Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Notes on Zihua

Today I'd like to share with you a lot of little things you may not know about Zihuatanejo. Now and then I see things around town and think "huh, that'd be cool to mention on my blog," but it's just something in passing, not big enough to warrant an entire blog post. So now I'll do a whole post full of the little things.


The first cruise ship of the season is here! During the high season (Nov-Mar) there are sometimes three per week, and by May they're gone for the summer. Last year the first ship arrived in mid-October so I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I stepped onto the beach for my run and saw a huge ship in the bay. We can even see them from our condo, but since we can't actually see the water, it looks like a ship is parked on the trees.


Speaking of trees, whoever's on charge of horticulture here decided that trees cut into fun shapes means F-U-N for tourists. There's quite a variety, but the only figures I can make out are baskets and chickens. But trust me, the chickens are quite amusing.


And while I'm talking about chickens, the blocks surrounding the market are filled with stores selling whole chickens. They're already dead and skinned, their yellow bodies swing in the air from a bar that runs the length of the store. The prices vary depending on the size, so as you look down the row, they get bigger and the prices go higher. There's so many I sometimes do a double take because they look fake.


Vendors make the world go round, and Zihua is no different. Want a Coach bag or Versace sunglasses? Odds are there's someone on the corner selling them for a "good price. For you, good price. Almost free." I have a lovely pair of "Ray-Bans" that I purchased for $5.


Many things are also sold from trucks. Men drive through the neighborhoods, yelling out whatever they're selling. Water, gas, fruit... even the garbage truck announces itself blocks before you see it. But my favorite is the sweet potato man. He doesn't have a car - he pushes a cart that looks like a little oven. It has a smokestack and whistles just like a steamboat. You can hear him coming - "Weeeeee-eeeeeee" - in plenty of time to run outside and buy a hot sweet potato covered in sugared cream. Delicious.


I hope that gives you a little insight into our town. :)


Janna Qualman said...

Wow, a hot sweet potato sounds awesome!

Neat stuff! Thanks for sharing.

colbymarshall said...

LOL, indeed...my sis bought me a Prada bag in Mexico for a pretty sweet deal, and if it's not really real (I guess I'll never know), you can't tell it!

Travis Erwin said...

You should join us with some pics and details for a My Town Monday post.

Melanie Avila said...

Travis, I thought of that as I was posting this. What do I need to do?

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, it's sooooo yummy. Like a roasted plantain (banana) but a potato. It's the only place I've found them here!

Colby, you'd be amazed at what you can find here. :)

Amy Mullis said...

I'd have to ambush the sweet potato man. That sounds delicious.

Turkey Lurkey said...

Mmmm... sweet potatoes.

Nadine said...

The sweet potato with sugared cream sounds delicious!!

I have to ask - have you ever bought one of the hanging chickens?

Melanie Avila said...

Amy & Turkey, I send Ibis running after him whenever I hear it after dinner (he doesn't come THAT often).

Nadine, LOL! No. I do want to take a picture though.

spyscribbler said...

Didn't you get a new camera or something? I want pictures! (And a hot sweet potato, but I suppose that's not likely, LOL.)

Melanie Avila said...

I got a new webcame and trust me, you don't want to see the pictures I took with that! Let's just say there were a couple shots up my nose.

If I can remember to take the camera when I go downtown I'll take pictures!

Anonymous said...

OK guess I'll come and stay longer so I can catch a sweet potato amongst other things.

Rachel Burton said...

Now you've gone and got me fantasizing about Mom's sweet potato casserole a whole two months before Thanksgiving.

And if the Mexican markets are anything like the Peruvian ones, dead chickens are some of the more milder wares. I once saw whole cow tongues hanging from hooks. They're much bigger and grosser than I ever would have imagined!

WendyCinNYC said...

LOL at "For you, good price."

Yes, just for you, of course. No one else.

Melanie Avila said...

Gary, :)

Rachel, I avoid the market in the afternoons because it's NASTY. I've seen entire cow HEADS in a row on the floor, entire pigs, entire goats... GROSS. Even the grocery store has pig heads in the meat section. Not to mention chicken & pig feet.

Wendy, that's what they say! "Almost free."

Robin said...

Oh, man, Adam would have a major blast there. Whenever we go traveling he is obsessed over outdoor markets with weird meats. He'd be nuts over the chickens, but the animal heads....now that might send him into pure ecstasy.
Me - I'd eat the sweet potato. Yum yum. Thanks for the cool description!

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, really? Ugh.

Kristine said...

Oh yay! I can't wait to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. After seeing you, I'm really looking forward to seeing the Zihua. Even though it's only for three days :(