Contrasts – Mexican Musings #1

We’ve spent a lot of timecruising in Mexico.  I thought it might be fun to post an occasional story about our experiences there.  Nothing particularly themed or structured.  Just ‘musings’…

If I had but two words to describe my experience in Mexico, they’d be “Los Colores” and “La Gente”.  If I had three, I’d add “Los contrastes.”

You see something – and then its complete opposite. The beautiful verdant hills of the jungle mountains above  Zihuatanejo Bay are covered in banana trees, coconut trees, numerous varieties of palm trees – but there, right in their midst are cactuses (Chollas) you expect to see only in a desert.

There’s a canoe, perhaps ten feet long with two inches of freeboard.  It’s patched, unpainted and packed with two cast nets, three hand fishing lines, a pile of rocks for causing splashes that attract fish and a large pile of freshly caught fish.  What keeps it afloat?  Three youngsters are paddling it past a mega-yacht, Pegaso, 160ft long, five decksand enough lights to illuminate Mexico City.  Crewmembers in perfect uniform, jet skis, tenders, a helicopter.  Even a submarine!

On the beach, the hotels range from five star to B&B to one small room, the restaurants from gourmet to basic totake-out in your hand – dirt floors and palapa roofs to no roofs at all, kitchens the size of a bathtub, plastic tables, chairs and perhaps umbrellas on the sand – an expandable dining area which is the beach on which the number of tables depends on the number of diners. The gourmet places boast Executive Chefs.  In the more basic eateries, the food’s prepared by “Mamacita” and her young daughters.

Back from the beach, a mansion to rival Malibu’s. Immediately adjacent, an apparently deserted lot with a small shack or two, dirt floors, laundry hanging, fire burning in an oil drum, a few fruit trees, a small garden and lots of old car parts.

The most striking contrasts are the architectural textures and colors. It’s difficult to find a building which utilizes the same texture and type of building material throughout.  The effect is remarkably attractive.  Stone, concrete, tile, thatching, woven tree branches, bricks, adobe, wood, varnish, bright paints, stuccoes, frescoes, flowers, iron, beams, bells, statues and many other materials can be seen in one structure. It gives one a remarkable impression that the combinations must be so and the lack of this contrast would be dull indeed.

As I sit in Poseidon’s cockpit, this world of color and contrast astounds me.  The yellow of my cold Estrella cerveza, the green of the lime squeezed in it, the blue-green clear water, the gold striped fish swimming around, the white beach, the yellow and red parachute flying by, the myriad of greens of the palm trees and jungle just behind the beach covered with umbrellas of all shades and colors.  Higher, in the hills, buildings of so many colors – and so many colors on each building!  Blues, purples, oranges, corals, yellows, greens, pastels, whites, terracottas, tangerines, browns and other colors I simply can’t name.

John Andreotti
Aboard MV Poseidon