Daniel was the manager’s name. Eight hundred pesos was the rate for una semana ($62 for the week). Mike had not yet told me that the only rule at Daniel’s place was: Do Not Get In-between Daniel and Any Girl He Is Hitting On. Can you see what’s coming?
I didn’t appreciate yet how good it was that Daniel thought I was her brother. For me, at that moment, just know I couldn’t wait to see her again. Before finding out what happened next, a digression for readers more interested in the beauties of Playa Zipolite than the true story about me, Daniel and ______________. (I didn’t know her name yet. She had told me and Mike what it was, but all I could remember is that it sounded pretty and all Mike could remember is that it was French for a plant matter which in English we call nasturtium.)
Yes, Playa Zipolite is perhaps the most beautiful beach in the world, and it’s the beach that makes everything happen; but it’s the not-yet-overrun-by-big-buck-tacky-places that makes it the greatest beach in the world. That, and that it is a mecca for hippies from all over the world.
Watching the sunrise my second morning, I met Robin who first did LSD in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1967. Robin mostly writes these days (good Haiku) and gets material by asking new-comers if they have ever met anybody famous or know someone who has met somebody famous. One of the other friendly Zipolites I’d met the night before, a guy named Bo from Sweden, a fan of Shel Silverstein’s, joined me and Robin for coffee, so I thought I’d try Robin’s conversation-opener: “So Bo, ever met anybody famous or know somebody who met somebody famous?”
“Yah,” he says, “a friend of mine’s mother once shook hands with Albert Hofmann at a psychiatrists’ convention in Germany in the 40s.” You’ve got to be kidding me – Albert Hofmann was the discoverer of LSD – but once you know Bo, he’d be the one who’d come up with that for an answer.
Now you’re getting a feel for Playa Zipolite. I spent the week lying in the hammock, catching the breezes, reading, watching whales breach, drinking coffee, smoking pot and meeting new people. I also enjoyed body surfing, listening to the birds sing in the courtyard on waking, and having waves lull me to sleep. The waves just keep coming by. Pretty great for less than $10 a night. (The actual room was sparse – no TV – but clean.)
One of my favorite times was watching the sun set that first night with my new U of C friend. Not only does Zipolite have the best sunrises, it also has the best sunsets – that’s the advantage of a south facing beach. And not only does Zipolite have a jutting land mass at the east to assist in sunrises, it also has a configuration of rocky cliffs and caverns at its west end, the caverns providing narrow passageways for the water to rush through.
Think of a journey to the center of the earth starting with a horizontal entrance way. As the sun sets in the narrows, our entrance way becomes firery and red. Our jagged cliffs are pointed. Silhouetted they look like the tip-tops of evergreen trees, so dark and so sharp in the sky. Meanwhile, down below, the waves are crashing like white frosting on the rocks while a not imperceptible milky-way, faint and seeming far-away, of ocean spray goes fleetingly across the sand. Up above the evergreen tips have caught fire! Glowing red-hot embers or maybe the blood of the sun. Then one of the shorter evergreens in the back of the cavern pierces that huge bright ball, and right before our eyes, in the middle of the passageway, all the blood spills and the sun drops into the ocean journeying to the center of the earth. On the beach the denizens clap. (Later I learned it is only at this time of the year you get the double dose of rocks included.)
That’s how great a day on the beach at Zipolite is – stupendous at both ends, relaxed in the middle, and music by night. Always 85 degrees and sunny, but the ocean a tetch cooler for comfort (except in the early morning, when it’s a tetch warmer). Buena Suerte all this can last forever.
Tomorrow: Donde estan las damas?