OUT OF THE DUSTY DUNGEON OF LIVING THE DREAM DEFERRED from MARCH, 2012
|Pablo's Palapas, the old Sayulita|
Surfers discovered this former fishing village over 20 years ago. In those days, the only accommodations were simple palapas on the beach. When I first came here in 1995 we stayed in a big room on the beach swarming with mosquitoes cooled only by the ocean breeze.
It is an often repeated tale: Surfers or artists ‘discover’ a very cool spot--Isolated, native culture, great scenery, and cheap. Eventually the word gets out and reports of a secret getaway appear in a surf magazine or the travel section of the Sunday paper, and then a trickle of first adopters check it out. Soon, enterprising foreigners who want to indulge their surf or art habit set up a small business; a café or a small guesthouse. Pretty soon it gets known as a ‘cool’ authentic spot for package vacationers in the nearby tourist mecca, in Sayulita’s case Puerto Vallarta. After a few years luxury villas are built and provide all the amenities of home.
During this trip (March, 2012) to Sayulita, the town center was undergoing a major gentrification; new sidewalks, utility lines underground, and new cobblestone roads. This ‘upgrade’ was a rush order for an upcoming show and tell junket for North American travel agents. New branding was announced on auto license plates for the state—Riviera Nayarit. The tsunami is coming and the surf is going. Not only will most surfers be unable to afford to stay here but the surf will be gone due to a proposed development on the point.
|Sayulita, the Nayarit Riviera|
In Sayulita, Pablo’s Palapas is currently undergoing a makeover with scaffolding and boarded windows. The old beach campground is shut down pending approval of a new luxury hotel. The town is gearing up to offer the tourist culture of Waikiki beach with a Mexican flavor. Doesn't sound like adventure to me.
|Pajaro de Fuego, the new Sayulita|
|Rhino seeks new horizons in San Pancho|
Not so in Sayulita, where most Mexicans speak English and are not likely to be patient with stumbling attempts at Spanish. It is easy. But like surfing, the thrill is in riding the wave and in order to ride it you must be a little bit in front of the break. It is a challenge and is not easy. But it is fun.
Catching the waves of the world is an optional mission. The unknown promises novelty, complete with its doubled sided coin of fun and hassles. As Bob Dylan once wrote: 'There is no success without failure.' The adventure trip may not succeed, but in the long run, boils down to an experience. And that is more long lasting than that ice cold latte.