Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Honeymooners

Dear Boo,

This morning I woke up to the hissing of my radiator for the first time this season, and I don't know if you've heard, but there's supposed to be snow tomorrow. SNOW. 8-14 inches in parts of New Jersey! It's hard to imagine that only a couple of weeks ago I was sweating in 95 degree heat, baking in the sun with my toes in the sand, a michelada* within arms-reach, and my delicious husband (!) by my side. Sigh. Some days or weeks are almost too magical for their own good. Once they've passed it becomes harder and harder to hold onto the reality that they actually did for real, in the flesh, with witnesses to prove it, happen. I'd say a good portion of this month (the beginning and most significant part of which you've so beautifully chronicled) falls into that category. So forgive me if some details are fuzzy and you find it hard to grasp the chronology or geography of this narrative. I'll do my best.

A walk along the virgin beach we stayed on during the second half of our trip. One day we walked for 30 minutes and saw 2 people and a herd of cows.

Our requirements for a honeymoon were pretty simple: we wanted to do it as close to our wedding as possible, since we knew we would be in desperate need of rest, quiet, and alone time following the most intense and overwhelmingly beautiful and meaningful day of our joint life. We also wanted to be somewhere warm, on a beach. We could not go somewhere where we would feel pressure to do intensive sightseeing (no Hart girl style Paris circa 1999), or be forced to interact with other honeymooning couples. There had to be good food and plentiful cocktails. And time. Lots of unplanned, unscheduled time.

Working on my to-do list.

While we succeeded on all of this, and then some, it turns out it's hard for the Mouse to not plan or obsess over things like meals. No big surprise there. But I tried my best to turn off the foodie/crazy part of my psyche and remember, as I did with our wedding menu (which rocked, thank you very much), what the real point of this trip was. If we wanted to eat lunch or dinner at our (awesome) hotel, something I would scoff at on any other trip, well, so be it. Also, this wasn't such a bad spot for a bite:Yeah, that's a bed.

And if we wanted to go back to the restaurant we went to two days ago because their tacos al pastor were the best we'd ever had and we hadn't had a chance to try what looked like incredible fish tacos, well then I would have to quit it with the "every meal should be a different thrilling adventure!" neuroses and go eat the best fish tacos of my life.

The Husband still claims mine are his favorite, but I think that's just because
he has a crush on me.

Oh, and here are those tacos al pastor. Did I mention they were the best I've ever had?

And this, it turns out, aside from being recently married to the love of your life and having an amazing party with all your favorite people and then going on vacation, is what's awesome about a honeymoon: there are no rules. Except that you should have no rules. That means, no 'I really shouldn't have another taco.' and no 'Should we feel bad about not going to check out that historic site in town?', and no 'We should take a run on the beach to make up for that dinner last night,' and no 'We really should save that money for something more practical than a massage." It's great. And it turns out, if one is honeymooning in Zihuatanejo, one can have no/break all foodie rules and still eat some incredible food. Here's a few tastes of our honeymoon in food. Our honeymoon in all other things will remain private. tee hee.

Coffee and pastry delivered to our balcony makes this Mouse happy.

So does fresh coconut water. Recipe: take one enormous coconut direct from the tree. hack off the top with a machete. Stick a straw in it.
And for lunch that day: fresh fish and vegetables steamed in a bag, with a side of ocean.

Sometimes tacos will show up on your plate and they might be fried.
And that might be just fine.

Especially when they're accompanied by the freshest, spiciest, tangiest pico de gallo with chips hot from the fryer and a cold local Victoria, and the ocean a mere shell's throw away.
Guess what shoes I was wearing when I ate this.
None. No shoes.

An appetizer of beans and rice with mexican crema and local Oaxacan cheese eaten at a roadside restaurant in the middle of nowhere after our taxi driver poo-pooed the restaurant we asked him to take us to and spotting fellow eating enthusiasts, took us to the place he goes to get local favorites like iguana.

The Husband opted for Javelina Barbacoa. Unbelievably good.

And I had this incredible shrimp soup with whole head-on, unpeeled shrimp so huge and so sweet I thought I might be eating lobster. I should also mention the restaurant had the family pet squirrel in a cage in the dining room.

If you go here, to Barra De Potosi, you will see the most beautiful place where a lagoon meets the ocean and fisherman walk on the water casting their nets.

Take a boat around the lagoon and you'll see all variety of birds and fish leaping out of the water, families fishing for their dinner, a place where they harvest sea salt, and this former shrimp farm:

Apparently when it was functioning, someone stayed here day and night to tend to the shrimp.

Afterwards you should pull up a hammock at one of the open-air fish restaurants
along the shore

and order these camarones alla diabla, or tiritas, the local specialty which consists of strips of fresh fish marinated in lime juice and tossed with shaved red onion and slivers of chile, and served with saltines, and which I did not eat nearly enough of.

You should probably also take the public transportation back from town, bouncing around in the back of the truck with a young couple on their way into town for date night, a grandma in her apron and slippers, and an old man in a wide brimmed hat and cowboy boots, carrying his guitar on his back.

No one could explain to me how to bring this view home with me as a souvenir. I'm still working on the technology that would allow me to replace the Verizon building next door
with this skyline.

Luckily I found a way to bring home the best souvenir of all.

This bartender I met at Senor Frog's!*

Just kidding.

And if you ever needed any proof, check out the Mouse tail I'm sporting above.


(Mrs.) Mouse

P.S. The Ministry of Tourism is planning a major development including a cruise ship pier which will greatly affect the complex ecosystem and way of life of Barra de Potosi, a fishing village where locals have been able to live in harmony with nature and make a living at the same time. This would endanger the wide variety of species that live here, cut directly through the beautiful and unspoiled lagoon, and according to the locals we talked to, bring in workers from other parts of Mexico with experience in the hospitality industry, leaving villagers there with less work, not more. This is a truly beautiful place and it would be tragic to see it demolished or spoiled in any way. You can click here for more information and to take action.

*Michelada: a mexican beer cocktail whose ingredients may vary depending on the region but most often involves beer (I like it with Modelo, corona, Pacifico, or Victoria), fresh lime juice, salt, and ice. Research tells me that it also usually includes a dash of worcestershire, and/or some form of tomato juice, but every time I got it in Zihua, it was primarily if not only, beer and lime juice with a salt rim.

*We did NOT go to Senor Frog's in nearby Ixtapa. Honeymoon or no, neither of us was interested in being subjected to a tourist mob scene in which waiters pour tequila down your throat. We might have eaten at our hotel, but we do have our dignity.

*Also, I should note that this is a terrible picture of both of us, that I am swallowing my pride and sharing because the tail was too good.


Anonymous said...

An absolutely dreamy and delicious post....not to mention the fantastic beaches and 'yumshkiss' looking food. Ah, vacations! The Aunty

Anonymous said...


if that's "terrible" you two should get a dictionary.

Trouble Jones said...

Oh now this is just wonderful! And look how skinny you are on your honeymoon! And how amazing your rack looks in your honeymoon bikini! Does it bother you that I think about your breasts when you're not around? If I ever get that boobie job I will surely bring in a photo of your rack and tell the doctor to bless me with a rack just like yours except just a teen-incy bit smaller (only cause people know what a leap that would be from my current rack). Happy Honeymoon to the blissful the bit about the best souvenir of all....

The Mouse said...

Oh, Trouble. You are... trouble. and I like it. xo