What Brought Me to Mexico

Where I’m living lately

Though months of traveling across Europe and North Africa left me quite confident, Mexico City Airport is one of the most jumbled and chaotic I have ever seen. The layout forces you to retrace your steps across the entire airport to handle customs, your next boarding pass, get a bite, anything you need or want to do.

The seats do not face the screens at the gates, so when the boards, the announcements and the alerts on my phone were all disagreeing over whether I was departing from gate C or D, I was basically forced to sprint between the two, ask a confused staff in broken Spanish, and triple check till I was finally on the bus that drove to the plane.

From the airplane windows, I could see the patchwork of farms running up hillsides. After an hour in the air, I landed in Tepic. The plane touched down on a gleaming wet tarmac as the sun was setting yellow and orange behind rainforest mountains. The air was hot, humid, and oxygen-rich from all the greenery.

Basically, an old friend, Juan recently quit a job we used to both work. He now markets for a jungle resort between Tepic and the coastal town of San Blas. In silver-tongued Spanish, he explained to his new boss that he knew how to get a few articles in English about what a great resort this was for free: put me up in cabin and show me around for a week or so.

Soon we were seated in a seafood restaurant while Juan ordered oysters, marlin empanadas, and ceviches. We clinked micheladas, and reminisced about working for the same shrieking boss at the same rinky-dink agency, and bunkering down to weather the hurricanes of Miami.

Jetlagged and worn out, I struggled to stay awake as we pulled off the mountain highway onto a washed out pebbly dirt road. Juan got out to unlock a giant wooden and iron gate under a white arc, and I watched as a procession of leaf cutter ants walked across the road. They looked like a sliding necklace of tiny green triangles as each ant carried a carefully-sliced piece of leaf across the road.

Then it was into the grounds of the resort, arriving after dark.

Though resort is a description that needs some clarifying. The true purpose of these some 170 acres of Mexican wilderness, with its five waterfalls, jackfruit, and mango farms, is to serve as a nature preserve. The money the cabins, concrete igloos, bar, cafe, and restaurant earn all go towards that aim.

Though this means that no animals get killed on the land. Not the two types of venomous snakes, the poisonous spiders, the scorpions, or even the pumas and jaguars in the jungle.

Though I am sludgy and draggy with jet lag, and want to collapse in the cabin bed, I have to flip the pillows and toss the sheets for scorpions and and spiders. Finding one this way would be a bummer. Finding one by plopping down and rolling up would be worse.

The preserve has zip lines, hiking, kayaking, and mountain peaks. More to come on what it’s like here. There’s a spring that pours fresh water out of a tree trunk. But for now, the pillows and blankets are free of stingers, and it’s time to go to bed.

Get my book Odd Jobs & After Hours in audio, hardcover, or paperback by clicking here. It’s about drifting down the east coast of the USA chasing one sketchy, so-called opportunity after another.