Posts/November, 2019/

A Week at Casa Tiny near Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

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Early Sunday morning, J and I departed for three flights to Huatulco International Airport in Oaxaca, Mexico. Our final destination was Casa Tiny, an artfully designed small rental house near the beach. The property is only 30 minutes away from the town of Puerto Escondido, though the local airport was too small for international rental car companies. Instead, we rented a compact manual from Avis and embraced the two hour drive into town.

Our route was simply west on Highway 200, a mostly two lane (sometimes unfinished four lane) road that followed the coastline without being in view of the water. The scenery was beautiful: lots of forest, hills, fruit and vegetable farms, and small villages. At any sign of civilization, large speed bumps or topes, forced near stops to avoid destroying the car. These bumps were everywhere and sometimes came by surprise, which meant more looking ahead and less scenery gazing for the driver.

In Puerto Escondido, we stocked up on groceries and continued our drive in the dark. I spilled apple soda all over the car.

Thirty minutes later, we turned off the paved road onto a bumpy, single width dirt road that led us to the house.

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First sunrise out of the glassless loft window.
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A beautiful tree with hanging bird nest and air plants.

Casa Tiny is a beautiful property built of concrete and wood. Set back from the dirt road by a winding foot path, the house feels secluded. Two outdoor areas are surrounded by tropical plants and cacti. One side has a small pool, and the other a hammock and continuation of the concrete table that form the kitchen counter inside the house.

Inside and outside are loose concepts here, as the building has massive doors and windows, with one wall opening up to the outside. Nothing is sealed, so bugs, lizards, and snakes can freely come and go. The footprint of the building is small, but the ceiling towers two stories. The main room has the kitchen/dining area and stairs to the sleeping loft. Under the loft is a shower, sink, storage, and toilet room.

With no wasted space, it’s all two people need. Nearly every angle is pleasing to look at.

There was virtually no cell reception, except out of the upper window at night.

The mosquitoes, however were relentless both inside an out.

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Casa Tiny from the hammock area.
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Welcome fruit.
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J at the front door.
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The pizza oven and grill.
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The only shady spot on the beach was under the coconut trees at the entrance.
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View looking back towards the hills from the beach.
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Our first sunset.
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Looking down the suicide stairs.
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Side view of stairs in action.
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Tropical plants everywhere.
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Air plant.
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Vultures on vacation.
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Casa Tiny front view with pool, bench, and pivot door.

On Tuesday, we walked along the beach and picked up a set of matches from Hotel Escondido.

In the blazing sun, I got a fire going in the pizza oven using scraps of wood that in their former life had been shutters on the house. My eyes burnt with smoke and heat.

Our first pizza stuck to the floor of the oven and barely cooked. It was scrapped. The second we cooked deep dish style in a cast iron skillet.

In the afternoon, we went on a tour of the Casa Wabi Foundation, a non-profit, civil organization that aims to promote collaboration and social commitment through art. The complex was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando for Mexican sculptor Bosco Sodi. The foundation sits on a large coastal property with rustic landscaping, a vegetable garden, architecturally significant chicken coop, sculpture pavilions, and a massive cement and thatch complex of galleries, resident artist bungalows and studio space.

Many of the people on the tour had come from Hotel Escondido next door.

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Casa Wabi pool detail.
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Birds.
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The promenade and swimming pool down to the ocean.
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Massive thatch structure.
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Looking back on the dirt road to Casa Wabi.
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Overhang.
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Inside the gallery.
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The observatory exterior.
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The observatory interior embraces the beauty of imperfection.
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Brick pavilion.

Around 5pm, half of the group thought the tour was over and left just as a group of automatic rifle-toting federal police arrived to either do a welfare check or get bribes. It was unclear.

Our tour guide led us away from the lobby and into the gardens for the rest of the tour. The sun was setting as we approached the Kengo Kuma Chicken Coop, orchard, and clay pavilion. In darkness, we thanked our friendly host and walked back along the dirt road to our vehicle. The police were gone.

On Wednesday, we drove into town for produce and tacos at the central market, to stop for some fresh local coffee at the beach, and to restock on groceries for the rest of the stay. It was unpleasantly hot that day, so we didn’t linger in town.

I drove our rental car on the silliest road yet to get back up the hill from the coast strip.

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The circle of life.
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Dueling meat stands.
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Symmetry.
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Large cactus.
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A view into the port.
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Beautiful fence.

On Thursday, we needed a break from cooking and mosquitoes, so we bought two day passes at Hotel Escondido for around US$50 each.

We spend the whole day in the shaded canopy by the pool reading, swimming, eating, helping sea turtles make it to the water. I tried to make a dent in Red Rising, but I lost interest once it started feeling like other class-based battle royale stories.

With phone service, I got more details on a variety of issues back home. Our petsitter’s key wasn’t working anymore, and some animal was trying to break into the chicken coop. Both issues were solved by a friend of ours that had a spare key.

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Our hangout spot for the day.
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Ribeye tacos, guacamole, grasshoppers, red mole, and mescal cocktails.
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A sea turtle nest occupant.
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Totem.
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One of many babies heading towards the ocean.
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The hotel pool.
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A compact sedan’s natural habitat.

We spend Friday relaxing at the house, soaking in the details for the last time. We could live in a place like this, and it heightened my desire for us to build our own architecturally interesting small house somewhere. Wherever it is, there could even be mosquitoes, but we wouldn’t share our house with them.

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The final sunset of the trip.

At 5:30 in the dark of morning, we started our three hour drive back to the airport.

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