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  • Writer's pictureAllan Warman

Holidays on the Costalegre - the Coast of Joy


My cousin, Jeff Paton, took us to the East Wenatchee airport, Pangborn. We headed to Seattle in route to Los Angeles where we spent the night at a hotel. Everyone was masked, even a lady that was smoking. The next morning, we caught our flight to Manzanillo, MX and we were picked up by Perry and Wendy Mathers, our landlords at Casa Oasis who drove us the 25 minutes north to Barra de Navidad (Christmas Bay). We are staying in their separate guest house (casita). Their place is very lovely as it is walled oasis. There is their house, a screened dinning/card playing/dice area, taken from the balcony of our two story (with kitchen) casita. You can see the lovely pool and garden, tended by our new friend, Beto Perez.

Casa Oasis taken from our casita balcony

The next day Perry took us to the adjacent town (Melaque) to Super Hawaii, which is a gringo grocery store that is very well supplied by Costco in Guadalajara. We stocked our pantry well. Perry and Wendy have shown us their favorite tiendas; the fish store, meat store, hamberguesa stall and vegetables spots. On Thursday at Barra and Wednesday in Melaque there is a open market with anything and everything for sale. We visit a farmer’s fresh frutas & veduras stall and they have all you could ever want.

For eating (and margaritas) we have fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. They have cauliflower, beets, corn, radishes, tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, apples, pears, mint, cilantro, watermelons, tons of peppers and lots of other stuff that I can’t remember. A standard purchase would be $60-75 in Wenatchee is $15-25 here.

Cassie and I have cooked most of our meals. (We figure we have gone out to restaurants six times for dinner in 60 days - all in open air). In these restaurants all the folks are masked and the tables are distanced. Many times, during the day we have picked up breakfast or lunch at local family spots. We have our favorites: Nelly’s has 40 oz of fresh squeezed orange juice for $2, another spot Deyasunos has alitre of healthy green juice for $2.50. We met two ladies running a street taco stand: $0.70/taco. We have a pollo asada place featuring a whole roasted chicken, onions, beans, potatoes, two kinds of salsa, rice and a charred pepper for $11. We can’t finish the chicken so it turns in to one or two lunches for later. Most nights we eat fresh dorado from our fish guy, fresh tortillas hot off the press and tacos to go anytime.

use arrow on photo beloe to see our favorite haunts and a typical dinner at home


Christmas was a bit different here of course – we had a small fake tree that was already in the casita thanks to our hosts and Cassie brought some decorations and gifts from home to make it homier. Cassie made Christmas cookies - although the kitchen at our casita had no baking tools or pans whatsoever so we improvised and did what we can do - that's our motto! Oh and the oven had never been used. What temperature is Dos?

For Christmas we purchased fresh cranberries. We used some to cook with (wouldn’t be a holiday without spicy cranberry) and we strung the rest with popcorn on our little tree.

For Christmas we made dinner and enjoyed a special bottle of wine we brought down with us to celebrate. We went to a socially-distanced-masked-up Mass near our house in a church I can only describe as a fenced-in open air garage. Turns out the original structure was severely damaged in an earthquake and they are meeting in this open shed – socially distanced and in masks – while they try to raise funds to rebuild. There is a large formal church downtown in Barra but we have noticed that most neighborhoods have their own small church. Just follow the bells that ring each night and on all holy days to find the nearest one.

Dec. 29th I took Cassie out for a lovely dinner date out - our first night in a restaurant really - at the Galeria de Arte in Barra. It is a tequila bar, art gallery and amazing restaurant.

For New Year's Eve we were happy to go jsut across the yard to play dice and hang out with Wendy and Perry. Cassie brought some snap/glow bracelets from home to add to the fun.


Since the first week of January, Cassie has been the burro and done all the walking and purchasing as I damaged my right ankle. I really wrenched it during a cast while fishing in the sand. I have been walking much less but the cervaza input has gone up. It is a good balance. Cassie has found a yoga class and attends M, W, F and usually she buys both food and lunch on the way back home. Lucky me.

We have for the second time had massages from Lupita. She sanitizes everything, wears scrubs and a mask. One and a half hours for $30 including tip. Cassie is addicted. Lupita even came to our house with table, sheets, oil and attachment to the table as I couldn’t walk there. It was heaven!

Many of our friends think we are on vacation. It is different for us as we are sourcing and cooking our meals. We have thought about renting a bike or motorcycle or car but haven’t pulled trigger yet. We thought we’d head to Guadalajara and visit the sites and head to Tequila. Yes, tequila the drink is a town of the same name. Heard there are many of the famous distilleries and they have tours. Covid has been prevalent in Guadalajara so we have postponed that trip. Next time.

The weather has been great, 80-86 F during the day and 55-60 F during the night. Chickens, dogs, horses and fireworks have been heard at all hours of the day. One rooster, we believe, is mentally deranged and is not far from the soup pot.

Goats, say 40-80 of them, appear and disappear on a lot about 75 yards from us. Sometime all are gone except 4-9 kids. Cassie talks goat now as well as some Spanish. I have also seen her talk to some of the vegetables, especially the peppers.

Stay tuned for the next chapter - Feb 15th we move to Melaque!

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