La Manzanilla Memo - January 12, 2019

New Year’s Party

New York City might boast the largest block party at Times Square each New Year’s Eve, but here in La Manzanilla we raucously rang in 2019 in fine fashion.

What started three years ago as an impromptu party in the street has become an annual event that gets bigger and better each holiday season.  This year, the center of town was blocked off to traffic from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. to allow the revellers to eat, drink and dance in the streets “all night long.”   A buffet meal was provided by the chefs of Xacalli restaurant, while libations could be purchased from Pichonera Bar at the Jardin, or you were allowed to bring your own to the party. Music started with a live saxophonist, followed with DJ Santa Mago Boogie until 1:30 p.m., then continued with Tren Canamo Band until 4:30 am.

pg31aThe roosters were crowing when the last merrymakers weaved down the street towards home.

Author chat

On the evening of Friday, January 4, Helping Hands Bookstore hosted its 4th Annual Author Chat at Martin’s Restaurant. Attendees were treated to readings by our three favourite female writers: Roberta Rich, author of the best-selling “Midwife of Venice” trilogy; Rachel McMillan, author of the “Dan Connor” mystery series; and Judy Dykstra-Brown, poet and author of “Lessons from a Grief Diary.”

The ladies also donated copies of their books to Helping Hands to sell.  All proceeds from this Chat will be used by Helping Hands to continue supporting nine students enrolled in La Catalina Foundation’s Scholarship Program.

Helping Hands Bookstore is now in its 15th year of operation and service to the community.

Otra Vez

This new little thrift shop, which opened in mid-November, has become an absolute hit with the community of La Manzanilla, expat and locals alike. Generous donations of clothing, housewares, artistic décor, tools and more have been filling the racks, briefly, as the items are quickly snapped up by savvy shoppers.

The store is a non-profit enterprise. The volunteer staff cheerfully donate their time to keep it organized and operating smoothly.  The proceeds will be donated to various charities in the community.  The decision of which charities will benefit will be suggested by the volunteers and voted upon.

Located on Playa Blanca, right next to the Helping Hands Bookstore, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., six days a week. It is closed on Wednesdays.  If you visit La Manzanilla this season, make sure to stop in. You never know what treasure is waiting for you.

Kings Day Fiesta

The traditional celebration of the visit of the Three Wise Men to Baby Jesus is widely celebrated throughout the world, and marks the last day of the Christmas season. It is also the day that the children here in La Manzanilla receive their presents.  For the past month the locals, expats and visiting tourists have been donating new unwrapped toys, clothing and monetary donations to ensure that no child in town is left without a gift.  This year, a unique surprise was waiting for the children.  Six large rocking horses were placed in the Jardin for the kids to ride while waiting for the fiesta to begin.  No one could really answer the question as to where they came from, or who donated them.  Perhaps Papa Noel performed a little magic.


Art Crawl evening

Tuesday night’s tapestry of art may have been a bit smaller than an art walk, but every bit as satisfactory to the art enthusiasts.

Folks flocked to the seven different venues hosting displays of sculptures, paintings, jewelry and more. Each venue featured the unique works of both local and expat artists.

Congratulations to the organizing committee, the artists who participated and, of course, the venues that opened their doors and invited us in.  Thank you Galeria La Manzanilla, Figaros, The Lab, #10 Galeria, Magnolia’s, Estudio Marmaya, The House of Art and Figuras.

Women’s support groups

Gatherings of kindred souls – women empowering women – have formed here in La Manzanilla. Each week, groups of eight women of different ages, backgrounds, education and culture join together to share their joys, sorrow, laughter and tears. They give and receive love, strength and non-judgemental acceptance.  It is a place of safety, peace and triumph.

The groups are open to women in La Manzanilla, Melaque and Barra. The only prerequisite is that you will be in the area for at least two months. If interested in joining or starting a group, contact Nansee New at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

Swim For Them

Training for the Nandando Por Ellos (Swim For Them) swimathon has already begun and signup sheets are filling up quickly.

Last year’s affair was an outstanding success, raising the equivalent of $US5,000.  The funds were used throughout the year to help make life easier and healthier for five of the most elderly people here in town. Roofs were replaced and new mattresses were purchased, while wheelchairs to help with mobility, food and medication all aided their quality of life.

This year’s swim will be held on Sunday, January 27, 9 a.m. beginning from Lora Loki’s restaurant on the beach.  For the non-swimmers who would like to participate, there will be a walk along the beach to the town cemetery and back to Lora Loki’s.   

Sports Lovers

The tennis courts at Quinta Valentina’s restaurant are primed and open. Court reservations at Quinta’s.

Pickle Ball has also begun and is played at the basketball court in the town park. The park is located one street over the arroyo, behind the soccer field. Games are played every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, beginning at 8 a.m.