Crossing Into Other Realities
I just spent a week in the sleepy village of Barra de Potosi on the west coast of Mexico. Up the road is the bustling tourist beach community of Zihuatenejo where the action resides. Barra is more like a zen experience. I stayed with friends in a camp (as in cool) little b & b on an unpaved village lane. A Trip Advisor review had given it a poor rating because they said it had bugs and seemed run down. I reflected on how frequently people impose expectations into just about any situation without regard to where exactly they are. I was happy we had hot water, clean sheets, and mosquito netting, which we did. Furthermore the French Toast was remarkable. But that is not what made this entire setting memorable.
We were in a time warp. it was as if we had gone from our customary 60 to 70 mph pace to practically zero.
After a leisurely breakfast and scintillating conversation with Laura, the owner, we could amble down to the enmaradas. These are small restaurants with thatched palm roofs over chairs and tables firmly planted in the sand. You could stake out your spot for the day and settle back into a shaded view of the large bay. Your eyes would rest on a gentle shore break with an endless show of various dive bombing sea birds, and fishermen with throw nets or little hand lines on spools they could toss and wind miraculously fast. Somehow the Mexicans seem to find the simplest way to do things.
The beach spread down for as far as the eye could see and was virtually empty. A few hundred yards away you could stumble in to an hour long massage which would leave you in yet a further altered state of relaxation. I brought books and tapes but always found the visual scenery too alluring. When you finally felt the mild pangs of hunger there was an abundance of seafood right from the water in front of you. In the other direction were large fresh water lagoons surrounded by mangrove trees one could explore by kayak or small skiff. If you were curious enough you could find crocodiles at the far end. I wasn’t. i even learned how to toss the fishing not well, but well enough.
The large Frigate birds were fascinating enough. They like to perch on abandoned poles or posts in the water. Their wing span is so long that if they accidently crash into the water they cannot easily take off again if at all. They skim the water surface deftly scooping fish on the fly.
Then there were the walks on the shore. If you wanted to walk for an hour you just headed out for 30 minutes, on the hard sand of the soft shore break, reversed course and were back as if you had been in a dream. No treadmill in a Gold’s Gym looking at your watch every 10 minutes to see how much more you had to endure.
At 5 pm the enmaradas quit serving, but the anesthesia of the day carried you into the early evening where the warm glow of that large orange ball slowly sunk on the haze covered horizon transfixing you for the days finale.
Wandering the short distance back to Laura’s place, the evening life emerged. Dogs playfully running after one another, the chatter of children, open doorways and tables being set up on the street offering a simple meal of tacos, or the latest house specialty.
In this kind of atmosphere you don’t just decompress, you slow down and then as if you have crossed into another reality, become conscious of life moving at the deliberate pace of a Tai Chi exercise.