t’s late June, going on July. Summer is officially here, the snowbirds are long gone, the expats who live year-round in Mexico have settled in for the duration like their Mexican counterparts.
The days beside the Sea of Cortez are hot, salty and sluggish. Everything slows down. Adaptations are made to compensate for the heat, with everyone adjusting their days around the temperatures. Grocery shopping and other chores are taken care of in the early morning hours, and that’s also the best time for a leisurely stroll along the beach. The evenings are for wandering the malecon as the cool breezes rise, or listening to music and flirting and gossiping on the local zocalo (town square), or informal cookouts with friends who are willing to fire up the grill and share their favorite recipes. And of course the local bars do a good business in ice cold beers.
In drive-to locations like San Felipe, Baja and its sister Puerto Penasco across the Sea in Sonora, many gringo-oriented bars and restaurants close their doors four days a week, opening only for the weekend travelers.
“Siesta” takes on a whole new meaning in the summertime, when the only urgency of the day is a good meal with the family and the hunt for a hammock in the cool shade of a palapa— or better yet, a nice air-conditioned bedroom with the shades drawn against the blazing afternoon sun.
Ennui takes hold even of the Mexican dogs, who can barely get up enough energy to chase a car.
But there is a special magnificence to the summer months in the deserts surrounding the Sea of Cortez, something that is missed by the cool weather visitors. The sunrises and sunsets are more exuberant (often downright raucous); the night sky seems even more saturated with stars; the distant yipping of coyotes is a perfect accompaniment to a late meal outside on the patio; the beaches are less crowded; there is time to chat with the Mexican families out on the beach with their kids. The water is warm, perfect for swimming or just splashing around.
No hurry, no worry, there’s plenty of time…
Maybe that general lassitude is actually the best thing about summertime in this part of the world. Even while grumbling about the heat and the lack of revenue, everyone seems to smile more readily and casual conversations with shopkeepers take on a whole new depth. The Mexican philosophy of today, right now, this moment, being paramount becomes reasonable to the inveterate clock watchers from north of the border. There is something more to life, after all, than making it to that appointment on time or stressing yourself out with the endless counting of minutes and hours.
Some of my friends think I’m crazy to spend summers in Mexico. Maybe so. But then again, maybe I’ve just found the perfect excuse for long siestas and days doing nothing at all that I don’t want to do. I can’t even remember when I last wore a watch.
You all just don’t know what you’re missing!
“On the Road” is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
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