Mexico — Between Imagination and Reality
By Raseljka Kmic
To be completely honest, as a European who has never been to this part of the world, I came to Mexico carrying prejudices, assumptions, ideas and images in my head which belong to the world of imagination. This abstract world is often created through a variety of stereotypes which are imprinted onto our subconscious under the influence of various media. Movies, especially from our early childhood, play an important role in development of our imagination. I am sure that, in the imaginary world of an average European, Mexico is all about tequila, men with big mustaches, sombreros and vast deserts mottled with big, green cactuses.
Frankly, my own preconceptions were not far from those simple, childish scenes that I often imagined while reading comic books and watching Hollywood movies. Even though I did not expect Mexico to be a movie set of the final scene from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I did not know anything about its cities. Upon arriving in this huge country, I was surprised and amazed how developed, modern and urban it is. After visiting interesting cities like San Cristobal, Oaxaca and Guanajuato, I packed my bags heading west to the small city that lies directly on the sandy shores of Pacific Ocean – Puerto Vallarta.
Paradise on Earth
I arrived early in the morning while the light was still soft and mellow, falling gently on the mountains which surround Vallarta like a guarding fortress. When I stepped off the bus I still could not see the ocean, but suddenly, for a second or two, it felt like home. It was warm, the air was salty and I felt a pleasant breeze on my skin that reminded me of the Croatian summer wind we call Maestral. Though there were plenty of cabs waiting in front of the station, I caught a city bus which took me to my destination. The Penthouse Dolphin Dreams is a beautiful two floor penthouse situated in the heart of Nuevo Vallarta – a residential resort community about twenty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, in the center point of the Banderas Bay.
The owner of the property was waiting for me when I arrived. From the first moment he made me feel welcome and relaxed. Dana is an interesting man, who has traveled the world and lived throughout the United Kingdom. Eight years ago he decided to make his home here in what he calls, “Paradise on Earth.” Even though he has adapted easily to this Mexican beach style of life, learning to surf and paddle board almost every day, he is still a typical English gentleman with a recognizable English sense of humor. After a few minutes in his company, I realized that those stereotypes about cold, distanced and reserved islanders definitely don’t apply to him. As we were sitting in his large first floor open living room having a chat, I observed a whole variety of exotic birds.
For the first time in my life I saw pelicans sailing through the sky in perfect formation like a fleet of army planes. Later I learned that due to its geographical position, this area is a perfect location for bird watching as it is home to nearly 350 species in varied ecosystems and habitats. Dana informed me that this area used to be a swamp, which explains its rich fauna. (read the rest of the article here)