Sayulita is a small village on the west coast of Mexico. It’s simple to get to; just catch a flight to Puerto Vallarta then take an hour-long local bus down the coast. The bus is actually pretty comfortable. It’s sweet smelling of all the body odors sitting way too close to you. Flies are buzzing around your newly pouring forehead from the intense humidity of Mexican land and your t’shirt is stuck tightly against your back. You are actually about to peel it off like the shedding of a second skin. You are reconsidering a lot of the clothes you've brought and the too-big suitcase, realizing now that all you want to be in this city is naked. At least you can’t complain about the bus’ facilities; it has its own live entertainment. A sexy, young Mexican guitarist plays in the aisle.

We are two traveling together. The bus leaves us at the border of town. The city had flooded some weeks before so we walk over puddles and debris into the village, dragging our roller-suitcases – do these suitcases even have proper names? We know our street name. This doesn’t help. There are no street signs. Locals just know which street is which. With some help from a lovely American woman, we reach our Casa Limon. The place is infested with ants, we have no working water and a cockroach is having an evening stroll across our bathroom floor. All in all, we have high spirits.

We know our street name. This doesn’t help. There are no street signs.

Next morning, we discover that the hot water tank has overspilled through our bedroom window, drenching my friend’s new Iphone in the process and making the whole place swarm with bugs. It’s a bloody swamp! That’s when she holds up my pillow with eyes so big they scare my own eyes. A few lonely legs are lying there. Going through the sheets, we soon discover the sad fellow whom I had decided to amputate during the night; a dead cockroach. I am guessing he tried to get away from our heavy-with-sleep rolling bodies but got crushed during the escape attempt. This event scared away my sleep for the remainder of the trip – literally! I saw it dash out the window so quickly I couldn’t catch up with him for the next two weeks. I would keep waking up in sweats imagining bugs crawling over me.

-“Westerners!” You will think.

-“Bullshit!” I will say! “Did you ever wake up with a cockroach lazily strolling across your neck?”

If yes, then I am ready to argue about my distaste. If no, you will never understand.

The beach is less than a kilometer away. It’s a social paradise. We get to know the locals working in the rental surf shop. One of them is nicknamed Papas - for you non-Spanish speakers, it translates as Potatoes. He’s got style with his bushy mustache, curly hair and latte-toned skin. When on break, you’d see him quickly running into the ocean with a board, hop on and catch a few waves, as did all the guys from the shop, as did all the 4 year old children for that matter. In Canada, when we have a break, we have a cigarette.

One morning, I wake up to her standing over me with a pair of tweezers. I stare at her blankly. It is 6 in the morning. A spider has just crawled out of my pillow.

The time here passes quickly. Life has a slow pace. Shoes were discarded long ago; our toes discover the pleasure of sand. We walk with thongs to the beach and this remains the only time our feet lose contact with the warm ground. We walk into taco shops barefeet and eat Mahe Mahe tacos covered in mountains of coriander, the beauty of Mexican flavors. The heat is so intense we mostly live off fresh smoothies that we sip under a scorching sun. Our skin becomes darker. Our mouths constantly taste of salt and sun. Our hair is dry from the ocean water. Everywhere we walk, we walk slowly; we have too. Our body gets accustomed to a different rhythm. We like it. This is the daytime.

In the evening, we go to El Tigre. We drink Mexican beer and get massively overcharged every time. We try dancing salsa and, most often then not, we fail. Our dancing looks like a booty-shaking-hips-swaying mix with an attempt at salsa steps that makes us look less than graceful. It doesn’t matter. We give it our all. Bodies stick to us. We disappear in the mass of dancers. Everyone drinks Tequila like water. They only sell the 2oz. shots. To this day, I cannot bear the smell of Tequila. I always leave the club when the sun wakes up.

With time, my friend Denise gets closer to Papas. I’d often wander the village’s streets alone just before the sun came up, coming back from wherever we had been, grabbing one last taco before walking up the steps to my Casa Limon. Still, salsa music could be heard in the distance. On those nights I’d manage to get a few hours sleep.

One morning, I wake up to her standing over me with a pair of tweezers. I stare at her blankly. It is 6 in the morning. A spider has just crawled out of my pillow. Still with the tweezers, she explains her passionate night with Papas against an old peeling boat. I stay silent, hung-over and tired. She looks at me expectantly and lies down on the terrace table. If you look closely at her butt cheeks, little sparkling bits are seen hitting the sunlight, bits of paint. I am the lucky one who has to take them out. It's a slow affair.

We meet a surfer who surfs the winter away in Sayulita. We go back to his place. We walk through swamps to get there. I’m tempted to say we walked for hours but most probably we walked for thirty minutes or so. I don’t recall there being any actual road. We just walk across fields of nothing in thongs and mini skirts. That’s when we adopt Quebec. He is cute but painfully ugly. We can’t really decide. He is filthy. He is black with disease in his eyes. He is a dog. My friend grabs him on the road and sleeps cuddled up next to him. The next morning, he follows us all the way back to our Casa Limon and everywhere for the next week. There is no way to take him back. He barks sadly when we get into the cab to the airport.

I remember thinking I’d go back to Sayulita.


The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.


There is nothing safer than flying – it’s crashing that is dangerous. Theo Cowan