March 28, 2008

La Manzanilla 'jardin' has a mascot croc living nearby

LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - The town square, referred to as the jardin by year-round residents, is the hub of life here with merchants, kids bouncing on trampolines, food vendors that set up with plastic tables, people selling recorded music, and families strolling. It's more lively at night, but almost anytime of the day, there's something going on.

And at its westerly edge is Tenacatita Bay and a small arroyo that during summer roars with mountain rain water out into the ocean, a seasonal river that actually knocked out a footbridge and did some serious damage to the small walkway last year.

Sidewalk with serious issues
A sidewalk with issues

This sidewalk - or what is left of it - is a good reminder to everyone that in Mexico, it's reallllllly important to watch where you step. I tiptoed over some of the broken sidewalk yesterday, remembering that if I fell and got hurt, it was my problem, not the city or the owners of the property.

What a novel concept! Watch where you're going.

What had me tiptoeing around was that I had heard there was a crocodile living in the swamp area there, a shallow pool that runs back close to the famous Martin's Restaurant, the site of many dinner and lunches with friends since the Admiral and I first came to La Manzanilla eight years ago.

Famous Martin's Restaurant
Martin's Restaurant, a block off the square

Martin's has grown from a one-man operation into a full-fledged place, though you still get very personal service from Martin. If he personally mixes your margarita, one is probably plenty for most folks.

But while I was gazing at the ocean and the arroyo, I noticed what I thought was a log drifting across the water. Then I realized that the log was actually going against the wind.

Young croc swimming
Young croc heading for a spot to catch some rays

Young croc near Martin's Restaurant
On the mudflats, getting warmed up

This little fellow is about a meter long and a teenage boy tried for awhile to snare him with a broomhandle and a piece of clothesline, while standing safely up on the concrete.

What exactly he would have done with the croc, had he caught him, would have been very interesting to watch, from a distance.

I'll check out the jardin later today to see if any intrepid teenage crocodile hunters are at work. This expedition cries out for the video camera.

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