I have a certain prejudice against Mexican beaches in August. It goes back to two horrible nights of unsuccessfully trying to sleep in a little tent on the seashore. The inside of the tent had literally been transformed into a sauna by the high heat and humidity, while outside, hordes of bloodthirsty mosquitoes hovered, just waiting for me to pull a zipper ... and to make matters worse, I couldn’t remove the rain fly because it was drizzling all night long. “Never again!” I swore.
Last week, however, my wife Susy and her sister talked me into it: “So what if it’s August! We´re not going camping. We will watch the surf from inside our air-conditioned room and stroll on the beach at night, sipping margaritas.” Ah, it sounded tempting and I gave in.
So, we made reservations at a hotel and headed for Manzanillo. I should mention that Manzanillo is a deep-water port on the coast of Colima, reachable from Guadalajara in three and a half hours via toll roads. Manzanillo is not La Manzanilla, a cute pueblito, also on the Pacific Coast, 150 kilometers south of Puerto Vallarta, nor is it La Manzanilla de la Paz, located high in the mountains near Mazamitla. No, Manzanillo is a busy city through which great numbers of freight containers pass day and night. It’s also the self-proclaimed Sailfish Capital of the World, apparently based on a catch of 336 sailfish during a tournament some 58 years ago.
We drove into Manzanillo and headed for the Marbella Hotel which had looked quite glamorous on their website, but turned out so unremarkable, we sailed right past it. “What? That was it? Do they even have a sign?”
After a glance at the exterior, Susy didn’t even want to get out of the car. I said, “The outside is dingy but maybe the rooms are gorgeous.”