Cheers & Tears

“It was all too easy,” Jason and I commented, sipping our $10 bucket of Sol beer accompanied by lime slices, as the ocean foam lapped at our bare, pale toes. Within the hour, we’d arrived in the laid-back beach town of Sayulita, overwhelmed yet content, missing San Francisco friends yet ecstatic to meet new, care-free travelers.

It all started upon our arrival in Puerto Vallarta, when we denied the first offer from an airport attendant for an $80 arranged taxi to haul us to Sayulita. Afterall, we had left one of our suitcases inadvertently (blame it on the goodbye-party hangover) in Amanda and Liam’s garage, so a cab wasn’t a mandatory form of transportation anymore. We could ride the bus with the locals- and chickens- to Sayulita for 1/53 of that taxi offer! All we had to do was lug everything through a narrow aisle of gawking locals and sit with it piled in our laps for 90 minutes. We’d been through worse.

Proud of our decision to harden up and experience Mexico like true backpackers that we weren’t, (not yet anyway, since we had wedding paraphernalia in tow,) we hauled a roller bag, 2 backpacks, Jason’s wedding suit, and 2 duffles across the overpass, down the ramp, past a taco stand, and right into a man who offered us a cab for $40. Sweating and ready to vacation (& ditch the gaudy rolly suitcase) we sealed the deal and seconds later a 10 year old boy whisked the 66-pound burden from us, flopping it into the trunk. On the road, there is nothing like the option to change your mind in a whim due to a sweat.

So we had arrived and were dining on tamales and guac, paired with the inhale and exhale of warm waves and stray dogs. A group of three young boys bounded down the beach. One gangly guy drew a heart in the sand with the initials M.G. within, then giddily pointed it out to his friend. The light-hearted amigo  promptly erased it with a swoop of his flip flip, looking embarrassed and suffocating a smile. I had to giggle as they chased each other around, even though I didn’t understand what they were saying. “People watching” in other cultures is always better than learning about them from a book. Phones were disconnected and nothing existed besides us, the methodic waves and them. Jason and I clinked our beer bottles together and tears floated into our eyes, realizing for the 100th time that traveling is where we find true contentment. We were back in our groove and overwhelmed with happiness.