Not often does one enter a new place, in a new country, with a new language, and feel absorbed as if by rapid osmosis into the structure of a community. Such as it was in the Mexican surf and fishing village of Sayulita. It began with the hospitality of “Don” Greg Pearce who graciously allowed us to stay in rooms atop his highly regarded restaurant of Los Afortunados. Our community continued to grow through our warm interactions with his servers and especially Omar his bar tender, as they prepared for the evening rush.
Each morning we grabbed long boards and hit the surf as the incoming tide bumped the swells a couple of extra feet. I am beginning to realize that by design a surfer is a patient creature, continuously perched on his/her board with a watchful eye to the open water. It was during these moments between wave sets that great conversations and new friends were made. Amigos hailing from the Pacific Northwest were plentiful and as ironic as it seemed our conversations always touched on skiing big mountains back home as we sat on our boards in the 80+ degree water. The local riders stole the show with their talent and were helpful to point out rocks or reefs hidden beneath the water. While coming out of the surf one afternoon I had the pleasure of stepping on a stingray and feeling the full force of his displeasure enter its way into my foot. Because these typically benign creatures carry a neuro-toxin in their barbed stinger, a resident surfer buddy led my hobbling self a couple of blocks from the beach to seek treatment at the farmacia. After a couple of shots to the foot and rear-end, I was on the mend and my buddy from the surf had even checked on me twice to see how I was managing. Talk about community!
Each night, the soul of Sayulita uncloaked its otherwise laidback self as the sun set beyond the beach docked fishing boats and rows of palms out on the reaches of the Pacific. This transformation was visual with the sunset but audible as well with the tribal-like drumbeats and the wail of a local reggae bands coming from the village square. Pacificos and the occasional margarita fuel this affair with an energy that can’t be duplicated by a daytime existence. At an unannounced dawning hour the energy migrates beach ward to final destination of dancing, live music and mas Pacificos. Bonfires burn alongside the local mota, mixing in the air with the smell of salt and adding another layer to the overall sensation. Suddenly, as if on cue the steady rising sun replaces their flickering glow with the visual effect of a closing bell. Sleep cometh to the weary until the alarm soundeth once again for the midmorning ocean swell.
We leave Sayulita grateful, recharged and inspired. I think that community can have this effect on the weary traveler. We were not meant to stay indefinitely as the road is our home, but with memories and relationships intact we are eager to return.
Cover Photo – sayulitabeach.com