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Mex Life | A Sayulita Thanksgiving

Fun with baby sea turtles on the beach, colorful sunsets, more jungle hikes, and a special day done low key…just the way we like ’em.

28 November 2021

Six weeks in Sayulita now, and we’ve settled into something of a rhythm daily life, despite a few bumps along the way.

Mid-November was defined by the sudden ten-day closure of Noe’s school, and a flurry of activity in the vacation homes near ours.

We knew that things would start to get busy as we approached the Mexican holiday break (Christmas/New Years), but hoped we wouldn’t start seeing signs of that until December.

Well, Christmas came early this year.

Fortunately, most of the influx hasn’t started to overflow onto the hiking trails we’ve been enjoying.

Which brings us to, you guessed it! Another hike!

It may seem like we don’t do anything but hang out on the beach and hike all day.

True, our “leisure time” is 90% devoted to those sorts of activities (I put that in quotes because anyone who’s had small children knows leisure time is anything but).

And Lori and I are fortunate to have a bit more of it here than we’ve had in the past, owing to the flexible hours and location-independent nature of our work.

However, the bulk of our waking hours are still devoted to work, wrangling the boys throughout their daily routine, and household/life maintenance.

I probably should write more about those things, but I already spend enough time in front of a screen these days as it is, growing the business side of this site and writing for others.

When I do have free time, the beach and jungle calls. And when I write for fun, that’s usually what gets talked about.

Perhaps I’ll write more about our daily routine in the future…when the weather isn’t so darn nice all the time.

Noe and I find ourselves back at the Snake House. This time, we’re not going over the headland. We’ve just come to pay our respects before heading inland.

Why do we call it the “snake house,” you ask?

There’s no better way in my mind to spend a school closure day with your 4-year-old than going on a hike. But when you have weather like this and hikes like these, you’d be crazy not to.

I’ve been pining after good hiking for years. It’s something I really wanted to be able to do with both boys when they were more portable.

In Laos, I was home alone with both boys for several months when they were infants. Some days, I wanted nothing more than to hop into a car and head to a trailhead. As I had access to neither, the boys and I settled for sweaty morning walks around the neighborhood, visits to temples, and coffee shops.

In the last year living in Vientiane, I finally got a bike, which was life changing. But it just wasn’t the same as a good hiking trail.

In Sayulita, we’ve got numerous choices in that respect, and we try to take advantage of them as much as possible, particularly given that there’s just no one on them mid week.

Does it mean that I’ll be staying up past midnight to do work today? Yep. But it’s a small price to pay to be out and about (and not have Noe cooped up at the house on such a nice day).

Back at Playa Malpaso for a snack break and some builder time before starting the journey back.

 

 

Someone’s got the right idea.

 

This was a big deal today. Up until now, I’ve had to hold Noe’s hand to cross this stream. Today, he decided he wanted to brave the crossing all by himself, hopping from rock to rock with the help of his trusty walking stick. No problem.

In fact, he hiked the vast majority of the trail completely on his own today, including the really steep and slippery parts.

 

 

Someone’s excited to eat. Actually, he has his own seat for that. He just climbed up to make faces across daddy’s “desk.”

Enjoying the relative solitude of North Beach before the crowds take over town for the holidays.

Back to Malpaso, with mommy and Riley. Noe’s excited to show off his skills.

 

 

It’s convenient that our golf cart has four cup holders. I’m not sure how else I’d carry my beer home from the store!

And nope, no Corona in this cart today.

It’s really a shame that Mexico’s craft beers don’t make it north of the border. Good stuff!

Does your pizza come with a fire-juggling unicyclist? Uh huh.

Sayulita’s central plaza in the evening. This pic was taken a week before Nayarit State was downgraded to “Orange” and it became a civil offense not to wear a mask walking around in public.

Covid cases have remained low in the Sayulita area, but an increase in cases in the capital, Tepic, prompted the change. Still, case numbers are nothing compared to Mexico City, or even Jalisco state to the south.

This is Sayulita’s famous Iguana Tree. There always seems to be a gaggle of iguanas on it. Go figure.

Can you count them all? (Hint: There’s more than 3).

A low key Sunday morning at Playa Los Muertos. We come here every weekend because it’s the best beach for swimming for the boys.

I was particularly excited about this visit because my snorkeling fins arrived in the mail last week.

I brought my snorkel and mask, but found the surf and surge to be a bit much for barefooting it out around the big rocks.

The verdict? The snorkeling far exceeded my expectations. I was very pleased with the numbers and variety of colorful marine life around the big rock to the west of Los Muertos. And today’s conditions were just about perfect.

I’ve spent half my adult life living within 5 miles of the ocean, but never anywhere with decent snorkeling so close and accessible.

I knew people snorkeled in town, but assumed there wouldn’t be much to see. So I’m pretty stoked about this discovery.

Noe and Riley got a kick out of watching me from here, poking around in the cove. Noe of course wants to come along. I told him we’d look into his own snorkel gear once he gets just a bit more confident with his swimming.

The boys enjoying an evening Marco Polo from one of the grandparents.

Lori’s “office” these days.

And Riley’s…

 

 

Noe still takes a nap these days. By the afternoon he’s pretty wiped and ready to hop in to bed for an hour or two. If he doesn’t grab a nap, he gets unreasonably cranky around dinner time.

His nap also tends to coincide with Riley’s, which is great. But that means Noe’s usually up before the rest of us in the morning.

The boys share a room, and Riley usually sleeps another hour, so we set aside a little space in the front entry way for Noe to play and do his “projects”.

Sunrise doesn’t happen until almost 8am these days, so Noe also has commandeered Lori’s headlamp for his morning activities. Fortunately, we’ve got rechargeable batteries.

Farther up North Beach, there is a sea turtle sanctuary where every evening this time of year they let kids help release baby sea turtles into the ocean.

The surf was moderate, so it took about 15 minutes for the turtles to reach their destination. But they got there.

The volunteers who run the operation gave a little spiel beforehand on the importance of conservation, preserving the turtles habitat, and the reduction of single-use plastics, which break down into micro plastics and end up getting ingested by sea turtles and other marine life.

For the next several days, Noe was very keen to point this out when we’d come across straws or plastic bags and talked about the sea turtles relentlessly.

Who knew that the volunteers’ talk would leave such an impression on a four-year-old?

A better shot of the brick cupola ceiling in the house. A pretty amazing touch for a private residence, if a bit over the top.

 

One thing I didn’t mention in our little virtual tour of the house was the rooftop terrace, which has become Lori’s yoga space and my evening man space. No kids allowed.

We initially weren’t sure what we wanted to do with the area, but have a few ideas now.

At the very least, it will be my barbecue area and where Lori does her sunrise yoga. Right now, during the day, it gets too hot up here to do much else.

And, in case you were curious, that over there is the top of the cupola over the living room and kitchen.

In other news, Riley was inspired by his brother’s new carpentry belt that he went and made his own. He was very eager to show off his handiwork.

 

Central Sayulita, heading west on Av. Revolucion.

Sayulita’s vicious and terrifying roof dogs.

So, what’s Thanksgiving like in Sayulita? You’re looking at it. Holidays with us are pretty low key as it is. U.S. holidays spent overseas are even more so.

One tradition we managed to keep alive for several years going as far back as our time in Washington, DC, was going out to a Korean restaurant on Thanksgiving. Long story. But it stuck over the years, through our time in Laos.

No Korean restaurants here. But we have something else in mind.

But first, we thought it might be a good opportunity to finally snap a few decent shots of the brothers all dolled up (or as much as we ever do for nice pics).

 

There are exactly two Asian food restaurants in Sayulita, an upmarket Thai restaurant, and a pretty shady looking Chinese fast-food place.

Can you guess which one we went to on Thanksgiving?

Nope, not the shady looking Chinese food place. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

The Thai food was pretty darn good, if a bit pricier than we’d like to pay (and about four times as much as we would ever dream of paying for something similar in Southeast Asia).

The boys liked the food, but Noe liked the live music next door even more.

 

I know, I know. Enough with the beach pics. But this update covers the span of about ten days, and a lot of our best pics of the boys happen while we’re at the beach. So, that’s just kind of how it is these days.

Noe busied himself at sunset on Playa Carricitos the way he normally does.

The same can be said for Riley…

ME: Looks like it’s gonna be a bath night.

LORI: Nah, I’ll just use a wipe.

And, a couple more from Los Muertos to round out the month of November.

This visit to Playa Los Muertos ends up being our last for several weeks. Just as I was getting my feet wet again with snorkeling, the overnight temperature started to head south, and with it, the temperature of the water.

Since we arrived in late October, the surface temperature has dropped about ten degrees. Coming from Southeast Asia where the sea stays roughly the same warm temperature year round, we weren’t exactly expecting this.

It’ll be interesting to see just how cool things get here in the next couple of months. Will we actually have to break out cool weather clothes for Christmas this year? Something tells me we’ll find out soon enough.

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JAN FULLERTON
JAN FULLERTON

Love these pictures of your family and “beach adventures.” Your boys are so very photogenic!! Sayulita looks like a wonderful place to live life to its fullest!!