Last updateMon, 19 Aug 2013 2pm

Back You are here: Home Expat Living Expat Living Pacific Coast La Manzanilla Memo La Manzanilla Memo - March 17, 2012

La Manzanilla Memo - March 17, 2012

Light at end of the tunnel

As this year’s “Season” in La Manzanilla draws its final gasps … I’m ready to press a pillow over its face to help it along.  Enough, already! The Season started with a hurricane (Jova) and will end with Semana Santa – similar phenomena, in my opinion.  In between, hardly a day passed that something reportable wasn’t going on.  Plus, day/night-trippers from Manzanillo to Arroyo Seco added more strange faces to the people I already don’t know who winter here. I´ll gladly accept some cheese to go with this whine, but I didn’t retire to be this busy.

I bid everyone a fond “Adios!” as planes, RVs, and automobiles carry them off to wherever in the US and Canada they spend their summers.  As La Manzanilla’s population dwindles, so do the activities they supported while they were here.  Days are numbered for yoga and pilates, bridge, Wednesday Men’s Breakfasts, jam sessions and live music, art, language, dance and cooking classes, whale watching and eco-tours, and on and on.  Lights will soon blink out in a few popular seasonal bistros and eateries.  Events over the past few weeks have been tagged “last of the season.”

One-Act Stands

Bare Bones Productions, La Manzanilla’s readers theatre group, lowered the curtain on their season to a standing-room-only crowd at Las Cabañas restaurant on March 5th. Cast members alternated time in the spotlight through a series of unrelated one-act plays – appropriately titled “Four, Cute, Shorts” – with particular appeal to the Senior set.

In “God’s Waiting Room,” by Betty Lloyd Robinson of Ajijic’s Naked Stage, Valerie Denford and Arleen Pace discussed how they came to be recently deceased.  One, convinced that her husband was having an affair, died of a heart attack after searching the house for proof of his infidelity.  The other froze to death, hiding in the freezer, the one place the wife never checked.

Valerie and Arleen were joined by Rhema Cossever and Ginger “Jose” Rogers in “Going Home.” In this play by Thomas Balmos, adapted by Pace, four dotty old ladies compared getting into heaven to waiting in line at the DMV.  Discussing their expectations of the hereafter and their lives on earth, one of them admitted that she’d been widowed three times.  Two husbands met their demise from eating poisoned mushrooms, and the third one had to die because he wouldn’t eat the mushrooms.

“Footsteps of Doves”, by Robert Anderson, featured Valerie and Bud Cohen as a long-time married couple in a furniture store debating what size new bed to buy. He favored replacing their two singles; she thought they should try a double.  As Jose, the snippy saleswoman, left them to their own devices, and Valerie went off in search of alternatives, kittenish siren Cossever joined Cohen on the double bed he was testing.  After much innuendo and an exchange of addresses with his new “friend,” he surprised his unsuspecting wife by agreeing to a double bed.  Arleen Pace narrated.

The evening’s show closed with “I’m Herbert,” also by Robert Anderson.  George Rachlin and his current wife, Rogers, reminisced about their complicated and interwoven pasts, filled with names and events neither of them could keep straight.  The result was a “Who’s on First”-style interlude of often hilarious old-age proportions.

Technical support was provided by Scottie Turner on sound and Jon Pace on lights.  Arleen Pace, who directs Bare Bones Productions, has been involved with Naked Stage and is actively involved in the Lakeside Little Theater (LLT).


Billed by an overstimulated ad writer as “the hottest international live entertainment extravaganza available in La Manzanilla without a cover charge,” Palapa Joe’s ended the season on its popular Open Mic Night with a knock-out lineup of talent on March 3.  Musicians from the U.S., Canada and Mexico rocked the house virtually non-stop for over three hours, many interspersing their classic rock and blues hits with original compositions.  A few folk music, Celtic sing-along, and spoken-word performances provided the enthusiastic audience, ranging from toddlers to octogenarians, occasional opportunities to sit down.

While many players were from out of town, the evening also included performances by people who actually reside here.  Nine-year old “La Manzanilla Lyle” Nery made his stage debut with a poetry reading and a piano piece.  Jonathon Villalba, 22-year old Marisco’s Deli worker, belied his age and Mexican ancestry by slamming out Stones’ and Beatles’ hits on his electric guitar, prompting a mad rush to the dance floor.  You could hear a pin drop during the otherwise raucous evening as Fran “K” wowed the crowd with her crystaline voice and soft guitar ballads.

No Open Mic Night would be complete without an appearance by Palapa Joe’s house band, the Lounge Lizards.  Guitarist Willy Mason and harp man “Dangerous” Dan Crosby did a rocking blues set that kept everyone on their feet.  After the show-closing, obligatory jam catering to the energy of the remaining hard-core set, the emcee (yours truly) was relieved to say “Goodnight ‘til next season.”

New road to Arroyo Seco

Graders, dump trucks, earthmoving equipment and a handful of top officials from La Huerta descended on this small seaside community north of La Manzanilla recently.  All were greeted with smiles and applause from approximately 150 Arroyo Seco residents.  The occasion was to inaugurate the widening and paving of the 3.7-kilometer road from Highway 200 into the village.

Anyone who’s driven this scenic stretch of bad road, meandering through acres of lush farmland and orchards, at times along the river bed, would swear it’s longer than 2.22 miles.  Ruts, washboards, and potholes necessitate driving slowly enough to be outdistanced by a power-walking senior citizen.  Speed up and create a curtain of dust like the habob that enveloped Phoenix last summer.  The beaches at the other end of the road, however, make the seemingly endless trek worthwhile.

Carlos Ramirez, La Huerta mayor who was on hand for the celebration, promised the reconstruction would be completed by the end of the year.  Meanwhile, some Arroyo Seco skeptics wonder just how far the new road actually will go.  It’s closer to six kilometers from the highway to the beach, they say, and guesstimate the pavement will end about where the village begins.  Oh well, getting that far will be easier.

The road improvement project also precipitated rumors that the government was paving the way for developers to build a huge marina for ocean-going yachts in the laguna Arroyo Seco shares with the property of the abandoned El Tecuan hotel.  La Huerta’s department of public works categorically denied that information.

Site Map

Join Us!


  • Submit a Story
  • Submit Letter
  • Suggestion Box