A Stay in Sayulita

Sayulita, Nayarit, on the Pacific Ocean, was our slow place.

Four planned nights turned into eight, and languid days of reading and writing on the porch of our small airbnb were punctuated by guacamole making, runs to the local smoothie shop, and trips to the beach after the heat of the day had passed.

We had both gotten sick again, so had little choice but to stay put. As with times past, we did our best to embrace the forced de-acceleration and settled in.

Sayulita is a luscious tangle of hip cafes and avocado toast, tortillerias and ceviche stands. Its local population is small, likely bewildered by the sharp rise in tourism over the last decade. Visitors come from all over Mexico, as well Europe and the U.S. to spend some classically beach-y time in this laid-back barefoot oasis, and we were among them.

For a week, the Prizefighter sat idle, accumulating layers of detritus falling from trees and sticking to the exterior by the adhesive effects of salt air. The undercarriage became a roof over the heads of the local chickens, and the hood, a couch for the kids hanging around their parents who ran a nightly hamburger stand in front of where we were parked (which was, in turn, in front of where we were staying).

On our last evening in Sayulita, feeling much healthier and with a bit of cabin fever, we ventured down to the Playa de los Muertos, a protected cove a short distance from the town’s main beach (named so because it sits adjacent to a small, surprisingly festive cemetery). We sat in the sand and watched the sun descend, chatted about the imminent closure of our time in Mexico, and speculated on the adventures to come.

After the sun and sky had concluded their evening entertainment, we scrambled back to town via the rocky shoreline. In the town square we met Mimi, a squat, beaming woman who has been making cakes in that exact location for 25 years. As we ogled over her table of goods, she told us she spends each day preparing a range of flans, sponge cakes, and cheesecakes, which she then packs into large plastic serving trays and loads into her truck. Just after dusk each evening, she backs her truck into the same parking space, sets up her table on the same corner of sidewalk, and sells by the slice. As we picked out two pieces – a traditional flan with cajeta and an orange cake – Mimi told us how much she loves baking. With a moving sincerity, in Spanish: “as much, still, as when I started.” She takes a vacation only once every two years, always far from the ocean.

A panorama of the beach with the unfolding of an incoming wave.

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