Asi Es La Vida
It is said that you should begin with the end in mind. The guide for memoir follows no particular script, but it makes sense that without a final resting place in mind, there is no flow, no life, no learning or legacy. I choose to end my story with a place that has inspired and centered me since that first look fifty years ago. México has become my sacred place and a life beyond life; my touchstone and testing ground. It is here that the Muse plays, where the stories are written, the songs crafted, and the colors are found that fill in my ‘paint-by-number dreams’.
Zihuatanejo came to me when I had run out of beaches. Decades of almost annual getaways to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and the like, taught me the ropes and survival skills with trial and error. Through tragedy and comedy, under-preparing and over-reaching, misgivings and missed connections, I picked up some wisdom…and a few words of Spanish. Fifteen years ago, I rolled the dice, shuffled the pages in the Lonely Planet guidebook, and concluded Zihuatanejo sounded like the must-see last stop since it was exotically difficult to pronounce and, since I began in Acapulco, I could now round out the alphabet A to Z.
I’m hoping those of you reading this have found your personal special place to be a center-point for your growing self-awareness. If you are unsure, it could just be it has escaped your immediate notice. It certainly doesn’t have to be thousands of miles south. It is said that it is enough to sit, close your eyes, breathe, and be there. I have been fortunate. I have found that the echoes of life’s joys and successes and moments of love sound sweeter and glow brighter in sunny warm air, and I found a way to get there.
I am often asked, “Is the country safe?” I can only give you my opinion, given that I am somewhat travel-wise, male, and able now – but certainly not always – to stay in more secure places. I have been adventuresome, but not foolish. The same common sense that you use at home will serve you just fine in the tourist areas of México. Now you know. The last thing one needs in a life-well-lived is fear; certainly not in their holy refuge! In Zihua, surely there is the unconventional and inconvenient: sometimes killer heat and humidity, a foreign language (that is not difficult to work around), baffling and uneven infrastructure, madcap driving, and of course a whole different world of money. Money which can go a very long way if that interests you.
The Rest of Me Keeps Leaving, But My Heart Wants to Stay
Despite that, you may want to know also why I love to visit here: I love unhurried peace. I love the red sunsets and hot sand. I love the people, the authenticity you can read on the faces, the kindness they show their families and others, their happiness in spite of their relative lack. I love when everyone says “buenos dias” when you climb on the bus to town. I love saying “buenos dias” back. I loved having had the opportunity to join with friends from home and friends from here in helping the needy with their dental care for a number of years. I love the food! I love having dinner with my wife with our toes in the sand and a perfect margarita (rocas con sal por favor!) in the hand. Finally, I loved when Brian and Cheryl and I got up with the band a couple years back and sang “Zihua Bay” to a crowd of presumably appreciative gringos at Rossy’s Restaurant who obviously had had their share of perfect margaritas!
Asi es. And so it is. That’s all I got. Nothing left but the song. ¡Salud!
“Zihua Bay” on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/john-deviny/zihua-bay
“Zihua Bay” on YouTube — Music Video with Subtitles