Friday, July 27, 2007

Gringos in Mexico - The Pool... and the pool

As I said in my previous installment of "Gringos in Mexico" we arrived early for check-in and the room we'd requested was not yet ready. I had wanted to stay in Room 21 where I had spent my previous two visits to Capitan Lafitte because it was so quiet and felt so homey. Gary had seen photos of it and agreed that he wanted to stay there as well, and I had that "oh God if he has a miserable time it's all my fault" worry so I didn't want to risk a different room when I knew this one was wonderful.

I know it is not my responsibility that someone else has a good time on a joint vacation, and I'd discussed this issue with Gary. He reassured me it was not my job to worry about it. But since I'd been there before I couldn't help feeling concerned because I'd talked the place up so much.

While we sat at the bar, Luis, the main reception man, came over and told us that Room 21 had a leak in the A/C and he couldn't let us stay there: it would be annoying to us. (I LOVE this guy!) So he showed us Room 30 which was on the other side of the beach and on the second floor. I wasn't sold until we got into the room, stood on the balcony and saw the view. Gary was all for it and I agreed.
This is the front of our room (top right hand corner was ours)

The back, where you enter the room (left) up a flight of stairs (right)

view out the window from inside the room

part of the view from the balcony

I was in instant Mexico-mind set and now cannot remember what we did after checking in! I think we must have walked on the beach? Okay, that sounds viable.

a walk down the beach, Lafitte is in the distance

The first night we had a storm. Nothing bad, but fun to watch. Palm trees swinging, wind howling.

The next morning was misty at first but soon cleared
Pelicans were getting their breakfast

THIS would turn out to be a big day for me.

Really big.

If you've read here before you know I don't swim. I dog-paddle at best, and no way can I relax enough to make floating an option. Fear of the water. More precisely fear of drowning is a big issue for me.

That is now in the past tense.

As if I weren't blessed enough with a best friend who has always been there for me, and even saved my life once by driving from New Jersey to New York to drag my stubborn stupid ass to the hospital, I can now say a big THANK YOU to Gary for teaching me to swim.

That's right, it's true! Not only can I swim but I can float!
floating at sunset
a thankfully blurry close-up - but still evidence that I can and did float!
*sniff* I'm so proud

A little late in the game perhaps, but better late than never. You couldn't get me out of the pool once I found I could do it. Gary seems to feel I already knew how to swim, but while I may have had a vague understanding of the way it 'looked' no one had ever explained how to hold your hands or kick. More importantly, I had never felt enough trust in someone that I would TRY in front of them. I knew he wouldn't push me under for a joke, and that he'd grab my hand if I started to sink and he wouldn't laugh (too much) if I floundered around trying to get my bearings. Okay it was in 3 feet of water, but I panic, okay?

So I owe him a lot, and I can add the ability not to drown to the list. Hey, the guy's a teacher for a reason.

The swimming pool was not the only pool going on at Lafitte. They have a big open-air game room with a less than regulation pool table and a ping-pong table, television (it is never on - who needs television in paradise?) and a mini library. It's a couple of bookshelves where people leave their books (to make room in their luggage for souvenirs) and I have left books and taken others on my past trips. I was actually happy to see that the books I left last time were gone, so someone, somewhere in the world has my books. I can only imagine where they have traveled.
these were growing outside the game room

Gary and I have played pool in the past - neither of us is very good at it, probably because it is a game of angles. A math game really. We're not so much with the maths. But I love the sound of pool balls clacking together and I love the feeling of "ah-HA!" when I hit an angle right and the ball plunks into the pocket. So when I told him there was a pool table, naturally we had to give it a shot. Ouch. That was not intentional.
Gary breaks

We were playing one afternoon. . . or was it morning? Hard to say now. Let's compromise and call it mid-morning. Time is different there. A couple of little boys came over during our game and asked if they could play. Um. Yeah, not 'til we're done kiddies: this is a serious grown-up game here! But once we finished our game the kids still wanted to play and we were going to let them have the table but the sweet little tykes (8 and 9 years old) wanted to play WITH us! How adorable is THAT? So who could resist?

We should have resisted.

I swear these kids were pool sharks! They must have been. No way we could suck that badly. After a while Sebastien, the younger one, got hot and headed off to the 'other' pool but David, who was really good at the game, stayed. We played a couple of games in which David kicked our sorry butts (it was him against us!). I am not a good loser, but this kid was so charming and polite - and GOOD - that I couldn't be upset to lose to him. We also got to practice our Spanish while David practiced his English. So it was even more fun.

Of course, this is not David, but it should give you an idea of what we were up against.
*sigh* Dos cervezas, por favor - pronto!

After a while his parents showed up looking for him. His mother, Elizabeth, spoke fluent English and had lived in Ohio (where Gary's mom is from originally) for 14 years as a child. It really is a very small world. When we told her how we were glad not to be playing David for money she laughed and was surprised. Seems he'd never played before. Ooops. I was sure they must have had a pool table at home. Guess I'm a realllllly bad pool player.

I ran into David at dinner one night and he called to me "Gary!". I don't suppose Joy and Gary are very common names in Mexico and he didn't realize his faux pas. He was such a sweet and polite child - and smart!

I believe that was the same day we had the wild tropical storm. We'd gone to the bar after a huge nap and we're getting some guacamole and chips and a drink. We could see the storm building out over the ocean, but it was still far out so we just chilled. One of the waiters came up behind me and plopped a huge rubber tarantula in front of me on the bar. I think I disappointed him by not screaming, but I did laugh. Satisfied with that, he took back his spider and ran into the dining room with it looking for his next 'victim'. That spider was making the rounds the whole time we were there. Have I mentioned that Capitan Lafitte is pretty much like being in your own home? It's pretty laid back. And the guys who work there are just big ol' nuts. Funny, silly, and some of the warmest people around.

Once the storm started, just wind at first, everyone was laughing and a little hyper, I guess a big storm does that to people. David (not the boy, he's on staff) turned up the music and was dancing behind the bar, it was a storm party! But when the wind started getting wild - we rushed back to the room - just in time.
this was going on outside while we played Monopoly inside!
Yes, we brought a game along - because we're Monopoly professionals!

this is the front view of our room AFTER the storm

look what happened to the roof tiles!

So much to say, so little time. I'm going to end this entry here, but there will be more. Oh yes there will!


Gary said...

You got some great pics here.

Now about that kid on the video...are you kidding me? How is this possible? Seems like we have our work cut out for us.

Bella said...

Your pics are as gorgeous as I knew they would be. I am so happy you were able to go on this vacation. This place seems idyllic! Did you say in the comments on the other post that this place is closing?! Why? That's such a shame!

I am so in need of a great vacation like this. Maybe I'll be able to find an affordable place to stay for a week in Mexico next summer. Ahhh, just thinking about it sounds wonderful.

I can't wait to read more.

Joy said...

Gary - you know damned well I'm never playing pool with a kid again! My ego can't take it!

Bella - they are closing, but the place itself will still be there under new management (after 35 years!). I'm waiting to hear from my contacts there about whether or not the staff will be remaining or moving to a new location down the beach. I'll keep you posted!

la bellina mammina said...

Hi - came over from Gary. Great pics - sounds like a wonderful vacation. I can't really swim too - long story! Can Gary teach me to swim too!?