Do You look for the Spider Starfish?

this is the other side of the wide shallow sea pool, protected from the wild Caribbean side by a coral rock breaker and the SCUBA Hotel, which looks like a pink spaceship ocean liner.

when I was out for my second swim of the day, I popped up for air and there was a man with a mask and snorkel, pulled back casually, on his head (I found out later that he was leading the snorkeling school students across the Playa Norte), He asked me, “do You speak Spanish?”, I said “poquito”, he nodded and then asked, “do You look for the spider starfish?” the words rolled around in my brain, in the choppy saltwater and sparkling sun of late afternoon… “ummm” I was able to say, then He pulled two spider starfish out from below the surface of the water, they were both the size of his palm and were quite wiggly and ready to go back to their ocean home. He was taking them to show the estudiantes but had run into me about half way across the wide shallow sea pool where I was swimming. Also, previous to going in the water, I had finally purchased a popsicle from the Mexican Ice Cream Man, who slugs his dang freezer cart up and down the beach… I asked if He had chocolate? He listed off about 5 different ones, choco-de-coconut, choco-de-mocho, et cetera… I stopped him at oreo (oreos inside of a chocolate pop)… it was muy delicioso and only 25 pesos, which is approximately $1.25 US. After him came a small man, who looked like he had been high, high up in the Mountains for many, many years, before returning to the Sea, wrapped in a brightly colored blanket and well worn Cowboy Hat and he was carrying a large covered tray of unusual pastries, and a folding legs set, over his shoulder, that he would put down and set the tray on to display the items for any interested parties… I have wanted to try these but was full on my choco-de-oreo pop. Choc-pop chocked full of oreos!

this photo was taken by using a timer and no selfie-sticks were used, I just propped up my camera-phone on a concrete and ran back, then walked up.

Walkin’ barefoot down these dusty streets, with sandy feet, just can’t be beat! It was sunny and warm at the beach, so I walked around and back. I swam extra far, also, under the bridge and on… carried by the current to the spit and I keep smelling bacon… or churros, something yummy frying, close by and it is wafting out over the water. I ain’t got no selfie stick but I am Jungle “Jimbo” Ronzini, so look out! With a belly full of spicy quesadilla de carne asada, I am by the seaside for my swimming time… I reckon I’ll find out about my characters, first… As soon as I got out and dried off, the bright sun was shining, that cloud it was just behind seemed like it never would pass and then, at last, it’s gone. It doesn’t mean darkness is forever banished, however, darkness is always lurking and like the old saying goes, “where You least expect it…”

the Spit, that I mentioned above, is in the middle of a very wide shallow section that the current from the sea on the other side of the wide shallow sea pool comes across and deposits sand, just like a river delta, I reckon.

Today, after my second swim, with my white towel wrapped around me, a sign of no frills type of style, I flagged down the small, sun-darkened man with the assorted pastries, he set up his little stand and explained them to me, I settled on the first item he listed, Cannoli de Sweet Potato but I let him list all of what he had there. Everything was 30 pesos, including spicy tamarindo and sweet tamarindo. I met a Brazilian Couple, on the beach, they are here on a bathing holiday, the Man said that the diving around Cancun was some of the best in all the World… I said well, isn’t Brasil the most beautiful of all? and He chuckled. As we parted ways, I said, “adiós” and they both said something in Portuguese, and then the Man said to me, “Very good, Your vacation!” I said the same to them and was once again on my way.

I rode on back toward the South, stopping along the Malecon to draw another picture of it, I wanna get a few different takes before I go back to USA, I’ll have enough sketches, I believe, to keep me busy for quite a while, mixed with all that will surely come upon my return… with any luck, it’s gonna be a BIG year! Returning to my balcony, looking out across the neighbor toward the sea, everything was glowing in the late afternoon sun light. I stayed up top until just after dark and then went down to do a walk around and see what’s what along the streets near my apartment. I went into a little restaurant and the prices were so low that I knew it wasn’t gonna work with the 500 peso note I had in my pocket. Feeling like a big jerk, I showed it to the little Lady in there and She shook her head when I asked. “too mucho?” Ok, adiós, so I cruised on and turned up at Mike’s Pizza and Pasta, where I pass the guy sitting out there, at least twice every day. There was no sign of that guy and they were playing a McMerican news channel I didn’t want to hear, so I moved along. I finally reach a pricey Seafood and Steaks place that is frequented by the Golf Cart set. I figured I could find something on the menu and I did, I order Bohemia dark beer and a Pulpo Ceviche, which was way more than I expected, by which I mean, the amount of food… I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat it all but I did not want to waste it, so I powered through and finished it. The little waiter gave me a special discount for some reason, and I thanked him, paid my bill and was gone, it was only a zig-zag block or two back to home from there.

a view of the Malecon from where I sat to draw it.
this may be too dark to see, it’s the sketch I was working on this afternoon.
Pulpo Ceviche.
a second pencil outlining, captured in sunlight.

7 thoughts on “Do You look for the Spider Starfish?

  1. I’m glad you finally found some pulpo, & at a discount in a posh spot. And ate all those other interesting delights. Sounds like you are having a very good time. Wonderful to get those sketches made! And, remember when you’re swimming far on your own, there are no lifeguards or anyone keeping an eye on you…… Love from your Mom, always.

  2. Mom, there are a few Lifeguards, they keep the beach swept and assist the little Guys who remove all the seaweed every morning… where does it all go? And that whole section, in between the main beach and the Scuba Hotel only has one spot that is over my head, I’ve been all over it, the main depth is about three feet, just over a meter. When I say “swim far” also, it is not out to sea but just through the middle of that sea pool, from one end to the other, riding on a current, if You put Your leg down a little far, You will touch the softest sandy bottom. The Cannoli de Sweet Potato is really something, familiar and strange all at once…

  3. It looks really good, though I’ve never tasted ceviche of anything. I think it is “cooked” by acids. I guess I am wary of seafood that hasn’t met fire, but it looks good. Do you eat the lettuce leaves these days in Mexico? I love the sketch of the seafront! It will make a grand painting!!

  4. Phil, I’m loving reading about your experiences there. I spent a month or 2 there in ’99 and loved it. I stayed at Poc Na Hostel near Playa Norte. If you can find La Lomita restaurant I highly recommend it. It was still there a few years ago when I went back. Excellent food at very reasonable prices. Enjoy your time and hope we can catch up at some point back in Asheville when the craziness is over.

    • Hi Luke! Thank You, I’m gonna look for La Lomita… that sounds familiar, as if I have seen in my bike rides through the streets of the Playa Norte. I’ll report back if I find it.

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