Magical Mexico

 

 

Flying into Mexico airport is intimidating, confronting and yet strangely beautiful. Having to walk through an airport where the military greets you with loaded weapons is an obvious reminder that we’re not in Australia anymore and whilst we’re far from the dangers of Chihuahuas or Ciudad Juarez, being safe is always in the back of our minds.

It’s overwhelming going through Mexico’s customs and even though I know I’m not doing anything illegal, there’s a slight part of me panicking that I’ll be taken to a secret room and interrogated for hours. But it doesn’t happen. And it's fine.

We make our way through the bombardment of locals heckling us, all yelling over each other offering anything from cheaper hotels, hire cars, discounted cabs, discounted jet-ski’s, food or even tequila. They come from every angle at us, all trying to make a quick peso from our ignorance and naivety. We ignore them and find ourselves a cab to head to our destination.

It’s hot! Hotter than we could of ever prepared for and our taxi has no comforts like air-conditioning or radio. Our cab driver is cheerful and is excited to meet some people from “Austrayah”. He asks us whether we really do all own a pet kangaroo. Of course we do” I reply, “just like I’m sure you drink tequila and take siesta’s every day!” He laughs a deep belly laugh. “But I do drink tequila and take a siesta every day!” He replies with a big grin.

I’m distracted from my scenery watching by the sounds of sirens blasting, and soon after a convoy of six police cars fly past us. We come to a checkpoint where we pass more military men with guns. We’re quickly waved through and our taxi driver explains they don’t normally check the cabs. We then continue our journey down the windy roads that interchange between dirt and bitumen.

As we head towards San Jose del Cabo we pass small communities of houses scattered through the mountains and I can’t help but admire the beauty of them. They’re old and some are barely more than shacks however they’re all rich in vibrant colours of orange, greens, reds & blue’s - they look like they’re all having a secret celebration.

We arrive at our hotel and our cab driver explains to us that he is not allowed to enter because they’re gated communities for security reasons. The fare is in peso’s however we don’t realise and try and pay him in American dollars. The taxi driver chuckles again and lets us know of our mistake. We still offer to still give him the amount in US dollars but he will only take a small tip for the ride. This is our first experience with the beautifully honest and generous nature of the Mexican people and certainly not our last. 

We’re staying at the Allegranza, made famous by the fact that Enrique Iglesias and his father Julio Iglesias are part owners, and we’re reminded of this from everybody that works there and anybody we tell we’re staying there. The manager shows us to our magnificent condo and the first thing we notice is the breathtaking views of the Cabo San Lucas ocean line from our veranda. I couldn’t fault the condo, it’s exceptional in every way and is decorated in traditional Mexican décor.

Down near the pool area we meet a lovely lady called Rosa who advises us that she’ll make us drinks and cook us meals whenever we require it. They have an open restaurant and everything is cooked to order. We spend the afternoon drinking Pina Coladas, mojitos and eventually eating quesadillas which were even more tantalising to the taste buds than we could ever imagine. Once again we get confused by the tipping system and try to over-tip. Rosa advises us what is normally fair for future reference, but we accidentally/on purpose sneak in double, to thank her for her honesty.

The next day we decide to check out the town of San Jose Del Cabo, but we’re disorientated and don’t know how far it is to walk and don’t want to risk getting trapped in the blistering heat of the sun. Rosa walks past and upon overhearing our conundrum offers to give us a ride down. We tell her we will find a cab but she insists on driving us to the centre of the town. Her car is an old banged up Honda civic and on the way she tells us she also cleans the condo’s and is the chef and bartender there, but she likes it because she gets paid fair and treated well and it’s enough for her to be happy.

As we go to leave we try and tip her but she is offended by this, and we feel really awful. We don’t insist for once, as we don’t want to insult someone who was so lovely to us any further. But we do however start to understand the nature and culture of these wonderful Mexican locals.

The town is modestly filled with markets, traditional Mexican food stalls, and restaurants. I’m surprised to see a large Walmart and Burger King in deep contrast to the colourful buildings of the rest of the town. As we wander around exploring the mostly dirt roads many utes past us that have numerous people piled up in the back only holding onto the side of the trays. They are smiling, of course.

We eventually settle on a restaurant to eat at and we sample an array of traditional Mexican cuisine which is spectacular in every way. I watch the bartender make me a “traditional” margarita. “Traditional” in Mexico seems to mean throwing copious amounts of any spirit available into something that resembles a fish bowl with some ice and a dash of salt around the rim. Needless to say, I only needed one.

On our day two of our Mexican adventure, we decided to hire a car to go into Cabo San Lucas. San Jose del Cabo is often described as Cabo San Lucas’s quieter younger sister, and I can see why. We go exploring around Cabo to discover what is on offer and we settle on hiring some jet skis. You need to take a boat out to the area to jet ski in and it’s also home to the famous Arches or El Arco which is a distinctive rock formation that erupts from the sea at the tip of Baja Peninsula. It’s more spectacular than I expected it to be.

After spending a couple of hours on the jet skis we decide to head back on the boat and as we’re casually relaxing we witness a seal jumping directly into the fishing boat in front of us. The seal patiently waits till he gets fed by the fishermen. Apparently, this is a daily occurrence and they know exactly what boats to jump on the back of. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. A very precious moment.

We go to have lunch at a restaurant and of course, we want to have a couple of beers. We ask what the legal limit is here to drive. The restaurant owner laughs at us, “You give the policeman twenty US dollars, that’s all. Doesn’t matter what you drink!” And as much as we do believe him we decide that nothing is worth risking going to a Mexican jail.

We head back soon after and I’m happy to be back in San Jose del Cabo. Whilst Cabo is certainly beautiful, I’ve never been fond of the very touristy places and Cabo is certainly geared towards the tourist. We’re happy to be back and relax with a couple of beers, because really, the sunset we’re privileged enough to witness is more than enough pleasure to do us for the day.

After first consulting with our manager Maria we gather advice and tips of where we should explore next. We want to explore the area but not the touristy towns. She advises us against certain areas that she considers too dangerous for us and even offers to come with us or find someone that will, but we decline politely. We’re certainly not surprised by this offer.

We spend the next few days exploring the communities around us, meeting and chatting with the locals, and we were even taken into the homes of some of these wonderful people. We drank, we sang, we danced with them. They cooked us meals and kept us entertained with stories of their lives. They were generally the most beautiful people we had ever met.

Eventually, though after seven nights in this magical place, it was time for us to leave.

We called a cab and when it was finally time to say goodbye I felt tears welling in my eyes when I had to leave Rosa and Maria. We promised to keep in touch and we still have to this day. When the cab arrives I’m not even surprised to see a little boy riding in the back. “He likes to ride with me” the cab driver explains.

The little boy comes over and sits right between us as close as he possibly can to us without literally sitting on our laps. “Are you going home now?” He asks in his Spanish-English. “Yes,” we reply.

“Will you be back?” he asks us. We both look at each other. Knowing no word has to be spoken. We both know that nothing could keep as away from this amazing place. We both know that this was truly something special. After all, we found magic in Mexico.