For the last thirteen years, I have traveled in and out, and up and down this intoxicating country. I have left it many times, only to return again. Nowhere else have I felt the joyful welcome of such a beautiful culture filled with love and friendship.
The joy of walking the street of a new city, and hearing “buenos dias” from the mouths of every passing person is like receiving a giant hug along with your morning coffee. The amazement of meeting a person one day and having them remember your name can make you feel like a VIP, but it is simply the way life in Mexican villages.
The food alone will make you want to never leave this country of such delicious cuisine, whether it is fine dining under the stars, or eating their famous street food. Being invited to make tamales alongside the owner of a famous restaurant made me believe I should have been a chef until I saw my clothes covered by the masa and tamale juice, while the other ladies were spotless. Nevertheless, it was the laughter that filled my heart, and no one loves to laugh more than a group of Mexican ladies sharing their tamale secrets, and neighborhood gossip.
Oh, the fiestas and the Christmas Posadas are to never to be missed. In Mexico, the nine days before Christmas Eve are filled with neighborhood Posadas. A Posada is the reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s pilgrimage to Bethlehem, but more so it is a time to eat, drink, dance in the streets, break piñatas, and visit with the neighbors. I swear Mexico has more fiestas and parades than anywhere in the world. Their parades are almost as good as the Rose Bowl parade in the US. The normal parade is filled with thousands of students, marching, dancing traditions dances, and even wild gymnastics building human pyramids five bodies high. Oh my, then there are their horses. The Mexican cowboy (Caballro) is magic on his amazing dancing horse which will lift its legs and move its body to nothing more than a slight movement from his rider’s knees or feet. I’ve never been more impressed by anything, as much as these horses and riders, because I came from a family of rodeo people. The rodeos here are so old time wild west crazy that I would never miss one if I’m in the area where one is being held. It is much better than the Sunday cockfight or bullfight.
Not to be outdone by all the activity one can find here, the music is so diverse it will tranquilize, hypnotize, or excite my ears on any given night or afternoon. There is the traditional mariachi band with their colorful charro suits and sombreros, or perhaps the folk music of a ranchero band. If you want a happy musician just make a special request and a small donation and they will play their hearts out. My favorite will always be La Bamba, and every group knows it. If they know me I always hear Donna made famous by Richie Valence, and he is still loved by young and old in Mexico and by me also.
I used to work six days a week, now I play seven days a week in the most beautiful, warm, clean water off the Pacific coast in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico. Due to these perfect beaches and pristine ocean I have indeed become a beach bum, and a diehard fisher-lady. Somehow I was lucky enough to wander into this small fishing village, and I believe I have found my Shangri-la. My little oasis allows me to live cheaply, eat well, play hard, and have a smile on my face 24/7.
I’m sorry, but I don’t have an extra moment to spare. I must hurry away as I hear the fish are biting off the rocks at Madera beach, and they may be gone tomorrow. Adios amigos.
About the author: Donna Morang is the author of Big Backpack–Little World, and The Wild Side of Alaska. I presently live in Zihuatanejo, Mexico where I teach ESL (English as a Second Language) and continue with my writing.
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