It’s a nice drive to Custodio. For half an hour or so you slowly wind your way through the jungle, usually crawling along in a conga line of traffic led by a shuttering old truck or a heavily-laden bus bound for Guadalajara or Tepic, until you get to San Pancho where the road opens up and you pass by dozens and dozens of fruit stands selling coconuts and papayas and star fruit and even dried shrimp.
At Las Veras you turn inland and drive for about half an hour over narrow country roads passing farmers on bicycles or horses. Always there are a few tractors on the road making things interesting. Eventually you come into Zacualpan, a sleepy little town that may hold the record for the most number of speedbumps on the road. Turn left at the church, pass by the paleta stands and the women grilling chicken along the side of the road, through Ixtapa, down the cobbled road towards Plantanitos and its many thatched beach restaurants, and up the hill to Punta El Custodio.
When I arrived at Casa Corona del Mar, the Fletcher’s home on the bluff overlooking the ocean, no one was around except for Marta, their cook and housekeeper. I love Marta. She has taken me in to her kitchen to show me how to make tortillas from scratch and let me play sous-chef as she made her wonderful chicken mole. And even though I usually only see her once a year or so, she always remembers me. So here I was, standing outside the Fletcher’s house by the fountain, looking in through the open kitchen window at Marta who was working at the sink, and she looked up, surprised to see me, and immediately welcomed me with her warm smile.
It was good to be back in Custodio.
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