bucket list: 2010 – june

PUNTA MITA:  Is there anything better than room service at a Four Seasons?  Actually, there is: a lounge chair lunch on the beach at Four Seasons Punta Mita, looking out at the Pacific Ocean. Some hotels treat you like a guest; others make you feel like a king.  Take me back to Punta Mita anytime:  I was treated like visiting royalty – even down to the stunning Mexican sunsets.  (Though I must give special props to Imanta, too, on the road to Sayulita.  The ceviche was inspired and the spectacle of thousands of crabs migrating down from the hills was a scene out of a horror film I won’t soon forget.)

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adios imanta

One last look at Imanta – just because architecturally I really do love how the complex integrates into the environment rather than disturbing it or being obtrusive.  From the locally quarried stone and responsibly harvested wood, to the black slate pools and minimalist interiors, it’s an obvious design (and ethos) homage to Aman Resorts, but who cares?  Conceptually the idea of high-style/low-impact is a new thing for Mexico, land of the gringo-driven, mega-resort beach hotel, so any place that can make good on the promise of sustainability deserves credit in my book.  To do so with a flash of wit or whimsy only heightens the seduction for this traveler.

By the way, Imanta is only three months old.  They’re just getting their sea legs, so to speak, but are off to a stellar start.  I’m looking forward to watching this one grow up.

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comidas a la playa – parte dos

Despite my misgivings about the crab infestation at Imanta, I couldn’t help myself when a big bowl of ceviche was put in front of me under a tent along the beach – though it was just a little bit odd to be eating with one eye cocked under the table, waiting for the siege to begin.  Thankfully, a vigilant waiter soon stood by at the ready, so I could enjoy lunch as well as the limitless ocean view.

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crabs! (the musical?)

Over the hill that dominates the peninsula of Punta Mita, the road leads up the Pacific coast towards the expat surf town of Sayulita.  A few miles to the south of there I visited Imanta, a new eco-concious resort of seven casas that blend seamlessly into the rugged coastal landscape.  As eye-catching as the accommodations were, however, it’s the critters underfoot that had me fascinated:  land crabs – all about the size of my palm.  At first there seemed to be a handful scattered about near the palapa that serves as a reception area, including a few bright red “queens”. However, as we made our way down the hill towards the beach, the pathway was littered with crabs scurrying to escape the crunching wheels of the golf cart.  The crabs were no longer a curiosity, they were a horror film.  Or a musical, depending on your mindset.  I half-expected them to start caterwauling down from the trees.  Arriving at the beach I now saw a plague of crabs – literally hundreds, if not thousands  -  digging holes in the sand with their dominant claws.  The enterprise looked like a giant anthill or termite colony spreading out laterally across the sand.  Every human step suddenly became an invitation to accidentally break through and be devoured inside the intricate network of subterranean crab lairs.  “Crab,” I heard Roy Scheider shouting in the back of my head.  “Crab!!!”

I soon discovered that there is a great crab migration which takes place annually along this coast.  Descending from the hills with their sacs of eggs, the crabs bury the kids in the sand before retreating back to the hills.  The whole process takes place in waves over a few weeks time and once the little guys hatch, they, too, go running back from whence they came.

Needless to say I became somewhat obsessed and horrified by the photo-shy crabs, to the point of accidentally chasing one unfortunate guy up a tree.  Despite the claws they are far more afraid of us than we are of them.  A stretch of freshly swept beach became a tapestry of crab retreat in the blink of an eye as one small group of crabs scurried away. I still keep thinking about what a great textile the pattern would make:  crab tracks.

As interesting as it was to observe all of this crustacean activity for an afternoon – and I won’t even get into lunch – I don’t think I’d warm to staying at Imanta during the great crab migration.  I kept flashing back to all of those over-the-top, Nixon-fueled  eco-disaster films of the late 70’s and early 80’s:  The Swarm, Food of the Gods, etc.  My fear of becoming some other creature’s dinner would ensure I never slept a wink – no matter how high the thread-count of those Egyptian cotton sheets.

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