We have all read the travel brochures for Mexico stating there is endless sunshine, sandy beaches with great swimming, and nice cold drinks. The number of frost-free days here encourages life for both plants and animals, and provides a bird and plant watchers paradise. Sure, this sounds like the travel brochure for every resort destination on the planet. After living here for a number of years, we have somehow managed to turn a blind eye to some of the day-to-day things that those from up-north find shocking. So, this article is about, heaven forbid, Reality.
For those flying in to enjoy the Riviera Nayarit, you will likely fly into Puerto Vallarta’s Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport. After the standard customs form and your first experience with the red-light-green-light to clear the customs hall, you will be immediately exposed to a wall of people trying to sell you time-share and ground transportation. This is inside the airport. You haven’t even left the airport building yet, and you are exposed to some of the most aggressive sales tactics known. As all of the other tourist blogs suggest, ignore these guys and get out of the area as soon as possible.
Once you get to Jaltemba Bay, you will meet some of the locals and scenery that we expats have become to love. For the most part, they are very happy to have you visit or live here, as they know we provide many jobs in the area, we are a great help while they try to learn English, and I might also add, we are a great source of entertainment while we try to speak local Spanish. Get out there and meet the locals. They usually appreciate your efforts in learning Spanish.
I’ve heard a number of expats from up-north state they feel life here is very similar to what we experienced in Canada and the USA in the 1960s and 1970s. People, including the police, still ride around in the back of pickup trucks.
Seeing a number of butts hanging over the bed-wall or tailgate is very common, despite the concern you might have for their safety. I’ve never heard statistics, or for that matter, maybe nobody has kept such statistics, on the accident rate for such activity. Another throw-back, literally, is many locals still throw their garbage out the window when finished with it. I cringe to think what the area would look like if a large fast-food chain should move in. There is no deposit on containers, such as many of us from up-north have been used to for years, so there really is no harm in just throwing away that empty soda bottle.
For the past few years, local service group Los Amigos de Jaltemba has encouraged the growth in the Plastic Recycle programs here, so with time, we should see less plastic on the streets. There seems to be a shortage of garbage dumpsters and barrels locally, so families throwing their garbage bag out to the street quite often lead to the local street animals helping themselves to a free meal. With our local Spay Neuter programs provided through Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue, there seem to be less abandoned animals running the streets, fending for themselves, so with time this health problem will hopefully be reduced. On the same note, we now see many families bringing their animals to our Spay Neuter Clinics, and many of these animals are being fed at home, as well as receive anti-parasite medications, so the attitude on animal care is improving.
With Virgin of Guadalupe Day just behind us, our pets are now coming out from under the bed, after experiencing many days of cherry bombs or rocket fireworks. Day and night, these rockets are launched all over town to celebrate this holiday. Through the rest of the year, you might also hear them for funerals, birthdays, and numerous other celebrations. It might sound like a war just started, though it is normal in local culture.
Today, there are many projects underway in Jaltemba Bay to improve the sewer and water systems. This seems to be an on-going effort by all levels of Government, so the need for these basic city services is a priority.
So, for those on their first trip to our great area, Welcome, and I hope you enjoy the area as much as us ex-pats and the locals do.
Maybe the above information will leave you fore-warned, that life here can be different than that experienced up-north.
About the Author: Rob Erickson, his wife Heather and their rescue cat Mayo, spend half the year living on Vancouver Island, BC. and the other half in the Jaltemba Bay area of Mexico, where they enjoy the warm weather and slower pace of life. Now that Rob has finished building their new house in La Peñita, he can be found mountain biking around the area, volunteering at the JBAR spay and neuter clinics and relaxing in his Mexican-style hammock.
This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. If you want to join in and share information, stories or photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com