Well, what a controversial column that was: “What do you do every day in Mexico?” I have never received so many e-mails on any other subject. I didn’t think it was such a big deal.
Perhaps it is because we sound so happy in our new adventure. Several friends have come clean and told us they would never have the nerve to pull up stakes “and just leave everything.” I get that, and it is not something to take casually.
Most people have the idea that I coerced my wife of some 30 years into deserting Canada to move where I can drink cheaply for the rest of my life. Anyone who knows Michelle knows full well that she cannot be convinced of anything unless it makes absolute sense to her.
Her friends believe the last time she went off the rails was when she married me, but I am very grateful for that one mistake, if indeed it was one.
We were staying at an all-inclusive when we first viewed our new Mexican place. Afterwards she dog-paddled across the pool to tell me she thought we could do this. My nerves were shot at the thought of moving to what I then described as a third-world country, a most unfair statement, as I have come to know, but that was then.
Anyway, Michelle was adamant that with a little guts on our part we would make a go of it, and I am glad she felt that way. Given my druthers I might well have returned to Canada saying platitudes such as “We will have a look again next year” and repeated it every year after that.
As anyone who has read my earlier columns will know, we made an offer and sent a down payment. Then we entered the seventh circle of hell, but now we are here, where we would not be without Michelle’s iron resolve.
We know more than a few couples where one or the other wants to be here more than the other and it is obvious immediately. The people who are the happiest in our crowd are those who together love this great country.
It sounds obvious, but not to many, apparently. They use it as a convenience like a 7-11. A place to drop by and pick up something in a hurry.
Well, my friends, you could never franchise Mexico as you could Florida or Arizona. There is no comparison. I have nothing against those two places, but they often look as if someone took a powder and added water, which was followed by a loud bang, producing street after street of sameness.
Not so here. Nothing is the same outside of some of the tourist markets. Here, cobblestone streets suddenly become pavement only to return to the former in a lethal combination. The love of family here must be experienced to be believed.
There are at least seven dogs per person, or so it seems at times. The garbage pickup is erratic, leaving more time for the waste to be examined minutely by one and all. There is a non-existent postal service unless the mail in question is a power bill. An overwhelming sense of optimism encompasses you no matter how down in the dumps you are. The marvelous food is always crowding our table.
The noise never stops, from dogs to trucks to construction to car alarms to roosters and the inexplicable explosions for no reason outside of “I had a leftover firecracker, señor.”
But best of all is the beauty of the place. Never have I seen such a festival for my tired old eyes as this new country of mine. It is endless, timeless and all-pervading. The stark contrasts in color make such an impression that you cannot believe it is real, all with the background of the unbelievably green Sierra Madre on one side and the almost painfully azure Pacific on the other.
I am as thunderstruck today standing on our terrace as that first day in June 2011.
This is a place that must be embraced every day with a rabid enthusiasm or it won’t have the desired effect on you. You should run towards it with arms open, as Michelle and I did. It is worth it.
The writer lives under a palapa in Puerto Vallarta.
© Christopher Dalton 2015