Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shortly after I woke up this morning, I went outside to get my first look at Rancho Buganvilias by daylight. It was a beautiful sight. We were, as Cynthia said (Cynthia is the owner of the park, along with her husband, Sandy), in the middle of nowhere. I know the village of La Placita is a few minutes up the road, because we went through it last night, but it's invisible - and inaudible - from the park. The ocean is visible, and audible, but it's way down the hill, on the other side of the coconut grove. All around us, there is countryside.

I know - I'm writing in the present tense,as if I were still at Rancho Buganvilias, but I'm not. I'm sitting in the RV lot behind the Playa Azul Hotel (the one in Playa Azul, not the one that's advertised on the Web). We left Buganvilias at 10:45 this morning and arrived here at about 3:30 this afternoon - after about a 200 kilometer drive. That time included a stop for lunch at a breathtaking spot at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Robin took some film there, and Kristin took photos - which I shall snatch from her blog to put here, just as soon as I can. It also included time for Robin and me to pull over and return the contents of the refrigerator to the refrigerator and mop up the Kool-Aid and papaya hunks and juice and evaporated milk from the floor. Somebody didn't close the fridge properly after lunch. (I'm trying to sound innocent, here, but it isn't working.) The speed limit on most of the winding, twisting, tope-ridden*, mountainous road - with 1,000 foot drops off to the right, a lot of the time - was 60 kilometers an hour. I found that quite a comfortable speed for the road. The men didn't agree, so when Robin was driving, I was white-knuckled.

The view was spectacular, though, and there were highlights - a flock of caciques flying past the car, then a flock of buzzards (I didn't know they flocked) right after that - a huge white butterfly that made me think of a handkerchief fluttering in the breeze - a Marian shrine by the road, with hundreds of brightly coloured plastic doilies hung on lines in front, which gave it a very Tibetan air. There were mango groves and (many) coconut groves, and one large papaya orchard. Herds of goats crossed our path or perched at the side of the road. Three donkeys browsed in a dry creek bed. A black and yellow striped lizard skittered across the road in front of us. There were olive-green mountains and wheat-coloured mountains, and at one point there appeared to be snow at the side of the road, but it was a very white rock that poked out of the ground in that area. At 31C, I don't think there was going to be snow!

Eventually, the beauty around me helped me to come to terms with having left La Placita less than 13 hours after I arrived there.
I wasn't happy about leaving, though I knew it was necessary (TJ and Kris are just about out of food, and we need to find a bank machine). I would like to visit it again. Cynthia and Sandy are a couple of Americans (Cynthia's from Los Angeles. I'm not sure about Sandy - but he's a surfer, so California somewhere would be my guess) who fell in love with La Placita, got a chance to buy the Rancho, and went for it. Originally, they were going to build themselves a little house and snuggle in for a very early retirement, but things got out of hand, I guess, and last year they opened their RV Park on the hill. There's not much to do except lie around when it's hot - or hike down to what is apparently a gorgeous beach (Kristin raved about it) - There are lots of books, and in the evenings there's pizza at Sandy and Cynthia's little restaurant. The water pressure is great, the (metered) electricity works, and there's the only wi-fi for miles around - and it works, too!

Rancho Buganvilias is only in its second year of operation, and so far, not too many people know about it. I think a lot of people end up at the Rancho because there's no other RV park for miles and miles - (They arrive as we did - hot, weary, infinitely grateful, and surprised) - and that's a shame. The rancho is worth visiting for its own sake. Sandy and Cynthia are delightful people, and if what you're looking for is a restful place to spend a day or two - or a month - you won't do better than Rancho Buganvilias.


So now it's Thursday afternoon, and I'm sitting here in my bathing suit. As soon as we sorted out how to park
our RVs in this bizarre lot behind the hotel (TJ and Kris finally settled on a spot that has electricity but no water. They'll rough it for the night), we all got into our bathing suits, showered in the park facility, and headed for the hotel's swimming pool. Standing in the shower, water pouring over my head, I considered just staying there for the evening, but when I got to the pool and considered the fact that I could just dunk my head under the water now and then, float around on my back when I felt like it, and otherwise just sit neck-deep in cool, clear water, I decided that was my new home. Unfortunately, I did have to tear myself away in order to scrub the RV floor (our side-of-the-road job was just a lick and a promise, as it were) - and then it was time to start the chicken curry. Now, the floor is clean and the curry is bubbling away, the rice cooker is plugged into the RV's outside sockets - so that there's one less thing heating up the inside - and I'm looking forward to the moment when dinner is over and I can head back to the pool.

*For those who haven't had the pleasure - a tope (pronounced TOE-pay) is a speed bump. They are ubiquitous in Mexico. Some are small and insignificant; others are like mountains in the middle of the road. Some of them are clearly marked, and others lurk silently, invisibly, awaiting the fool who dares to drive at night, or to look at the scenery instead of keeping his eyes glued to the road. They're very effective.

Photos courtesy of Kristin Ames

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