My friend Lisa should be a travel agent. Her Maui was unlike the Maui I had previously experienced – all tree houses and yerts and bamboo rainforests – and her Mexico is definitely off the beaten track. At her recommendation we went to Sayulita where the waves are ideal for boogie boarding….if you read the last blog entry you know how that story ends….
Sayulita is an ideal town for someone who can’t drive since the town is tiny and everything is compressed into a 20 minute walk from everything else. It’s not so ideal for someone who has trouble walking however since the road surfaces resemble the moon with some craters so deep that a small car wouldn’t make it over them. Amazingly enough I didn’t step in any poo while I was there which is shocking since wild dogs roam the streets (and restaurants!) and men trot by on horses all day.
Everything takes 5 minutes in Sayulita – though Sayulita minutes are much much longer than US minutes apparently. Everything is 5 minutes away, every meal will take 5 minutes, it will be 5 minutes before your table is ready. A half an hour later you’re seated.
All the directions are exactly the same. Everything is that way. It doesn’t matter how many turns you need to take or how many blocks you need to go. It actually makes sense since there are NO road signs (and that includes stop signs).
The people are unbelievably nice and the language barrier is somewhat bridged by good intentions. The food is wonderful, the atmosphere of the restaurants is perfect, the views are to die for (no pun intended).
We went on a boat with Solin who took us within 30 feet of a mother whale and her baby. It was incredible. The exact opposite of the Demitri Martin line: “I went on a whale watching trip once. It was just like watching a bunch of people on a boat looking disappointed.” At one point Solin said to us “look the mother is pushing the baby” and I cried it was just too poignant.
We also swam with dolphins. Another tear jerker. They are amazing creatures. My dear friend Leslie told me I should talk to them and ask them to heal me because they have healing powers. I did ask them….in dolphin….to help me out but when I said I had ALS they just said back to me ……in dolphin…..”ALS? Bummer. Good luck with that.” I didn’t realize until we were “swimming” with dolphins that I no longer swim. I can just feebly kick one leg and flail my arms about – I’m not even special Olympics caliber anymore. Mac pulled me when I couldn’t make it and the dolphins pushed me at warp speed, which was awesome. We also went on one of those giant water slides, which was another thing I probably shouldn’t do. Don’t get me wrong, I can be hurled around in an inner tube at dizzying speeds with no way to control myself as well as the next guy – it’s the disembark that isn’t actually possible. An awkward ballet ensued where Maclen had to endure what he generally calls a “Running with Scissors moment” extracting me from my inner tube. Comical and very inconvenient.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the trip was the fact that we accidentally arrived in the middle of “Sayulita Days” a fair, which attracts 10,000 extra people to the town. From our anecdotal experience attending the fair virtually ALL of those 10,000 people are Mexican. My favorite attractions were – in reverse order – the game where you knock over the pyramid of bottles…. only the bottles in this case were recycled from the drinking customers so they would shatter on contact with the ball, shards of glass flying everywhere; the dart/balloon game which boasted the grand prize of a lamentable painting of Jesus Christ bleeding from his crown of thorns, looking plaintively up to the heavens saying (in Spanish) “Forgive them”; and the piece de resistance: EL NINJO TARANTULA – a young boy whose head poked up from a disguised refrigerator box. He had furry legs attached to the side of his head and a furry tarantula body connected to the back of his head and a look on his face that clearly read “ I hate my life …and my Abuelo.” Abuelo colleted the money while a recorded voice touted the amazing wonders of the world’s only spider boy. It cost 2 pesos and was worth much much more. We savored being ever so briefly trapped in a Steve Buscemi movie. It was rich.
Speaking of loud speakers, they start at 6:30 imploring people to buy cilantro, petrol, bottled water you name it. It’s easy to see why a siesta is necessary since the battle of the bands went on until 3AM. I saw more tubas on this trip than I have seen in my entire life….and I went to a music conservatory! Every corner boasted a band and they went on and on all night long.
Mac and I are well-matched travelers. I’m sure he experienced more anxiety than he let on but he was game for going on all kinds of adventures with a non-spanish-speaking-cane-carrying-falling-down-mom who would inadvertently leave people by saying “ENOUGH!” instead of “later!” and who had no qualms about walking up to men with all gold teeth and asking how to find the cock fights.
I’m gonna make you wait for it. Tune in for further adventures of Crippled Gringa and her trusty sidekick Underage Boy as they travel through the seamy underworld of Los Gallos!