Melaque … the other half of Barra de Navidad as a place to anchor?
As I said earlier, you cannot talk about Barra without talking about Melaque. It is only 2 and 1/2 miles up the beach or 4 miles by taxi or bus.
It has a Banamex bank with an attached ATM that is safe to use. You will find this info useful because using ATMs that are not attached to an open bank is a request to have your money stolen. Countless blog entries in the Yahoo South_bound group will attest to this. A simple precaution is to only use an ATM at a bank, and only during hours the ban is actually open.
It has a great produce market. It has two full alleys of butchers and fish markets along with breakfast-taco places, and Mexican lunch counters in the covered alleys.
There is also a town market in El Ranchito on the outskirts of Melaque, which you’ll see if you ride by in the bus.
Melaque also has a Catholic Church (Saint Patrick’s) … we will talk about that later in this posting. The town is actually named San Patricios or alternately Melaque. You can find it on maps either way. But, the sign on the bus says Melaque.
In Melaque, there is an enclave of Canadians and Americans large enough that Mexico just added a INM office for immigration issues, because we cannot use the one 40 miles away in Manzanillo. We just stopped in and found out we can renew our Residencia Temporal status here in Melaque …. nice! Thank you government of Mexico. This solves a problem with not being able to renew your immigration documents in Manzanillo which is the closest office. The trip to Puerta Vallarta was a ways to go.
Every banking day, the day starts with a queue outside the bank as everyone waits to withdraw pesos to shop with. And across the street from the bank … a beloved (by expats) breakfast restaurant, called Rooster’s, where you can sit and have coffee and watch everyone else stand in line for the ATM across the street at the bank.
The vegetable and fruit market is a covered, on a concrete floor, old-style, honest vender … buy it from the farmer direct … kind of place … I believe it is a collective. See Lady Spiritus in her native environment …
Carolyn surrounded by vegetable goodness.
The Irish and Melaque
This is the church in Melaque. Yes, those are shamrocks on stringers over the entrance. It has just celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day. We learned that this rather unique connection between the Irish and Mexican Nation is based upon events which happened during Mexican-American War (1846-48).
Seems a number of American-Irish immigrants went south to Mexico to fight against the United States. They were formed into a Brigade (Artillery I believe) and were a formidable force on the field of battle. There was, at one point, a mass execution of these men when captured by the Americans. But, not before they had endeared themselves to the Mexican people for their bravery under fire in battles with the invading American Army.
Inside the church you find St Patrick in all his glory.
A very good explanation of the history of the Irish Brigade in Mexico can be found here … read it and wonder why you have never heard of them before.
I will come back to this page with more pictures as we get to know the town better.