Music! Music! Music!

Updated: Mar 11


"What stands out at night is the music pouring into the streets from various restaurants and bars. Tonight was no different. This is not a disco beat blaring from speakers as in Cancun, no. We can hear music flowing down from a five-story hotel roof where a harmonica is jamming jazz riffs! Amazing"...

READ ON


The village of Barra is a lively place with street shops, tienda, and ferias callejeras (markets/street fairs). The street fairs/markets are temporary constructions of tarp roofs strung between poles covering several streets. Underneath are lots of product vendors. Some selling colorful clothes, some ground coffee, and everything in between. This is where gringos love to bargain for items, much of which will end up in the basement storage. All the people working the fairs and shop workers are polite, friendly, and anxious to sell you whatever you want or don’t want.

This little pueblo has become a tourist magnet for Canadians since it was “discovered” in the early 1970s. Gringos found out quickly when the Bo Derek film “10” came out. They heard the publicity that the hotel was a resort in Manzanillo. Just like Puerta Vallarta was made famous by a celebrity film couple. Guess…

The restaurants have as much or more American/Canadian food on the menu as Mexican. A Hamburguesa (Hamburger) comes with red meat, shrimp, or chicken. The hamburguesa de Camarones (this is a shrimp burger) is about $5 US, and often with fresh-caught shrimp, wow, amazing! Some of the best Mexican-favored restaurants are hidden in plain sight. Usually, street corners are inhabited by street vendors selling tacos, quesadillas, grilled onions, and a lot of toppings.

I have to say the street vendor's food is great!

After a couple of street tacos, we stroll the uneven brick streets I wondered why the sidewalks had tiny handicap ramps to the street when most often the sidewalk go from concrete, to sand, to gravel, to bricks all uneven and often filled with potholes, much like the streets themselves. A wheelchair would make it to about 50 yards before the town and there be stuck. Also, one of the few working elevators is at the Hotel Bogavante. And, by the way, Bogavante elevators go two stories higher than the building. I guess COVID stopped the building's progress.

We walk on the street, which is less hazardous when we hear a four-piece band playing “Ticket to Ride.” The usual cluster of gringos jammed the place, and by the way, it’s known as the Greek restaurant but serves mostly Italian entrees. The owners are Canadian and Mexican. Oh yeah, it’s called “Hot Spot.”

Greek? Who started that rumor?

We continue walking looking into a tiny open-air pharmacy, next to which is a new Italian Pizza place (I was worried if they possibly served Greek food) just big enough for two tables inside and three outside (pizza was great!). Next was a tiny store with basic groceries and household cleaning products. By tiny I mean about 8 feet wide and 20 feet long.

Just a few steps to the corner and there is another popup taco stand with mom-and-pop selling street tacos for around a dollar. This is where the locals eat. Rather, this is one of the street places the locals go to eat, of course, most or many cook at home.

What stands out at night is the music pouring into the streets from various restaurants and bars. Tonight was no different. This is not a disco beat blaring from speakers as in Cancun, no. We can hear music flowing down from a five-story hotel roof where a harmonica is jamming jazz riffs! Amazing. So, we decide to check it out.

We reach the top floor by stairs as the elevator was broken. There is a large open-air space with a bar in the middle. In one corner we see the harmonic player off on an improvisational jam session with his bass player and drummer. This guy is the most amazing slide harmonica player I’ve heard! Total Talent!

We were just in time for the sunset. Oh, the sunsets here are, can I say, colorful. The red glow against the cloud stream was our first sunset overlooking the city. (Check the photo)

We ordered drinks, pina colada being a favorite, and settle to listen to a vast array of songs from blues, pop, jazz, and classical. A few songs in and the sun was setting leaving a red glow in the string of clouds across the horizon. We settled in for the rest of the show.

Pibe, the harmonics player, dazzles the audience with his combination of free form and standard songs, but when he sails into a solo the notes, sounds, vibrations dance through the crowd.

Across from this music stop was another.

So this next place we stopped into the sounds of a group had a drummer, bass player, rhythm guitar, lead guitar with a female singer. They were lively and a variety of dances flooded the dance floor.

In this little town, nearly every restaurant has musicians!


Several hours later we walk back through town toward our apartment. The shops still open at 10:30 pm, tourists wandering, and haggling, the cars edging people to the side of the narrow, one-car roads. These streets are only wide enough for one car to make it through as the street vendors take up what at one time might have been a wider street. But the cars negotiate it and various motorcycles and four-wheel "runabouts" are everywhere.

Things change as this village has discovered. From a hurricane that devastated the area, to crowds of tourists from October to March, to a huge resort moving into the general area. The cultures are adapting.

Next time a look at Grand Bay, a five-start resort a 3-minute boat ride from Barra.



27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All