Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Mexico — Letting Go

The first thing you must let go of at the Casa Tres Coronitas is your need for walls. Because there are few of them, and when Euphracio appears in the morning, many of those fold away into the vistas of the Bay of Banderas.

Sunset on the Bay of Banderas

Because we are in the jungle, the collapsing away of walls means you become integrated with the surrounding nature.

“How are the mosquitos?” I asked friend and owner Don before we left the relatively mosquito-light context of our Mediterranean-climate life for the tropics. “No problem,” he replied. “There are mosquito nets over the beds.” When I asked Euphracio about the mosquito nets, he frowned. “Broken.”

The incursion of tropical fauna into the Casa Tres Coronitas is fairly constant and complete. But the five sizes of ants, myriad variety of reptiles from fingernail-size geckos to iguanas that could eat a small dog, huge helicopter-like flying insects, shimmering scarabs, Jurassic spiders, nervous bats, twinkling fireflies and butterflies of every color seem to enter and exit the house — and your day — almost respectfully. Even the mosquitos, while ever present and covering our skin with patterns of red welts, are small, take care of their business and move on their way.

A boy and his book, Casa Tres Coronitas

By the toilet in our bathroom, someone left the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which seems oddly out of place here in the jungle. I imagine “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Pacific Mexican Tropics Vacationers” instead:  1.) Lose your watch.  2.) When Euphracio offers you a margarita, no matter the time of day, you say “si”.  3.) Pay no attention to the large helicopter-like insect bearing toward you.  4.)  When swimming in the ocean, do not step on a sea urchin (as my wife did).  5.) Don’t worry which day of the week it is.  6.) Drink lots of water. Unless you are drinking margaritas, which already have lots of ice in them.  7.) Order fish. That’s a big clean ocean right outside your casa.

I don’t know why people love to categorize things in sevens. I guess it’s more pithy than “The 18 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Our friend Shirley is reading “Seven Steps to a Healthy Marriage.” Oh, that’s easy, I offered:  1.)  Keep your mouth shut.  2.) Keep your mouth shut.  3.) Even when you are quite certain you are right, apologize for being so wrong.  4.) Keep your mouth shut.  5.) When something is bothering you, just bottle it up inside. Bringing it up will only cause turmoil.  6.) Keep your mouth shut. And  7.) Well, you can guess…  I think Shirley was amused — sort of.

The second thing you must let go of, a particular challenge for me, is the need to prepare food. I have not made a single meal since we have been here. Each evening, Marilu asks us what we want for breakfast. Each day after breakfast, she asks us what we want for dinner. In between, she asks if we are hungry. The fridge is full of delicious sobrinos — leftovers — that we eat whenever we are hungry. What a concept, eating when you are hungry.

Marilu’s rib eyes on the grill

My friend Nat likes adventure. He tries to entice me to go spearfishing. “It totally fits into your whole ‘respect for the food’ thing,” he says. “Imagine eating the food you kill.” His appeal to my passion for conscious dining fails. I’m good with Marilu cooking fish she buys from the fisherman or the store. My response is: “Imagine drinking the tequila you have just bought at the Mega.” (In other words, can you please drive me in your rental car to the supermercado so I can shop for spirits.)

Although I must admit, I am interested in the big sea urchins (the very ones that spiked my esposa) covering the rocks just off the beach, and wonder if they might contain ochre bands of uni inside. I research how to harvest them online, and ask Marilu about the erisos. She responds in rapid-fire Spanish that is beyond my skills. Perhaps, I think, I will experiment. That is, if I can fit diving for urchins into today’s schedule of breakfast, a boat ride to a snorkel spot, lunch, Euphracio’s margaritas, swimming, a taxi-ride into town to the famous Cuban bar Bodeguito del Medio for mojitos, a walk home along the beach, margaritas, dinner and margaritas.

Euphracio con mi margarita

My wife has had enough of the insects. This morning before dawn, she was attacked in the bathroom by an advance army of Chihuahua-size ants. I will soon reach my limit for consecutive days of Euphracio’s margaritas, complemented by his piña coladas and countless Pacificos, just in time to go home and dry out for a few days. I have not tired yet of my steady diet of Mexican food — not a pasta noodle, clump of sushi rice or loaf of French bread in sight. In fact, I’ve already been thinking about getting home and reproducing some of what Marilu has made — the ridiculously good chicken tenders she makes for the kids (which the adults gobble up when the kids aren’t paying attention), the grilled camarones with garlic butter, the huevos rancheros. I got a lesson yesterday in making two of her delicious salsas — a tangy orange salsa roja and a black, oily salsa mulatto.

We have had steak, whole fish and fish fillets, chicken, shrimp… what was left? Pork, of course. So tonight Marilu will make puerco milanesa. Served, perhaps should I be feeling adventurous or drunk later, with a side of sea urchin…

Imogen feeding the fish at Islas de Los Arcos.

The last thing you must let go of is Casa Tres Coronitas. For after all your letting go of everything else and letting yourself fall in love agan — against your best judgment and your mother’s warnings — with Mexico, you realize your vacation is nearly over and you must soon go home to work, school, clients, household chores, pets who are hungry or pooping on the deck, grocery shopping, property maintenance, presidential elections, playdates, calendar commitments and other “musts” and “need to”s. Of course, you needn’t let go completely, for this was but one of the two weeks you bargained to share with your friends. And for now, Euphracio? My margarita runneth under…

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Don Schneider
    Oct 05, 2012 @ 03:59:19

    You mean to tell me that you have tried Marilu’s world class Octopus????

    Save the best for last and request the Pulpo.

    See you soon and safe travels.


  2. Monica Schneider
    Oct 05, 2012 @ 05:30:29

    I miss it all!! Mosquitos, ants, etc… Soon Very soon again Monica

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Michelle
    Oct 06, 2012 @ 12:52:47

    I think I could put up with the bugs. In that house, anyway.


    • scolgin
      Oct 06, 2012 @ 14:38:14

      I think next time we may choose a less buggy time to visit. You do get used to it after a few days, though. Wife: “Did you get bit last night?” Husband: “Yeah, but only a few dozen times.”


    • scolgin
      Oct 06, 2012 @ 15:49:24

      And the flip side is that a huge percentage of those bugs are butterflies — tiny purple ones, huge chiffony white ones, bright orange ones, tiger stripe ones, every conceivable size and color combination.


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