Initially, the urge upon arriving in Manzanillo for several months is to completely veg out, get into relaxation mode, sit on the beach or swim all day then go to the bars or restaurants in the evening. After a while though this begins to pall as the “busy” in us can’t accept this way of life unless we have a debilitating condition. Manzanillo is not a hot bed of Museums or Culture, but it does have some exotic night life that includes very loud music and table dancing in small quantities. So what do people do with themselves for months at a time?
If you ask around, you will generally be told by everyone that they are so busy they don’t know how they found time to work or raise a family. So what do they do with themselves?
There are lots of organizations that appreciate help in on-hand, fund raising, teaching life skills or maybe sewing for the children’s homes. There are several big events during the year run by charitable organizations which are always looking for people with a little energy and just a little time. It is not always your money they are after but capable people willing to dig in and help.
It is difficult, sometimes, not to become a little too involved and make everything a personal defeat if the intention doesn’t work out as planned. Here, you have to remember that this is Mexico. Mexico is a foreign country and our ways are not their ways. We have to exercise patience and do everything in an acceptable manner to the local people involved. For example, if you try to plan a party for children at Christmas, do it with the mothers involved. Without that it could be disaster.
Besides working for charities, what else is there?
There are classes in painting of several kinds. There are classes of all description in fact, from learning the language, to yoga, to embroidery in Colima, from music and art appreciation also in Colima.
If you are more adventurous, then follow the lead of several people who have been coming to Mexico for a few years and go to San Miguel de Allende where there are all manner of University courses available. There are some also at the University of Colima, but usually Spanish is required there. Now there is also the possibility of horticultural instruction on local flora at Ola Brisas Gardens. See Tommy Clarkson’s columns in the magazine.
There are very many tours available to visit some of the most beautiful, accessible and not so accessible places in Mexico. The guides are generally local, speak English and know their topic well. One such tour operator is Jupiter Tours in Comala who tour the area around Colima which is rich in artifacts and interesting sights. MexECO Tours in Barra de Navidad, features trips to see the Monarch butterflies in Morelia, to tour the opal mines at Magdalena when they reopen, or the Tequila tasting tour in the town of Tequila.
Tlaquepaque and Tonala are small towns on the other side of Guadalajara which are most definitely worth a visit for shopaholics. (Make sure that you are able to carry back all that you find you cannot live without for another second.) Things in those towns, are available at often less than half the price they are in Manzanillo. Many items available in Manzanillo have to be bought from the manufacturing towns as there are not wholesalers and agents such as we know in the north.
Even food supplies are bought at Costco or Sam’s at the same price we pay at home.
But let us not forget the fishing. Manzanillo has been known for decades as the Sailfish capitol of the world. Each season there are several tournaments where the prizes range from fishing poles to GPS’ to cars. The biggest sailfish or marlin is not only a prize in itself but can win you a car! Competitors come from all over Mexico as well as many foreign countries. Occasionally there have been reports of skullduggery but the
Manzanillo Sports Fishing Association tries its best to run each competition as cleanly as possible.
If you are not into competitions but just wish to try your hand at fishing, there are many boats available for hire,
with captains who do their utmost to take you where the fish are. Sometimes of course, the fish are not willing to co-operate so then it is may be a little frustrating but still a nice day out on the briny. The fish can then go to a local restaurant to be cooked for you. Their charge to you will probably be the balance of the fish!
The best way of all to get information about Manzanillo apart from our website, is to contact Manzamigos AC and attend a Thirsty Thursday. There, you will meet many people in Manzanillo who have made this beautiful town their home as well as newcomers to Manzanillo like yourselves.
This is no longer just a retiree’s haven. Many young people are coming here to live with their quite young children. Once you have checked out all the options maybe you could become even more involved by writing of your life in our town for The Manzanillo Sun.
For a list of: Tour operators, Dive shops, Fishing boats, Charitable Organizations go to our web site at www.manzanillosun.com