Zihuatanejo, Mexico

                Chapel among the Coconuts

Along the Pan-American highway, going toward the town of Petatlan, is a five acre coconut "plantation." While it was interesting to see how coconuts grow and are processed, and to learn that every bit of a coconut is used in some fashion, the real "draw" for me was in a small chapel built on the site.

The land is somewhat rocky around here (granite prevailing, but some sort of extruded lava stuff, too). Can you tell I'm not a geologist?

Some background: The church of the Senor Jesus in Petatlan is modern (the old one burned down because of a fire due to excess use of candles). However, even the new church is famous for miracles. Later, I will show more of this church, its "miracle board," as well as the gold market that has grown up outside on the plaza.

According to local people, the landscape around this area is sacred. Enter, the coconut plantation chapel.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. She is much revered mostly in the south and central part of the country. Her feast is Dec. 12, and this picture was taken Dec. 13.

These are paper flower arches on the coconut plantation leading to the chapel. One the right is a swamp filled with "water lettuce" (the kind you pay money for to put in your ponds!). To the left are bougainvilla and palm trees. In the center is a picture of me from the back (not very flattering).

The chapel is small, and built around two large rocks. To the left is a glass enclosure for a small plaster statue of the baby Jesus.

The reason this chapel was built is because a picture of the virgin appeared on the rock show here. Note the magnifying glass. This is so you can see the very tiny image. Supposedly, the plantation owner tried to scrub it off, but it kept re-appearing. Funny thing was, we kept trying to photograph the image & none (absolutely none) of the pictures turned out!

Here is the other rock around which the chapel was built.

Outside the "complex" a cottage industry has grown up - tamales for the pilgrims, along with coconut candies. These are the best tamales I have ever eaten (and I admit to devouring 4 big coconut candy chunks all by myself). 

The secondary industry that is associated with this chapel is selling the family's extra loofah sponges, mangoes, tomatoes, and, of course, coconuts. The owner works 5 acres of land which is heavily planted with coconut trees. Altho the trees live 85 years, they are too old by that time to be harvested easily, so they are chopped down earlier (maybe at around 25 years), the wood is used for building, the leaves are used for thatching roofs, the husks are used as fuel, and so forth.

Tile Making Pg. 1