Time didn’t move slower in Sayulita; time had been outlawed. Sayulita pulled the pendulum from the clock, threw it out the window and drove over it with a souped up golf cart. That way, if it did manage to crawl back home, it wouldn’t work anyway. Time ruled no one here. Businesses had no hours of operation, children had no concept of bedtime, and buses had no schedules. It was lucky if the Thursday mercado happened on a Thursday. The sun and the surf were the only things that influenced people’s schedules in Sayulita.
If Sayulita’s pace had a name, it would be Slow. While writing this, a big, beautiful orange butterfly landed on the cobblestone. A crow swept it to eat it, but it was TOO SLOW. Your average Sayulero, however, would call that crow laid back. Not everyone was slow, though. Surfing and SUP enthusiasts caught the early waves every morning. Fitness buffs overly concerned with intestinal flora ran to tennis practice every day. And the Mexican, who people loved to berate for being lazy, were the fastest of all. While the gringos laid on the beach sipping piña coladas out of coconuts, Mexican lifted their filtered water jugs up multiple flights of stairs to their kitchens; carried endless bags of cement to their patios for repaving; and repaired their souped up golf carts under the scorching midday sun.
I learned quickly who my friends were in Sayulita based on whether or not they showed up in the half of the day we’d agreed on. Gary was always early; he was a good one. Sarah never even bothered to show up, although she always had a great excuse after the fact. I’m not entirely sure why I bothered with her. I suppose it’s because she was kind to me when I got here, or maybe because I had nothing better to do than wait. Actually, it was the people watching. I loved the people watching.
I often wondered: If my mother came to visit, would she miss her endless PVRs of Long Island Medium and the Real Housewives of Whatever, or would she appreciate the humour and entertainment in observing the people here? I loved it. It felt like programming made especially for me: Next up, Sayulita Shore, followed by the season premier of The Real and Ridiculous Idiosyncrasies of Sayuleros.
I would sit in the square and watch. This morning a hilarious group of American tourists were on. The men wore Hawaiian shirts paired with backwards baseball caps and Ray Bans; the women, who wore sarongs, clutched their purses tightly whenever a Mexican would walk by. (Time may have been dead in Sayulita, but Racial Profiling was alive and well.) When they interacted with the locals, they spoke slowly and loudly in English and beamed with pride when they threw in a grassy-ass at the end. So cultured. The break featured a carpool initiative: A family of five flew over the uneven road on a motorcycle, followed by a couple of cowboys riding horseback, and then a seven seat van stuffed with at least fourteen people. Back on the show, a would-be sinister sex tourist realizes he’s in the wrong place, and desperately hits on everyone, to no avail. A newly arrived but already stoned pot tourists laughs giddily; he’s struck gold. I didn’t have a favourite character, but I would always root for the ones who tried their best to adapt.
My shows might have been a waste of time, if only it existed here.