Zijua on film

Yashica 33mm + Fuji Pro 400H film

My parent’s stories came to life.

For over a decade now my mom & dad have been exploring a little town in Mexico called Zihuatanejo. I haven’t been since I was in seventh grade & beyond the geckos crawling across our wall, & the much-needed aloe vera after my brother & I fried ourselves the first day, I just remembered this spot as a quaint & serene beach town. I only brought my film camera with me because I wanted to make sure I stayed present. My little 35mm Yashica camera was gifted to me by my father around the same time as my first Zihua trip & it’s the best travel companion. I packed up eight rolls of Fuji pro 400H film, two bathing suits, my current Black History Month read, “The Warmth of Other Suns”, & ample sunscreen.

My bronzed parents shouted “hola” as I stepped off the plane, everything already feeling warm & bright. Their taxi-friend Carlos drove us through the winding roads as my parents pointed out the open-air club where they saw Jose Luis play on Monday night & the supermercado that they walked all the way to yesterday morning. As I sat with my parents, listened, laughed, ate, walked & learned how to captain a Hobie Cat, all of their stories came to life. I now know the richer version of my parents’ Zihua love story.

I now know that Araceli makes mean Chiliquiles, among many other traditional plates, & is the mother of Cinco Sentidos. I would stay there again & again, a perfectly fancy, white adobe, beautiful, 6-room resort laced with palms, just up from Playa La Ropa. I know that Salvador treats all of his dinner guests like family at Tentaciones & their 180 degree oceanfront sunset view & five-course prefix menu is worth every peso. I know that if you get to La Perla at La Ropa before 1030AM, 100 pesos will get you three chairs & a table for the day. They serve their Coca-Cola with a straw in a glass bottle, & will slice up your coconut meat after you drink your agua de coco from the whole coconut that it’s served in. The peanut guy will come by around mid-day & leave a peanut on your table as a teaser. You better crack it open quick & buy that tasty bag that you’re inevitably going to buy or the Great-tailed Grackles will beat you to it. I know that La Concha is a family spot on Sundays, & everyone gathers for food & a 730PM performance. I know that if you beat the early sun, the fishermen come in at sunrise, line their boats up along the shore, & sell the freshest catches. I know that you can take a panga for 50 pesos from the dock over to Las Gatas. There you can see the underwater Jesus statue & where Owen Lee (author of “Prisoner in Paradise”) once ran an ecological resort. I know that Temo from Sport Fishing is your guy if you want to do any inshore or offshore fishing excursions. I know that the mercado is packed on the weekends, but experiencing the hustle & bustle as locals wind their way through the skinned chickens & tortilla presses, is all part of it. I know that Bandito’s looks like a gringo sports bar, & while that’s exactly what it is, their molcajete is off the charts, they have great live music, & you can find Don Julio 1942 for 12 bucks a shot. My mom loves pozole & will eat it for every meal. Thursday is the big day for this traditional soup in Zihua, so head to Fonda Doña Licha or Rico Mar when you’re nearing the week’s end. I know that I can hop on the Combi to get into town for 8 1/2 pesos. I also know that they don’t give change or stop on hills, so collect your coins, find a good flat hailing spot & watch your head on entry & exit -it’s not meant for those much taller than 5′! If you want to get out & away from it all, Playa Larga is 9 miles of desolate beach & incredible booming waves. There’s a beachfront restaurant called Popeyes that has thick tortillas, spicy salsa & does their filete de pescado a la plancha buttery & perfectly. I know to always get huitlacoche when it’s on a menu & that brucetta de camarones is reliable & deliciosa!

I know that film lets me slow down. I know that Latin America does that too. I know that I love my parents & their special Zihua story where Bouganvilla grows in abundance & pictures turn out more colorfully then you can even remember.

Follow in our footsteps -visit these fun spots when you explore!

Hotel Accomodations Cinco Sentidos, La Quinta de Don Andres
Beaches Playa La Ropa, Las Gatas, Playa Larga
Restaurants Tentaciones, Fonda Doña Licha, Rico Mar, Carmelitas, Banditos, Coconuts, La Gula

A big cheers to everyone who made us giggle & toast along this incredible journey!

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