A pleasure to contribute to the People’s Guide blog – and an honor. I
recently went to San Patricio/Melaque after listening to a friend rave
about it for years. What I found might not surprise those familar with
smaller Mexican towns but I have to say it was a culture shock to me.
I’ve heard that the residents of Jalisco are the friendliest people in a
country of friendly people. Check.
Never have I been gifted with so many smiles, warm from men and flirty from women far to young for me to even consider. A girl who MIGHT have been all of sixteen, dressed to the nines and walking with two girlfriends didn’t take her eyes off me as she passed my sidewalk cafe table while they walked by. And the smile didn’t disappear either. Young enough to be my daughter, I allowed myself to be secretly flattered and wish i was half my age. The things I would do over if I could.
My friend put it best, it’s like going back a generation where there was more politeness than hipness and more openess than cynicism. The town is refreshingly old fashioned. No need to go into the beaches and scenery here, it’s as nice as anywhere else I’ve been on the west coast.
A beautiful beach is a beautiful beach.
Great food cheap, liquor, cheap, check. Check. Trash and graffiti, check – far less than I have seen in other towns.
I keep coming back to the people there. The town seems strapped for
change. Anything higher than a twenty peso bill leads to an awkward
smile and a “perdon” and I am left alone in a tienda as a poor clerk
runs along the block looking for the six peso’s I am owed. The one
business that does not exist there is the time share one. Not a single
suspect “hola amigo” and the flash of an insincere smile, the likes of
which have destroyed my last trips to Puerto Vallarta.
No, when the owner of a well known breakfast spot heard me talking of
taking a cab to Manzanillo to leave, she offered me a ride and I had to
hide a bill in her car to get her to take gas money.
There’s a genuine small town warmth. The streets are empty around nine at night. The Sunday night walkabout in “el jardin” is a joy to watch. Families, girls holding hands, kids on the prowl – and not a hint of the trouble you would find at such a gathering in my part of the world.
Some parts of Mexico are like anywhere, you don’t walk down a deserted street full of long shadows. In San Patricio I did, several times. It may not have been prudent but as it turns out it was risk free. Most of the gringos there are retirees and seniors and I see them on the same dark streets at night.
Back to el jardin. A young child beaned me with a firework. He didn’t run away but when his eyes popped back into his head intead smiled at me and said, “Aye Carumba” and apologized a half dozen times.
“Aye Carumba?” I didn’t think Mexicans actually said that.
Kids, teens playing soccer, enjoying a smoke and hanging out. No
swearing or anger and the smell of dope was absent. As I said, it isn’t
like it is in Canada.
And one more thing – the best tres leche I have ever had came in at
about a buck. And eight ounces.
magnificent_iguana_productions >> at << yahoo.com