Home-cooked meals, TV, firm beds.
Vacation at last.
That's right folks, we made it! Breathing a sigh of joy we touched down at Mazatlán airport on April 6, where Eli's parents Jim and Chris were waiting with enthusiastic hugs. To fill you in, the Houcks bought a house here about 7 years ago, renovated it with amazing style and live here for ľ of the year. We cannot describe the wonderful feeling of arriving to a real home with a whole month of relaxation stretching before us! Heaven!!
Mazatlán is an awesome city with a great historical section, beautiful beaches, fab restaurants, and a bumpin' nightlife. It's a festive town in a country that loves a festival. In our time here we've celebrated Semana Santa/Easter Week, Motorcycle Week, Jose Limon International Dance Week, and Swine Flu Panic Week (haha more on that later). Maz is also surrounded by interesting little towns, and we've taken some great day trips as well. Jim and Chris have created such a beautiful home it's really kind of hard to get out of the house, but we have managed to watch some hoops, see an amazing dance concert, accompany Chris to yoga class and...let's see...what else... Well, to be perfectly honest we've mostly been lounging around, enjoying Chris's amazing cooking, doing some cooking of our own (finally!) and generally doing nothing.
Well, there is one little thing. Bronwen, in a moment of inspiration (or madness),
signed up for the 2009 Mazatlán Triathlon (set for April 25) about 2 months ago. So now here we were, with Bron's new sneakers, a borrowed mountain bike (thanks Greg!) and 3 weeks to train. The Triathlon ended up being a fantastic event and an absolute blast. Bron managed a great swim (straight out to sea and back), a not-too-embarrassing bike ride, and a steady (tired!) run with a strong finish. Jim, Chris, and Eli were kind enough to get up at 5 am to watch the race and made for a great cheering section. Bron even got a medal! (Okay, everyone got a medal, shhhh...)
This last week the big news, of course, has been the swine flu. There are no reported cases in Mazatlán or in this area of Mexico, but swine flu hysteria is creeping into the town anyway. All schools are closed, events have been canceled, and its common to see people in surgical masks. In light of this development we decided to change our departure flight from Mexico City to Mazatlán, which means missing a few final stops on our tour in the name of safety (and convenience). So with one more week to go on this epic journey, we will continue to relax here at Hacienda Houck, soak in the Mexican sun, and hope our flight home gets out next week!
Postscript: A few weeks ago Max Sr., the enthusiastic 80 year old owner of the Wax Palm Finca in Pasto Colombia, passed away after a brief illness. On April 30 my little brother Griff and his wife Kris brought their first child, Finn, into the world. In honor of those two special beings we bring you a Circle of Life Haiku extra.
Such a rare spirit
We are grateful, lucky, changed
for having met you
*in memory of Max Gallardo Sr.
Welcome sweet Finn Rose
Seven pounds fifteen ounces
Of new niece goodness
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