In 1960, Yelapa was primitive and sweet. Our palapa was half way up the hill on the left looking out at the water. As all the palapas at the time, our floor was made of stones from the beach. There was a separate sleeping loft, a well, and a latrine. There was no electricity and no running water. We bathed in the stream. Rent was $25 US a month.
There was a bar on the beach where the single daily boat came in, but nobody knew who’s it was. You just helped yourself and left your money in a jar on the counter. Usually a peso, eight cents at the time. Only day trippers were on the beach, and there were never more than a couple of them.
Everything was a peso. Young boys would climb the tall papayas adjacent to your palapa and harvest the fruit for you – for a peso. In the evenings, local people would walk the paths selling food. A stack of tortillas for – a peso. All the shrimp you could scoop out of a bucket with both hands for – a peso. Once a week or so this old gentleman would come down out of the hills, his burro carrying two basketed demijohns of raicilla, and would fill any bottle you might have for – a peso.
There were no radios or Ipods, but people sang all the time. You could also listen to the haunting sounds of vast colonies of frogs calling to each other across the lagoon. There was the boom of the rays. Burro’s and pigs wandered about freely. The former you could ride if you knew how, and the latter was the garbage patrol. There was no trash. Parties were frequent, but not formally organized.
Twice a year government people would come to every house and fog it with DDT. It would rain scorpions that evening. Ugh!
When we had to leave, we took a vow never to tell anyone about Yelapa. Selfishly we wanted it to stay as it was for our return. It has of course changed, but I sense that the spirit of the place is alive and well. See you soon. Hasta…. Russ