Fun, Culture and Family, in the Sun
By Finn, Dad & Uncle Graham
Note from Patrick: This contribution was principally designed by Finn and the photos are, of course, by his photographer uncle, Graham Twomey. I have helped with syntax and added elements important to our readers and to this story.
While we write frequently about the Americas I feel somewhat remiss about the lack of information pertaining to Mexico.
The largest Spanish-speaking country in the world is a cultural bastion. Often remembered for beach holidays, tacos, tequila, corruption and violence, the Mexican story is far more complicated.
As always, I try to look as honestly as possibly at the whole picture and Mexico is a powerfully luring bundle of diversity and contradictions. It may be (safely) explored for a lifetime. Ocean, mountains, jungle and desert – Mexico is physically magnificent and culturally alive.
It is my sincere hope that Mexico sheds the chains historical challenges and takes its logical place as one of the world’s most important countries.
For now – here is a little about our family beach time…..
From Snow to Sand
We were skiing down the snowy mountains of British Columbia, when, in the gondola, something on my dad’s phone caught his attention. It was an awesome deal for a one-week, all inclusive trip to Mexico.
Generally my family does not go to all-inclusive resorts. We love to explore multiple destinations, eat in local restaurants and avoid the sometimes common drunken environment that can be found in the resort setting.
However, we had been discussing a trip to Mexico for Spanish lessons and this extremely affordable resort deal was in a destination popular with Mexican families.
So back from the slopes of Revelstoke, we called uncle Graham to invite him along and booked this Air Transat, all-inclusive holiday for January 1, 2016 through redtag.ca. What a way to bring in the New Year!
We chose the Decameron All-Inclusive resort (a large Mexican chain), in the small fishing town of Guayabitos, Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific coast, north of Puerto Vallarta. Indisputably a big part of the decision to go there was price, however the fact that the majority of visitors were Mexican was a clear selling point.
Additionally, as a 3-star property, it was not isolated, but rather almost entirely integrated into the local town, with all the sounds, smells and friendliness so commonly associated with Mexico.
The hotel was fantastic. Every night they put on a different show in the theatre. My personal favourites were the comedy show and the Mexican show. The Mexican show has very deep meaning, telling about the heritage of the country. It told the story of Mexico’s indigenous peoples, the European treasure seekers and modern day Mexico’ evolving culture and economy.
I have so many wonderful memories from the trip. Everyday I took a Spanish lesson from a lady we found at the resort and with my dad we spoke Spanish with more people than I can possibly remember. haha. It took a couple of days to remember many of the words, but by the end I actually sang karaoke in Spanish.
Twice we travelled the 1/2 hour south to Sayulita – a funky / fit surf community where we met friends from Canmore and I rode the waves.
My single favourite experience was our big party night at the hotel disco! I danced until 12:30 AM with everyone from grandmothers to younger children.
Even though the food at the hotel was included and very good, we did eat out several times. I do like Mexican food, but sometimes lose my appetite in the heat. I think I like spicy, but sometimes make the mistake of being too brave with some of the peppers.
My uncle loves spicy food and seemed to enjoy everything, especially the street bbq’s!
We certainly spent a lot of time on the beach and swam so much. It is fun to travel with my uncle because he sees everything as a photographer and played in the water for hours with his waterproof camera.
Dad, of course, discussed life, politics and economy with all of the locals and as Spanish-speaking ‘gringos’ we enjoyed eating and talking with Mexican families celebrating the New Year.
The motivation of this trip was to re-immerse ourselves into a Spanish language environment. In the end, this short ‘boys’ holiday was really fun and very affordable. We were so happy to learn that the hotel employees were generally very happy with their jobs and while we love our snow and winter of the Canadian Rockies, it is very nice to take a sunny and somewhat cultural break in the middle of our winter.