Tuesday, October 28, 2014

¡Hola Paraiso! - Living the Cabana Life

"Pour me something tall an' strong - Make it a "Hurricane" before I go insane. It's only half past twelve, but I don't care. It's five o'clock somewhere." (Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett)

Even in Paradise, you have to wake up sometime.

Deborah and I had come to the Sunset Plaza resort in Puerto Vallarta to get away and to relax.

And not just to "relax". But to REALLY RELAX. To relax like we had never done before. To relax like it was an Olympic sport, and we were the Michael Phelps', the Nadia Comanecis, the Usain Bolts, the Jenny Thompsons of relaxing!

Sounds easy, right? Boy, would you be wrong! It was hard work relaxing, 24-7, living the "cabana life"!

When we woke on our first morning at the Sunset Plaza, we knew there was nothing we wanted to do more (after eating our free breakfast!) than to put on our swimming suits, slather on some sunscreen, gather up our Kindles, and head down to the "adults-only" pool area and enjoy some major league "lounging". What could be better! By 11 am, the morning clouds had cleared - the sun was out - it was 90 degrees - the absolute opposite of what we had left behind in drizzly, gray Grants Pass, Oregon. We just wanted to soak it all in!

So we'd set up camp in our little cabana. We learned which one had the best view...which one had the most shade at certain times of the day...we learned how to deftly hang our towels around the cabana to make it even shadier... and how to stay, just out of eyesight of the ever present beach vendors, hawking their wares like friendly buzzards. We became true "Cabana Commandos".

And what made "Cabana Life" even better was that anything we wanted - food, drink, free massages, etc. - was brought to us by smiling, sharply dressed, always dependably there when you wanted them, servers.  "Would you like a margarita? Or a "Miami Vice"?", they'd ask. Deborah and I would look at each other and say "Bring both, please". "Would you like something to eat?", they'd inquire. And we would order the fish tacos, the chicken taquitos, and the fresh guacamole....yum!

And when we got hot, we'd slide into the pool and cool off, and think "This is the life!."... Ahhhh....

But as idyllic as this all sounds, we both began to feel a little unrest, a little stirring, almost immediately as we slid into this pampered life.

"Breath in. Breath out. Move on." (Jimmy Buffett)

We both were surprised at how it took a full day and a half of doing this before our minds would actually begin to slow down - to accept that "It was Ok" to just hang out. Our minds were so used to living life at a faster speed - our days measured by "what we were supposed to be doing", "where we were supposed to be going", and that somehow we were "missing something", if we weren't running around, taking pictures somewhere. Thankfully, we got over that compulsion! We began to enjoy the rare pleasure of reading quietly together, people-watching, taking cat naps, and free massages every day. It was heavenly - especially if we pale-skinned Oregonians could manage to also not get too sun-burned while doing so!

But as days passed, the "Cabana Life" began to lose its charm.

  • You can only eat so much guacamole, and drink so many margaritas.
  • The "Adults Only" pool began to attract families with kids, and it was tiring "chasing them away, por favor".
  • The "fun" of laying around in wet swim suits all day began to fade. I just wanted to be dry and cool.
  • The people we sat by the pool with may have changed, but the scenery was becoming stale and the cabanas confining.
Deborah and I began to realize that "Paradise" was feeling a little empty - we were feeling empty. We had always been active when on our vacations - exploring, walking, learning and seeing something new. We realized we missed doing that. And we also were reminded of an important life lesson.

A life without disturbance may sound ideal, but it isn't life at all. No disturbance - no challenge - no motivation to do anything but sleep - no change; this is a life for the "dying". And a part of us knew that, and that's the part that stirred us. The part that whispered, "Let's go do something a little uncomfortable - a little daring - something new. Something we can talk and laugh about when we remember this trip".

"I just want to live happily ever after, every now and then." (Jimmy Buffett)

So, we looked for some opportunities to do just that: explore Puerto Vallarta and experience life in a foreign country, on our own - and to leave the cabanas behind for a little while.

I'm sure they didn't stay empty long. They whisper a "siren song". But we were tired of being "Mexican mushrooms". It was time for an adventure or two.

"At a moment like this, I can't help but wonder. What would Jimmy Buffett do?" (Alan Jackson)

I think he'd move the party elsewhere... which is what we did!

"¡Salud, pesetas y amor y tiempo para gozarlos!" ("Cheers to money and love, and time to enjoy them!")

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