Monday, March 1, 2010

Mexico redux: ailments, injuries, and issues

I believe I promised you gringos falling into holes:

In addition to all the fun and sun in Mexico, there seemed to be quite a few ailments, injuries, and issues in our group. Some of the usual stuff: upset stomachs, hangovers, bug bites. But also a few more dramatic problems like painful relationship woes, major road rash, and one nasty case of what is either Dengue or Typhoid Fever.

It all started when my sort-of sister, Jenny, fell into a giant hole in the cement while walking home in the dark. One minute she is striding confidently across a little pier/deck thingy over the lagoon, the next second, she is up to her hip in a hole booby trapped with rusty pieces of rebar, all of which miraculously missed tearing her open in any life-threatening way. Still, I've never seen such impressively multi-hued bruises or a rawer, oozier-looking wound.

If I had been the one to fall in the hole, you can bet your last peso that I would have been able to speak of nothing else for the entire week. I would have had people waiting on me hand and foot. I would have demanded gauze and pain pills and constant, fluttering attention from all parties. But after some initial crying, Jenny bounced back like nobody's business. Only to be felled the next evening by all-night vomiting. From which she also bounced back with gusto. They don't breed no sissies in rural Vermont, apparently.

Oh sure. I look tough.

In between Jenny's accident and Mark's case of tropical fever, Maggie was stung by her very first bee, I had stinging jellyfish larvae stuck in my bathing suit, the sun broiled the tops of my brother's feet, I barfed in the sink, Donna whacked the s-h-i-t out of her shin climbing out of a boat, and, as if that all wasn't bad enough, there was one day when the pie ladies ran out of pie before we could get to them. The horror.

And now, to Sayulita:

We arrived on Sayulita Day. There were 15 marching bands
playing simultaneously and dancing horses in the streets.

Sayulita is a dusty surfing town about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. It is also, suddenly, like the hottest, most talked about place in Mexico. Daily Candy just wrote about it. I have a piece on it in this month's Travel & Leisure. Every young hipster with a henna tattoo and Frida Kahlo beach bag is suddenly smitten with the place.

I've been there only once before, six or seven years ago, but because it gets so much hype, I've wondered lately if maybe I've been missing something. Maybe, I thought, we should start spending our vacations there. Maybe we were fading away like last year's papel picado in Yelapa. Maybe Sayulita was the place to be.

from HERE

So we went. Just the Mister and me. For a little romantic getaway, sans twins. Mark and Chelsea were already there.

As I said, dancing horses in the streets

And this is what I say: "Eh," shrugging my shoulders in the universal Jewish gesture meaning I could take it or leave it. It has its charms: taco stands, palm trees, good coffee, nice boutiques, a very reliable surf break. But its beach is a sea of sizzling flesh and pushy vendors. The beach-front restaurants charge you $15 a day to sit in their beach chairs, even if you are eating there. The town is crawling with the aforementioned hipsters, swarms of young parents wrestling their Bob strollers over the cobblestones, and boomers in Guatemalan vests and baggy shorts. Plus, it has that I'm-more-local-than-you vibe that tourist towns get thrumming through it like a pulse.

Don't get me wrong. It's a perfectly fine town, and our hotel was charming, indeed. But the fuss? The cache? I don't get it. Which means we can stick with Yelapa. Whew.

Chelsea and I follow directions by lounging in
our hotel's rooftop lounge, my favorite place in Sayulita

This brings me very nicely to the problems with travel writing I wanted to discuss. But I think I'll save that for another day. Along with news of my spray-on tan. Please stay tuned. There is audio of my Literary Death Match appearance coming soon as well. It's going to be a big week. Promise.

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