Mexico with Friends
After about a week of camping in front of a pizza place that never made a pizza we decided it was time to make some progress. Mainland Mexico is big and we had plans to meander down the coast, drive to its center, return to the western coast, and finally loop-de-loop to the far-east corner where we would cross into Belize. So without further ado we packed up camp and drove ten minutes to the grove of palm trees on the other side of the bay.
At this rate we’d be in Mexico forever, but oh well…mañana. Unluckily for us, yet lucky for our timeline the beautiful rows of coconut palms were full of bugs. We coated ourselves in chemicals, watched the sun set behind our previous camp spot and leaned in close to a fire of dried coconuts and palm fronds. The bugs may have soured our arrival, but I guarantee any mosquito that was lucky enough to score a bite within our circle flew away swerving that night. Good friends, still free from real life, toasted to another good night together and decided to get the hell off that insect infested beach first thing in the morning.
The drive to Santa Cruz was beautiful. We led our three rig caravan away from the beach and into the unknown. Not the Lewis and Clark type of unknown since there are travel guides, posts from previous overlanders and good ol’ Google. More so the unknown of how it would feel to drive our home on wheels through a foreign country and live in its mountains, towns, beaches and backyards. This combined with the recognition that I’ve told everyone back home, solely per second-hand knowledge, that Mexico is safe. And maybe, just maybe, it isn’t. Maybe conditions have changed since the previous travelers passed through. Maybe I’ll actually have to use the breaker bar tucked under my driver’s seat, or the bear mace, or the hatchet. And maybe I’ve lulled my significant other into a sense of security that I neither know nor can guarantee. And as quick as they arrive I send these thoughts packin’ with a swift kick in the butt. If I indulged every potential danger or “I heard” or “they say” in my life I’d die from boredom.
Checking my mirrors I watch our friend’s rigs disappear and reappear as we twist our way through the lush tropical forests and back to the coast where we find stands selling fresh fruit and roadside pastries. We stop for a snack and then reach our distination, Hotel Paraiso Miramar.
The grounds are beaufiful and they are setting up for a wedding complete with underlit tables, a dance floor and DJ. We set up camp on a lawn dotted with star-fruit trees, and for the next four days enjoy a wedding show, pool side beers and walks to the local town for resupplying and oceanfront dinners.
During one meal in town we learn the saying “sigue pistiando” which roughly means “keep on drankin’.” We’re not in Cabo, or Vallarta or Cancun and our pasty complections give us away far before our busted Spanish does. A man with his wife and daughter were among those who recognized our gringo-ness and stopped by our table to chat. He spoke great English and thanked us profusely for visiting Mexico, while defending its safety and security from the gossip and news that had damaged its reputation…we could tell he loved his home. He offered his number and email for anything we needed, invited our group to his home for dinner, and said his goodbyes with a “sigue pistiando!” Unsure of our timeline and whether we’d be passing through their town, we never called that number….I really really wish we had.
We use this missed opportunity to remind ourselves that we didn’t quit our jobs and commit our time and resources to simply making it through these places. Long before we became used to doing what we want whenever we want; when we were frustrated by our monotonous restrictive schedules, we shared many a passionate conversation about what we’d do if ever given the chance to roam free from the calendar and clock. Those starry, if not teary eyed 9-to-5ers, dreaming of a different life would have jumped at this opportunity. And so it is that we need reminding to take chances and put ourselves out there while on this trip, as much as we needed it when romanticizing its possibilities.
I wish we called that number too:/ Well written post…..as always!
Thank you! Hope to see you guys soon!
Awesome! Great post and whenever I read the posts, I’m always sorry when I get to the end, wishing there was more to read! Felt like I was there. 🙂 looking forward to the book, right?? 🙂
Thank you Joni! We are pretty far behind so there should be many more to come… 🙂
It’s interesting, don’t you find, that we all miss some of those opportunities we dreamed of for so long back in our “old life”? Hoping you (and we !) make time for them in the future. Keep in drinkin’!
It’s so true! It’s so easy to gloss over those special opportunities. From now on we’re trying to take advantage of the rest of them!
So well written. And a reminder for those of us on the road now. ?
Thank you! 🙂