We leave this tropical paradise just a week from today, just when it's turned most paradisal. That is, we wake each morning now to the cool start of another hot day (to take from a favorite description from a favorite writer of mine: you may guess who) after sleeping with only a sheet to cover us and our bedroom's overhead fan going at a steady clip. In the cool of the morning we might take a walk, before or after breakfast, and in the hot afternoon enjoy a swim at Isabel's beach. The Pacific water in the Bay of Banderas is finally warm enough, as it wasn't (for me, anyway) through most of January, February, and quite a bit of March.
In the cool of the evening we might take a second walk, if only to go down to the village to visit one of Yelapa's three main tiendas for some groceries. Otherwise we might go out for our evening meal, our cena, at one of village's outside or semi-outside restaurants, El Pollo Bollo or Tacos y Mas or Los Abuelos. Or we might walk the short distance upriver to the Oasis to see a Tuesday or Wednesday night movie. Or stop by Gloria's or El Cerito to hear some good blues or rock and roll by Yelapa's resident musicians. Or walk the longer distance upriver and across the bridge over the Rio Tuito to eat at El Manguito or order only a beer in order to listen to the good music you often can hear there.
Then home by flashlight, down the upriver path to the village, through the village and finally up the rocky trail, feeling the tiredness by this time in our legs (one acquires "Yelapa legs" here) to our rented apartment above our landlords' house in the jungle.
Of course we have only a week left to squeeze all this in -- so I doubt we'll even try. We are, though, going tomorrow up to Chacala, the mountain village above Yelapa from which its founding families came from many years ago. Though Yelapa has no road, per se, to it, and is mainly reached by panga, water taxi, from Puerto Vallarta, there is a dirt road, more a bulldozed track that has to be repaired every year after the rainy season, that starts outside El Tuito, a town on the highway some thousands of feet above Vallarta, angles more or less level to Chacala, then plunges down toward Yelapa to end on the ridge above the village. Our landlords' son, Emi, keeps a truck up there, in an area called "the parking lot," and tomorrow morning we'll walk up with him and his mother, Norma, and perhaps his younger brother, Omar, for the drive up to Chacala, to spend the day.
Among other pleasures, we'll visit Emi's beautiful younger sister, Nora, who's married now and has a child.
Our landlord, Emilio, will remain in Yelapa tomorrow to work at his trade. He's a builder in the village.
"Our family," we call our landlords and their children, whom we've gotten to know and care for after eight winters with them.
We'll be among the last of Yelapa's norteamericanos to leave this year. Hasta ano proximo is what you say to people, gringos and Mexicans alike, as you leave: See you next year.
We hope. At our age it's one year at a time.