Published: April 30th 2011April 29th 2011
I leave Mexico in a couple of days on May 1st, 2011. I had moved here 3 months ago from Portland, Oregon on February 1st.
I first came to Playa Del Carmen (PDC) in about 1990. A friend of mine from Washington DC, who I had traveled with many times before, told me about it. I fell in love with the place immediately and have loved it with little reservation ever since. I have not counted how many times I have visited but it is certainly more than 10.
On my first visit to Playa, I noticed the silky soft comfort of the air as it holds you. I heard the birds sing with ease as the sun rises over the pastel baby blue water and I knew there was something the birds understood that I needed to learn. I have visited often as if to verify that the sky really is that blue, the sand really that white, the air really so comforting. My memory never exaggerates her beauty, her smells, and her tastes.
Today I am happy to report that she is aging fairly gracefully. It is true that a few very large corporate all-inclusive resorts
have been erected within her city limits, but despite a few poor city management decisions, she has maintained much of the childhood character that I fell in love with.
Instead of just a few good local restaurants to choose from, there are now many good local choices and a few fine dining experiences approaching world class. You can now find Gelato, French and Italian cheeses, a world class wine shop, assorted night-clubs of various music selections, and thousands of gorgeous people from all over the world, rather than just hundreds from mainly the US and Canada. My little girl has become sophisticated, nuanced, and worldly.
There are those who would return her to her former glory. I am not so sure.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with my high school buddies in a farm town before moving to the big city in California. We were camping in the woods and were all sitting on top of my friend’s van looking up at the stars. We had been partying for hours with the rock music blaring from the van’s stereo system. The lyrics of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix were teaching us the meaning of
On that day, at the age of 15, I declared that I did not want to live until the age of 30. What would be the point I asked? Old people never have any fun. They just live in the suburbs and drive their cars to and from work every day. The whole point of their lives seems to be to acquire a bunch of things that cost money requiring them to work all the time. They never seem to get together with their friends and have fun since they have kids to take care of, lawns to mow, wall-paper to put up, and houses to clean. Work, work, work.
What does this have to do with Playa Del Carmen? It is not a perfect analogy, but follow along here for a minute, you’ll get the idea.
At the age of 15 I found complete and utter joy sitting on top of a van, listening to just rock, eating just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and swimming in the creek in my cut-off jeans. I had no idea just how much ground I would cover after the age of 30, and how much more sophisticated and
nuanced my life would become. Life has been an order of magnitude better since easing into my post 30 years.
I have tasted food from all over the world, while sitting in the country of the food’s origin. I have learned to not only appreciate but love other music such as classical, funk, jazz, R and B, house, hip-hop, rap, blues, disco, top 40, and aboriginal. I have loved deeply many times, had my heart broken and recovered to love again, and I have become friends with some of the most interesting, diverse, and intelligent people in the world. I have read hundreds of books and reformed and redefined my personal meaning of life and have had the courage to live it. I have started, failed, and succeeded at many diverse kinds of businesses. And possibly most important, I have designed and created a life that has brought me a pool of joy that I swim in freely and often.
Playa Del Carmen has followed that path with me in her own way. She no longer swims in a creek with cut-off jeans and eats peanut butter and jelly. The world has traveled to her shores and brought
her a nuanced life of sophistication. Chefs from all over the world have visited and decided to stay and share their talent. Artists sell their work in open markets on 5th Avenue. Salsa, Bossa nova, House DJs, and Rock performers share their passion in the evenings. Beautiful people from all over the world grace the white sands sporting their bronzed beauty. You can kite surf, scuba dive, snorkel, sail, wind surf, and dance the night away.
But her most sophisticated and nuanced achievement has remained the same over all these many years. It is the contrast in colors of whites, blues, purples, pinks, yellows and oranges that roll across her sky as night becomes morning, morning becomes day, and day becomes night. As the sky spills colors into your eyes, listen to the pastel baby blue water gently slap against her white sand. Feel, smell, and taste her warm, silky, soft, and salty air, as hours drift by and you fall in love with your life.
As I have traveled the world, I have never forgotten her. My love will always returned to her. Here are pictures of some of my friends that have visited me in Mexico
in the last 45 days.
Now I head to see another life long love, San Francisco.
There are more photos below