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Barra de Navidad & Melaque Journal - November 12, 2016

Hello to all of our friends and neighbors who live full time in and around the tranquil communities of Melaque and Barra de Navidad. Welcome to all who are here as visitors and are just getting settled in from their northern treks.

My wife Pat and I are looking forward to sharing the writing of this column (and we will keep our squabbling about how this should go to ourselves!) to keep you abreast of local events, activities, entertainment, etcetera.

Our story of finding Barra de Navidad is influenced by the “magic” of Mexico. We were brought here by fate 11 years ago. Our cousin, and fellow musician, Marc Pettigrew, a.k.a Tanque (as nicknamed by locals for the oxygen tank strapped to his back 24/7) discovered Barra de Navidad at a time when he needed a place that would help him enjoy what could have been the last few years of his life. Marc had been diagnosed with a very rare lung disease, Alpha 1, that would eventually require him to have a transplant.

pg21cHis “oasis” became Barra de Navidad, a welcome escape from the cruel Canadian winters. This small fishing village made life so much more bearable. Friends were made easily, communicating with locals was fun, as is the case for everyone in this peaceful coastal settlement. It was exactly what Marc needed ... to be accepted as one of many “old warrior” expatriates, sharing life stories at the street-side cafes or wandering and exploring the beauty of the hidden surrounding villages.

The community continues to provide friendship and caring for a man who they would eventually crown as a hero with the affectionate new nickname Senior Milagro – Miracle Man.
Marc was helped by the healing sun and the people’s love in Barra/Melaque. He received a successful double lung transplant in 2013 and has now returned to his true passion of making music, no oxygen tanks needed. A true miracle of Mexico.

Marc’s lead in bringing us to Barra de Navidad/Melaque was one that came with promises of a wonderland of art and culture. His impassioned description of the area from his home in Canada brought us to examining our own frosty winter existence. When Marc said he needed help driving back and forth to Mexico, then what right-minded Canadian musician and his loving wife wouldn’t jump at that opportunity! Eleven years later, here we are, coming back to this veritable paradise annually, discussing the merits of living here year ‘round.

One marvels at chickens and dogs in the streets, the smells of Mexican cuisine wafting through the air, but most importantly the warmth and acceptance of local families and businesses who always looked far beyond the oxygen tanks that were Marc’s personal Albatross.

Melaque and Barra de Navidad are located on a connecting bus route, twin towns on a coastline dotted with many secluded areas for swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding or surfing. It offers one of the best-known fishing derbies worldwide. The {playa} forms the heart of each of these towns and both offer the sights and sounds of authentic Mexico. Bars and cafes, art shoppes, craft shops and beach stores hum with the sounds of winter prosperity. The high season in late October began with Day of the Dead celebrations. It continues to burst with excitement, color, music and culture where a mixture of Canadian, American, European and Mexican tourists enjoying one of Jalisco’s truly picturesque coastlines.

For the nightlife enthusiast, Marco was right, music lives in Barra de Navidad and Melaque. One can walk through colorful outdoor cafe settings and listen to beautiful Spanish guitar tones, or walk a bit further and be amazed by a local rock group or perhaps pick up on a performance by American or Canadian musicians who have come together in musical freedom.

If you are in Barra de Navidad or Melaque this winter you may just meet us in one of those little spots, along with Señor Milagro. Since his double lung transplant operation, Marc has created two self penned CDs, a live video of his song: In the Middle of the Night in Barra. Hear it at youtube.com/watch?v=KSWdOMXn2d0.
This column will do its best to give our friends and neighbors the same reasons that we have to love and enjoy the many highlights of what is happening in the area.

Music options

Time Out Barra de Navidad features live entertainment five nights a week: Wednesdays, Los Otras, a blues and rock presentation; Thursdays, RC and the Pacemakers, classic rock; Fridays, Pineapple Express, rock to dance to; Saturdays, Chido Riverr*a plays a fusion mix of blues, jazz and rock tunes. All start at 9 p.m. Sundays will start up with dancing to local rockers the Bandidos.

Hotel Barra de Navidad’s new pool bar, La Playa Bar, will see Sunday afternoons light up with live music.

Cabo Blanco Hotel in Barra de Navidad has become a favorite afternoon delight where friends lounge around the pool Thursdays from 2 p.m., and catch live music from Hermanos Pettigrew con Paul with special guest performers from all over the world.

La Oficina in Villa Obregon hosts Thursday night open stage from 8 p.m. and brings back local rock legend Lalo on Fridays for some great tunes.

Sea Masters, a local beachfront sunset and dining spot, includes live music three nights a week, with Hermanos Pettigrew con Paul every Saturday beginning 6:30 p.m.