The story takes place in Casa Yolocalli, which is one of the little houses at Casa Isabel. Isabel designed and had it built as a romantic honeymoon cottage. Its name is taken from an Aztec word that means ¨House of the Heart¨. Everybody described the original structure as looking ¨like the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse¨

The house has been completely rebuilt and attractively modernized. Since this story is about the old Yolocalli, I´ve taken the liberty of calling it…



“It´s paradise!” John exclaimed, as his overweight wife collapsed onto the hanging couch in Casa Yolocalli. John and Cindy had just arrived at Isabel´s Beach and had followed Santos, who carried their bags uphill to the Casa.

“But where does one sleep?” Cindy asked.

“Oh, there´s a hanging bed upstairs.” Isabel pointed to the curved ladder.

“That´s a stairway??” she whined.

“It´s made of ironwood, not to worry,” Isabel reassured her.

Cindy made her way cautiously up the ladder, clinging to each step ahead as she went. She stepped off onto the mat-covered floor and immediately retreated when it creaked under her foot.

“This is just branches squeezed together for a floor, John”, she said, almost falling back down the ladder. “I can´t sleep up here. Come on. Let´s look somewhere else.”

“We´ve looked everywhere else, Cincy, and the only other place open had a compost toilet; and you insisted on the flush type.”

“Of course I did! Just imagine all those spiders in the bucket, waiting for some fresh blood!”

“There´s this single bed down here,” Isabel interjected.

Cindy gazed around. “But it´s right by that entrance and I don´t see any door.”

“That´s the beauty of these palapa houses,” Isabel said. “They are open to the butterflies and the birds; and whatever animals come in in the night are just looking for any food you may have left out.”

“Animals! What kind of animals?! You hear that John?

John had stepped off onto the deck and was admiring the giant Huanacaxtle tree.

“Nothing to be afraid of, Cindy,” Isabel explained. “Just raccoons or skunks or possums, or occasionally a coatimundi.”

“What´s a coatimundi?!” Cindy asked, terrified.

“It´s about the same size as a raccoon,” Isabel said. “He has a long snout, like an anteater, but very skittery and afraid of humans.”

“But they´d be crossing right beside me – maybe even climbing on my bed!”

“No reason to climb on your bed, unless you take food to bed,” Isabel reassured her.

“Look at this magnificent tree the deck is anchored to, Cindy,” John said, trying to distract her.

¨Those beams look pretty chewed up to me,” Cindy said. “I´m not going out there. Where´s the shower?”

“Oh, it´s right around the corner, in the garden.”

“Outside, in the open?” she gasped

“Well yes,” Isabel said, “but it´s very private — the garden foliage covers you on the right and there´s a drop-off into the canyon on the other side. No one over there.”

“Someone could hide in those bushes!”

“Isabel reassured her that it was very unlikely. And thought to herself: “With your figure, I doubt if anyone would bother.”