Wish You Were Here: Casa Rincon, Mexico

by brian lam

The little girl kicked sand in my face. After a minute, her father, a drunk, overweight, pasty white new yorker, stopped her. The beach in Sayulita was filled with tourists like this from America and Europe, and the waves, however shapely, were crowded with a strange mix of advanced and clueless surfers nearly colliding into each other. I have nothing against tourists, by and large. After all, only a few days earlier, we were as pale. And we are foreigners. But I’d like to think we were not as annoyingly high profile. I came to nap, swim and drink, quietly. And thankfully, I was not staying here.

I stayed at Casa Rincon, a house right on the beach, halfway between the over discovered surf town of Sayulita and Puerta Vallerta. The house is at the same time legendary and invisible; a perfect secret hideaway until now where artists have recorded albums and surf legends have run to for escape. I just returned from here with a few friends and none of us have experienced post-vacation depression like that, ever. I wish I was there, right this moment.

The house itself is a number of buildings a few feet from each other. There’s a main house with two bedrooms, a pool and a kitchen where Luis and Theresa, the grounds keeper and his wife, would make us delicious Mexican food (usually including guacamole made from luis’s family recipe). There are two back bedrooms next to a simple recording studio where we found a synth, a drum kit, a bag of dead scorpions, surfboards and a broken speargun. Broken Social Scene and Whitest Boy Alive recorded albums here and Whitest Boy Alive used the vista where we sat for hours, staring at the water, for their cover art. Down near the water, there is a circular bungalow where we mixed many margaritas, a straw roofed hut where we ate our meals and reclined in the hammock. And Casa Surf, the bedroom closest to the water, was where I slept. The sound of the waves crashing on the shallow reef woke me several times a night, seeming as if the water was coming down through the windows themselves.

Barbara Cleary owner of Casa Rincon told me about her husband, late surfer, writer and Topenga Beach local Bill Cleary who is known for, among other things, writing the classic Surfing Guide to Souther California and the Billy Wahoo. Bill Cleary was one of the first reporters to get legendary surfer Miki on record mouthing off by way of a hidden tape recorder.

We tried to engage our sense of adventure, visiting local towns and Vallerta, but the heat and dust of Mexico drove us back to Casa Rincon. Every time we left the house, we wished we had just stayed put, walked down to the local right hand break, Burros to swim and play.

One of the last nights we saw orange dots rise into the sky from a far off bluff. After an hour of guessing we concluded we were looking at UFOs. Just then the sky exploded into shimmering starbursts of fireworks.

The off season is here, so prices are lower, but the heat is building, too. I might sweep back down later this summer, though.

Casa Rincon (Tell Barbara Brian from The Scuttlefish sent you)

 

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