We’re back from the beach and I wanted to give you a few of my thoughts as I know many of you might be thinking about “Beach Mexico” as a place to retire. There sure are a lot of spots you can choose from – the Yucatan on the east coast, the Pacific south by Oaxaca, Acapulco, Manzanillo (near where our friends are), Mazatlan, Cabo, Ensenada… they’re all different. So you should check a few of them out. Some will be hotter than others, some will be quieter. Some beaches you can swim at, some are a no-no. Figure out what’s important on your list. I can’t begin to rate them all (I’ve only been to about half of them) but do some online research about the different regions. The weather will be different, the food, the level of cartel activity in the area. You need to check it all out.
Cozumel is much different than Mazatlan or Manzanillo, which are more Mexican (except for the gringo hangouts). It’s more like Cabo San Lucas. As is Cancun (but I haven’t been to Cancun, so that’s hearsay. But you can almost throw a rock from Cozumel, and I’ve been there). Puerto Vallarta is like Disneyland on the water, such a tourist town. It’s horrible, I think. But a GREAT spot to fix and flip. Any town with gringos is. Stay away from the more Mexican tourist spots if that’s your goal, unless you know what Mexicans want. One thing they generally do that is different than me certainly, is a small, closed in kitchen. Because the maid/cook does all that and they don’t want to see or hear the prep or clean up. If you design an open kitchen, you will likely need to find a gringo buyer. And that’s easy in places like PV. I’m looking forward to checking out Acapulco and Puerto Escondito, although a little worried about the heat as we go further south. Man, I’m picky, huh?
But back to our beach visit. We had a good time, arrived Wednesday and left Sunday. We enjoyed visiting our friends. To be honest, I get bored at the beach – I think two full days of looking at the ocean (stunning, stunning view, however) is about my limit. It’s heaven for people who want to totally relax and do nothing. I can see lots of people with stressful jobs booking their winter vacations there, our friends have done a great job (they built it from scratch – well, had it built). They’re busy with guests in the winter and they get to relax all summer. And they both love it – so all is well on the mid-Pacific coast. Inspires us to find our place in the sun. Before the sun goes down.
I’m always looking, of course, wondering where we will retire and not ruling out anywhere in Mexico until we rank it (ha ha, kind of an inside thing but you might remember). We were near Manzanillo – and the town itself looked quite decent, not so gringo. But it’s small (150,000) and wouldn’t provide a lot of distraction. Just Sam’s (no Costco). Black mark in my book, LOL. The weather out on the beach was fine with the breeze, quite pleasant. In town, you don’t want to hang past noon and it’s only May. So no, not for us. And C got bit to death by sand fleas (no see-ums) and I got swimmer’s ear – and it hurt. A lot. Haven’t had that since I was a kid, But being out there reminded me, I do miss a good view.
We have to make sure that if we buy again down here, we get a view. It’s important. But what kind of view? If we want a water view, we either have to go to the ocean, or Lake Chapala, or Los Frailes or somewhere with water. I guess a city lights view would be good. There are some decent Mexico City views. We may also try Puerto Escondido (in Oaxaca) before we totally give up on the ocean. Except it’s only 50,000. There’s only so much to do on the beach.
Don’t get me wrong – the ocean is a killer view and the best one. But a view is a back drop. And a long view is just fine (in some cases, better). And there has to be other stuff going on outside the view. Acapulco may be large enough to amuse us but it’s a little rough right now. To be very polite. And then, there’s Campeche. I’d like to check that out but suspect it will be small. Very different – industrial, on the Gulf. Reputed Mosquito Coast. And Veracruz. I have a thing for the Gulf of Mexico, however. So we’ll see.
Sad news this morning – Guy Clark died. Hopefully, in his sleep, details haven’t been released yet. He wasn’t well. He hasn’t actually been well since his wife, Susanna, died in summer of 2012. Other than releasing the song he wrote about her, My Favorite Picture of You, he’s been out of the limelight for the last four years and mostly cancelling the very few gigs he’s scheduled. He’s been sick off and on, and I guess on more than off and battled lymphoma. But he hasn’t been whole without her. Or happy – at least that was my sense. He aged 20 years the year she died, no exaggeration. Guy is certainly one of my top three favorite musicians and songwriters, along with Bruce (Springsteen) and Rodney (Crowell) and I’m very sad he’s gone. I’ll miss him, as will many people around the world. He hasn’t toured in a few years and we all knew he was sick, but we didn’t hear much about him after Susanna died.
But he’s gone home now, at least, that’s what I feel. So that can’t be all bad. Home with his Old Friends. We’re all going home one day. Wherever the f-ck that is. I got a touching email from my friend Georgia, offering her condolences, when I woke up the next morning. And it was comforting to me. I’d met him several times and seen him play around the US and Canada. I almost made a (short-short) movie out of one of his songs (a dozen years ago) but that’s another story. The things we almost did that are no longer possible. I used to say not likely. But many are no longer possible. I know now with certainty that I will not hear him sing Dublin Blues in Dublin (I have, however, had a mad dog margarita in the Chili Parlour Bar and even have the shirt to prove it). Seize the day, folks – and RIP, our dear Guy Glark. The future will not be the same now that you are gone.
He died on the same day as my sister. But 12 years later. Seems hard to imagine. I try to plant something on this day – sometimes a tree (there’s a magnolia, a monkey puzzle, a peach, a fig and assorted others out there) but sometimes a bush – or even a plant if it’s a bulb and will keep coming back. The first one I planted was the magnolia on Third Ave and I still notice it the odd time when I drive past (when I’m on the Island). Maybe I can plant two things next year (missed this year, not sure how that happened). If I weren’t playing favorites, I’d be planting a lot more – that year my sister died kicked off a lot of deaths. Two very close cousins, an uncle (my side), a father and step-father (on my husband’s side). Friends’ parents. I guess that’s what happens when you get older. And it probably comes in waves. And it’s not even like I have that many friends to start with. The people who are social butterflies must really get inundated with death a times.
We have a small brunch happening next Sunday, moved up from an early June date – no point in waiting til June now (we had planned it for our visit from our friend that has been cancelled). Off to Costco today – I think we will have Organic BLT Pizza and one casserole dish. And little champagne split bottles with straws. And mimosas on separate offer (and coffee, tea, juice, maybe even lavender lemonade). Saw the splits with straws when I was doing a Summer Solstice party story. And I just love it. It’s enough reason on its own to prompt a brunch. Que bueno, as they say.
I was sick this week, I think it may have been from the swimmer’s ear, I was totally nauseous and threw up all night. But it passed in 24 hours. Still, in the middle of the night I was throwing up to beat the band and really devastated about death and loss. Guy, my sister, my best cousin (who I last saw two years ago yesterday). Among others. Things looked a lot better after a long sleep, but I guess you have to go through your dark nights now and again. You just have to pick yourself up and carry on. Because the morning always comes (so far) – and there you are. Better be ready to face the day. And seize it, seize it, seize it.
Whatever lurks in your head as a dream, do it. Make plans. They can be small plans. Take small steps. But do one simple (little) thing toward that dream every day. And you’ll get there. The time will go by anyway, believe me. And before you know it, you’ll be sitting in a chair with rheumatoid arthritis and someone feeding you and pablum dripping down your chin. Just kidding. But you are getting older. Every single day. Every one of us is. I’m not squandering one more minute. And neither should you.
What’s your dream? What’s on your bucket list? Don’t have one? Do that today. Make that your step toward realizing your inner goals. Write a list of where you’d like to be in one year. In two years. In five years. We used to add 10 years, but we don’t do that anymore. We’re getting too old. We don’t want to think about what that might look like (the pablum). At least not right now. Each decade, I keep thinking, I’ve got another 10 years of mobility. But if something can’t go on forever… it won’t.
I spent a lot of time thinking of which Guy song to close with. I have so many favorites. But this is probably a tie with Dublin Blues for the number one spot. And written by his wife Susanna (with Jim Janosky and Guy) – she was a brilliant, brilliant songwriter and painter. It’s said, in her day, she’d go down to Music Row in Nashville at lunch time, primp a little in the lobby of one of the large record companies and call out “Who’s taking me to lunch today?” And the record company execs would knock each other over trying to get to her first. But I digress. The Cape been recorded by a few people, including Kathy Mattea, but I’ve always thought Guy does it best. I remember the first time I heard him sing this. It’s what I was saying just one paragraph ago. Jump off that garage, ok?