Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6th, 2009. Mother’s Day. Usually Mother’s Day is in May, but this year it is in January. Kathy and I departed Punta da Mida around noon for a night with the girls. We took the bus into Puerto Vallarta’s Marriott Hotel, where we met the other two girls in our party, Dantel and Mary, both friends of Kathy’s. The room was a gift from Kathy’s friend. What a great gift! And we are so lucky that Kathy shared it with us!!
The Mariott is a place of sculpted beauty, both inside and out. The gardens are trimmed and manicured. It seems like every flower is on purpose. The stream gurgles underfoot, and the coy look up to greet you as you pass. The palm trees hang overhead, as much for shade as for an added dimension around the turquoise pool. There are rows of white sun chairs, and stacks of snow white towels. The swim-up bar serves all kinds of exotic drinks garnished with flowers and fresh fruit. Posch and elegant. And abundance. Lots of water, lots of electricity, lots of money, and lots of waste.
I was struck by how man must manipulate his environment in order to enjoy it. I bet if you dropped a hotel patron into a natural tropical forest, he would balk and cry yuk at the insects and thick growth and rotting fruit, and he might fail to see the beautiful flowers and incredible balance of it all – just the right number of insects to pollinate, and just the right amount of fruit to feed the animals. But in this setting, man has chosen the things he loves, and left out the rest. Here there is not balance, but man is happy here in his dominant position of gardener, and even more removed, as hotel patron and observer. And we are unaware of the havoc we reek with nature in this fight for supremacy instead of living in nature and feeling gratitude for the balance. We are so removed from nature in this environment in some ways. And yet, here is the beauty of a single flower, and I can sit and enjoy it all afternoon, and find peace in that one blossom, and in my heart. And that is enough.
I bet no one at that hotel enjoyed the fresh water showers and baths as much as we did - us cruisers, who live aboard and conserve water by swimming in the ocean instead of showering. It was absolutely extravagant to stand under a hot shower for 5 minutes. Amazing. I loved it. And a bath – imagine?!! A hot soak in fresh water, and quiet. Pure decadence. And then, all swum and bathed and perfumed and combed and fancy, we descended on dinner. We chose a Mexican buffet. Now that might sound rough, but at the Marriott, it was divine. The whole room exuded five-star fresh. I ate things I had never even heard of before. Rare mushrooms that grow on rare cacti, seafood caught that morning and prepared especially for us. Exotic traditional salads, various stations where the chefs prepared foods fresh while you watched – fresh fish, guacamole, fahitas. Fresh vegetables, and meats prepared in various sauces and marinades. Everything displayed and served in its own special cup or glass or saucer or plate. They overlooked nothing – colors, textures and presentation were all addressed. And I am proud to say I tasted every single mouth watering dessert they had. Thank goodness they were small! I ate until I could not eat another bite. Like Merle says, you can’t get fat on what you can eat in one day. Then, we returned to our room, and I balanced the girls charkas as they lay on their feather beds and drifted in and out of sleep. Cool slippery dry white cotton sheets feel amazing on clean skin, especially if they are laid over feathers. What a perfect way to end the day!
I did not eat the next day. I did not need to. I just drank water. I enjoyed the minimalist approach the day following such a fat extravagant affair. Dantel and Mary walked me to the bus, and I was grateful for their company. I caught the bus to Sayulita, a new destination for me. I arrived there in the late afternoon to find my boys playing happily on the beach, and our boat moored competently in the bay, bow and stern anchored to meet the rise and fall of the swell head-on. It was good to be back. It felt normal to be walking on a beach with sand between my toes, slightly sticky and sweaty from the bus ride, messy hair, boys running happily to hug me, sand and water and all. Being a mom is really amazing after you have been away from your little ones for a day. I missed them as much as they missed me. And of course I returned smelling like a (coconut) rose for my husband. It’s good to return refreshed and revived. I am a better mom and wife after that for a while. Thanks, ladies - I had a great time!

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