Panic in Pipa!

Ahhh, Pipa. Pipa is another beach that we visited, but you won't see many pictures of it, and here's why...

Pipa is an insanely cool, beautiful beach attached to a really quaint town. It has that Amalfi Coast feel on a low level - not that I've ever been to the Amalfi Coast, but, well, whatever. When we went to Pipa in 2002, it was isolated, peaceful and not very heavily populated. This time, however, we decided to go on the Friday before Easter weekend... aka, a holiday.

Let me tell you, nothing says "celebrate the resurrection" like scantily-clad twenty-somethings scurrying about en masse.

This place made spring break at Ft. Lauderdale look like a midieval nun convention, replete with iron-clad chastity belts.

And let me tell you something else - nothing bellows "AMERICAN!" like a gringa with a bob and funky glasses in a black J-Crew tankini. I might as well have been wearing Old Glory as footie-pajamas, with my face painted in red, white and blue. I have never felt more conspicuous in my life, which ... ultimately led to the 6th out of 9 emotional breakdowns I had on this trip, standing in shin-deep water in shorts and a t-shirt, begging to please, please go home. Poor Beto. I owe him big for that one. And yes, I know he's a saint to put up with me, so shut up about it.

The other cool thing about Pipa is that you can drive on the beaches to get there, and then you take a "ferry" to get across a river. Now I put "ferry" in quotes because really, the thing is a flat, ticking time bomb. Picture 12 cars packed on a flat raft built for six, that's covered in gasoline with the operators smoking cigarettes. Now picture that that flat raft has a roof on it, and the life preservers - the only shot in hell you have of survival in the unlikely event of an explosion- are tucked into the roof, far above your reach. I suppose the theory is that if the ferry blows, you'll get the lift you need to grab a certified personal flotation device.

The good news is that this time, I managed to maintain my footing. See, when we went in 2002, I wiped out on the gasoline slicked floor not only when we were traveling to Pipa, but also traveling home. Nothing short of grace and elegance here, my friends.

So, here's a picture of Beto's nephew, Victor, rocking the grin. He is so cute. Takes after his uncle.

And here's a shot of the HMS DeathTrap, sans autos (you thought I was exaggerating, didn't you?):

Here are some shots of the adorable town. My tears had dried by this point, so I could actually see through the camera's view finder.

Another shot, with the added bonus of the backsides of Beto's brother Leo and Beto's best friend Paulo. No, that is not a bald spot on Paulo - that is a computer glitch, and please don't ever mention it again.