January 16, 2022
Mexico is a country of contrasts and contradictions. A country of beauty and decay, a place with untold wealth and poverty.
On one roadway there are chickens running in the street and garbage strewn in the back yards. Half built walls crumble and dogs roam wild. There are areas that are indeed a third world country. Less than a mile away sit some of the wealthiest yachts on the planet. It is a place that people long to escape to.
And escape from.
I walked the streets of San Jose Del Cabo and saw the disparity around me. On one road wealthy homes stand like sentinels in the streets. Walled and gated like mini-fortresses. A few blocks away sit homes with crumbling walls and garbage piled up in the corner..
The people of Mexico have struggled in the face of the global pandemic. When the wealthy people that supported the working class of the country stopped coming in March 2020, many businesses came to the edge of bankruptcy.
The story of this town is etched in the faces of its people and it’s tourists that have spent their winter’s escaping the cold climes of the north.
I met Mike sitting at The Bar on the patio outside. He had a friendly face and a whimsical look in his eyes. He was slim and balding and despite his tan I thought it possible he was a gringo like myself.
“Do you speak English?” I inquired of the slender man I estimated to be about ten years older than myself.
“Funny thing is I was going to ask you the same question,” came his reply.
We struck up a conversation on the patio and he shared his story with me. He spent much of his adult life working for Club Med. He lived the dream as an event director and ultimate tour guide. He told me about waterskiing in the Caribbean at the age of fifty-one. He married the beautiful woman he’d met and they spent their time living in resorts from Mexico to the Bahamas and across the globe.
Then one day he and his wife went to Vancouver and never returned to Club Med. I guess even living the dream has a point where the dream is no longer the reality. At the age of fifty-two they pulled the pin and moved back to Canada to the city he grew up in. He was home and he decided to write a book.
But she was lost.
Mike didn’t have enough time for his wife and found out that he was the cook and the caregiver. They found out that in the real world they were no longer the same people they had married.
After fifteen years of marriage it was over.
Mike was truly starting again.
That was ten years ago and Mike is living his best life. He drives a water truck now, from the top of the mountain he brings down the crystal clear mineral water to the people of Vancouver. He wrote five spiritual books, they never made him much money but he felt complete having followed his dream.
For the last six years Mike has come to the city of San Jose Del Cabo and escaped the wrath of winters icy grasp. He told me of making friends with many of the Mexican business owners on the main street of San Jose. Poor men who have scraped by just to survive. Families that have gone hungry without the tourist dollars to prop up the economy. In Mexico there is no government money being handed out like candy at Christmas… Unlike Canada where our government pays people not to work. Mexicans have been barely paid to work, so when the tourists disappeared the hardship was real, very few had anything to fall back on.
Mike has done all he could help where he was able. He told me that he sold his mountain bike to the owner of the bar we were at for fifty dollars. He sold it so the man’s kid could have a bike. That bike was worth ten times that amount. I connected with Mikes spirit and sensed his positive karma. I felt happy knowing that there were such good people in the world.
We agreed that we were very fortunate to come from a place as wealthy as Canada. We talked about the incredible opulence that sits floating in the marinas of San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. There are obscene amounts of money controlled by the one percent and it sits moored on the shores of the Sea of Cortez.
Mike goes back to Canada in a little over a week. I go back in a few days. Many more would love to come to Canada and create themselves a new dream despite the fact that Mexico is a beautiful country full of wonderful people.
Mike and I smiled at the world.
We raised our beers and had a toast, “to being Canadian!”