Thursday, August 22, 2013

Transition Time in Puerto - The Italian Connection

Been hiding out in Hidden Port, on the southernmost end of Mexico’s Pacific coast – a place infamous for the Mexican Pipe, both winter and summer breaks, attracting pro surfers from all over the world.The town was memorialized in an Italian cult film called Puerto Escondido – the story of a man who witnesses the polize commit murder in Milano – then escapes Italy to avoid his own assassination, hiding out in Puerto and falling in love with the laid-back Oaxacan lifestyle – until he’s eventually tracked down by the police who discover paradise here too. In the end, they all decide to give up the chase, expatriate, and  luxuriate in the Puerto sun.

Well, I’m not sure I’m staying; but while I’m here for the month recuperating from two years in the rancho, I am certainly taking advantage of the riches.  Beyond the expansive empty beaches with world-famous breakers, idyllic fishing coves and stellar sunsets, the gastronomy is out of this world.

Turns out that little indy film’s attracted a load of expat Italianos over the years – so you can get the most authentic Sicilian pizza, esperesso, gelato – the other night I ate a homemade fetuccini loaded with shrimp and calamari and octopus in a rose sauce with fresh sprigs of basil; and last night I stopped by the opening of a new Italian bakery and got to taste their focaccia fresh out of the oven.  

And then there are the local delights. The sea brings fresh tuna, snapper and mahi-mahi – shrimp, logostinos and fresh oysters you can eat on the beach as the divers are pulling them out of the water in nets. The Oaxacan tradition brings coffee, mezcal, chocolate and the infamous mole, a thick chocolate-based chile sauce that combines up to 100 different ingredients and adorns plates of chicken, pork, even eggs.

The market in the Centro is vibrant and enticing – on my first trip I bought spices and a mocajete to grind them in so I can do some cooking in my studio bungalow. I bought bulbous tomatoes and fist-sized radishes and jamaica flowers and honey to make tea. I stuffed my mesh bag with limones and chiles, a bunch of cilantro and a half kilo of jumbo shrimp to make ceviche.

Yes, it won’t be hard to settle into this lifestyle for a while – 2x1 cocktails every evening at the beach bars on Zicatela – blues night at the Rockaway lounge by the pool on Tuesdays and Salsa on Fridays.  
And for balance, I’m practicing yoga in the mornings at Vida Yoga with Sofia, downward perrito on the rooftop cabana overlooking the ocean, ahhh. Then a run on the beach and dip in the sea at sunset when the temps have cooled.

We’ll see how long it takes me to get bored with nothing more on my to-do list – except to catch a sunset.

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