Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Search for Pie - San Pancho to Sayulita

It was like a treasure hunt. Upon arrival in San Pancho, Mayte the hotel owner gave me a map. I had just walked through the tiny village and laughed smugly to myself, "This is the last place on earth I could open a pie shop." To my amazement, there on the map was an ad for Pie in the Sky Bakery.

I wasn't thinking this trip could be a tax write-off, but now I was all business. I had to find this place.

It's in another town, Mayte explained, in Bucerias. Because Bucerias is a half hour away and I didn't rent a car, I determined further research was out of the question.

By my last day here I grew restless and curious enough to at least explore the next town over, Sayulita, famous for its surf lessons. I mustered up the courage to take the bus.

Now if there was ever a question about whether or not I still have the will to live all I needed to do was sit in the front seat of a Mexican bus. During the short but windy 5 kilometer journey the driver careened around the corners as if he was driving a Porsche. It was like in a cartoon where the bus was leaning so far over it was tipping on two wheels -- and then around the next curve, like a sailboat tacking in heavy winds, whipping back around to the other side. All this with trucks passing, facing near head-on collisions. Wide eyed with my jaw dropping open I turned around to look at the passengers behind me, to see if they too thought they were about to die. But all I saw was blank impassive faces, as if this was normal. Which, in Mexico, it is. I realized I don't really want to die. At least I wouldn't want to take out a whole busload of people with me. However, the grave markers lining the road indicate it wouldn't be the first time. The driver was laughing, he might as well have been playing a video game. I made a sign of the cross to tease him, which made him laugh even harder. And I thought I was the insane one... But I digress. I was looking for pie.

I couldn't believe my luck when I stumbled upon the sign! Pie in the Sky had a location in Sayulita! I followed the arrow.

I could buy a skeleton print apron. This would be a conversation piece to wear at the National Pie Championships, I thought. But not for 38 US dollars.

I could get a hair cut.

I could buy fruit.

I could have a drink.

Better yet, a non-alcoholic one.

I could adopt a street dog.

Or two.

I could buy a bikini.

And then go surfing.

But I could not find pie.

After 6 blocks I asked around -- Donde esta Pie in the Sky? -- and learned from a real estate agent that someone used to bring pastries from the shop in Bucerias and sell them from a street cart in Sayulita. No more street cart, but they left the sign there.

No worries. I discovered Panino's Bakery instead.
And inside an abundance of breads, cinnamon rolls, muffins...and pie. The apple pie looked pie contest-worthy but all I bought was a muffin for tomorrow's breakfast.

I returned to San Pancho, flagging down the bus to get my ride back. I thought of death again -- and how maybe I'm not ready for it -- as I jumped back out of its path as it screeched from 60 mph to a halt, kicking up gravel and blowing my hair back. You want to face your mortality? A Mexican bus ride is the way!

One last stop in San Pancho before making the 2 mile walk back to my hotel -- the grocery store for more of that amoeba-fighting beverage, Yakult.
At the checkout another surprise awaited. Pie. In my bad Spanish I asked, Esta pay de queso? Yes, the clerk nodded. Cheese pie. I shook my head in disbelief. Pie? Here? Claro que si. Of course.

Clearly when we get "This American Pie" TV series made there will have to be a follow up series: "This Mexican Pie." From what I've seen so far the possibilities for pie -- or pay -- in Mexico seem endless.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pie Spotting in San Pancho

It looked like pie. And it sure got my adrenaline pumping to think...could it be....really...here in this tiny little Mexican town....? Alas, it was a crepe stand and the crepe maker cut the crepes in half for some customer to share. I still like to think of it as pie.
And yes, I had a crepe. With Nutella. Yum.

M is for...

(Photo: I is for Infinity Pool.)

I realized when I looked back on my day yesterday that it was full of Ms. My day began as it does no matter where I am, writing in my journal, writing about Marcus, writing to Marcus. In this case I was in Mexico drinking Madomi coffee. This was followed by a massage, after which I was planning to meditate, but my hotel neighbors invited into town for a margarita. (An offer I couldn't refuse.) After the tequila worked its drug-life effect into my bloodstream I was useless for the rest of the afternoon. It was all I could do just to soak in the hot tub -- and, sorry, but as hard as I tried, I could find no M word for that, not even in Spanish.
M is for the madness going on inside my head, angry at life for letting Marcus die and angry for everything else out of my control, like the weather (it was dark and cloudy here yesterday... waaaahhh!), like greed and corruption, pollution and politics, madness that makes me want to burst out of my body.
With my mind working like this, seems that maybe this solo trip to the tropics wasn't such a good idea after all.
But today is a new day. I just saw a yellow-breasted something or other fly by. I pay more attention to birds since Marcus died, as if he is a bird now flying by to say "I'm still here and I'm looking out for you, so don't worry so much!" Is my letter for the day going to be Y? Y for yellow like the bird's feathers and yellow like the sun which is now, thankfully, blazing down? Y for my internal yelling and yammering that ceases to stop? Y for the yoga I should be doing right now to calm down the existential hurricane inside me? Y for the probiotic Yakult I'm drinking to fend off another potential internal battle, that fought in the intestines known as Montezuma's Revenge?
Or maybe the letter of the day should be I -- but not for the insomnia I've had every night or the irritability that I wear around like an illness. And not for the Internet that works only intermittently here. I for imagination, illusion, impertinent, intention, independent, industrious, ideal, ingenious, isolation, indulgence, impatience, idiot? No, no, no, no, and no! (Oh, I know what you're thinking....I is for her insanity.)
I is for one thing today and one thing only. I is for the infinity pool that is about to take over where the salt left off yesterday, another attempt at curing my interminable grief and confusion. Now, if you'll excuse me, I don't want to get my laptop wet.
S is for splash! And renewed sanity, and.....