travel

There’s Something About Mexican Time

puertavallartaniteAs long ago as it was, I can still remember my first trip to Mexico. Arriving in Puerta Vallarta at two in the morning from a exhausting charter flight, the first impression was that we missed a turn and landed in Central America. The sodium vapor lights made everything yellow, as though it were a very bad movie print. The tour company guide herded us onto a waiting bus with all our luggage and we rumbled down the airport road and then through the deserted main streets of town. One after another, we stopped at different hotels to disgorge various parties of two and fours, until finally, after an hour of stops and starts we arrived at La Jolla de Mismaloya. Punchy from the air travel and bouncing bus ride, we zombied our way through the check-in process and were taken to the top floor and shown into 3 bedroom, 2 bath suite, plus dining room, living room and small kitchenette, with 2 televisions, PVsuitewater views, balconies on two sides, and marble floors throughout. We were supposed to be on a budget tour package, so we were awake enough to know there must be some mistake. No mistake, the hotel representative said. Apparently, the lateness our arrival meant that other tour group travelers had already filled the available budget rooms, plus the resort was very full, so they put us in a deluxe suite because it was available. Welcome to Mexico!

Awakening to a Pacific sunrise was a treat, as was listening to the gentle roll of the surf while cocooned in a king size bed. The sheer drapes billowed from the constant breeze and at that moment we knew we were on Mexican time. That and the loud crowing from a few roosters that resided in a little barrio along side the hotel property. The bizarre third world sensation had evaporated in the daylight, and then we oldtowncould see that it was paradise. Should we sit by the pool and sip cervezas and margaritas or relax in a chaise on the smooth sandy beach? Smoked fish tacos for lunch on the beach or something more substantial at one of the hotel restaurants? Take a cab into town and eat a fabulous meal for ridiculously little money at which restaurant?

By day three, all traces of third worldiness have been replaced by the realization that you are enjoying first world hospitality in a coastal paradise. The taco kid knows your name and brings you lunch whenever you want it. The resort staff picks up on the rhythm of your days and works like an invisible army of cleaners and waiters to make sure that your stay is as pleasant as possible.

beachOnce you are on Mexican time, it means you can relax and leave the stress behind, in a country whose people are genuinely happy to be your hosts. I have been back to Mexico many times since that first trip, and my affection for the Mexican people and their unique brand of hospitality has only grown deeper. When I’m having a rough day, I often think about lying on the warm sands of a Mexican beach while sipping a margarita made with reposado tequila – I call it daydream therapy. Viva Mexico!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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