Just about every spring break, my family and I are strongly drawn out of the chilly rains of Oregon by the warm lure of the Guayabitos coast. Sometimes the vagaries of the Easter holiday gives us free rein of a wide open beach with quiet streets and tranquil sunsets. This year, however, our two weeks gave us the full-blown celebratory frenzy of Semana Santa and the week that follows Easter, the less boisterous but still festive Semana Pascua.
We started out in Mazatlán where I gave a reading from my new book, Memories of a Musician in Mexico, at the Mazatlán Membership Library. For those hungering for a nice collection of English titles, Loretta Gallacci has a fine little literary oasis awaiting you in the Olas Altas. The beaches there started to get crowded so we went inland to avoid the major onset of vacationers. Tepic has nice museums and a leafy Alameda and we found the nearby Santa Maria del Oro lagoon quite refreshing. We bussed on through dramatic canyons to Tequila for clear dry air and lots of free samples of the local libation, with another watery stop at the Balneario La Toma. Mascota was our last inland destination, and we spent our Easter morning in its classic colonial setting.
Our Semana Pascua started with a dip on the generous beach at Bucerias and a visit with Patricia Mendez of Gringo Books before settling into our favorite hotel on the La Peñita strip. From there we luxuriated each day in the comfort and convenience of colectivos to take us to the beaches in Los Ayala or Guayabitos. The pace and mood was upbeat and jolly everywhere, as the major frenzy was over but the crowds were still eating, drinking and swaying to mariachis from one end to another. Over the hill at the Playa del Beso, the umbrellas unfurled and the gentle waves soothed swimmers of all ages. A highlight of the week was playing clarinet and cello duets with Sue Moss on her veranda.
The combination was just great: happy folks, good deals, plenty of accommodations, and lots of sun and fun. ¡Viva la Semana Pascua en la Bahia de Jaltemba!
by Mike Curtis
About the Author: Author/Composer Mike Curtis has written dozens of duos, trios and quartets published in Europe and the USA, and groups like the Budapest Sax Quartet and the Flanders Clarinet Quartet have put them on CD’s for the world to enjoy. His music has borrowed heavily from his travels to Eastern Europe, China, Spain and Mexico.
Raised near San Diego, Mike grew up fishing the rocky shores of Baja. He studied music and won a year-long job with the Mexico State Symphony, with concerts at the glittering Palacio de Bellas Artes and TV performances from Chapultepec Castle.
His book, Memories of a Musician in Mexico, is an homage to Mexico and an honest account of his own troubled path to maturity. A second book, El Pescador (The Fisherman), is a fictional work set along the Nayarit coast, and will be released later this year.
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