Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In Which We Go Horseback Riding, My Horse Falls Down, and Zoe and I Leave.


Chewbacca wouldn’t even fit in this tiny little corner store, but of course I had to shop here anyway.

Monday was the last full day for Zoe and me and we spent most of it lazing around, eating, and then lazing around again until it was time for the day’s main attraction, horseback riding. Mel had set us all up with a local dude, Arturo, and his posse of ponies. I’ve done this sort of thing before and as Zoe pointed out, I always get the dud horse: it’s either the slowest, the laziest, or the meanest, and this time was no exception. Everyone else got on their calm, well behaved pony and quietly waited for the signal to leave, while my horse, Vallo, immediately went straight for Zoe and her horse, Garbanzo, and tried to bite both of them. Great start. He then pushed his way through all the other horses in order to get to the front, only to change his mind minutes later and take up the last position in our group of seven.


You can’t even see the rest of the group beyond Susan, Mel’s mum, on her horse. I followed along at a snail’s pace until the rest of the clan appeared on the horizon.

We all travelled along, through trails, along beaches and up steep paths through the thick jungle until we emerged at a lookout on a headland between two long stretches of beach. Vallo kept things interesting by stopping to eat huge mouthfuls of whatever was available, randomly trying to bite other horses at will, and occasionally just stopping and refusing to move until our guide Arturo whipped him from behind, at which point he would put his ears back and take off (Vallo, not Arturo).

The view from the top was fabulous though so I didn’t mind so much.



The way back was steep going down but I leant back and looked up at the trees while Vallo tried to negotiate the gullies and rocks, until all of a sudden his front legs went out from under him and we both lurched forward, and then his back legs went down, too. There was a lot of scrambling and some swearing until Vallo found his footing again. Somehow I managed to stay on during all this and we carried on as though nothing had happened, which I guess it hadn’t, really. Vallo didn’t seem to care and was back to biting everyone in no time.

We ended the ride with a ‘gallop’ (and I use the term loosely) along the beach which was more like me kicking Vallo so much that it felt like I was galloping, while Vallo just stood there.

We all worked up an appetite, except Kent who was in bed with a case of food poisoning, and Jacob, who had basically spent the day watching ice freeze so that he could make us all Pina Coladas. Actually, just being alive is enough for Jacob to work up an appetite: at dinner he put away this 4:20 burger which consisted of a regular burger, a chicken breast, bacon, and onion rings, all with a side a fries. And then he finished my burger, and Zoe’s burrito too.


I had bought a couple of lanterns to send off as I loved them so much so we all headed down to the beach, but happened upon a bar playing the World Juniors Hockey game, with only 10 minutes left and a score of 5-4 for Canada against Russia. Hockey doesn’t get much better than that so we all piled in, ordered some drinks and watched the last bit of the game.  It was good to see Zoe and Silas enjoy their first smoke-filled bar, drunk-people-yelling, hockey game experience. In case you were sleeping, Canada won!!

We fumbled around on the beach for a while in high spirits, trying to sort out the lantern, finally got it going and cheered as it slowly rose up into the night sky. We happily watched it sail up and out over the ocean, but changed our tune slightly as it caught a breeze and arced back, apparently directly toward land and a bunch of houses. We watched nervously as the burning ball of fuel (as it had now become) headed toward all the bone-dry thatched roofs, and then sighed with relief as it burnt itself out without setting Sayulita on fire.

They really are beautiful and will be a new tradition for me at New Year’s from now on. I hear you can buy them in Victoria now and a friend reported seeing one at Dallas Road on New Year’s Eve as well.


The next morning Zoe and I had to pack to leave as I have to go back to work and, and she to school. Jacob is enjoying his retirement and Kent was able to manage  a few more days off so they are staying along with our friends Mel and Pepi and Silas, Mel’s mum Susan, and family friend Mike. What a great gang to travel with!

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Here we are about to enjoy breakfast at Choco Banana.

Zoe and left everyone here and caught a bus to the Airport. Public transport really is fabulous here and hasn’t let us down once. 45 minutes later and $25 pesos each ($1.75US) we were at the airport, where Zoe noticed this Wings restaurant sign and said: "That sign doesn’t make sense. You don’t need a fork to eat wings”.

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Such a proud mother.

Unfortunately the flight was terrible. They kept announcing that due to turbulence it was still ‘too bumpy at the back of the plane’ to provide any service. I wasn’t sure what that meant…was it worse in different parts of the plane? Why didn’t I know this? By the time they resumed service and made it to our row (at the back of the plane as per usual) they had no food (and I use the term loosely) left to purchase. Probably a good thing anyway as we had all been thrown around so much that no one really felt like eating. I did see that all the people up at the front seemed happy enough so maybe it is bumpier at the back.

All my big plans of enjoying a night in Seattle went out the window as it was all we could do to stagger through customs (we missed having Parker Michelin but I could see him in the next booth over flourishing passports, with his box of snacks on the desk beside him) to the closest hotel where we didn’t move until it was time to leave for our flight this morning. It was foggy in Seattle as I sat at our gate listening to Len from Billings, Montana bullshit his female colleague Sue-Anne about everything from wetsuit use (up in Canada they wear them to catch Salmon in the rivers) to where Nepal is (beside Iran). I didn’t really have the energy to call his bullshit but it made for an entertaining half an hour.

And that’s a wrap for this holiday. I will leave you with a few images that didn’t make it into earlier blogs.





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Thanks for reading!



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