Since my first trip to Europe, the summer of 1993, I had classified myself as a World Traveller. I was, and am still, so fascinated by other cultures and countries. I love trying new foods and experiencing life like a local. When I met my husband, he, too, loved to travel, and we loved travelling together. Our first international trip was on our honeymoon to Bali and Thailand. It was the most amazing vacation I have ever been on. About a year and a half after we were married, we became pregnant with our first son. Shortly thereafter, the international travelling ceased, or at least slowed down to that of molasses. When our son was one years old, my parents very graciously offered to keep him for two weeks so my husband and I could travel to Anguilla and Miami for my 30th birthday. We came home with a a great souvenir…a positive pregnancy test! About six months later, our daughter was born. This time, the international travelling really came to an end.
That was five years ago. Even though I was just travelling to Mexico, I was nervous. Nervous about the flight (what mother doesn’t get on a plane and assume the worst…that she will be leaving her four children alone in this world to fend for themselves?!?!), nervous about filing out the customs papers, nervous about customs, nervous about the Mexican police and drug lords, nervous about my money being pick pocketed…seriously. I remember when I got on a plane to Europe, it was a TWA jumbo jet, and I was sitting in a window seat looking out on the runway. I had just left my parents and the rest of my family for the first time, to go across an ocean, to a different country, where they didn’t have American dollars or speak English. Though I was excited and sad, I don’t remember being nervous. I didn’t have the responsibilities I do today…kids, house, bills, etc., things that take over your mind completely and keep you from ever feeling like an 18 year old ever again. Once up in the air, and the flight seemed to be going seamless, I was able to begin my decompressing. At first I thought I would have all the time in the world to read a few books, catch up on the gossip mags, maybe even write a little. Who was I kidding? When I got in my over sized First Class seat, I took out my iPad to read off my Kindle App, and next thing I knew the stewardess was nudging me to see if I wanted anything to drink. I couldn’t keep my eyes open the entire flight. Landed in Phoenix, got off the plane and back on another, and same thing…bam! sound asleep. I don’t sleep well on planes, so that should tell you something! I don’t think I realized how really very tired I was.
RSH was already in Mexico and he and his buddies were planning on picking me up from the airport with the car his buddy kept down there. As soon as we landed, the nerves kicked in again. It had been years since I had been in Mexico. In fact, the last time I was there was exactly 14 years ago with my best friends from high school. We all met up in Cabo for our last Spring Break in college before we graduated. My memories of Cabo were that of one big dance party and drinking games at The Giggling Marlin, El Squid Roe, Cabo Wabo and The Office. The hazy memories, and probably because I was pretty hazy then, too, of wandering around the main drag of town with Coronas in hand, fending off the street vendors, and enjoying the freedoms of Mexico that are in so many Jimmy Buffet and cowboy songs. This time around, I really didn’t know what to expect. Coming off the plane, I was directed to a large, Mexican man with a moustache who looked like he had the most boring job in the world. He sat behind the counter at Immigration and said, “Hola,” and nothing else. I don’t even think he looked up at me, just stamped my passport, then pointed to the baggage claim, where you tested your luck of proceeding through the gates with a push of a button. Green means go, Red means your screwed. Luckily, my light was green. I couldn’t get the handle to pull out of my suitcase, so I had to drag it by the carry-handle. And being so well directed in Mexico, I had no idea where I was going, and instead of following the crowd (still hadn’t had my coffee yet), I walked into an empty area where there were Mexican guards with the biggest guns I’ve ever seen in person. One of them looked at me and said, “Girl, go that way,” and pointed to an Exit sign where the other Americans were already walking. Now I was really getting nervous, but still trying to keep my cool, as I had to pass through the hundreds of limo and taxi drivers who want to take you into town. As directed by RSH, I just kept saying, “NO, my husband is here,” while secretly praying he was sitting outside the door waiting for me. Again, not knowing which door to choose, I took a chance and went the way the rest of the Americans were going. They were easy to spot…most of them being stark white and from the Mid West as, understandably so, they were escaping the freezing cold and snow dumping they had been experiencing for the last few weeks. He was not there. And I was already cursing him under my breath. I didn’t want to look like a confused tourist, so I started to text him, hoping the International Plan I signed up for before I left was working and the texts were not costing me $20 a word.
He said he could see me and was walking my way. My plane had landed early, so they were actually on-time. From behind the gaggles of the white American tourists, I could see RSH…rugged, faded blue baseball hat, tanned face with the beginnings of a rough beard, a lululemon sport shirt with a black hoodie, linen shorts and flip flops. He looked so hot! He looked relaxed, and he was mellow, and was happy to see me. And I, him. His buddies right behind him, grabbing my luggage and ushering me off the car. As we rode into town, I tried to think back fourteen years ago to place myself. The town had built up so much since then. Huge, beautiful, luxurious resorts had popped up and lined both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean sides of the coast. There were strip malls filled with American favorites like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Applebee’s, McDonald’s, KFC, and Wendy’s. I only remembered a lonely dirt road with desert for miles. Now the roads were pretty well paved, with a highway system and toll road intact. There was clean, landscaped, organized housing for those who worked in the resorts, and I saw several schools as well. I could tell this was definitely a different Cabo then from my last visit.
His one buddy was driving the car. He owned the fishing boats and a time share in Cabo. He also owned the car, which was, by American standards, a beat up Explorer, but in Cabo, it was perfect and got us where we needed to go without the threat of being flashy and sticking out like a sore thumb. As we drove the twenty minutes into town, he gave us little tips about where to get gas, where to exchange money, where to drive, when to drive, how to drive. Told us about the housing boom and crash happening in Cabo, and told us stories about friends who flipped houses for investments down here and how they made a huge profit. I was still a little disoriented, and couldn’t wait to get to the beach or the resort or somewhere where I could have a beer and enjoy the warm sun. All I heard was, “First stop, the Officina!”
|At the Office|
This place had definitely not changed. Bright, loud colors to match the bright, loud personalities of the wait staff. Lanterns and canopies hung all around with glimpses of Mexican art work in silver and huge painted pieces of ceramics, the familiar Mexican blankets were in piles by the door for guests in case they got cold, and there was still the crazy Mexican Dr. with the bottle of Tequila walking around with his whistle, pouring shots down your throat and covering your mouth with a cloth to ensure you swallowed every last drop. It always reminded me of knocking someone out with a chloroform laced handkerchief. We sat down at one of the white metal tables and chairs placed on the sand, overlooking the Sea of Cortez. The waiters went over the menu, but my biggest concern was getting a bucket of beers. Finally…ceviche and Coronas, the beach, the sun, a band of Mariachis playing in the background, and no interruptions by anyone under the age of 6. Fantastico!