Thursday (10/22) started out like many other mornings this week during our amazing vacation South of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Hungover and smiling. There was again an energy and anticipation for adventure in the air as my man Joe, (and local Tony) put together another impromptu excursion for a little group of us to see more of the Pacific Coast south of Banderas Bay.
We hopped in two skiffs from our beach in Mismaloya and headed South along the coast. I recall comments on how the swells looked a little high as we checked out the fancy jungle hideouts along Costa Sur. The luxury villas eventually transitioned to little villages accessible only by boat. At one of these called Quimixto, we disembarked and enjoyed a brutal barefoot humid hike through the jungle to check out the beautiful refreshing waterfalls at the end.
Headed back from Quimixto after photos/refreshments and as we got back to the village, we took in the sights, sounds and smells of life in this tiny hamlet that reminded me of another time in my life. Kids playing HAPPILY, helping unload supplies from boats, taking care of what ‘little’ (I could write another essay about this) they had by making sure their homes were swept clean and perhaps more jarringly, the sounds of two little girls sweetly singing to us to buy their ‘sea shells from the ocean’. After a stop in Las Animas for lunch on the beach, one of the best meals I have ever had because of the company, food and surroundings, we headed back to Mismaloya for the evening’s festivities.
That jingle stayed with me the rest of the boat ride back making me smile but then quickly turned haunting when we got back to Mismaloya and heard of the impending ‘mother of all storms’ that developed in a span of hours and was bearing down on the coast in our proximity.
After the initial disbelief and putting together a plan and contingencies for what we should do to ensure our safety, my mind drifted and focused back to the little girl from the village (pictured). Did she know what was coming her way? How would this impending catastrophe change her life and her innocence? Living directly on the coast (2 – 5 meters above sea level) with 12 meter surges expected, did they have a plan? Accessible only by boat, what were her options to protect her precious little life?
Perspective is everything and I am thankful for another reminder of what is really important and how ungrateful we sound when we complain about the most mundane things in life. This experience culminated in what has been a very self-reflective 10 days in my life…and somehow, I can’t help but think that I should just have bought one of her beautifully imperfect shells.