Let's go international, shall we?
Mexico. Land of a Thousand Sighs. The Sunshine Paradise. God's Baked Land of Love. It has long boasted many nicknames and evoked countless passions so I decided to visit this mysterious southern territory myself and file this report.
I visited Yelapa ("Enchanted Place of Great Natural Beauty and Inspiration"), situated a short boat ride from the tourist-infested city of Puerto Vallarta. A primitive town, Yelapa has only had electricity for seven years and features no roads whatsoever. Cell phone options? Forget it, Yankee! Internet? Internot! Paper and pen? You betcha' !
Nestled in an enchanted cove (no doubt many decades old), Yelapa features almost-constant sunshine, a gently breaking surf, handsome locals selling shiny artifacts, and primitive (but lovely) homes scattered throughout the surrounding hills. At the rear of many of these hovels, small family-run restaurants can be found. Delicious fish tacos, zesty chicken tortillas, ranches swerve-os (egg concoction). Heavenly! Margueritas, Daiquiris, Coronas. Sweet, tipsy refreshment.
And for the "losers" in Yelapan society? Mountains of marijuana and hash are exchanged as casually as tablets of Pez. Don't these primitive folks realize these are "gateway drugs?" I could clearly picture some of the stoned 60-year-olds eventually moving on to crystal meth or heroin. Only a matter of time. For shame.
Indeed it was the "Sunshine Paradise," but I must now dutifully report some other aspects of Yelapa which I found to be...lacking. Let me start with the way people speak. Despite easy access to english books written by such literary stars as Hemingway, Melville, and Jackie Collins, most of the citizens of Yelapa spoke jibberish! Often, when asking for directions or ordering a meal, I was forced to repeat myself again and again before being understood! As a professional writer and Level 9 English Orator (as recognized by the Brawdings Institute) I am comfortable in the notion that I communicated with great clarity. But time and time again, these tanned locals looked at me with great confusion and were unable to answer the most basic questions. How do they hope to compete with the United States (greatest country on earth) if their english is abyssmal?
And speaking of competition, I must address the restaurant "situation" in Mexico. Often, when sitting down at a beach restaurant, I was forced to wait up to ten minutes for any attention whatsoever! A casual fellow or gal would eventually amble over to my table and, after mispronouncing hello ("ola?!"), deliver a menu. In America, the menu is often already on the table and a waiter is prepared to take your order within minutes. American efficiency and excellence, my friends, form the bedrock of our global superiority and economic might. After another 10-15 minutes, the waiter (often wearing shorts and a T-shirt!) would take my order and another 20-30 minutes were squandered as I awaited my nutritious offering. Given there were no Blackberry or cell phone options, I was forced to gaze stupidly at the ocean during this time and, as Americans know, inefficient time is wasted time.
Finally, I was intensely uncomfortable to see many small, local children dashing about wearing sandals and little else. Typically, the little girls were topless and, as any good American Pastor will confirm, children should be taught Christian modesty as early as possible. As these sun-baked youngsters dashed about the village, giggling and holding hands, I could not help but believe that their parents were utterly failing them. Conformity is the key to success and undeveloped bosoms are bosoms nonetheless. I could only mourn the fact that many of these little girls would fall into lives of prostitution.
In conclusion, Mexico is the place to go if you want a warm, lazy vacation. But if excellence and efficiency are what gives you your "get up and go," might I suggest Las Vegas? And I would recommend, should you visit Mexico, that you bring a few dozen english books along as gifts for the locals.
Paul C. Rosa