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January 2013

S is for San Pancho, Mexico

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S is for San Pancho, Mexico

Rarely does a super cool village come my way that is as special as the person waxing poetic about it claims it is. So, when I heard a whisper about the village of San Pancho, Mexico while I was staying at Casa de Mita in December, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go - or would I?  I almost didn't head there - who can deal?  Like I said, most peeps talk of secret haunts and then you go and its like WTF?  They clearly have no clue what makes a great village.

I'm even on the fence sometimes.  I think it's a mix of several things that elevate typical towns and villages into a league worth raving about. Usually there's either a beach or mountains involved.  The word "organic" is starting to pop up (be in in regards to a bakery, a farm, a spa).  The people are super chillaxed and just living in the moment, not rushing to and fro, all frantic. There might be more than normal amounts of motor bikes, golf carts, scooters, or bicycles as a huge portion of the transport.  Reclaimed materials are seen inside restaurants - as bars, tables, wall art, or benches.  Everyone waves and says hello - abnormally friendly folks reside there.  Artists usually flock there either for the light, or the cheap living.   You've never really read about it in magazines - at least when you first discovered it.  There's at least one yoga class, if not that, then pilates.  Wi-fi is def to be found most places.  People return year after year cause they want the guarantee - you want to know it's gonna put you in your right mind at the end of a stay.  The food served is fresh, local and sustainable - and they don't have to preach it...it's just the way that is always has been.

How many places can you name that have the above elements?  It's hard...next to impossible really.

Anyhow - San Pancho.  I was expecting another Sayulita - which I'm def not a fan of.  So many tourists, so much influx. I run from places like this.  San Pancho though (about 20 min from Sayulita) - was special upon entry.  It's tiny.  It's walkable.  It dead ends at the beach.  It's prob what Sayulita was 15 years ago.   There were games of dominos on the happs.  Some hippie looking surfer folks were prepping some kind of food on the beach, surrounded by adorable dogs all perched to get a treat if they were good boys and girls. Cold cans of beers were in the hands of the locals round about 3p, as chicken was being grilled up in a tiny alcove off the main street (I was offered a sample and it was the best street chix I've ever tasted - sweet and charred at once). The beach was relaxed and quiet.   Live music was floating in from one of the few beachside restaurants.  You know the margs were good (meaning I don't have to tell them no pre-mix, I want fresh lime proper-style).  Cute hotels. Organic restaurants.  The happiest street dogs in the world (seems San Pancho is known for their dogs - in a good way).  Local artists on the square, selling really cool stuff (not mass produced junk).  Candles being lit in bars and restaurants.  Daily special boards being set out.  I mean, I could go on and on.  Reminds me a little of when I first came upon Isla Mujeres years ago.  Or certain villages in Bali.  Old school SMA.  

It's just a certain vibe you get off places that makes you stay up late night, researching real estate and land and potential business prospects.  Thinking of ditching all and moving on down to do what is is people do in places such as these.  Live.  I need a little more of that.  Just livin.

 

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R is for RV Parks

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R is for RV Parks

Absolutely, my new fave way to live. Chilled up at the RV park in Malibu for about a month while the FLO remodel takes place and now repo'ed down to Borrego Springs (90 miles E of San Diego) as it all winds down.  Literally love it here. It's the place to come for pretty dang near perfect weather and freedom of the mind. It's like I can finally make some good food with proper ingredients, read a ton of books, research recipes, do a bit of hiking, get through piles of magazines, wander the awesome library in town and just generally chillax. I can write. I can think. Ponder. Dream.

 

Mouse has the most active social schedule ever. 3p in the doggie park is a MUST for anyone who's anyone in the dog world. She sprints desert trails. She traces the perimeter of our perfecto spot. She is the perfect tennis spectator.  She is truly a participant in nature here. No need to bark at every little motion. She's livin' in them all.

 

This little town is pretty tidy. Just a few stores. Couple of Mexican restaurants with decent margs (though I do have to request my style of drink - silver tequila, fresh lime and little else). Tish's Health Food Store makes me so happy with a well curated array of goodies.  The only grocery store in town in loaded with stuff you'd find in Whole Foods and there is a perfectly awesome Farmers Market on Friday in the town circle.  It's pretty delightful running into town to grab some sesame seeds for spelt bread or pick up a few jalapenos for tortilla soup (makin' that today) and not have to wear myself out thinking about all the options.  There are none.  And, they are GOOD ones. Really dig the escargot at the French restaurant in town too.  And, what mussels.  They roll out in a huge pot - so freaky good.

 

As for the actual RV park.  I mean.  It's just nutty.  I want to spend every Jan here just regrouping.  In between the daily sessions in the hot springs, nightly swims in the heated pool, yoga & pilates classes, tennis games, and golf if you want it - is a super efficient gym, a little library, a wellness center, and just the friendliest people ever.  It's all surrounded by palm trees, an beautiful golf course and super dramatic mountains.  Cocktails begin about noon-o-thirty (usually a margarita or two), and this comes after either a hike to Hellhole Canyon (6 miles round trip to a secret waterfall), perhaps a yoga class where a bit of marching happens after each move (the ancient hips really loved that part of it) or a whirl in the gym rockin' the Tibetan Rites. 

 

Books are being plowed through (thank god I discovered the town library), and I'm just happy browsing recipe suggestions from every mag and cookbook I'm always too busy to jam through.  The sun is pretty much always shining (been near 80 all week) and each little slot here has it's own lemon or grapefruit tree.  Hell, these camp hosts even cruise around in the AM picking up your trash and recycling.  It's just nuts.  Portlandia in the desert.  


Early afternoon, I might start up a soup (clam chowder is just so so easy to make and I think the key is skip the flour...I loathe glompy soup); throw on Greek green beans; or just let a big pot of beans simmer.   The days fly and fly here - up at 6 am and I swear to God, I'm tucked in with a book 'round about 7p.  Guess this is life.  Not a program.  Just life.  Where does work fit back in?  Having a real hard time even thinking about that one.

 

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Q is for Quick Life Update...

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Q is for Quick Life Update

For the love, how time flies.  I was on the A to Z roll and then out of nowhere, Malibu RV Park drove me mad and I had to bolt to Baja for Xmas.  To the wonderful delight of Minka.  She popped a 4 day weekend down in wine valley (oh ps - not a soul checked her doggie papers either way across the TECATE border) with a 6 pack of farm dogs.  You have never, ever seen such joy.  Meanwhile, I once again had some next level food in the Valle.  GD - it's just surreal what folks can do with a sprout, a leaf and a swish of some pork paste. 

But, before even that - another Mexico adventure.  It was TIME 2 at Casa de Mita.  I was once again convinced that Mexico is in my blood and that Casa de Mita is literally one of the best places on the planet.  Lalo and Memo (and all the staff at the Casa) make my heart swim.  See the pic above?  Let's just call it my own private mansion for the week.  It was nothing but daily body boarding in the mighty Pacific (almost lost my life a few times - damn those waves :); billions of perfect margaritas; awesome yoga classes with Tomas (ever tried the 5 Tibetan Rites anyone - amazing....); fresh ceviche; awesomely fulfilled requests for pozole and paella; brilliant games of late night scrabble and let me just call it a thriller a day (as in spy, CIA, espionage books).  Dude - this place is truly one of a kind.

Then, back to Malibu.  Which don't get me wrong.  I love it there - the fresh seafood market at the bottom of the hiking trail.  Letting Minka run leashless round the hills.  The amazing sunsets nightly.  But, all it did was remind me up close that the FLO was not done.  If I'm gonna be on vaca - welp, I need to be on VACAYYYY....

So - now - Borrego Springs.   Right now, the 'stream is popped up in a perfect spot in what is prob the best RV resort in the world. Mouse is chewin' on a chunk of sugar cane from the simple-but-delightful farmers market here in town and I've got a pot of spicy beans on the oven.  Sun is shining.  Wine is flowing.  I actually worked out this AM (hello Tibetan Rites) and I got a new thriller from the library today.

More and more soon.  I must finish this damn alphabet I started and get onto a whole new tooth journey. 

Meantime - a few pix from Casa de Mita to satiate your desires to ditch all and high tail it to Mexico.  I know it's in the back of my mind right now - but for the moment - Marley and wine and fresh margs will suffice :)

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