1. Kids are everywhere, and they are comfortable playing their own games. Two tiny girls were playing doll games with a pair of scissors and a pen, another pack of kids was using a beached jet ski as their playground…and tag was their game. Videogames? No way!
2. You can play music as loud as you want, because everything is already loud here. There are no signs telling people to quiet down, the ambient noise of the village, the passing boats and laughing kids allows anyone to be as loud as they want…even at midnight.
3. It doesn’t matter what you are wearing, or if you have shoes on, or if you forgot to put on your bra or if you didn’t wash your hair. Nobody notices because there is always someone else nearby who is messier and less stylish than you.
4. People sit for long, long periods of time and do nothing. They don’t look into their phones, they don’t read the newspapers, they just sit and watch the passing parade. They’ve deftly cultivated the art of doing nothing, and have a great time observing life moving past.
5. There is no hesitation to say hello, people look at you and as they pass they say hello, and there are no strict boundaries that keep people apart.
6. Food isn’t complicated or heavy, and no one worries about how many calories are in the chips or if it’s vegan or if it’s organic. . It probably came from the tree in the yard, so it is organic. There is none of our pre-occupation with personal taste and choice. It is what it is. And you can enjoy a beer any time, there is no 5 pm rule
7. Despite what we read every day in the American news, and despite how horrible the real news of the drug cartel is, both times I’ve come down here there were no drugs, no drug lords, no fear about them and no influence in the towns from said drug lord cartel bad guys.
8. Flying down here doesn’t take a whole day and the people in the airport are friendly—even the restaurants in Puerto Vallarta airport weren’t the bland corporate chains who rip off travelers every day in the US. Instead, we got tortillas, beans, rice and chicken.
9. You can find dramatic beauty by simply going around a corner, or peeking through a stand of trees by the side of the road. It’s true there is a lot of development but the combination of the Pacific and the rugged coast makes for easy to find pretty scenes.
10. Mexicans are easy going, relaxed and enjoy having Americans around. That’s not true in some other parts of the world. They appreciate us and they don’t want us to go home. Yet anyway.