The gardener came by bicycle with his machete to weed the front yard. The landlady had decided they should put down sod and a black, wrought iron gate to keep dogs away from the front of the house. Not to be critical, but I think that perhaps I could have done a better job laying the sod my very own self. At least, the installers weren't very experienced and they left lumps and bumps and overlaps and cracks. But hey, I wasn't paying them!
Then the waist high fence and gate were installed, and looked very nice indeed. Unfortunately, it seemed to make our front yard a sort of magnet for pooping dogs or cats, who would leap the fence to do their business on the nice green grass when we weren't around, then go back the way they came. The landlady was beside herself!
Our favorite restaurant to eat was La Casa Mission. Some very wealthy people with a very large hacienda and beautiful gardens had converted their covered patio into a restaurant. If you came in with friends that were known to be locals, they gave you the breakfast/lunch special menu instead of the tourist menu. From that point, they recognized us on our own, and we got the local menu.
For the peso equivalent of perhaps $5, you got juice and soup (whatever type was on for the day) then fresh hot tortillas in a basket, all you could eat with your choice of meal. Meals were chicken, fish, beef or pork, prepared to your taste. For dessert, they brought everyone a small plastic cup of jello. Usually the kids were done first and ready to run out to the garden to check out the hibiscus flowers and teach the caged parrots new English words!
On days that we filled up with a late lunch at La Casa Mission, we would just have something simple for supper like tortillas and peanut butter or fruit. (Coincidentally peanut butter is sold here in very small jars and priced as if it were caviar! Well, not quite but you get the idea: Bring large jar of peanut butter in suitcase next time!)
About a month into our stay, the landlord decided to bring over a large silver key that granted us access to their other rental property - with a pool! They were very attentive to us, anxious to ensure we were taken care of and having a good time.
It was a small, unheated pool but the kids LOVED it. We had to walk 15 or 20 minutes to get to the place, but such a treat on a hot and sweaty afternoon after a morning of schoolwork.
We tried a few other local restaurants for fish tacos but mostly returned to the same places friends had first recommended when we needed to eat lunch out of the house. I sampled ceviche for the first time - delicious!
The kids called this the Sponge Bob bus. A pink cargo van with the side windows removed, long wooden benches installed and painted with murals of Sponge Bob cartoon characters. The driver only ran the bus on school holidays and weekends. Instead of paying 40 pesos round trip for a taxi to the Wild Side, it was 8 pesos in total for me and Joe, and the kids were free. To the driver's annoyance, we were the only passengers at the depot that day so he didn't make much money on that run.
We enjoyed the wind rushing through our hair and the crazy mariachi music he blasted all the way. (Well, most of us enjoyed it.)
This particular day, lots of local families were at the beach and as the sun slowly lowered in the sky, some young people started a spontaneous game of soccer. Ry wanted to rush over and join them but I was cautious, not sure if they would accept a stranger in their game. I shouldn't have worried. Before long all three kids and J were in the thick of the soccer game, with compensation made for the littlest players. Good sports all around!
I think this was the remains of a raft that washed up on the reef.
This lagoon across the highway from the beach was known to be a crocodile sanctuary. We even saw one from a distance!
Then back to our little casita for some R & R.