I think it’s safe to say we survived the long, hot Mexican summer! We arrived at our house sitting assignment in La Peñita de Jaltemba (don’t know where it is? Yeah, neither did we!) just over two months ago and it was HOT AS HELL.
I settled into the high humidity by reassuring myself that my skin is always better in the tropics and threw myself into pool maintenance so I had someplace nice to cool off. Of course the view helped.
I promised myself I would watch these magical sunsets every night and while I have missed a couple, they simply do not get old.
Tyrhone, on the other hand has had internal thermostat issues for years, namely that he was set to HIGH at birth. Despite spending his childhood in South Africa, he has always struggled with the heat.
So for the first month he barely managed to leave the house lest he be immediately soaked in a shower of sweat which sprang forth from his overworked pores.
We did manage to squeeze in a few day trips though, and my favourite spot was the small bay of Chacala about half an hour north of us.
Hangin’ (literally) at ‘Chac Mool’ restaurant, Chacala.
More recently, Rob and Kellie of Hungry Escapades came to visit which broke up the stay nicely. They brought the word ‘Ace’ and lots of tea with them.
We got to take them to a few spots before they moved on to San Pancho for a few nights and Tyrhone also got to show off his flying skills to Rob which he was quite chuffed about.
The house we are caring for is a B&B called El Panorama which is closed for the summer. It is spacious and luxurious; the largest place both Tyrhone and I have ever lived in. Hard to believe that this journey has taken us from a $7 bungalow on the beach in Cambodia to a mansion with a rooftop pool, but such is the nature of this ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ lifestyle: you just never know what’s next.
It’s fortuitous that we ended up here and I am so glad we did. We weren’t the first choice for the assignment, but received a message while we were in San Miguel asking if we were we still available because the older couple chosen for the job had to leave.
It’s very different here on the ‘Riviera Nayarit’ to the Caribbean coast and both locations have their pros and cons. It certainly has a more local feel here, particularly in the small Mexican town we are staying in. It seems we are the only Gringos braving the summer heat.
While the beaches may not be as post-card perfect as the Caribbean, they definitely have their own beauty, flanked by jungle covered mountains. Our local beach of Guayabitos is a hive of activity. I love setting up a chair and umbrella for the day surrounded by Mexican families, eating fresh seafood for a steal.
I am going to miss the fresh oysters on the beach for $2.50.
And skewers of plump, juicy prawns served with rice and beans for $5.
We also discovered an amazing restaurant overlooking Guayabitos beach called ‘Vista’ which serves the most delicious, gourmet meals.
Tyrhone calls it ‘The Posh Place’ and we go there when we want to feel like millionaires, because between the food, the view and the service it really does make you feel like one (as if living in a mansion isn’t enough).
The best part of this experience though, has been bonding with our adopted cats. It is also the thing which will make it hardest to leave.
Over the course of the last two months, we have become very fond of the kitties we are looking after, Chica and Matu. They are brother and sister and were taken in by the owners as strays, found on the empty lot next door.
Now, they are living a life of royalty and they are seriously the sweetest cats I’ve ever known. Chica (above) is aloof and independent. She doesn’t care too much for me but has become very affectionate with Tyrhone.
Matu, on the other hand is a sensitive, anxious soul, much like myself, and likes to snuggle, especially at night. During some particularly heavy storms, Tyrhone and I took to sleeping in separate rooms with a cat each so they wouldn’t freak out (it was for them, honestly).
Of course it hasn’t all been rosy. Matu likes to eat gekkos, well, actually just kill them, so we often arrive home to gruesome offerings of decapitated reptiles in the living room. Once, he brought a dead bird. That was fun.
Also, there are bugs, lots of bugs. It seems the house is a designated insect graveyard and keeping up with the disposal of their remains as well as being on constant alert for scorpions is a full time job.
It’s the normal things though like buying pool supplies in Spanish that do it for me. While I am certainly nowhere near fluent, I get by quite well with the basic stuff and always get a kick out of using it when I can.
The other day, after a fun-filled time queuing up to pay the phone bill with thirty other people in a room the size of a shoe box, I had this moment of realization like,”I am doing what I have always wanted to be doing – actually living in another culture.”
We have one month left of the summer here and thankfully, it is beginning to cool down. My sister and her best friend are coming to visit this weekend and I am looking forward to showing them around our temporary home.
After we finish here early October we will be driving up to the states where we hope to continue house sitting and road tripping. Our plans are uncertain but one thing is for sure, we will never forget our time in the Big Yellow House on the hill and the Long Hot Mexican Summer of 2014.