Mexican Moments


Downtown Mazatlán – Colleen Friesen

I blame my dad.

When I was young, our summer holidays were cobbled together from Dad’s cedar mill visits. By dragging his wife and three young daughters along, we could have a ‘free’ accommodation on these long road trips between the shingle mills of British Columbia’s interior. The low-slung roadside motels weren’t fancy, but to me, they were heaven.

Usually they came with a swimming pool, surrounded by a chain-link fence in the middle of the parking lot. They also came with little soaps wrapped in paper emblazoned with the motel name and town. My collection grew larger every summer.

But what I remember the most about those trips was Dad’s first move upon entering the room when he ripped back the room’s always-closed curtains.

Later, when I thought about his curtain moves and coupled it with his favourite song, Don’t Fence Me In, I felt like I understood my father just a little bit better.

All these years and hotel rooms later, pulling back the curtains is still the first move I make when I enter any room. Like Dad I feel slightly trapped until that’s done.

This is probably the same reason I dislike cruise ships. No matter how they try to dress things up, I feel caged.

Which is why, when we arrived here at our gated resort outside of Mazatlan, we both looked at each and said, What were we thinking?  

To be fair, we knew the answer: these were exchanges from our time share and so it was cheap. Plus, our other points gave us our airfare, so…Mazatlán was simply a low-cost escape. Besides, I deluded myself, how far out of town could it be?

There was only one thing to do.

As soon as we dumped our bags, we spent almost twenty minutes in the kitchen, figuring out how to wiggle off our resort bracelets, walked out past the gatehouse and boarded a local bus. It was only once we were on board the clattering bus, heading for the thirty-minute ride toward the city of Mazatlán, that I felt like we were going to be okay.

Faded Beauty – Colleen Friesen

I know, I know. Control issues much??

I get it. I do. How can a gorgeous resort be a bad thing?

So, I am trying. I’ve decided to view this like the ashram retreat in India (only with no bugs, much better bedding, a pool and margaritas). Right?

So obviously I realize that this is not a ‘real’ problem. I do understand that this resort is some people’s idea of paradise; a bland beauty so perfected as to be anonymous.

It is simply another one of my ‘issues’.  Apparently, I have a few. But since this really is a thing with me, I’m trying to use this as another opportunity to learn about myself and to then get over it.

My goal is to get with the program, to be with what is. I’m looking around at the other guests and figuring it out. We’ve been here four days now. Every day we have taken that bus out of here.

But today, we did not head out the gate.  Instead, we took a long walk down the gorgeous beach and this afternoon, I think I’ll try the lay-by-the-pool thing. (It’s 3:33 pm right now, so perhaps I’d best get on that plan).

At The End of the Beach – Colleen Friesen

When I start to feel a little twitchy, a little too contained,  I’ll simply hum a little Don’t Fence Me In and take a couple of deep breaths.

Besides, last night we escaped from the generic resort restaurants when we discovered a little tarp-covered taco stand tucked in the shadow of the huge billboard.

As for the curtains?

Well, some things are not negotiable.  That’s not a habit that I am willing to change. So you already know that answer.

The curtains shall remain open.


2 Responses

  1. Joan Bowers
    Joan Bowers at |

    Sounds very much like my first off-shore trip to Puerto Rico, way back when. Went with a room-mate; we had paid for 3 nights in advance. On the 2nd day, we were busy hunting for something else and found it, a neighborhood (no where near the resort), an apartment with kitchen. It was glorious after the fakeness of the resort (and might I say the exhorbitant food prices). Had a few more resort experiences, all in Bermuda and Australia, and those were quite different than the US owned ones. But still…


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