Tag Archives: road trip

two weekends ago we were in whistler. then last weekend we drove down to seattle to see nayou’s aunt, uncle and cousins. well, the main reason we went down was because brenda and nayou were flying to san francisco, and it was way cheaper to fly domestic than from vancouver. but getting to spend time with angel, heidi, penelope and paloma is always a bonus as well. we barely saw nayou after we walked in the door as he was pretty much glued to penelope the whole time.

20131114_03 the weekend flew by quickly and before i knew it i was bidding adieu to my family as they embarked on a three week journey to see various members of the diaz family. thank god for modern technology because i think i would go crazy missing them without it. i’m enjoying my temporary bachelorhood, but life is definitely a little less full without brenda and nayou around!

the two of them are having fun in san francisco. the chimbies, as the twins are now known, have grown up so much! i’m glad nayou is getting quality time with lots of his cousins. being able to do these kinds of visits is a big reason why we chose to move to vancouver 🙂

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i can’t believe how big nayou is compared to these eleven month olds! it seems like he was that little only a short while ago 🙂

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Its been almost six weeks since we left Mexico behind and hauled ourselves up north. Now that I’m back at work full time, its been hard to find the time to update the blog. In fact, I’m typing this at a noodle bar during my lunch break!

Our car has been super awesome. Vancouver still has a ways to go in terms of car share services and public transport outside of the downtown area, and it became clear to us early on that we were going to need wheels. Brenda stepped up to the challenge and spent many hours combing through ads on craigslist before finding our 2003 Honda CR-V. It is so much nicer to be able to get around in a car, especially north toward the mountains. There is a place called Rice lake which is about ten minutes drive from our house. Its so close, but the old growth forest you step into makes you feel like you are world away. The government stocks the lake with trout so there is plenty of fishing there as well!

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You can start to see why people are nature lovers out here. And speaking of wheels, Nayou got himself a bike! Check out his mad hipster steez:

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Another reason for the long interval between posts was the fact that I went down to LA for two weeks. Because Sony’s Vancouver office is a satellite office, it can be hard for newcomers like myself to get going. So they flew me down for some training which was super fun. I met all the people I am working with, plus got all of the political and historical gossip I needed to function properly up here. I stayed in a historic hotel about five minutes walk from work, with a cinema next door and a yoga studio steps away. Not to mention a gazillion restaurants all over the place. Needless to say, I was pretty happy! I got a chance to see a fair bit of Aya and Ryan, although we were horrible Japanese people and took pitifully few photos. Our ancestors would be ashamed. We did manage to take one at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl though!


While I was in LA, Brenda and Nayou took the new car for a spin down to Seattle. It takes about three hours each way including the time spent at the border, which isn’t too bad. The last time we were all there in January Nayou and his cousin Penelope bonded really fast, and this they were inseparable as well. Its so cool to see the cousins getting along well. One of the main motivations for sticking along the west coast was to be closer to family and it makes me happy to see it paying dividends already.

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IMG_6828Here is Nayou attacking a ginormous plate of pancakes at the Coastal Kitchen in Seattle. I remember back in the days when Brenda and I had first started dating we would go there for brunch often. Kind of cool to see Nayou chowing down there now.


Speaking of ginormous plates, one of the things I have noticed about Vancouver is that their portion sizes are huge! In Mexico they are big but still small enough that Brenda and I would usually order a main dish each. But up here it makes more sense to share and even then I still end up full!

Another bonus about being in Canada – a working postal service! Thanks to Kiki and grandma who have been sending care packages up to us. Nayou loves getting them 🙂

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Here are some other photos to finish up.

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our next stop was guadalajara, mexico’s second biggest city with over four million people. we could tell it was big because we got a bit lost finding our hotel, but once we did we were so happy! the place is called la villa del ensueno and it was super cute. lots of tile and nice colours, which was nice because the weather was all rainy and grey.

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the hotel was about a ten minute walk to an area called tlaquepaque (t-la-ke-pa-ke, seriously).


we saw this dude on the corner along the way. brenda captured the moment in another of her gorgeous iphone snaps. some of these scenes remind me of paintings.


mexicans definitely know a thing or to about colour, especially when it comes to painting your house. these were all shot against someone’s concrete fence. they were somewhere along this road…


tlaquepaque is famous for its furniture and artisan stores which are made super accessible by a big wide pedestrian street. the area was a good mix of genuine artsyness and trendy design. we had a lot of fun just wandering in and out of shops and horsing around.

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brenda got a new hat. nayou got to wear it 😉


all the stores had really interesting things for sale. i saw some amazing low wooden coffee tables that i’m still kind of lusting after, but forgot to take any photos…



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there was a sergio bustamante gallery which was fun to visit.

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i love this one bodie took. peep the doll peeking out from inside the newspaper:


we ate some grasshoppers at a funky restaurant with an amazing mural:

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even the school buses are beautiful:


on saturday night we ate at a hipster shabby-chic restaurant. i wore my raggedy old t-shirt with holes all over it and no-one bat an eye. at least i was wearing close toe shoes.

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we took turns taking photos of each other in tlaquepaque plaza:

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the weather wasn’t so good, we were all kind of under the weather, but we had so much fun! it was exciting to be back in a big city again. visiting guadalajara was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.



after our great road trip kick off in san blas, it was time to turn away from the ocean and head into the mountains. our destination was amatlan de cañas, a small town situated in a valley about 100km inland. the highways got wider and better maintained, and i actually enjoyed driving on the mexican autobahns for a change. i love the colours in this photo, even though its an ad for a craptastic company.



just before amatlan there is a small pueblo called el rosario which we stopped at to buy some fruit. we arrived late in the afternoon and it seemed like everyone was taking their siesta or something because it was very very quiet.


we couldn’t find a fruteria, but we did stop at the plaza and had a nice chat with two older dudes who sat down for a yarn.

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we eventually made our way to amatlan and grabbed some food there before checking into our room at los pavos reales.




the grounds of the resort are huge and immaculately maintained. there is a huge lawn with a swimming pool in the middle and some rooms on the side. peacocks and dwarf chickens run around and keep you company. which was a good thing because we had the whole place to ourselves! one of the perks of travelling on low season i suppose.




the main reason why we decided to come to amatlan was to visit el manto. brenda, bodie and i were all super keen to check out the gorgeous waterfalls, but unfortunately our plan was foiled. they were doing some big construction up at the falls and you could only go and see them, not swim in them. it was a bit of a bummer, but luckily for us amatlan happens to have some hot springs right in town! so we hoofed it over to the hot spring place, stopping at a big pink wall to take some photos. i love the whole series… each one is a classic!

20130914_26 20130914_27 20130914_28 20130914_29 20130914_30the hot springs were very mexican – lots of concrete and things that would make litigious lawyers salivate. like a mostly empty pool with no fence with scalding hot water pouring into it.


makes for a good photo op though!


we soaked ourselves in the mineral rich water and felt much better. the weather in amatlan was waaaay colder than what we were used to in sayulita. in fact, this was around the time when everyone except brenda started to feel a little run down. so we kept it low key and played cards, ate lots and took walks. bodie also introduced nayou to netflix, which has now launched a whole new level of cartoon watching. um, thanks, bodie. i guess.


us hippies attracted a lot of stares as we wended our way through the streets.


and what beautiful streets they were. these smaller towns have so much character to them.

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nothing like a good photobomb to ruin an otherwise nice photo.

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love this one of nayou picking up some treasure or other.

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even though we didn’t get to go to el manto, the trip to amatlan was definitely worth it. we got to laze around in some hot springs, take leisurely strolls and hang out in a nice place. not bad at all really. thanks, amatlan! we hope to visit you again!


while uncle bodie was visiting we finally got off our lazy bums and went on a road trip. sayulita has this way of sucking us in and keeping us content in its warm, occasionally scorching embrace, but we managed to break out of orbit and see some more of this amazing country.

our first stop was to san blas. we’ve visited san blas before, and we had so much fun it was worth a return visit. our main goal was to go and do the tour through the mangrove forest, which was a real highlight of our previous stay in mexico.

we fanged it up north in about three hours and parked ourselves back at stoner’s surf camp, at exactly the same table we were three years ago. it felt a bit like we swapped sayulita’s beach for san blas’, but you can never have a bad time watching the waves go by!

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our friend risa hooked us up with a big comfy room at casa roxanna bungalows, so we had a good night’s sleep before heading out to the mangroves in the morning. on the way we saw a cute dog with some amazing teeth.


i have a soft spot in my heart for canines with underbites, and that doggie had one for the guinness book of wold records!

the tour of the mangrove area was fun. we basically sat in a boat while our guide motored us through this beautiful ecosystem. a tough way to spend an hour. we saw lots of birds, a handful of crocodiles and some turtles.


the tour ends at this freshwater lagoon where you can swim around with a bunch of fish. its fenced off from the crocs of course!


after the tour was done, it was time to hop back into our trusty nissan tiida and head inland for amatlan de cañas. which will be the subject of another post because its getting late and i need to get to bed!



its a testament to how awesome sayulita is that despite being here for almost nine months, we have only done one road trip. its just so easy to live here –  nayou has plenty of friends, the beach and surf is just down the road, and we love our house. now that our departure is imminent, we started wondering whether we should have explored more and so we decided to take a quick trip up north to a town called san blas. we went with our friends sondra and risa. oh, and risa’s dog snickers as well.


the drive up there was gorgeous – lots of mango groves and long, wide beaches. we drove at a leisurely pace and slowed it down even further once we got into town. risa is from san blas so we had the inside track on all the good surf spots and places to go. she took us to stoner’s surf camp, and that’s pretty much where we ended up spending most of our time. the place is a big palapa with some cabins and is right on the beach. they serve food and you can lounge around in the hammocks they have scattered around the place. paradise.






the only things keeping san blas from becoming as developed are the mosquitoes and the sand flies. they come out in droves during sunrise and sunset, and are impossible to avoid. the sand flies are so small that they can get through mosquito nets! luckily we were staying in an apartment in town and not on the beach, so things weren’t too bad, but nayou still came home with tons of bites on his face.

the surf in san blas was phenomenal. there are a bunch of breaks to choose from, but we just surfed one called second jetty. on our second day i had what might just be the best surf day of my life. in the morning we went to second jetty where the waves where huge – around 3-4 meters (10-13 feet) – and steep, but also very forgiving. brenda and i caught some heart pumpers out there! one of the things i love about surfing is that it really challenges you to put faith in yourself. on bigger waves my mind often starts freaking out when i’m about to drop down its face, but i’ve learned to trust my abilities and trust my body. sure there is skill involved but its also about just letting go. when you’re dropping down the face of that wave there’s no time for thinking – you’re completely in the moment. yet another way that yoga and surfing are similar to each other. check out risa and sondra’s post-surf faces. those are some happy ladies right there!


for sunset we went to a place called aticama. it was a left break so we got to practice our backside turns and take in the beautiful views. the best part about both places? there were never more than four or five people in the water. having all the waves to yourself is such a special thing, especially coming from the crowded waters of sayulita.

the town of aticama is a weird place though – there were lots of guys ogling the ladies as they went out to surf, and there was one guy who kept on following nayou and i around, but we managed to shake him and have a good time running around.




on our last day we spent the morning taking a boat through the mangroves. the area around san blas has many rivers feeding into the ocean and is home to many birds and crocodiles.






the boat took us to this restaurant at the end of the river where we could also splash around in the water. luckily for us they had fenced off a section so it would be croc free! as of late nayou has been obsessed with being in water. he was ambivalent about the ocean and pools until last week when some switch inside him flipped. now he wants to swim at every chance he can get!




we were only gone for four days but it was a great adventure for all of us. on the way home we hit up one of the many colourful fruit stands that line the highway, making brenda very happy. the yellow stack on the right are mangoes. a sight like that is the stuff fantasies are made of.


two days after we got home we took the plunge and booked our tickets to maryland. now we have a concrete departure date, which is may 29th. 18 more days to go. its really hard to believe that our stint here is coming to an end – we all knew the day had to come sooner or later, but our stay here has been so awesome its hard to imagine going anywhere else and being as happy. perhaps this will mean that we’ll try and come back here permanently later… who knows? at least our next stops will be into the loving arms of nayou’s grandparents.