I didn't realize just how familiar Mexico would feel when I stepped off the plane in Puerto Vallarta. I felt almost gleeful at the pushy taxi drivers, the call for coconuts by a man pushing a cart down the street, the smell of tacos al pastor, the unmarked bus stop, the boys walking by saying a few words in English to demonstrate their knowledge. I hopped a bus to the coastal town of Sayulita, north of PV, where a friend lives and a couple other friends were visiting. We went surfing, sunbathed, swam, napped, watched schools of fish play in the waves, ate chilaquiles, fish tacos, and tropical fruit with lime, salt, and chile. Wow, I forgot how much I love the food here. All the fresh bright flavors, spice, deep smokey salsas. My gastronomical experience in South America was so incredibly bland by comparison.
I also babysat my friend's 2 year old bilingual daughter. She is so cute. We watched Curious George in Spanish together, and read a lot of books. Another highlight was going out to open mike night, a mix of Mexican and foreign musicians, mostly all residents. At one point someone played "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chile Peppers. The audience sang along, they knew the words, and I could hear all around me people singing with French, British, or Mexican accents. Then I went swimming with new French friends, phosporescence glowing bright in the warm, dark water.
I'm a writer and editor in Seattle. I started this blog in 2008 to chronicle my travels in Latin America, and continued writing through jaunts in Europe and Asia.
Now I'm back where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and can't stop hiking to fire lookouts in the Cascade Mountains. My guidebook, Hiking Washington's Fire Lookouts, will be published by Mountaineers Books in May 2018.