Coco Loco

Sun salutations while watching three whales grace in and out of the water was a complex task this morning. Mix sipping on fresh coconut water and you have yourself one “yuppidy” start to the day! The guests and I proceeded to free the turtles however, today wasn’t the day. Maybe, the air temperatures were too frigid for these babies to make it out to sea, hopefully tomorrow will be a bit easier.

After our morning pancakes with dolce de leche, we headed on the Local Tour to the coconut candy “factory”, salt flats, local school and organic basil farm. A few tidbits along the way was just the icing on the cake as Johnny explained to us the Ceiba tree and its meaning. It is described best as a long “stick” like tree with rough spikes shooting out of every angle. Its purpose is reaching up to the heavens, a spiritual experience.

The coconut factory is not what comes to mind when one thinks, “factory”. I got a bit turned off when I heard “factory” only because it sounds a bit too industrial for an area of the world such as this (peaceful, natural, tranquil). The best term to justify the reality would be to call it a “coconut candy creation hut”. Three men work to husk, peel and chop the fresh coconuts. They’re then dried in a big blue bin, shaved through a grinding machine, churned and melted in large cooper mixers over gas flame, then laid out to cool for preparations and finally, packaging. Johnny knows very well which organic local places to go to and experience the very best.

The salt flats we visited during this trip are not the place we obtain Playa Viva’s “organic” salts. We stopped at a location that was non-organic, and the difference between the two is clearly noticeable in both color and taste. “Organic”, or traditionally harvested salt, is whiter and tastes a bit better while non-organic tends to have more of a “plastic” kind of taste and smell (since they are dried in dark, plastic holdings). The interesting thing is how much work goes into creating this artisanal salt and where it comes from. All very local here! In fact, it comes from combing the river water along with the ocean water that breaks through the sand barrier late in the rainy season providing a flowing oceanic stream surging in, making for a good amount of salt.

The basil farm smelled so fresh, rows and rows of green, organic basil. Usually at farms you can taste, see and feel the toxic added to preserve its “perfect” color and taste. Here, it was au natural as we  eased our way through the open fields. Paco holds this place together. He is a prominent organic farmer in town who holds high standards of serving people the best of organics. He is an important partner of Playa Viva. That was the extent of our Local Tour, then it was back to home base.

After lounging by the pool, snorkeling and riding the waves, we all watched as the sun faded into the Pacific and the cosmic moon rose over the mountains. Actually, I look behind me to see the sun setting, but right in front of me I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked as though a fire was high atop the mountains; it was only getting bigger and bigger until a gigantic, yellow moon arose from behind the hills and into the sky. Such a cosmic sight.

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