Sunday morning, Israel and I lazed around and watched the jungle outside my bedroom window for signs of life. Sure enough, we spotted two or three iguanas on various tree branches posturing and hissing at each other. As usual, we got a late start to the day. It's just hard to leave the a/c. But we decided to drive to Sayulita, about 45 min. from my part of town. Sayulita is a small, mostly American enclave on Mexico Hwy 200, a comfortable distance into the jungle. The town is a haven for "alternative lifestyle" types -- yoga afficionados, artists, hippies, etc. But at this time of year, the locals reclaim the town. Israel and I loaded up the Beast with our camping chairs, an umbrella and our beach towels and parked not far from the beach.
Sayulita is built around a tranquil bay where the waves are just strong enough to be fun. We made our way past the palapas and beach chairs, over to the far corner of the bay next to some overturned fishing boats. There were fisherman standing waist deep in the water, casting their nets and catching a lot of fish. Pelicans were divebombing the water and jiggling minnows down their gullets. We shared our fried chicken (I needed a break from Mexican food) with a Mexican family in exchange for some of their homemade ceviche, then made our way into the water which is barely cool, but a relief from the sticky heat. Occasionally, I'd feel schools of fish dart around my legs. Later, the pelican population along with cormorants and sandpipers (?), began circling in large numbers and I felt like we were in the middle of an avian feeding frenzy as the pelicans floated on the water only feet away from us, dipping their long beaks in the water for the occasional snack.
As Israel and I made our way to the car, I spotted an enormous iguana with the mohawk-looking "comb" running down his back making his way across the road to a tree. "Come look, Israel!" I said and we both tried to follow the nearly three-ft long iguana as he lumbered up the tree. Turns out, the whole area is an iguana sanctuary. We looked up in the trees and saw them everywhere, peering down at us. Every day holds amazing sights and sounds.
The other night I was driving home and spotted four fat raccoons feasting on trash piled on the corner. Sometimes I want to pinch myself for the incredible experiences I'm having here. I can't decide if I've done something right or it's just time for a period of bliss after all the Stephen stuff. Or maybe it's just the fact that I finally found the courage to follow my star. Whatever it is, I don't expect it to last -- nothing does. I stay rooted in the present, paying attention and just BEING, taking in every millisecond, every sensation, staying fully engaged with where I am, what I'm supposed to be learning. Photo ops are too frequent to catch in time...a bunch of banda musicians waiting for a bus...a lone fisherman neckdeep in the ocean, casting his line into the waves...a guy in blue jeans crossing the street, who looks completely average but for Bozo makeup and oversized red and yellow clown shoes.
It's been pouring rain since yesterday afternoon. My building, which looks so nice in the blog photo seems to be held together with Elmer's Glue and paper clips. The ceiling in my apt. is leaking like a seive -- with lizards running over the walls and water pooling on my living room floor under lamps and extension cords. The wool rug I brought with me from Colorado is soaking wet. The towels I hung out on the balcony have been soggy for days. Yesterday, I came down the hallway stairs, grabbed the hand railing and the whole thing ripped out of the wall. Went down to the landing and there were three street dogs sleeping on the steps -- I guess word has got out among the dog population that I'm an easy mark. Nena, the little white terrier now follows me home. Today, she greeted me with an orange face and feet -- she must have found some enchiladas in the garbage. I always rub her belly, even though I cringe a bit at the ticks and mange. She makes the cutest sounds -- not a bark, exactly, but more like happy whimpers.
I finished up my latest article today. I've really been in the zone with both the photography and the writing. Banderas News passed along an invitation to cover some big to-do at the Marriott tomorrow night. Free food will be involved, so I'm going to check it out. My friend Seth the chef has also asked me to cover his trip to a school to talk to local kids about healthy eating. I like the subject matter and I'm trying to convince Dave that we need to cover more of these types of stories. One thing Dave understands is "karma." So, maybe he'll let me out to cover more "needs" based stories. We're all just holding our breath to see if the tourists return in November. It could be a long winter if they don't.