when the world stopped in sayulita
you can call me many things, but realistic isn’t one of them. i value the impossible over the practical, the fantasy over reality, and i always lead heart first - much to the frequent protests of both brain and gut. but this is how i found myself on the back of a little red scooter, zooming up the pacific coast of mexico, to shack up for four days with a complete stranger.
i stepped off the plane into mid-july mexico heat. it was 9am - i had taken the night flight from jfk to mexico city, and then the first flight out to puerto vallarta. the airport parking lot was empty, save for david leaning against his little red scooter, omnipresent cigarette burning dully in the morning haze. we met halfway and gave that awkward, “last time i saw you we were both naked” hug. he grabbed my backpack, stuck it between his legs on the scooter and patted the seat for me to hop on behind him. i hesitantly placed my hands on his waist and off we sped north from the airport into the neighboring state of nayarit.
we were off to sayulita, a bohemian beach town that once could be considered authentically sleepy, but has become a calculated polished version of backpacker chic, where expensive boutiques and gourmet coffee sit next to taco stalls and unwashed, leathery surfers. during the high season (november-april), the streets crawl with sun seeking tourists. but in july sayulita becomes a relative ghost town, where prices drop to a fraction of those in the winter and you’re unlikely to run into anyone. we parked the scooter in front of a small store, bought a couple of necessary 11am coronas and sat on the curb so david could smoke a cigarette and we could have our first in-person conversation since we had last (first) met.
i met david in person in 2015 when i was in puerto vallarta for work. we had matched on tinder a few months before. after a few weeks of messaging, we decided to finally connect when i knew that i was coming back, for what was intended to be an unspoken one-night stand. but i find after epically intimate, mind-blowing sex that i kind of sort of want to do it again, which is how i wound up back in puerto vallarta exactly three weeks later.
falling hard and fast is something i’m seasoned at, and with david it was easy. he was cut straight from my wet dreams with a chiseled body streaked with tattoos, glacially blue eyes, and always a marlboro red between his lips. at 32 he had toured afghanistan three times as an infantryman with the canadian army, could fly planes, was a master diver, and wrote cuttingly sharp poetry in mere minutes. i was gone, baby, gone, and there was no looking back.
we checked into Aurinko Bungalows, where $45 a night got us a room with a bed plus an outdoor patio with a private kitchen and a hammock, all just two blocks back from the beach. by day we’d swing lazily in the hammock together, sipping on coronas, talking and drifting in and out of hot-and-hazy sleep. by night we’d be holed up in the bedroom blissfully unaware that anyone else in the entire world existed.
when we weren’t napping or being naked we were eating tuna and mahi mahi tacos at the real fish taco stall on the beach, tossing back coronas at captain cook beach restaurant & bar, or listening to live music at el barrilito - a hole-in-the-wall dive bar with barrels for tables outside on the plaza.
i knew i was only there for four days, but each morning i'd wake up and be thankful that i had another full day to spend. there's something magical about this stretch of coast in mexico - and no, sex with a fantasy stranger doesn't have everything to do with it (though, it certainly helps). time stops here. life is slower. it's a mañana mentality that gets under your skin and makes you realize that very few things in life really are that urgent. it's okay to take time to watch the waves and pretend to be someone else.
this romance probably should have ended after that weekend. it didn’t, of course. but that’s another story for another time. regardless of that HIGHLY predictable catastrophe of an ending, i believe it was all worth it for that time the world stopped in sayulita.