We are in Mexico at a resort that is a full hour off the main road. Let me be more specific. The main road is a two lane country road about 20 minutes from the last small village. The road to Playas las Tortugas is a rutted out dirt road that passes through mango and coconut groves, pastures with cows and bulls that have beautiful coats that glisten in the sun and are standing with bright white egrets. An occasional flamingo flies over the now dust encrusted rental car. A Jeep Patriot. In the brochure this is to be a 15-20 minute trip into the settlement.
Before leaving PA. we received an email explaining this road had been washed out due to the rainy season. Therefore it was suggested we rent a high clearance vehicle. That meant the car rental fee went from $8 a day to $40 and the travel time quadrupled. (Really, you can rent a mid size car in Mexico for 8 bucks)
I was driving this leg of the journey from Puerta Vallerta. Tom kept complimenting me on how well I was doing. I am not sure if he was referring to my driving skills; avoiding moon size craters in road, pulling over on this one lane road to let locals pass in their full size pick ups with smiles that suggested Stupido Gringas or not becoming hysterical.
I drove this stretch of road without putting my foot on the gas pedal. We traveled at the speed idle. When I did press the gas, out of impatience and shame, I feared for the axles, tires and paint of the rental. The man at Thrifty Rental made it very clear, in his broken English, that we are responsible for every ding and scratch incurred. The woman with the camera taking detailed pictures of the car from every angle increased our paranoia. An hour later, we drove onto a cobblestone driveway and into the gates of Playas las Tortugas. I was tense trying to be relieved.
Pasquel met us at the gate, my name was printed on the white board outside of the office door. Patricia Boswell. I felt reassured. We had found our way to the right place. Pasquel climbed into the back seat of the SUV to direct us to our villa. Casa del Luna. House of the Moon. As we approached I recognized the house from the internet picture. It was lovely.
We pulled into the driveway and jumped out of the car. The first thing I noticed was the HEAT. You know when it is cold and windy your breath is sucked out of your chest? Well, the opposite happens in extreme heat. The heat rushes in and stops you dead in your tracks. My feet wouldn’t move. Any exertion felt counter intuitive.
Pasquel, undeterred, unlocked the front door of our charming villa. Home for the next two weeks. I willed my feet to walk toward the safety of air conditioning. We stepped into the foyer. My breathe imploded in my chest again. The heat was unbearable. The sweat was now running down my face. Now I am not a gracious sweater. I am a whiney, pitiful sweater. I hate to sweat. Always have. We followed Pasquel, against my better judgement due to the exertion it would take, up the stairs to the rest of the house.
Tom breathlessly asked, as we climbed the tiled spiral staircase, “Can we turn the air on?”
“Ohhhh Seeenoooor, there is noooo air conditioning in veella, onnlee in bed rrrooms. No veella has air conditioning.”
Normally, Tom and I would have argued this detail. Loudly and effectively. In this case, in this heat, this far from anywhere with AC, we understood we were beaten. Pasquel was unimpressed with our distress, he wasn’t even sweating. I felt like the pampered American. In this case I was.
In the kitchen and living room I began to throw the windows and sliding glass doors open. My American brain deduced the house was so hot since it was closed up. How quickly I had dropped the minor detail off the outside temperature.
Pasquel showed us how to turn on the ceiling fans. There was one in every room. They worked really well to move the air in the room. I now know what a turkey feels like in a convection oven. Hot air moving quickly. Tom saw the panic in my eyes. I felt it in my whole body. “ THIS IS OUR HONEYMOON. I DON’T WANT TO BE A SWEATY MESS!” I wanted to scream but it would have exerted too much energy. I stayed quiet.
After Pasquel left the “veella” we went to the bedroom and cranked the air and the ceiling fan up to max. We plotted how we could spend the entire two weeks in the bedroom-after all it was our honeymoon.
That night, air on, fan spinning, Tom and I slept deeper than we had in months. I had sweet dreams. We both woke rested, refreshed and hungry. We wanted breakfast. PLT offers guests home cooked Mexican breakfasts and mid day meals, made in your villa, each day. We could smell ours cooking.
We stuck our noses out the bedroom door to test the heat index. We were both pleasantly surprised. It was not that hot in the foyer. We decided to risk it, heat be damned. I wanted my home made breakfast, prepared for us, put on the table and cleaned up afterward.
We climbed the stairs fully aware that heat rises. I took each step at a slower pace than I do in Pittsburgh. It seemed the natural thing to do in the tropics. We reached the top to find the kitchen a comfortable, non sweat producing temperature and an amazing breakfast on the table.
“Okay,” we said as we sat down to enjoy a Mexican feast, “we can do this….”