Jungle Kids

We’ve got just over two weeks until we leave Sayulita and move on to the next adventure just up the coast in Chacala.

This is about the time in every move when we start reflecting on our experience in a place. The excitement of figuring out the next adventure gets set aside momentarily as we think about what we’ll miss about the current one.

In Sayulita, there will be a lot to miss, no doubt.

One of the very best things about living in Sayulita has been the percentage of our daily lives spent outside.

There was a span of several months where we went to the beach nearly every evening at sunset for a couple of hours for sundowners and to let the kids run around and build stuff.

We’ve done more hiking than we’ve done in our entire lives. Not long hikes, but a lot of them, multiple times per week to stunning viewpoints and beautiful beaches, or just spending time in the jungle.

In fact, Noe and Riley have spent more time in the jungle than any other kids we know. It’s been amazing to see them develop as hikers and naturalists, showing a level of comfort in that environment I couldn’t have imagined ten months ago.

On top of that, Noe’s been attending a excellent little alternative school in the jungle where most of his day is spent outside in the shade of fan palms and thatch, feeling the dirt between his fingers and toes.

And from sun up to sun down, the big doors and windows of our house are open to the elements, spilling out to a large jungly backyard fronting the river.

We couldn’t have hoped for a better next move after being cooped up with each other in a house roughly the size of two shipping containers (and just as hot and stuffy) in the center of Phnom Penh during Covid restrictions.

For that, and so much more, we feel incredibly fortunate to have found ourselves here during this particular time, between the lifting of Covid restrictions in Mexico, and hordes of visitors returning en masse. We can read the writing on the wall, and it’s a good time to be moving on.

Sayulita isn’t perfect, but it’s been very good to us.

This guy’s almost ready to transition out of his crib. He’s been ready for a while, but with the boys sharing a room with one bed, we’ve been trying to push the transition off until Riley has his own bed in Chacala in September. We’ll see if Riley makes it that long.

Marking our ninth year as husband and wife with a feet-in-the-sand anniversary evening. Sundowners at Alas Blancas Bar and Thai food at Achara.

Some folks pay a lot of money to get the themselves to a place like this for their anniversary. It took us less than ten minutes from home on our golf cart.

No complaints here.

Speaking of jungle living, we’ve had all sorts of critters in and around our house over the past year (scorpions, iguanas, geckos, cockroaches, chickens, possums, Chachalacas), and this past week we finally got our first snake…that we know of.

He wasn’t a very big one, and that’s fine with me. I know how big snakes can get around here.

Back to Playa Los Muertos. After a long hiatus over winter, we’ve finally started going to Los Muertos regularly again.

Visitor numbers haven’t dropped off like we hoped they might with the arrival of rainy season. But it does seem that a bit more space has opened up for parking our umbrella and blanket.

Not like it was last October when we got here, but better than it’s been.

After-nap beach time at “Ramp Beach,” christened as such by the boys because of the long, slippery ramp that connects the parking area with the beach.

North Beach isn’t a swimming beach, per se. But the boys seem to think it’s a great place for treasure hunting and building.

This being rainy season, the boys are also finding more time for domestic arts as well.

A few weeks ago, our yard was looking like a brown wasteland. Now it’s a crazy critter haven.

Out on a walk, Riley really wanted to stop and say ‘hi’ to Tito and Tita, his adoptive abuelos (grandparents) here in Sayulita.

Folks here always seem up for an impromptu visit, especially Tito and Tita, and especially from Riley.

The view out behind our house. The Sayulita River’s on the rise.

Elsewhere in town…

The recent roadwork didn’t seem to last long.

Neither did new blacktop and filling of the pond at the end of the road. Not a surprise.

Riley, happy (too happy it seems) to be hanging out with his dear Jazmin, the woman who watched him most weekday mornings (until recently), and daughter-in-law of Tito and Tita.

Riley’s getting ready to attend summer session at his brother’s school. He loves being around other kids, but will definitely miss seeing Jazmin every day (as well as Tito and Tita).

Looks like we’re going to have to find a home for our jar collection…for the third time in as many years.

With all the storms recently, more and more debris is washing up onshore, and the water is getting pretty brown and uninviting. A good time to be heading north.

We asked Noe to go through his “treasure” chest and start getting rid of stuff in anticipation of our move. It’s not easy.

It’s full on crab season here in Nayarit! Walking the trails we’ve plied dozens of times, we were surprised to come across a handful of land crabs making homes in the sides of the hills.

Making our way down to Playa Carricitos.

Rain, rain, rain. And more rain. And yep, we got the lawn cut. So it would be usable for the last two weeks (and not a snake hideout). At the moment, it’s more swamp than lawn, but that doesn’t last long here.

Fun night out dancing and drinking tequila with live music at Don Pato. Covid cases in the U.S. have shot up over the past month. Here in Nayarit, numbers continue to be low, even into the rainy season. Go figure.

How long can an old mirror entertain a handful of preschoolers? Longer than you might think.

All dappered up on the first day of Summer Session. Riley hadn’t set foot in a school for 14 months (since his school closed in March 2020).

He was too young to join Noe at school at the beginning of this year, but was old enough by the time summer session opened.

Fortunately, he’s seemed to have slid right back into the swing of things and is really enjoying it…for now.

That looks more like the jungle hikes I remember. It’s really amazing how quickly everything greened up after seven months of no rain (and just over a month into rainy season).

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