30 March 2016 | The East Pacific Ocean
I am deeply thankful for the fantastic sixteen months we've spent in this delightful country. My experiences on my final day in Mexico show the personality and spirit of the country.
To get to the Mega grocery store from La Cruz, I took the collectivo: a mini-van turned taxi driven by a fast paced driver. The van became tightly packed with a dozen people, planning to get off at various locations on the way to Puerto Vallarta. At my stop, I excited the vehicle along with two older ladies, who were dressed in similar uniforms. Walking behind the women on the highway roadside, I was surprised when older one took off in a fast run as she approached the steep up-ramp that angles up to a pedestrian overpass. I caught up to her slower co-worker, and we both smiled as we walked upward and watched the grey-haired, energetic woman sprint up the steep incline. The racing granny waited for us at the top of the ramp, and I gave her a thumbs up and said "muy bueno" for her efforts. The next thing I know, she's yelling "Andale, Andale!" and all three of us are running across the highway overpass. We giggled loudly together as we sprinted down the steeply angled down-ramp. At the bottom, we caught our breath and giggled together some more, and I said "gracias, mis amigas," as we parted ways. I couldn't stop smiling as I walked into the grocery store.
My taxi ride back to the dock put a smile on my face as well. My taxi driver, Manuel, and I struck up a conversation using some English and some Spanish phrases. Although he looked to be in his early forties, he shared that he has "only" five children, and just five grandchildren so far. He pulled out his phone an showed me a picture of his youngest granddaughter, three months old and already sprouting a thick head of brown hair. Then, after a confused look passed over his face when I told him that I am an only child without sons and daughters, he asked me about my husband, my boat and my upcoming trip. Approaching the marina area with great excitement, Manuel pointed out two huge ancient looking iguanas, one in a tree and one on a grass area. He stopped the taxi so we could have a good look at their scaly skin and large heads. Finally, after unloading the groceries, he shook my hand and wished me a safe journey. I thanked him for his conversation and observations ski lls, as well as the taxi ride.
These brief encounters reinforce three beliefs I hold about Mexican people. Firstly, Mexican people are very warm and welcoming to strangers, especially if you smile, engage and try to communicate, especially in Spanish. Secondly, it is clear to me that Mexicans take the time for and know how to have FUN - whether at work, with their large families on their day off, or with a Canadian woman on a highway overpass! And lastly, in Mexico, family is everything: the heart-centre and the foundation. With affection, I thank my Mexican friends and family for your generous hospitality - I look forward to returning to your beautiful country and seeing you once again.