Posted by: lianadevine | 18 March 2008

A Week in Huatulco

Once we discovered we were camped a stone’s throw from Mark’s resort, we planned to sit on the boulevard, cervezas in hand, to wait and watch their airport shuttle go by.  But I mis-remembered their arrival time, so instead, we pulled up in the Thing moments after they arrived in the lobby.  After the initial hugs and greetings, Calvin and I sat on the lobby’s comfy couch to wait while they went through registration.  By then, they had their welcome drinks in hand, so we toasted our reunion.  Within the first ten minutes Mark’s wife Lee had pulled out a digital brag book to show us photos of their new grandson, while Mark kept exclaiming, “I can’t believe you’re so brown”.  Lee’s sister Brenda was practicing her “hola” to anyone who walked by as her husband Todd roughhoused with Calvin. Here comes trouble! The spectacle had begun.

We left them with a walkie talkie and directions for how to get to our camp, then let them get settled in.  They showed up a few hours later and Calvin visited with them under our awning while I rudely stayed inside watching my telenovela.  But I was there to catch the action when Calvin lit up one of his big-ass bottle rockets as a welcome.What goes up… Before they left, we made plans for a beach day the next day.

Saturday morning I did laundry in the great outdoors, birdwatching between wash and rinse cycles. Birdwatching in the Laundry room In the afternoon, we wandered up the beach and squatted just outside the hotel property, we poor cousins bringing our own refreshments while the paying customers ordered theirs delivered beachside.  The guys decided to swim to a nearby island, where Mark climbed almost to the top but did not capture the flag because he went back to help Todd climb up.  Calvin returned wounded, throwing rocks into the water as he has done since childhood.  We girls sat on the beach and discussed what to do with the insurance money if they did not get back safely.

A little later, Mark and Lee joined Calvin and I on a short excursion into nearby La Crucecita.  Not really intending to eat, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try some fresh tamales, sold right on the street corner.  We parked our butts right there,Street tamales taste great! and the señora was happy to oblige with styrofoam plates, napkins and plastic forks.  In fact, while we enjoyed her tamales, she left us with her belongings to run down the street to the market to pick up more forks.

All six of us went to town late Sunday for a little shopping, sightseeing and dinner.  On the way in, we visited the local bomberos so Todd could talk shop with some fellow firefighters.  We learned that their station is poorly funded by the government and relies heavily on equipment donated from firehalls in the US and Canada.  Brenda was taken by the four-day old Dalmatian pups, closely guarded by their mama when our bombero tourguide Jorge was not in sight.  Todd left several T-shirts from his local firehall for the guys, and will look into donating equipment to them on his return home.

We had a great authentic Mexican meal, complete with mariachis, at a restaurant on the zocalo.  Afterward, we were entertained with some traditional dancing at the bandstand in the middle of the square.

Monday we had a shopping day in both nearby towns, Santa Cruz de Huatulco and La Crucecita.  While shopping around the zocalo in Santa Cruz, I saw a woman with a haircut I liked, so I asked her where she got it done.  At an artesan market in Santa Cruz, Calvin bought a little wobble-head turtle, to mount on the dash of the Thing.  I immediately christened him “Bob”.  Brenda and Lee soon finished their tour of the shops at Santa Cruz, and we drove back to La Crucecita.  While the girls continued shopping in La Crucecita I went with the guys for a beer and lunch.  We met the girls later at another restaurant on the square, having a nacho snack.  Then we scouted out the estetica I’d heard about and I explained to Emma what I wanted.  As she started with the clippers, I told her not to be afraid to go short: “When you’re done, I want my hair to stand up.” Leanne’s new Hedgehog Haircut She did a great job, for only 40 pesos, and earned herself a ten peso tip.  She’d had to put up with Lee and Brenda’s heckling as she worked.

On the drive back to the resort, we noticed Bob was missing from his perch on the dash.  We all suspected he’d been stolen, but started looking around.  Brenda speculated he had run away because he didn’t want to travel with us, and Lee eulogized what a good turtle he had been in his short life with us.  As we pulled up to the front door, we all got out and tore everything out of the Thing, until finally Todd came up with Bob, gave him CPR and some water. What a relief!  Now our little mascot is safely glued in place.

Later in the day, Mark and Todd radioed to ask if Calvin wanted to go sailing with them.  It seems none of the three guys knows that much about sailing, though Mark was dubbed El Capitan. I’m not privy to all the adventure, but I can report that all returned safely, a good time was had by all, and Mark was demoted to “jib”.

Tuesday was a beach day for the family. They had brought us mail from home, which included the last receipts and statements I needed to complete our income taxes.  So while I worked on that, CalvinAnother Thing in Calvin’s Outdoor Shop did a tune up, rebuilt the carb and distributor and set the timing on the grey Thing parked a few spots down from ours.  Jorge was thrilled with how his car drove after that and promised Calvin a nice fish in exchange.  That night, the crew of drunken sailors turned up on our doorstep after dark, rousing us from bed, to tell some seafaring tales and drink a shot or two.

Mornings, we enjoyed birdwatching from our bedroom window.  Spike Spike birdwatches…was particularly entertained by the birds and squirrels who came to nibble the opened coconut we set up on the awning post.  Several times he launched at the screen, trying to get at an unsuspecting bird, but always in vain.  My little hunter.

Wednesday we started out in the Thing, headed for the seven nearby beaches that are accessible by car.  But the navigator had planned a different roadtrip, and did not tell the driver to turn at the farthest beach exit.  We ended up at Puerto Angel, Beaching in Puerto Angeland found a lovely patch of beach catered by Roberto, who later served up a tasty seafood lunch.  We drove across the highway to nearby Pochutla and visited a Mexican small town.  Calvin and I thought our family would get a better appreciation for the real Mexico if they got away from the fabricated resort area of Huatulco and La Crucecita.  In Pochutla, tourists are rare and there’s no English spoken.  Shops don’t carry souvenirs and payment is in pesos.  But the people are friendly and genuine, and the town is real, not real prettied up.Mark, Lee, Todd and Brenda enjoy a taste of the Real Mexico This was a different side of Mexico, apart from the excesses and extravagance of the all-inclusives.  I think our four visitors  realized and appreciated that, and enjoyed the excursion to “the other side”.

However, Thursday was a day of excesses, as they enjoyed another beach day.  When we joined them later that afternoon, there were no more barriers for the poor cousins, and we were right in the thick of the plush chaise lounges and served drinks.  Of course, Calvin and I had brought our own cooler, which was quickly depleted, and the party went on until we were the last ones on the beach.  Sorry, I did not bring back any souvenirs nor photos of this event; as Brenda said, “What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico.”  ‘Nuff said!

Before eight in the morning on Friday, three buses arrived, full of school kids armed with plastic garbage bags.  Within an hour, the entire camp, including beachfront, was stripped bare of litter in advance of Semana Santa, the leadup to Easter.
It’s a major Mexican holiday that begins Palm Sunday, and everyone heads to the beach.  We had experienced Semana Santa at the beach in Loreto ten years ago, and though we were up for the party, we wanted to be at our next destination, Oaxaca, before traffic picked up.  So Friday was spent preparing to leave – last laundry, cleaning and packing.  Mark came by in the afternoon and we drove into La Crucecita to order three pollos asados for our despedida supper.

Calvin was just returning from picking up the BBQ chicken when Mark, Lee, Brenda and Todd walked up the path from the beach.   We all enjoyed the chicken, frijoles charros, rice and tortillas, then the pastel frio I’d made for dessert.  Jorge returned from a beach day and stopped by for a chat and dessert.  The family helped Calvin put away some of our gear and then we said our goodbyes.  They would continue their luxury vacation for another week while we moved on with our adventure, through the mountains to the capital of Oaxaca.



  1. Leanne and Calvin. My Edmonton daughter was here last week and I shower them(hubby, too) your blog and they would love to keep reading it.I can’t find your e-mail address to send them to ask you about this.So please, if you don’t mind, would you send them your e-mail address. I can send them this blog-address but you need to know who they are and if you want to communicate with them, or let them read your travel-adventures.They have a real fancy Camper on a real fancy douly(double wheels) truck. Not my favourite but then I don’t count.
    Oh, you have met them and showed them the bus. Sue and Peter ! There you are ! So maybe next time you are on an Internet thing, tell them it’s alright to peek at your writing.
    I enjoy it.
    It’s so cold still around here because Aberdeen still has snow on the ground and it really won’t warm up until this is gone. To-morrow is first day of Spring.
    Heidi and the kids went to the Sunshine Coast for Spring Break and I will meet them on their way home in VAncouver. Easter Bunny is coming to a friends place before we head for home. I am going down on the bus, boy ! are they getting pricey ! even for an old person like me.
    Nothing else is new. Mike is still in his glory because there are heaps of snow still in the mountains and hopes to go sledding til middle of May. Ugh.
    Love, Claudia

  2. Hola Liana!
    Muchas gracias por tu mensaje en mi blog. Claro que tu viaje es en Mexico es un gran exito y muy divertido! Esta noche (en unas 3 horas) voy salir en autobus desde Santiago hasta el sur de Chile para andar un poquito.

    Abrazos de Chile,

  3. Nina was here!

  4. Hey, Leanne and Calvin!

    It’s been a long time since I’ve left any comments, but I’ve continued reading this wonderful blog, and how I’ve enjoyed it!

    I think the two of you are taking the kind of grand tour that I always dreamed of! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading of your adventures.

    I look forward to what you’ll write about your time in Oaxaca. I once had a student from there, and he told me he had two first languages—Spanish and Zapoteca. I heard a little of the Zapoteca, but I don’t remember any of it.

    I wonder if you’ll buy any alebrijes while you’re there.

    More later.



  5. hope that everything is ok with both of you.

  6. We miss hearing your wonderful adventures. claude

  7. Hi Leanne and Calvin, it’s been a long time since you’ve added to your blog, hope it was just a writer’s block and that nothing serious has happened. C

  8. Does anyone know what happened to Leanne and Calvin? Hope nothing serious. C

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