It did seem like a good idea at the time. Last May we received an email from our property manager in Mexico. Would we like to rent our condo for the months of February and March? We hemmed and hawed. We skyped our daughter once or twice a week while she taught school in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Every weekend she traveled around the country and then regaled us with exotic tales. I convinced Sharon that after five months in Mexico we might want a change of pace and visit other countries. We could use the money we would receive from renting our condo during the most desirable and revenue producing months. We told our guy to go ahead and rent it.
As the Mexico months piled one on another, we discovered that with our commitments to the orphanage and coaching basketball we didn’t want to leave. We loved life here. Additionally, friends wanted to visit us in March. We told our property manager that we didn’t want to rent it. He said that he could easily find another location for March, but that February would prove to be significantly more difficult.
We traveled around town looking for a month rental. We pondered a variety of options. Eventually, we rented a condo one floor above us for two weeks. We also turned in two weeks of tradable time shares for using two dated resorts in the Golden Zone or what the Mexicans call Zona Dorado. This section of Mazatlan stretches seven miles. Mostly timeshare resorts built during the 70’s grace the beach side. A series of small businesses, restaurants, pharmacies, and gift shops line the street opposite the resorts. No postcards that beautify Mazatlan are snapped in the Zona Dorado.
We have stayed in plenty resort hotels in Mexico over the years. We invariably arrived in late March for spring break. Weary of school, the wet weather, cloudy skies, and all the tedium of our indoor routines, we would arrive ready to celebrate warm weather, late nights, and good times. And celebrate we do well.
Our mind set for this particular visit paled by comparison. We had just spent five months in a new condo with all of our things. We loved our routine, our new friends, our commitments, and our home. We drove into Pueblo Bonita’s resort hotel and found easy parking. We informed the registration table that we owned a place in Mazatlan which served the purpose of warding off the resort’s timeshare requests. This did not ward off the barrage of hits you receive outside of the hotel. When a gringo walks out of a timeshare resort, he is fair game for solicitation of timeshare presentations, deep sea fishing opportunities, travel van excursions, and pulmonia rides in search of your desires. If you don’t have one, they can make one up for you. “No gracias, senor.” I repeated dozens of times as politely as my long strides away would allow.
Both of the resorts had similar settings. They had two pools. One has the activities like water volleyball and basketball, water aerobics, bingo, card games, etc. The other pool serves as a quieter place for sunbathers. Many visitors preferred the lounges on the beach. Now the beach side has its fair share of vendors who push the activities of the ocean: para sailing, sailboat rides, kayaking, and . Once you step away from the resort’s sanctioned beach you are also inundated with fruit vendors, trinkets galore, apparel of all Mexican varieties, and my least favorite look, the Bo Derek beaded hair. Why women think they could possibly look attractive with this look baffles me. Drawing the hair away from faces that need to be concealed doesn’t work unless you are a ”10”.
Our first night at Pueblo Bonita we ate at their restaurant. We had eaten their previously with friends who have a timeshare at their sister resort, the spectacular Emerald Bay property. We hated the meal and mostly the prices. These places are designed to milk tourists who are there for one week of mayhem. We yearned for our palapa, our friends, and Jaime. So we visited often. Sharon would play tennis and then we would come back for a happy hour occasionally. Each time we had to field questions as to why we were doing what we were doing. Oy Vay.
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During these two weeks we did find some interesting experiences. Over the months at Paraiso I noticed a younger couple who spent a week during November, December, January and now February. They always traveled with friends. Due to their relationship with Jaime, I knew that they were owners and not renters, but they maintained a self contained society at a location that I would soon learn Jaime had christened “Ricardo’s Café”. This couple didn’t interact with the usual suspects that grace the palapa. They chose to sit at the nearest cushioned lounge that hugs the wall overlooking the pool. I don’t know exactly why none of the usual suspects ever approached them. Perhaps, Richard’s (Jaime christened him Ricardo while he’s in Mexico) tats scared the Q Tip set off. Perhaps, Becky’s (Ricardo’s wife) beauty intimidated the women and the husbands in the presence of their wives off. Perhaps, no one wished to disturb the obvious tranquility they share with their friends. The curtains of Ricardo’s Café opened for Sharon and me in a most pathetic way.
Becky wandered into the palapa where Jaime greeted her with all of the enthusiasm that he musters for beautiful women. Becky had Jaime’s rapt attention and a smile to boot. One of our distinguished suspects fueled by copious alcohol, the absence of a wife, and a lecherous nature put on a disgusting display that lavished attention on a woman in need of none. As he railed on and on over her beauty and where she had been all of his life and how her posture needed to be softened and how his ability to read body language might impress her while he batted his eye lashes. Becky looked on with cautious amusement. She did not uncross her arms until Ricardo walked up. She introduced her husband. Then Ricardo received a lecture on his body language. No one laughed. More surprisingly, no one puked.
The next night Sharon and I managed to feel comfortable enough to walk into Ricardo’s Café, and we apologized for an unusual suspect’s behavior the previous evening. During the course of the next couple of evenings we learned more and more about them. I am married to White Oprah after all. I learned several things about them: they aren’t as young as they appear to be and have been married 33 years and have a 30 year old daughter and 3 grand daughters, they have great friends, they like to laugh, and they let their drunken friend slaughter me in tennis. I would later learn that he played me after he drank all afternoon. Not good for my ego.
The absolute highlight of our two weeks though occurred when Ricardo and Becky drove the two couples who traveled with them from Idaho to the airport. Shari and Theresa chose not to join their husbands for the return trip home. They wanted to stay for a few more days. They kissed their mates and sent them home to the kids. Who does that!!!!!! Now Ricardo’s Café started to rock. Ricardo and his harem would rise in the morning, go for a run. Stop at a bar part way and suck down some Bloody Mary’s and then hit the palapa for more. Sharon and I loved their enthusiasm and laughter, but maybe not as much as Patrick enjoyed his tattoo hunt. They provided us a great antidote to our blues away from home.
The night we returned home after a month away from our own beds, we made several grocery runs, packed our things away, and did laundry. Unknown to us we missed our own party as the usual suspects brought snacks to share and the following sign:
Welcome Back Sharon and Bruce
You thought it would be a good idea.
Well, the drinks are on the house. Just tell Jaime your room number.
Honest Tranquility on Jungle Beach
2 years ago