We have now been in Sayulita for 2 days, arriving on Monday the 27th, making good time from Mazatlan, since we left around 7:30 am. It goes without saying that we were very excited to arrive at this place that holds such feeling for us, a destination which we see in such a lovely light that we don't expect anyone else to see what we see. But, as we both realized, that excitement carried its fair share of nervousness and anxiety, which was ebbed by the comfort of having each other to lean on (the gift that we cherish daily, and hope to never take for granted).
After so many years of seeing a chance to live in our promised land as only a dream, even though we visited often and even tied the eternal knot on its shores, arriving after all the hard work and travel was no short of overwhelming. Things as simple as counting kilometers and towns till we arrived built a pressure cooker of excitement that was new to us - truly uncharted land. Sure, we have been here various times, and were welcomed, but this time, we were staying and were going to try and make a life. Everything looks, smells, and feels different when it is your home, and not a vacation, and everyone you meet holds a different promise, as well as comes deserving a share more of care and consideration, though we are always kind when traveling. After calling our folks on the road to town, and sharing the arrival news before we lost cell reception, we saw the sign for Sayulita, and immediately noticed the slightly dramatic changes that the last 2 years have brought to this little town we love. New highways leading to the town - a turn-off once un-signed and rough dirt road, now a paved, 4 lane road, with fresh paint, and a big, modern totem of a sign, claiming "Sayulita" to the world (with the appropriate little icon of a surfer, of course). Besides the road into town being smoother due to road upgrade, we could immediately see the growth of buildings and population. When a town is growing from unknown, to very popular, and written about in international magazines, the change is impressive to see, and surely frightening to some of the locals.
As we found our way to our first of 2 residences for the next 8 months, we were in a haze of excitement, nervousness, and accomplishment - none of the above holding any negative connotations, just a group of strong feelings taking control of our senses, and at least for me (Gab) almost erasing the memory of any details on the drive in. As we pulled up to Casa Michelle, the little casita we are staying at till the end of May, we saw Michelle Tuerpe, the owner, awaiting us on the balcony - this was really going down! Michelle proved to be a very sweet ex-pat, who has been living in or around Sayulita for 4 years now, surfing and working on starting a business. She bought a tiny little shack on the site where the casita now sits, and built what is now a 2 story, 2 residence building over the last 2 years. We walked in and immediately loved it. Perfect entry home for our stay here - joy overtook nervousness and anxiety and we settled in over the next group of hours and days. The home is located literally between little Mexican homes that can only be described as shanty homes plus, yet we are all next to lovely little restaurants and a meager block from the center of town. The juxtaposition of things in Mexico is always a trip, yet part of the things we love about the place. The Mexican people live with their families, work hard, and are happy to be together, much like us. We have met many locals on our trip down as well as here, and the overall feeling is that though their towns are growing dramatically, with many foreigners becoming locals, they are happy for the work and opportunity.
We have seen some folks we remember from previous visits, and Andrea's steel trap memory recognized a gentleman helping us with our water heater as someone who cared for the house our friends stayed at during our wedding, who coincidentally I treated poorly. He said he remembered us, but let's hope not the drunken spouting of yours truly. (Hello to Jen, Mike, Jay, Kelly, Jerry, Jenna, John, Cherie, Monty & Mike from your friend Namu!)
Yesterday we took a trip to Wal-Mart (very Mexican, no?) and bought supplies for eating at home exclusively, minus a few splurges at some local haunts. We are on a budget, and it is key to eat and live like locals, and keep costs down. Sayulita, being so popular, basically can end up costing same as the states if one eats out every day. So it's BBQ, tequila, and Andrea's awesome cooking at home, which suits us just fine.
We walked the town today, and when visiting the beach for the first time, were blown away by the huge amount of people there. The town has grown so much, and the surf was crowded with happy surfers, experienced and learners. We will tread into that territory soon, but not today... We also saw some kind folks that helped us get things lined up to arrive here, Tamra and Theo Koch, who have done what we are doing years ago, and are about as nice a folks as you will find. It was welcoming and calming to see them. We look forward to spending more time with them soon.
More to come...