We finally made our way back to Seattle, which thanks to Trump and his new policy made it quite difficult as we were swept up in the protest at SeaTac! But, mine is not a political blog and I will leave that story for someone else to tell!
I spent our first day back much like anyone else arriving home after a week away. I did bills, laundry, grocery shopping and a run to Costco to stabilize the household. Now I have a moment to describe the last two days of our retreat.
Thursday morning we got an early start, to beat the heat, and went on a hike to an abandoned hotel. Palm Royale did not survive for long. The story that was told is that the hotel was finished and was scheduled for a soft opening. However, the workers were not paid the wages they were owed and they decided to dynamite the only road leading to the hotel to protest the lack of reimbursement. The developers never reopened! Now, I don’t know if that story is true but it is certainly colorful. The hotel sat at the top of a mountain and the views were outstanding!
We arrived at the top just after sunrise
This is a birds’ eye view of the shoreline where we met our boat for the snorkeling tour
As you can imagine, this is a favorite hang out for local teens to tag and party!
We made our way back down and headed over to La Cumbra for breakfast. This restaurant is located in a gated community consisting of condos mostly owned by Americans who have retired and relocated, at least for some of the year, in Mexico.
The view from our table located outside on the patio
This is a small portion of the full condo complex
We were told about a bridge on the property that had been damaged, some years ago, by a hurricane and had never been repaired. So, of course we had to go investigate after our meal.
It did not look to bad yet!
We started to see what they meant!
It was stabile enough for us to cross one at a time, and the view on the other side was worth it!
That evening we had a special treat. A local woman came to our condo to teach us all how to make authentic Mexican tamales and enchiladas. I am not a big fan of Mexican food in general but do love to learn how to properly cook alternate cuisine, so I was very excited to learn from her. She is the “lunch lady” at the local elementary school down the road from our hosts. She brought a mix of masa, which is corn meal, flour and lard, and a variety of fillings for the tamales and enchiladas. She then proceeded to show us how to construct and cook the dishes, she even brought her personal steamer which was large enough to hold all 24 tamales.
With the tamales done, it was time to work on the enchiladas.
Of course, no Mexican meal is complete without home made corn tortillas. I got to try my hand at making these. The mixture was just corn meal and water, no lard this time! I rolled them into a ball, then pressed them with a traditional wood press. We then cooked them off in a dry sauté pan. It was actually surprisingly easy!
We ate, too much, then went to evening yoga and meditation. The next day was our last full day in El Naranjo. I skipped yoga in lieu of one last run in the warm weather! I ran 5 miles and then jumped in the pool! After breakfast we headed to the Tortugario Ecological Center of Cuyutlan. This is a sea turtle preserve and plantation. We were treated to a boat ride in the mangroves to search out snakes, birds, iguanas, turtles and crocodiles.
The turtles were easy to find, the other animals, not so much!
The large adults in their holding tanks would swim right up to the edge to check us out
These cute little guys hatched not too long ago
The eggs are protected by fencing and marked with plastic buckets
We made our way to the boat and got our first glimpse at the mangroves and tropical forest
We saw many birds and a few iguanas that hid too far back into the jungle to photograph. We did catch a couple interesting sights.
Two Great Snowy Egrets
This little croc was hiding in the reeds trying to cool down.
These are two of the biggest termite nests I have ever seen!
The tour was at an end. So, you know when you take your kids to the zoo which ends with the obligatory trip to the gift shop, and they want everything in sight? Well, you won’t have that problem at this gift store!
We had one last evening yoga session that night and prepared to leave paradise the next day. We had a blast on this retreat! Our hosts, Susan Lewis and Bill Pecha are amazing! They provided all the meals, transportation, lodging and excursions-this was truly all inclusive and can they cook! The food was amazing, better than any of the restaurant meals that we had! They worked with our yoga teacher, Lisa Kaulen, to put together a great week of activities that kept us motivated and engaged. We highly recommend this type of trip if you want to see some place that is not just the regular touristy sights, and enjoy physical activity!
Good Bye El Naranjo!