La Manzanilla Memo - December 3, 2016

La Manzanilla doesn’t need Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Buen Fin. We have the Tianguis! They’re back on our main plaza each Friday morning, and are definitely worth a walk through.

Have your pesos handy, because you’re sure to find a must-have.  From fruit to sugar-coated nuts, jewelry to gimcracks, rugs to ropa, the market is a riot of color, aromas and bargains. “Best price for you today, señora.”

You won’t have far to walk if you need a refreshment break from shopping.  Café Arroz y Leche, adjacent to the plaza, offers a shaded view of all the action across the street, plus coffee and a menu full of good things to eat.  At the other corner of the plaza, across from the Delegacion office, is Café del Mar. A cappuccino and one of Panaderia Leia’s cinnamon rolls is guaranteed to provide the kick you need. 

Now if I could just convince Alex at Magnolia’s to set up a stand for her delicious Bloody Marys …

Christmas tree fiesta

Magnolia’s Kitchen and Drinks is the place to be for La Manzanilla’s annual Christmas decoration fiesta. This popular event, sponsored by Activos Gym, is scheduled for Friday, December 9, 6 to 8 p.m.  Tickets are 100 pesos per person, at the door.

In its 10th year, the fiesta showcases the best of La Manzanilla’s holiday creativity.  All unique, imaginative trees, wreaths and other holiday-themed decorations will be available for silent auction.  Bidding ends a little earlier this year, at 7:15 p.m. Proceeds benefit Activos, our local gym.  

It’s no secret that this is my favorite fundraiser of the year. All the familiar faces and holiday cheer aside, I’m in it for the food.  Included in the price of admission is a tantalizing selection of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres passed around by Magnolia’s smiling servers.  Plus, there’s a cash bar to keep your spirits merry. Magnolia’s is located across from the south end of the plaza.

Author chats

Manos Ayudandos (Helping Hands), our used bookstore, has expanded its popular program of book-signings and presentations for the 2016/2017 season.

First up, on December 15, is Doctor Linda Sonna (P.H.D. Psychologist) with her witty biography, “Tortillas and Peanut Butter: True Confessions of an American Mom Turned Mexican Smuggler.”  The title, which says it all, almost, remains a Kindle Top 10 bestseller.  

The featured author for January 13 is Roberta Rich. The first two of her three historical novels – “The Midwife of Venice” and “The Harem of Venice” – are international bestsellers. Her third book, “A Trial in Venice,” is scheduled for publication in March.

On February 10, John Henry Brown will discuss “The Devil’s Defender,” a memoir of his  “odyssey through American criminal justice from Ted Bundy to the Kandahar massacre.” Brown is a criminal defense attorney.

Rounding out the season on February 24 is Norm Gibbons, author of the “Edge of Desolation” trilogy set on Cortes Island, British Columbia.  The three-book series – “Voyage of the Arrogant,” “Sea Without Shores” and (work in progress) “Floating Island” – spans 100 years, beginning in 1919, and explore the generational effects of hubris. 

Tickets will be 275 pesos per person, and the authors’ books will be available for sale and signing.  (First come, first serve on the books.) Venues will be determined by the anticipated size of each audience. For up-to-date details about the author chats and all local events, visit the message board at

Manos Ayudandos is a not-for-profit bookstore located on Playa Blanca, on the way to the plaza.  Their bright green doors are hard to miss, as are their inviting displays and shelves stocked with used-but-not-abused paperbacks. The bookstore, open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is staffed entirely by volunteers, most of  whom have served for the 13 years since it opened. 

All proceeds, from daily sales and author events, go into the Manos Ayudandos general fund.  Top beneficiaries of this fund include the six scholarship students whom the store sponsors to further their educations through high school and into university. Local residents with medical or other emergencies can also apply for funds. As Stephanie Wunner, the woman who made bookstore a reality, says, “This is money made here to stay here.”

Polo is back!

Susan Stovall, spokesperson for the Careyes Polo Club, has announced that the Sport of Kings is back in play. Regular games are usually held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with tournaments such as the Copa de L’Amistad (played in both Paris and Careyes), Copa Agua Alta, and the International Masters Cup, on Fridays and Saturdays.  Games start at 4 p.m.

A polo match is a very interesting way to while away an afternoon. The grounds are stunning. The game is fast. The entire experience is great fun. And admission is absolutely free. 

Pack a picnic, dress casually elegant, and head north from La Manzanilla on Highway 200 about 30 kilometers. Between kilometer markers 49 and 50 you’ll see the Polo sign for the entrance.  Turn toward the ocean and follow the road, an adventure in itself, to the fields.

For a complete calendar of specific events and times, visit and click Polo.