Monday, July 4, 2011

Pueblo Bonito - Emerald Bay, Mazatlan, June 6 2011

There is a gentleness to the quality of the morning in the Riviera Maya that is lacking on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Here the light is brighter, harsher, more intense. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the differences in climate and vegetation. The air is arid by comparison to the east coast; the vegetation dry and stunted, with occasional large cacti interspersed along the brown hillsides. Even the resort struggles with the unforgiving nature of the surroundings; the crew of gardeners working endlessly to try to keep the manicured, lush look that the resort aspires to. 
Yet while the Caribbean is beautiful and inviting with its turquoise cast, the Pacific is stunning in the power of its waves and its range of colors – none of them gentle. Yesterday we watched a surfing competition. A first for all of us. Not exactly a world championship – the waves just aren’t big enough – but still intriguing.

There is a great diversity in the type of beaches available here. There are dark sand beaches, ones with pale coarse sand, and those with fine grains. There are beaches with big crashing waves, and ones with small ripples that run up onto long stretches of unoccupied beach. In most cases there are restaurants and bars along the beach so it is always easy to get a cold cerveza con limon.

View to Deer Island from local restaurant

The beach in front of the Pueblo Bonito resort has small to medium sized waves, and the sand tends towards the brown, but it is always suprisingly warm for the Pacific and the resort sets up beach canopies to provide shade and helpful staff that bring icy cold drinks. Because it is situated quite a bit north of town and the Zona Dorada, the beach is very private and uncrowded, even though by Federal law in Mexico all beaches are public.

The putting green and driving range of the golf course are just beyond our pool and patio. As an early riser, I am witness to the diligence of the crew and quantities of machinery that come into play to keep it green and inviting. By 7:00 a.m. they look as if they have already been at it for a while and I idly wonder what time they start. Our villa is nestled in what could only be described as the lap of luxury – with a dedicated gardener, who has even gone so far as to swap out a bed of plantings that weren’t thriving since we arrived. Like the Pueblo Bonito villa that we experienced a couple of years ago over in Cabo, one enters through a private courtyard with a bubbling fountain and a series of colorful bougainvillea.

Our three bedrooms are cared for daily by a maid who spends hours here each day, while it seems to us that it could not possibly have gotten very dirty since she cleaned it all top to bottom the day before. The towels are folded into intricate patterns of swans and shells, fresh flowers are placed decoratively on the beds, and all the linens are swapped out. When we first arrived we asked the maid not to change the towels daily as is customary here, especially the big pool towels which dry quickly in the sun. But we had a different person who arrived the next day and she had not gotten the message on our strange request not to change all the towels daily, so we decided to just go with it. I reconcile myself to the wastefulness of all that washing with the thought that ‘resort life’, with all of its excesses, employs lots and lots of people locally. 

Most mornings I start out down at the gym, which is right next to the spa. I’m always surprised by the amount of heat in the air as I take the short walk over, but I enjoy the flowers and love to see how many different types of hibiscus flower there are. Yesterday I saw one in pink and yellow – an incredible combination, as well as one that was white with a magenta and deep purple circle in the center.

I had thought that we would do breakfasts by the pool, but the sun is low enough to fill our extensive covered patio area in the morning, so it is too hot. But the afternoons bring shade to the same area, so it is a delightful place to sit for evening cocktails when the heat of the day is a memory, replaced by the song of the turtle doves and a light breeze. Since we face east, we don’t get dramatic sunsets while sitting poolside in the evenings, but I have strolled over to the beach to watch that huge orange ball sink slowly into the waves, while squadrons of pelicans fly low overhead – it's hard to tell where they are bound for, but they always have a determined look to them.