When asked by Laura, days into our Mexican escape, “… and what will you do today?” I responded emphatically, “I will do nothing. I don’t have to do anything.” And then thought, … ‘I will sit here and contemplate the sand, watch beach goers, consider that daily Blue Heron who thinks he has found the perfect tidal pool. I will direct my eyes to the two dudes next door; (those tall, handsome, swaggering, gracefully and confident men with certain knowledge that the world is indeed theirs,) dragging their metal boat and small out-board engine to the shore and then chug away to harvest fish for the sake of it. I will find interest in the wind that gently strokes the palm fronds above me. I will eat breakfast again and smear a second slice of toast with jam. I will have my third round of tea. I will watch you beneath your many-colors-straw-hat as you tinker and fashion sea-shells into jewelery with wire and beads and crystals. My eyes will trace the regular path of the ultralights above me as they ferry two souls on their twenty-minute tours. I will carry this plastic deck chair onto the rocks and imagine the incoming tide thwarted by my mental command. I have no schedule, no rendezvous, no commitment, no appointment, no obligation. I will just sit here. I will do nothing.’ This bliss that is vacation, long considered, often wished for, never taken for so many years.
But we had with us the company of Tiger Lynn who has knowledge of this port of many years past. Knows the land as it lays, the parts to see, places to go, tales about them all. This woman with curious energy; a motor never quite extinguished, part spiritual child of the sixties, now dedicated shell gatherer, seagull feeder, always part gun-touting, Elk-hunting, wild-woman; perfect Puerto Penasco guide. So an opportunity taken, not to be missed, to be guided and shown what this point has to offer as this rocky siren was surely going to entice us back. So we did collect our packs and snacks, plus water, and drove firstly heading south down the coast following an immense power line that paralleled the shore bypassing communities, commissioned solely to supply the grand resort of the Mayan Palace and to give it meaning and purpose and viability out here in desert-beach nowhere. Along Rt. 37’s single lane asphalt, potholed and irregular, past Playa La Holla, (playa meaning simply beach,) Playa Encanto, Playa Dorado and then turning off onto smooth and graded dirt as we cut through to the beach of Playa Miramar to shore walk the last few miles to the Mayan Palace.
Unlike the familiar, lava colored rock beaches of Las Conchas, this string of Playa pearls are all long, clear sanded and empty with sea shells by the hands-full. In contrast to these shore lined, multicolored and varied architecture, vacation homes, (some with plumbed water, some needing water trucked in, all with sewer, septic tank,) the Mayan Palace, reached a leisurely hour or so later, as if walked in shade under my ‘perfect Panama’, is a modern, architectural splendor of stone and vast glass with all the trappings of a 21st century luxury resort. Palm trees and swimming pools, sculptured gardens, palm frond beach huts, attentive serving staff and first class cuisine … and first class prices. No $5 all-inclusive tacos here nor $3 Mexican beer and cheerful mariachi. Familiar Civilization in this uncivilized land. Secure, white comfort in this brazen, bronze land. (Mayan Palace link.)
Part two of this guided adventure was taken back through old town and north onto Sandy Beach section with new condos complexes, RV parks and golf resorts. Here the new growth is abundant, balconied, splendid and tall and built in real estate tulip-fever with high octave expectation. Now, following global and real estate bust, these splendors in the sand sit over priced and mostly empty. A two bedroom, two bathroom show condo at the Las Palomas, Beach and Golf Resort, boasting New York City sophistication design and decor was casually remarked to be ‘ … around US$400,000.00 and up.” Observing phase three from phase two sitting silent, bare, abandoned, concrete and cold, I thought … ‘yup. and I bet you would snap at an offer of US$150,000.00 and be happy for the interest.’ (Las Palomas link.) (Driving to Las Palomas from Arizona speeded up video link.)
Finally, part three of the grand tour reached sun glowing, glare phased, road dust and sand fatigued, the last stop at the most northerly La Cholla district and Bahia La Cholla; the original Peurto Penasco hot spot, that looked more like a West Bank village of low, flat-roofed stucco homes framing a tidal cove at ebb tide. This view of mostly mud from a barren concrete, bunker bar with the patrons already shrill and loud before 4 p.m. where their images were pinned and recorded on every wall, smiling, loud and intoxicated; we declined Lynn reciprocal offer of a beer treat and mud-watch sunset. This historical showcase of what was once and would probably never be again had no appeal in comparison to the clear Playa beaches, the plush of the Mayan Palace or the simplicity of Las Conchas. We headed back to Las Conchas to see what Laura had been up to in our absence and to see the setting sun from our permanent front row. (link to La Cholla.)