A Troubled Bridge Over Water

2018 Around Mexico John Chalmers March 2018

By John Clamers from the March 2018 Edition

I remember well the first time I heard the great song by Simon and Garfunkel, ‘’Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Here in Mexico, where my wife, Linda, and I escape Alberta’s winter, the song came to mind with the experience we have had, not with a bridge over troubled water, but rather, with a troubled bridge over water!

Thirteen years ago, we began staying at Vida del Mar to escape winter at home in Alberta. To walk to the beach at La Boquita, we crossed a rickety wooden bridge of posts and boards from Palma Real, across the inlet, to the lagoon behind the beach. I called it The Bridge of Death, but purely for dramatic effect! I admit that crossing it was not perilous, just a minor adventure!

The author’s wife, Linda Chalmers, seen on “The Bridge of Death” in 2007

The wooden Bridge of Death was replaced a few years ago by a sturdy steel bridge that was wider, safer, and high enough to allow the passage of fishing boats beneath it. Alas, the new bridge lasted only a few years before the climate took its toll and the bridge began to disintegrate, rusted in places as if it some steel beams had been cut. In early 2017, the beams and the wooden deck area began to collapse. Improvised repairs with poles, bamboo, planks and rope allowed passage for those who dared to cross, but it was much riskier than the old Bridge of Death, and ultimately passage became impossible.

For those of us who hike the road regularly from Vida del Mar to Palma Real, then across the bridge to stroll the beach, to walk beside the lagoon or to hike the road behind La Boquita, our trek ended at the bridge. But the story has a happy ending! In late 2017, a new bridge was installed. Of course, there is a cost attached. The bridge was made possible due to a 50-50 cost sharing agreement between the City of Manzanillo and the Palma Real Condominium Association. Palma Real has contributed 192,385 pesos towards the cost.

Improvised repairs on the previous bridge as the deck collapsed made passage risky

As the bridge is used by owners, renters and visitors from both sides of the bridge, many of us felt we should help with costs. The bridge adds greatly to our enjoyment of life here. The Palma Real board of directors has asked that owners in the Club Santiago area and the Juluapan Peninsula which includes Vida del Mar and adjacent areas area each contribute 64,000 pesos. So far, donations from Vida del Mar and other areas on the peninsula have totalled less than 49,000 pesos. Much less has been received from the other side of the bridge.

The bridge supports us, and we can support it! The new bridge is an asset for all in the area. For those who would like to con-tribute to a very worthwhile cause, I encourage your donations. The bridge enhances the value of Vida del Mar and Palma Real by providing access to La Boquita. You can donate your pesos at the Vida del Mar office. Indicate “Bridge Fund” with your do-nation and provide your name and e-mail address.

As the steel beams collapsed, and the wooden deck disintegrated, passage became impossible

For those not familiar with Vida del Mar, the development is reached from the turnoff from Highway 200 near the pedestrian overpass at El Naranjo. The office is four kilometers down the paved road from the highway. Staff in the office will accept your donation and provide a receipt. You will also receive ac-knowledgement and a receipt from Palma Real.

Even though the new bridge has been in place for only about four months, rust spots can already be seen in some places. Donations for the bridge could facilitate the painting of the bridge with rust-inhibiting paint to help ensure that the bridge is protected from corrosion. Even though the bridge is in excel-lent condition at present, access to the steps on the bridge side is susceptible to erosion caused by rain or storms and in need of reinforcement. But one improvement has already been made. On February 22, new and better steps to the bridge were built at the beach access. Anyone donating to our fine new bridge can suggest a name! The suggestions will be submitted to all donors and then voted upon. Please help soon!

Access to the beach to and from the road that leads from the Palma Real development is possible again due to installation of the new bridge

The new bridge, which has a concrete deck, makes it possible again to walk from Vida del Mar and Palma Real to the beach, to Club Santiago, the Oasis restaurant and the Beach Club, or to continue along just to enjoy the view. Likewise, there is now access from Club Santiago and the beach to visit the restaurant at Palma Real or to enjoy the scenic road from there to Vida del Mar. For me, personally, the new bridge has added greatly to my morning walk from Vida del Mar to the beach and the lagoon where I always take a camera to photograph the many types of birds to be seen there.

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