Mex Life | We Host Our First Visitors in 3 Years

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Continuing from where we left off nearly 18 months ago, the following is a newly published “catch-up” post from our time living in Sayulita, Nayarit.


11 April 2021

When Lori and I did the math the other night, we couldn’t believe it had been 37 months since we hosted our last visitors.

For us, that was two countries, one baby, and five houses ago in a very different time.

It was March 2018. Lori was just shy of three months pregnant with Riley. We were living in Vientiane, Laos, and Noe was 21 months old.

The visitors were Doug and Akemi, a fellow honeymooning backpacking couple we met a few miles from the Pakistan border in India. They were living in Japan and visiting Laos with their young son for a week. We spent a long weekend out at a rustic stilted house in a remote area, which turned out to be one of my favorite weekend trips from Vientiane.

Up until then, we had hosted 17 visitors in Laos in just over a year. We thought a breather might be nice, but had no idea how long a break that would turn out to be.

Heading into rainy season, the visitor calendar was clear (typical in Laos for us – most people don’t want to make the trip clear across the Pacific to be locked up inside).

Then it was back to the U.S. for maternity leave, before returning to Laos after Riley was born.

Three months later, Lori applied to a job in Hanoi and was accepted, which put all visits on hold for the foreseeable future. In the end, we ended up arriving in Phnom Penh in late October of that year and struggled to secure long-term housing until January.

A few weeks later, the Coronavirus exploded across East Asia, and hopped the pond. Leisure travel became a pipe dream for most people for the next 12 months until vaccines became available for the over 65s.

Which gets us to this very moment on April 7, 2021 at Puerto Vallarta International Airport where we welcomed Lori’s parents and close friends and travel buddies, John and Shirley, our first visitors in three years.

It’s a big deal for us, but an even bigger deal for them. All four received their second vaccine dose just weeks ago and haven’t flown or been on any serious holiday since the beginning of the pandemic just over a year ago, which as you might suspect is a particularly big deal for a bunch of retirees who love to travel.

Needless to say, we’re bent on showing these folks a good time. Incidentally, the boys are as well. After all, it’s been about six months since they’ve seen familiar faces from north of the border.

In our years of living overseas, this is the first time we weren’t able to host family in our own home. Well, we could have, but we didn’t think it would be very enjoyable for four seniors to shack up with a young family of four in a basic two-bedroom bungalow for two weeks.

As luck has it, the owners of the Airbnb next door have just returned to Canada and the property is available for these dates. We can literally pass the kids over the fence between the two houses, with some other additional perks.

It’s an offer our visitors couldn’t refuse.

One of those perks is the use of the property’s golf cart for a nominal daily fee, which is great considering our cart has but one lonely bench seat and it can be a long walk into town or to the beach when the sun’s beating down.

Between the two carts (above and below) we have our crew covered.

We always enjoy hosting these guys, but this time has been particularly fun. It’s the first visit in which Lori and I both have enough flexibility to clear our work schedules entirely and play tourist with our visitors.

It’s also given us a much needed excuse to play tourist in our own little tropical beach paradise of Sayulita.

It can be frustrating at times living in a popular resort town where you’re constantly surrounded by people living it up on vacation while you’re trying to stick to a budget and be productive and complete deliverables as a self-employed “digital nomad.”

But for the next couple of weeks, we get to join the Sayulita party with these party animals, and couldn’t be happier about it.

The obligatory group shot in front of the town letters. In Mexico, every tourist town has them.

Today, it’s off on a little jungle hike to the wild and remote Malpaso Beach.

By way of the mysterious “Jungle Temple,” a favorite stop for the boys.

Seems we’re the only ones here for the moment.

Malpaso feels like a million miles away, despite the not-to-distant view of civilization staring back at us from the other side of Sayulita Bay.

Another fun perk of the Airbnb next door is the pool.

It was a particularly chilly winter this year in Nayarit (the sea surface temps have been around ten degrees below average). As a result, we haven’t gotten nearly as much swimming time as we’d all like this year, but things are finally warming up again. Just in time for a daily dip in the pool next door.

Noe’s swimming skills are really coming along. I’m convinced we’ll have a fish on our hands by the end of the visit.

No visit to Sayulita is complete without a visit to Sayuquila, the best place we’ve found in town for local spirits (particularly Raicilla). Jose Luis is crazy passionate about his stock, and goes to great lengths to source the best stuff around.

Another day, another short hike to another beach. Lori led one half of the crew on the one-mile jungle hike to Patzcuarito while I shuttled the other half on a 15 minute jungle drive to the beach in our golf cart.

Four days into the visit, we arrange a van for the crew and head out of town for the day. On the docket, the Sunday Farmer’s Market at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

The market is the biggest in the state and we’re fortunate to be catching it on its very last Sunday of the season until November.

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