16 December 2008

Saludos from Mexico!

What a change from blustery, below-freezing Boston. We flew into Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (via Los Angeles), last night, and the pilot said the weather was about 83F as we were landing. What a change from what I described to my mom as 'colder than a freezer.'

Puerto Vallarta is a touristy, resorty stretch of beautiful beaches, and we tend to fly in and immediately drive away. Last night, we went to Sayulita for an outdoor taco dinner. Sayulita is about half an hour away and a picture-perfect little town, complete with cobblestone streets, tiny storefronts and perfect waves for surfing. I haven't checked Lonely Planet, but I would guess that it's listed as a backpacker haven. We saw signs for 'Revolucion Tacos' as we drove in, probably of backpacker travel guide fame.

Is Sayulita charming? Absolutely. It could easily be a movie backdrop, and there is no bad angle from which to photograph postcards and photos for friends. The thatched roof over us as we ate dinner was exactly as one would dream of it being; the tables were beautiful slices of tree trunk balanced on delicate black wrought iron stands. Everything about the tacos was handmade from scratch-- the tortillas, the toppings, and the meat was grilled right next to us. Yum. What was jarring was that most of the people walking around were American. Young Americans with surfboards, American families with little children and slightly older, American hippies.

After dinner, we drove another half an hour away from Puerto Vallarta to Lo de Marcos, a sleepy little fishing town (population about 1000), where my partner's parents have chosen to retire. Here, there are also a few foreigners, but it feels much more authentically Mexican. This morning, we took a walk on the beach, and we saw a few blowfish, a pelican, and a huge stingray (diameter about 14") that had washed up onto the shore. Black vultures were pecking away at the stingray but hopped away as we approached. (This would never happen near a resort.) We saw one couple as we walked away from the house and two more as we returned, and we greeted all of them with a smile and a 'Buenos dias' as we passed.

I enjoyed how deserted the beach was, and it made me (selfishly) wish no one else would come along. Of course, I don't agree with private beaches and think that Mexico does a good job of keeping its beaches accessible to all (at least in the places I've been), and it's silly to notice that the three couples we passed were foreigners-- because so were we.

I inquired as to how the locals felt about all of these Americans moving down to Mexico, and it sounded familiar: The Americans kept to themselves, the Mexicans kept to themselves, and there was a little mixing at the edges. (Venn diagrams come to mind.) The Mexicans were happy that the Americans brought money down with them, but there wasn't that much blending of cultures. Not yet (on the individual level), anyway.

Posting will probably be on hold through the holiday season, but stay tuned-- I'll be back with stories from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay when I return. Happy December!

1 comment:

  1. Wish I had one of those tacos to eat right now! Have safe but adventurous travels, and I look forward to all your photos.

    Argentina, Chile, Uraguay... awesome trip. Do you have extra room in your suitcase to fit a 5'6" old pal? Hehe. Happy holidays!!! <333, jli