Dear Blob -
Greetings from Super-South of the US Border, Barra De Navidad, Mexico! After navigating the clustermeep of LAX by masquerading as a Mazatlan-bound family's babysitter, I and my new pretend-family bypassed the outrageously-long outside-the-airport-line, checked in and I found myself seated in first-class on a plane bound to Manzanillo, Mexico! I had forgotten that my airmiles booked me into the elite cabin, complete with real-glass-glasses, free tomato bisque soup and artisan chocolates.
First Class was serviced by a fab gay man with a mini-mohawk, and as NY had just legalized gay marriage, I kept wanting to shout, "High Five! NY!", to him, but I restrained myself, respecting his work-environment.
Blob, it is a mere 3 hours to the heart of Mexico! As long as it takes to fly to Austin, TX, you can land in the 1970's Lego airport of Manzanillo, where, I was startled to find myself. I knew for months I would be traveling to Mexico, but nothing is like the surprise of actually finding one's self the Minority Gringo-ette, surrounded by banana groves, Mexican roosters & mango trees; the aroma of ripe fruit and grilled chicken mixed with burning plastic; hyper-awareness of scorpions, geckos & crocodiles. It is just like Southeast Asia, but with tacos instead of noodles.
What is The Ukulady doing 4 hours south of Puerta Vallarta? Housesitting for the expat-hippes of Casa Azul, a pleasant haven in a non-gringo neighborhood, full of scrawny Mexican dogs, kids playing in rock piles & TV-ready-Old Mexican ladies gossiping in front of their shack-like home/eateries. There are as many Taco-Vendors in Mexico as Actors in LA. It's refreshing to mingle amongst competitive taco-makers, rather than narcissistic actors.
I forgot that Mexico is the tropical 3rd world. This means you can purchase a frosty beverage in a plastic sack with a straw, no papier-de-toilette down the pipes, Extreme-Vigilance about water: drinking enough and purified only. But there are gray areas; like the Thrifty ice-cream teen-clerk, who dips the conical Thrifty scooper into water between servings. Is it safe? What about mini-drips from the shower? No lettuce, avoid salsa fresca & restaurant ice.
Mexico is full of idiosyncrasies to master, for not only am I in a 3rd world foreign country, but I am a Responsible Housesitter, which includes details like paying the electric bill at the Mini-Mart, hiding aluminum cans under the garbage-can-top for the garbage-men so they continue to love us; keeping my eye out for Kids Driving Cars!
Day 1 was a Town-Tour, Beachside dining with my hosts & schmoozing with an expat barkeep about Ukulady shows.
Day 2 was spent totally dehydrated, something I haven't felt since Burning Man and I was reminded why I do not attend Burning Man anymore. I recovered with 15 glasses of water, 1 bottle of Gatorade and 6 hours Suffer-Reclining in the humid, steamy afternoon.
I am the Worst Rester; withered, angry and dishearteningly-sick, I visualized orange and blue healing colors and chanted "Rest 'n' Heal", while simultaneously deciding that I am not brave enough to travel to India by myself and what was I thinking summering in "devilishly hot", as the guide books call it, Barra De Navidad.
There have been several Arrested Development-the-TV-show references here; the Barkeep is named Buster, the cleaning lady is Lupe and all the wealthy Mexicans, it seems, vacation in Orange County.
Stay tuned for the Continuing Adventures of The Ukulady in Mexico!
Love The Ukulady
ps: This is not resort-Mexico. This is real-people Mexico.
pps: Garbage men come everyday, you are supposed to make left turns from the right lane, the wealthy Mexicans vacation here and apparently are racist/facists, considering darker-skinned people, lesser. I've stepped back in time.