Review by teacher Kacey Andreotta for TEFL Heaven Mexico

Surprise trip to Tehuamixtle, Jalisco! By Elena Bigini (Mexico)

Mexico is beautiful, this you might already know. The thing is.. it never stops surprising you. Nature is wonderful...

On Sunday, April 7th, I was taken, as a surprise, to Tehuamixtle Bay, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico East Coast. My friend and I were supposed to visit Yelapa, a really famous beach in the area, but he changed plans last minute, without telling me! He came back from work and woke me up at 6 am, saying: “Wake up, we need to go now! Pack up your stuff” And he wouldn’t let me know where we were going!

After an hour trying to keep myself awake, I finally found out that we were going to spend the day with a family he is close friend with... a full Mexican experience as I was the only foreigner!  We set off at 7 am and went to the local market to buy food for the day: shrimps, vegetables, fruit, tostadas and drinks, all completely fresh of course, and started driving...

.As the bay is a two hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, we first stopped at El Tuito, a village of 3,500 habitants, for breakfast. I loved it! Although I would never live there, as it’s basically isolated, I did enjoy submerging myself into real Mexican culture!  Everything around you says “Mexico!”, you breath it in the air: the people, the shops, the food, the main square... and the tranquillity of the place on a lazy Sunday morning topped it all: idyllic!  

 I live in Puerto Vallarta, which is very touristy, hence it was great to see a different part of the state, without tourists! Let me tell you about Mexican breakfast: it’s big! I had a huge plate of chilaquiles (a Mexican dish of fried corn tortilla pieces simmered with salsa or mole, typically topped with cheese and other accompaniments) and it was delicious!

We then moved towards the beach. Throughout the journey we could see several tiny villages, in the middle of nowhere, and I wondered: “How can these people live like this, far from city reach, far from everything, such living simple lives?” Children run around in their bare feet, cows are at the sides of the cobblestones streets. This is like an epiphany, it brings up so many happy memories. I have seen this before in my home country (Italy), and although I’m not used to it as I grew up in a city, a warm feeling came up reminding me of the time spent with my grandmother when she used to cultivate her vegetable garden.

Anyway, after a long drive, we finally made it to Tehuamixtle! The bay was beautiful, the sun was shining, what a perfect day! This is a typical place where Mexican families spend the day to relax. It’s not a place people would reach without a car, hence it doesn’t tend to be over crowded. Once again the little things make it memorable: Coronas, naranjadas, guacamole’s carried around: I am in Mexico!

We set out our own table, umbrella and chairs and I immediately jumped into the water, I could not help it! The water was cold but clear, there were small waves, perfect for floating and relaxing. We went strolling, walked towards the rocks, and sat down. That was a perfect place to meditate, or quieten the mind, think or just enjoy the horizon... the sound of the waves, the breeze though your air, the sun on your skin, I couldn’t ask for more!

Children happily play around, some people lay down and nap, others cook and chat. Mexican families tend to have big speakers that they carry around with them!  Don’t you worry, music will always be on in the background, hopefully you like reggae-ton enough to bare it throughout the afternoon! And then lunch time came: the family prepared shrimp tostadas for everyone, just right there, at the beach: DELICIOUS!

We had such a lovely time that it seemed like the day just flew by, we stayed at the beach until 7:30 pm.It was a long day and we were tired but happily relaxed. We gathered our things and went back home.  Of course, we could not end the night without eating tacos! We ate at my favourite taco stand, close to the house. Most taco places (if not all) in the neighbourhood are run by families. They usually have big open spaces at their homes, which they open to the public. Once again, you find yourself in a “family environment” without being with your real family, this is the Mexican spirit.

I love spending time with Mexican people here. They show you the real Mexican culture, traditions and way of living. They make you discover places you would not discover by yourself, they are extremely friendly and warm people, they do know how to make you feel at home. This is the best way (in my opinion) to really experience something new, and fully understand how lucky you are. Get out your confirm zone and make friends from the area! They are the best to guide you and point out things you don’t “see” or are aware of, they will make your experience much better.....

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