Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rainy Days and One VERY Stormy Night in Bucerias

I started writing this blog entry on Tuesday night. This is how it originally began:

“We’ve had drizzly evenings the last couple of nights, but the rain started in earnest last night and has been off and on all day. Right now it is absolutely pouring outside”.

I completed writing my blog, but could not post it as the power started to blip, so I had to shut down my computer. What happened next took us completely by surprise (and obviously was an add-on to the original posting).

The rain, which had been coming down fairly steadily, began to fall in sheets. Suddenly, the motorhome was hit by strong gusts of wind, shaking it violently from side to side. A loud ‘bang’ on the roof of the motorhome had all of us, including the cats, almost jumping out of our skin. We assumed that we’d been struck by a falling coconut coming from the large, loaded palm tree directly behind us.

Our neighbours, Nick/Connie and Grant/Inga were away touring Mexico City, and had left their awnings down, so Terry immediately headed towards the door to get over to their sites to retract them.

Looking outside, we could see the steady flash of lightning across the sky. Terry started to open the door when he discovered that our caravan canopy, which we had set up as a privacy area around our door entrance, was gone. We presumed that the awnings would likely not have fared well, if the wind was violent enough to tear away the canopy tent with such force.

Terry ran across to their motorhomes, and began closing vents and windows, and mopping up the water that had come in. As suspected, he found that Grant’s awning had been damaged from the wind, and he was unable to retract it. Fortunately, the terrible wind subsided, and we were left with the rainy remnants of the tropical storm.

The next day, everyone was out on the streets surveying the damage the storm had inflicted on the town. Many, many trees were down completely or damaged. Power lines were down and parts of the town were without power. Glass windows had been shattered. It was quite incredible. We heard various versions of the wind speed that night, reaching anywhere from 100 to 107 m.p.h.

Fortunately, we suffered no terrible damage, other than our caravan canopy tent being tossed across the RV park, slammed up against the fence and destroyed. Many palm fronds were torn down and the ‘jungle’ beside us was flattened somewhat; enough to now provide us with a view into the backyard of neighbour’s home to the east of us. Grant’s awning was damaged, but not irreparably.

It was impressive how quickly the locals jumped into action to clean things up. They immediately began the work of chopping down felled trees and removing debris. A block-long stretch of brick fencing had been knocked down completely by a fallen tree, and before too long the local owners were reclaiming the bricks for its restoration.

Our friends at the Royal Decameron reported that one of the outdoor bars had been destroyed completely, but work started right away on the construction of a replacement.

Pretty exciting stuff. Joel ‘Googled’ the Bucerias storm, and the forums were abuzz with talk of the atmospheric disturbance, which stretched for quite a distance along the coastline. Many fingers were pointing at global warming as the reason for such a strange weather front. Hmmmm….

You want to know what the real tragedy in all this is? My hair. If the ‘normal’ humidity isn’t enough to throw it into ‘super curl’ mode, add the three straight days of rain into the mix. What you are left with is a head of long hair rapidly approaching an Afro-look. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

So, the weather has been a tad bit less than perfect for the last little bit. All reports point to a return to normal soon, which we’re looking forward to. It is getting a little tiresome.

We have made the best of it, however, as it affords one with an opportunity to partake in the road trip experience!

On Tuesday, Judy, Joel, Gary, Terry and I hopped in the car for a road trip to Rincon de Guayabitos. Judy and Joel had vacationed there way back in 1988, and wanted to check out how much the place had changed since then. Apparently the town of Rincon was nothing more than a small Mexican fishing village at that time, with minimal services and little in the way of ‘touristy’ offerings.

We drove north to La Penita for a brief look-see, and then stopped and strolled on the beach at Rincon. Judy and Joel were able to identify the hotel they stayed at in ’88.

Feeling a bit peckish, we decided to have an early dinner at a little restaurant on the beach. We ordered the house special – ‘seafood for five’, and enjoyed a terrific meal of grilled red snapper, battered dorada (mahi mahi), and four different varieties of fresh shrimp. Check out the lovely presentation:

On the way back home we stopped for a brief tour of Lo di Marcos and San Pancho. Interestingly enough, San Pancho (which is a very small Mexican town), is home to quite a nice polo club, complete with restaurant/bar. Saturday evenings you can reserve a table for dinner and watch a polo match, so we’ll likely put that on our list of things to do.

What else have we been up to since my last post? It was Bucerias Days when we first arrived, so the town was ‘a-buzz’n with activities. Centro was wall-to-wall with booths selling everything from candy to batteries to jeans, along with arcade-like games of chance. There was also a miniature (and I do mean miniature!) midway. Fireworks went off at all hours of the night.

One of the more colorful activities is the ‘Blessing of the Boats’. On that day, the fisherman gather in the bay, and one-by-one drive their boats into the shore, where they are blessed by the local priest. Here’s a picture of one of the boats departing, and the crowd that gathered to observe the event.

We met up with our friends from Camrose (Jo and Ken), and one day Jo and I took a LONG walk up the beach. Along the way, we came across a turtle sanctuary, where they gather turtle eggs, and bury them individually in fenced, protected areas so they can hatch undisturbed. None were hatching that day (darn).

We walked to the farthest point south on the beach, where a rocky point leads to a wedding chapel at the end of the pier. We had to laugh at the entrance sign:

Yesterday (Wednesday), Judy, Joel, Terry and I drove to Puerto Vallarta, as we wanted to shop at the Costco there. Now we are waiting out the rain, which is supposed to clear by Friday. Then it’s back to sunshine we hope!

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