I have spent the past few days sifting through my photos and my memories of our week and Mexico – below is a random smattering of reflections…
First off, hot damn! This place is beautiful! From the sandy beaches to the lush jungles just off-shore, I was constantly struck by the magnificence of the landscape. I don’t know if it’s the vastness of it, or the never-ending rhythm of the waves, or just our innate human desire to be near water, but the ocean has a draw to it that is unlike any other force I know. And with most of our beach experiences being along the chilly Pacific of the California Central Coast, it was such a treat to set foot in the water at Sayulita and find that it was perfectly suited for swimming. We were constantly in and out of the water during our whole week in Mexico, hopping in with a boogie board when the waves picked up, grabbing a snorkel mask when they died down, and then popping in just for a quick dip when the sun got too hot. And seriously, how can you top waking up to the sun rising over the ocean?
Second, sometimes it is good, and perfectly acceptable, to spend a few days just being supremely lazy. I wouldn’t really call Shane and I ‘beach-people’, but after a full day spent just camped out in a lounge chair under a shade umbrella in the sand, we were sold on the merits of beach-bumming. On one of our last days there, with absolutely nothing on the agenda for the day, we left our room with a couple of beach towels, our books, and some bottled water, walked out onto the beach, staked our claim at a couple of lounge chairs, and, with the exception of jumping into the ocean for the occasional swim, did nothing but laze around to the sound of the waves for a good eight hours. It was heaven. Now if only we could get used to falling asleep to the chirping of the geckos darting across our ceiling, and if only we didn’t have those pesky jobs to return to, I bet we could find a beach-front villa with our name on it (preferably with a bathtub like this one).
Third, I loved being able to get a small taste of Mexican culture while in Sayulita, but there is no denying that this is ultimately a tourist town. On the one hand, there is comfort in knowing that most shop and restaurant owners know how to speak English, in seeing other Americans crowding the tables of a restaurant and taking that as a sign that the food is ‘Gringo-friendly’. But I would have liked to have been pushed slightly further out of my comfort zone – to have been forced to recall my bits of broken Spanish, or to have witnessed the customs and traditions that are integral to life in small-village Mexico. I don’t know exactly what I was looking for, and honestly, I don’t know if we’re quite bold enough to go that far off the beaten path, I just know that there is cultural richness that has been somewhat suppressed in Sayulita. I guess I want to have my flan and eat it, too – I want all the comforts of a tourist-friendly town, without the presence of all those other tourists… Nonetheless, the town was still full of charm. I especially loved the bold use of color – in the storefronts, in the banners strung over the streets, in the beach bags being sold on the sidewalks. Everywhere I turned, I was greeted with a new shade of orange or blue or gold. Seattle could take a few lessons from Sayulitans on brightening things up.
And now, as I sit here on the couch, cozied up in a blanket while the rain falls outside, Mexico feels so very far away… But how blessed we are to have a week’s worth of beach-side memories.