Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Dream Come True

Well, I was clearly lazy with my recaps over the weekend (and yesterday), but I'm ready to go now! I think I should be able to get through the rest of Mexico with one recap per day this week. Are you ready?

Day #3: Wednesday
Golfing, a super romantic outing and sombreros.

Wednesday morning, Eric got up early to play his first round of golf of the week. He played the Marina Ixtapa Golf Club, which was very close to our hotel and judging by the pictures, very nice. He was amazed at how empty it was - he was able to just play right through, all by himself. He said it was kind of nice to have the place to himself. Well, he did have some company in the giant lizards (iguanas?) that were everywhere, if that counts.

Marina Ixtapa Club de Golf

Golf course scenery

While Eric was golfing, Heather and I slept in, got some breakfast, and hit the pool. Eric joined us there when he returned from golf. We spent some time laying in the sun, and then most of our group (except for Heather, Molly and me) got involved in a volleyball game with another family at the resort. I am proud to say that Team Wedding was victorious! Yay!

Arturo, Zita, Chris and Eric huddling up during the volleyball game

 Go, Eric!

We prefer this to volleyball.

 Hanging out poolside with my favorite peoples

While we relaxed at the pool, another airplane's worth of people arrived at the resort, including my mom! She came out to meet us and we all had lunch poolside, then Eric and I had to go get ready for our afternoon activity: horseback riding on Playa Larga!

Horseback riding on the beach is one of my bucket list items, and is actually one of the few that has already been crossed off (in Grand Turk while on the cruise with Heather in February). Even though I had experienced horseback riding on the beach, I knew I still wanted to do it with Eric. Okay, this part is going to sound cheesy and dumb, but this has been a dream of mine for a long time. Literally. When I was young, just before I met Eric, I had this dream that I was horseback riding on the beach with the love of my life. At the time he was faceless, but I remember other details of the dream like my hair color (brown, which was odd because I was blonde at the time), the color of my horse (brown), and most of all, the feeling that I had during that dream: complete contentment, absolute happiness. It has been my vision of "ideal" for quite some time, and now after my experience in Mexico with Eric, I can say that I finally had my dream come true. (I can hear you all gagging out there but I just don't care.)

Eric and I were picked up by a driver in front of the hotel and driven to a ranch in Zihuatanejo. The trip there made Eric a little nervous - we were the only people in the car, and we went back into kind of a forest (of palm trees), down back windy deserted roads, past other ranches, to seemingly the middle of nowhere. I was apparently too excited about horses to think of potential kidnappings and such, and that was fine because everything was totally legit! We reached a ranch near the beach and met our guide, who spoke very little English.

Our guide brought out our horses and got us ready to go, then we started out towards the beach.

Our guide adjusting my stirrups before we get on our way

We're off!

This was only Eric's second ever horseback riding experience!

Passing a cactus.

When we got out to the beach, it was absolutely incredible. Playa Larga is stunning (that's actually the beach Molly's wedding was on!), and it was completely deserted. It was just us, our guide, and the two ranch dogs who ran alongside us playing in the surf as we rode. The sun was low in the sky and the mountains in front of us created a spectacular view as we rode towards them. I kept telling the guide that it was "muy bonita," and I said to Eric that it was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Really, it probably was.

On the beach

Our ranch dog friends

The view from our horses


After riding a ways down the beach, we turned right and went up into the mountain for a bit. Our horses did a bit of galloping up hills and I tried to remember all I learned from my one summer of horseback riding lessons as a child. Riding through the woods reminded me of horseback riding through the mountains of Tennessee during a family reunion when I was in college, but this time there were quite a few more palm trees.

Scenery change!


Riding through the woods

After riding through the hills for a bit, we made our way back out to the beach and went back in the direction of the ranch. We even passed Casa Kau-Kan, where Molly's wedding was held, on the way!

How's that for a view?

Casa Kau-Kan - we would be back here in a couple days for a killer party!

The whole ride back along the beach was just incredible. The sunset, the seclusion, the surf - it all just added up to complete contentment and absolute happiness. I could have ridden down that beach forever.

Setting sun over Playa Larga

Our horses

We were seriously the only ones there. Unbelievable.

When we got back to civilization, our guide offered us a cervesa (beer) stop, but we decided to just head back to the resort to catch the sunset there. Our driver was waiting for us when we got back to the ranch and he took us back to the hotel, where Molly & Co. were playing in the waves (what else is new?) and we were able to watch another lovely sunset.


Love these sunsets.

Welcome to Mexico, Mom!

Happy horseback riders

That night, our group for dinner grew quite bit, and not everyone who arrived that day even came with us! I think we probably had 14 people with us that night? I'm not positive, but our little original group of 8 was no more. We added some of Molly's friends, her dad, and my mom, among others. We went across the street again to a little restaurant that I believe was called El Infierno y La Gloria. It had all kinds of crazy decor inside, and they set us up with a nice, long table. First things first: margaritas, por favor (or other huge tropical drinks will work, too).

 A small sampling of the decor inside the restaurant

Cheers, Mom! (My mom is drinking a Mexican Curios, which Eric also had - tequila, orange liqueur, curacao, lime and pineapple juice. I am drinking an Adelita - tequila, rum, grenadine, lime and orange juice. YUM.)

Heather and I gave Molly and Arturo some wedding-appropriate beer koozies, which they put to good use!

Our growing dinner table!

For dinner that night I had fajitas del huerto (steak fajitas), and Eric had Mahi stuffed with seafood. And of course, chips and salsa. Duh.

My fajitas (and guacamole, mmmmm) and Eric's seafood

After dinner, the woman who was taking care of us brought out a whole stack of giant sombreros for us to wear for a photo-op. So cheesy, yet so fun!

The Cousins Club with some nice hats (and a small bottle of tequila)

Mom is looking rather festive!

 How are you supposed to kiss in these things?

Our dinner group!
Top row: Arturo, Eric, Uncle Peter, Jacob, and Molly's friends Chris, Arasp and Justin.
Bottom row: Molly, Mom, me, Heather, Zita, and Molly's friends Marisa and Melissa.

And that was our third day in Mexico! What a day!

Coming up tomorrow: Some people go ziplining while others are sensible, and Molly enjoys a last night out on the town!

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