Friday, February 26, 2016

Hola Mexico: Rest, rejuvenation and Rancho Pescadero

image courtesy of James Mauro

It is unbelievable that its taken a hungry man almost 20 years to make his way to Mexico. Twenty years! So while sunning myself on the white sandy beach of Pescadero, I had some time to reflect and ask myself why it took so long to make the trek. I shocked myself with the number of reasons and excuses I came up with including:

*Maybe it was too far away? A ridiculous notion considering it is about a five hour direct flight from Toronto AND I've travelled round the world so that didn't work.
*Maybe the possibility of an avocado overdose greatly increased my hesitation (I am admittedly not the biggest fan of avocado, and since it a significant part of Mexican cuisine, well, hence the legitimate hesitation).
*Maybe I just didn't want to go?

There actually may be some truth to all of those excuses, but what it really came down to was that I waited for the right time to partake in what turned out to be a truly magnificent adventure - culinary, culturally and personally.

What becomes of a man when he falls in love? What true passions and feelings are unleashed when the realization sets in that it is no longer just a flirty relationship but a full blown love affair? How do you really handle yourself when something or someone you love just fits you like a glove?

Honestly, all you can do is just embrace it and enjoy the journey, which is what happened as my partner and I drove up Highway 19 from Los Cabos International Airport to our villa at Rancho Pescadero, located in the small town of Pescadero, Baja (pronounced Bah-ha) California peninsula. Now a Hungry Man has travelled a great deal in his life, and in all of his journeys he has never actually driven anywhere on his own. Shocking I know but it's true. I have been exceptionally spoilt by opting for transportation services and guides, but I found out just how much I was missing out by taking the journey in Mexico by my own hands and being in complete control of it.

Mexico is a developing nation. There are precautions you need to take when travelling as you would anywhere else in the developing world, but by putting those precautions in perspective, there is no reason to fear the idea of renting a car and hitting the (very) open road). Thanks to our good friends at Cactus Car Rentals at the airport (I am not attached to this company in any professional or personal manner, but do not hesitate to use this company as they are truly the best in what could be a very lawless situation when it comes to car rentals), they made that portion of our trip trouble free.

Driving through the desert in this part of Mexico is both eerie and so beautiful. It's quiet, and the vegetation - when you see it, is unlike anything you've seen before, yet is strangely familiar. The cactus trees, the shrub land and the mountains are a stunning sight to behold. Unfortunately the sad sight of seeing garbage along the roads tends to mar that gorgeous landscape.

You pass by citizens in trucks and cars - emissions tests are clearly still in the early developmental stage in Mexico as gas and oil fumes belch from some of the vehicles. You look out and drive by various taco and food stands or gift stores. You see various types of construction - some finished , most of it unfinished.

And then you see it.

The highway glides oh so tantalizingly close as you look out and see the stunning blue vista of the Pacific Ocean, lapping up against the shoreline. Actually, more like roaring up against the shoreline. This coast is famous as a surfers paradise and the waves are not a joke. A sorry story of me and my sad attempt to swim in those same waves will appear in a later post.

We pull up to the door of the resort, Rancho Pescadero. What a beautiful, welcoming sight.

I'm hot, sweaty and need a drink. A slight mistake on the road turned into a slightly longer road trip through Cabo San Lucas and additional half hour to an already long trip, but we made it safe and sound.

We sit at the bar as the attendants get our room in order, and as I watch the bartender make me a margarita, I look across the pool, staring first at my luxurious but comfy surroundings, and then over at the shoreline in the distance, watching the sun set over the beach. I can't help but smile, totally relaxed as the margarita kicks in, loving my first day in Mexico which is already locked in my memory banks as the best first date ever.

Next up: Getting over my avocado aversion. Somewhat.

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