Every condo, casita, hotel room and campsite was filled with families, music and fun.
The beach, sidewalks and even the streets were crawling with tourists enjoying all that La Manzanilla has to offer. Restaurant and shop owners worked seemingly endless hours to provide their services with genuine hospitality as the buses kept rolling in.Yet even while it was definitely vacation and party time, the Mexican people, tourists and locals alike, took time to remember that this was also the most Holy Week of their faith. On the morning of Good Friday, Jesus’s walk to Calvary was re-enacted through the streets of the town, depicting the Stations of the Cross. The first station was literally at my gate, and I watched in stillness as men from the village struggled with heavy crosses, followed by a crowd of mourners. I learned that at each of the stations, the cross bearers changed and the number of followers grew in size until they reached the church. While no mass is held on Good Friday, the followers bowed their heads in reverence.
Low Season Happenings
Although the peak season officially ends after Semana Santa, there will still be various activities to enjoy over the summer.
Galaria de Arte will remain open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until the end of April, after which owner Abby Ramos will happily open the doors by appointment.
Helping Hands Bookstore will be open all summer. Starting in June, reduced hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon.
Also active through the summer are Bending Tree Yoga and Activos Gym.
And don’t forget the Crocodile Lagoon Walk – definitely a walk on the wild side, as you traverse a wooden bridge through the mangrove over about 400 of these prehistoric looking reptiles.
Restaurants and taco stands
Magnolia’s Kitchen & Drinks will be open Monday-Thursday, 6-9 p.m. until the end of April. Reservations are still a good idea for the patio. Various other restaurants will remain open during the summer, although their hours may change or some will close for a week or two so that the owners can take a bit of vacation. Dates and times have not been established at the time of this printing. However, you’ll never go hungry here, as the local taco stands continue to serve authentic Mexican flavour each weekend at the Jardin.
Our beautiful beach and magnificent sunsets are there to enjoy every day.
As I’ve matured (a kinder way of saying getting older), I have noticed that time has a wicked sense of humor. Where once it crawled, it now flies by. It is difficult to wrap my head around the fact that it is now April, and I’m in the process of making preparations to return to Canada. Time to leave my beloved La Manzanilla and make that dreaded flight north of two borders for seven months to join the Great Canadian Rat Race. Please don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be Canadian. It was a great country to grow up in. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends, whenever time permits. But sadly, the pace of life there has sped up so much that the pressure of “doing,” “having,” achieving perfection,” “getting ahead of the Jones’” or just “struggling and juggling to keep a home for the family” has stolen precious time from people. Namely, the time to practice the Art of “Doing Nothing In Particular.”
In La Manzanilla, this time has been honed to perfection. Here, finding the nada is so simple. You can see it in the truck with the flat tire that hasn’t moved in five days, the gringo that can’t remember what day it is, the Mexican hombre waving hola from his hammock. You can find it in the silence between the waves, as the gentle surf rises, then sighs and foams out over a long, low sloped beach that backs up to a tropical jungle. Here in the laid-back charm of our village, the Art of Doing Nothing blends in perfectly with time. That mystical, magical “soak in time” that untangles thoughts, unknots muscles, and transforms the frantic Type A’s into Type Z’s, content with the fullness of Nothing.
Time to stroll leisurely past the mom & pop grocery stores where smiling owners wave and know you by name. Time to sit in the village plaza to watch as giggling teenage girls walk arm in arm past awkward boys. Time to smile at the white-haired grandmothers who reminisce of walks long ago, while keeping a sharp eye turned in the direction of their particular teenager. Time to observe the local fisherman mend their nets at the local cooperative in preparation for the evening’s catch.
Time to sit at a beachfront restaurant and let your senses truly enjoy the chef’s creations of marlin, dorado, snapper and octopus. Time to lift your glass in a silent toast to the heavens above you, then quench your thirst and delight your tongue with a cool refreshing margarita.
Time to lose track of, as the sun turns from yellow to orange, then touches the horizon. Time to watch a young girl lie in the surf, kicking her legs, throwing orange diamonds in the air, as her mother sits at the tide line, her dress furling and unfurling around her in the surge of sea foam. Her eyes are closed, her face blank, not a muscle stirring. I knew that feeling. It was the feeling of doing absolutely Nothing. Nothing never felt so good.
So adios, auf widersehen, and good bye, until it is time to meet again.