyn? I turned to these voices and saw three dear old friends I've known since high school, Nicolai Larsen and his wife Marion Hunzicker-Larsen along with our pal, Jim Sims. Marion’s French-Swiss mother was also along. They were staying at the hotel on the beach in Yelapa. I believe it was their first time visiting Yelapa. 

We all jumped for joy, hugged one another and exclaimed, What a small world!
I invited them to join me for dinner at Ratza's that night. I was prepared to shop and cook the meal. But, Ratza took over to my delight. Ratza was, after all, a generous, charming, fascinating hostess and a delightful cook. 

Nicolai, Marion, their two sons, and Marion’s 91 year-old mother continue too visit Yelapa annually. It has remained an important part of their family’s traditions and history.  Marion’s brother died of a heart attack right there in Yelapa about ten years ago.
Nicolai and Marion are both artists. He has painted several Yelapa landscapes. Marion is a jewelry designer and maker.
Yelapa inspires us all............Carolyn Singleton

Fantasy or Realty?

It is a normal day here in Northern California. I’ve been fooling around with my iPad. Just for the Hell of it, I Googled,  Ratza’s palapa in Yelapa.
Then I saw her picture!

Last time I was in Yelapa was to help Gregg, (Ratza’s son & my then boyfriend) help Pamela put a new roof on her palapa. That was in 1977 or ‘78.
I have pictures from that trip.  I imagine that Ratza has passed but, considering what a remarkable woman she had been, I hope I’m wrong.

Prior to my visiting her in Yelapa,  Ratza had lived with me and Gregg in our small but beautiful loft on Panoramic Way in Berkeley.
That was an extraordinary and highly valued time in my life. I was 23-24 years old. I grew to love Ratza during her long stay with us. Every night she built a fire and drank rich dark coffee, read books, smoked cigarettes, regaled us with her life’s adventures, and taught Gregg and me to be considerate and kind to one another.
I remember nights we all three sat together on our little  Panoramic  balcony talking, laughing, smoking, gazing down at the city lights below and up at the stars in the night sky.

I was a 23 to Gregg’s 29 years. We had found each other through our shared work for the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley. Within our first year together, my sister, Debbie met Gregg’s best friend, Andy. Debbie and Andy were later married, moved to Alaska, built a home and had two girls. After a year or so of togetherness, Ratza moved back to her expat community and palapa in Yelapa. Next, Pamela wrote asking  us to come down to help put a roof on her new palapa.  Gregg went down first. I followed a few weeks later as I had commitments which held me back for a month. We stayed down in Yelapa for nearly a summer living in Ratza’s home, meeting her Yelapa friends. Eventually I had to return to my job in Berkeley while Gregg stayed behind in Yelapa. Shortly after that, everything fell apart.

I wrote to Gregg and sent him his tax return immediately after I arrived back in Berkeley...I waited in silence. First I was worried sick. I didn’t hear a word from Gregg for a couple of months. Eventually, I became angry as time passed.  Finally, I sent him a telegram asking his plans. It read, “Do what you want or need but make a decision and let me know immediately.” As it turned out, my letter and Gregg’s money had been lost inside the Yelapa post office. That’s the story I as told.

While I had still been in Yelapa, I had some body work done by two American women who lived and practiced there. I opened up to them and spoke of my fears and doubts regarding my relationship with Gregg. In the meantime, Gregg waited to hear from me and for his income tax check to arrive in Yelapa so he could buy airfare home to Berkeley. Gregg was in distress and the two women who had performed my Yelapa massage treatment felt it necessary to warn Gregg of my “doubts” informing him that I “was thinking of leaving him.” They based this devastating assumption on my doubts and fears I had shared with them during my bodywork session. So, Ratza and co. in Yelapa thought I had left Gregg. While back in Berkeley, my friends and I worried that, based on his total silence after I left Yelapa, Gregg had decided not to return to me in Berkeley.

Finally, one morning I got a letter! But, it wasn’t from Gregg. Rather, Pamela had written to me. In her letter, Pamela said how nice it had been to meet me and so on and so on...then she lowered the boom...Gregg had an affair after I left him behind in Yelapa...

Another month had passed by when Gregg finally returned to our home in Berkeley. I met him at the door. I was actually getting ready to go out on a date with a new man I had just met. Gregg looked so gorgeous from all the sun and healthy living in Yelapa plus he immediately spoke about RE-dedicating himself to our relationship...but, I was done at that point. I informed him that I was leaving and did so in fairly short order.

Not long after I moved out, Gregg got more into drugs. I saw him a few more times until we finally went our separate ways. I imagine Gregg may no longer be living, but I’d be happy to learn he survived his ordeal.  I never got the chance to see or speak with Ratza or Pamela again.

I’ve always wondered...was it all just a fantasy or my imagination? Was life really that wonderful and magical at one point in the mid to late 1970’s?
If you, the reader, remember any or all of this story I’ve told, I would LOVE to hear from you. In spite of the sad ending, ours was a love story ... mine and Gregg’s and Ratza’s. Not to mention beautiful Yelapa………Carolyn Singleton

Monday, December 3, 2018

Farewell Byron Menendez 1923-2018 RIP

Byron Menendez (1923-2018) died peacefully in his sleep last Tuesday morning, Oct. 30th. He's dancing with the ancestors now. He lived in Yelapa from the early 70s through the mid 2000s, most recently in what is now known as Casa Flourish. I tucked him in the night before and he felt well and was in good spirits, talking about how he wanted to make sure to vote the following week.

Born in the 1923 in the Bronx, Byron's parents were early-twentieth-century European immigrants: José Fernández Menéndez from Pravia, Asturias, Spain (by way of Cuba), and Rose Stolper from Riga, Latvia, both hat-makers and union activists. He attended Durlach School in Manhattan on scholarship and spent summers at Pioneer Youth Camp in Rifton, NY where his sisters worked as counselors. Working in his uncle's grocery store in his youth and later in shipyards in Connecticut, Byron enlisted in the US Army during WWII. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge, earned a Purple Heart and was later taken prisoner by the Germans, spending the rest of the war as a POW in a Nazi prison camp. Back in NYC, Byron belonged to Margot Mayo's American Square Dance Group and, marrying fellow hand-wrought jeweler Phyllis Gold, he opened a shop on West 4th St. in the Village. He moved to California in 1948 and eventually met and married jazz/folk singer Barbara Dane with whom he had 2 children, Pablo and Nina, and a stepson, Nicky Cahn. A long time resident of Berkeley, Byron was one of the area's original craftsmen and had a jewelry shop in several locations on Dwight Way in the 1950s and 60s. An avid fisherman, mushroom hunter and outdoorsman, Byron moved to Yelapa, Mexico in the early 1970s and lived there for over 30 years. He came back to the Bay Area in 2006, and lived just off Piedmont Ave (first on Monte Vista and then on Linda Ave.) where he spent his days playing the harmonica, tending his flower garden and aquarium and spending time with friends and family. He is survived by his daughter Nina (Oakland, CA) and his son Pablo (Havana, Cuba) as well as his ex-wife Barbara who also lives in Oakland.........................written by daughter, Nina