It took me 4 years of constant travel but I have conclusively, absolutely decided that two particular regions are my calling. Latin America and Asia, more specifically, Mexico and SE Asia. Iâ€™ve mentioned that before, numerous times, but I just have to yet again validate that statement, only this time with even more emphasis and certainty. On a flight to either Thailand or Mexico you will see me with a perma-grin. Not so much a smile but more like a look of contentment. True happiness.
No place is perfect, but the closest I have seen is Bangkok and Acapulco. Depending on your personality and views you may hate or love either place. But, for an urbanite like me, these two places are heaven.
And so, after having spent an interesting evening in wonderful Mexico City I found myself flying in, again, to Acapulco. I have sailed in and out of here numerous times and have flown in and out a few times now. I have yet to drive in, which I am told, is a beautiful, scenic drive from Mexico City but however I get here, the important thing is, I get here.
Acapulco is home to, bar none, the most beautiful bay in the world. It has been described as a glittering bowl of diamonds. The massive, sweeping bay raps nearly 360 degrees around a tropical mountainous urban terrain paradise.
Inside, however, is where the true magic lies.
There are very few truly unique and wonderful cultures on the planet. Most are a mix of various influences and hardly any have the vibrancy and soul to resist, or have no need for, any outside ideas or ways. Why tamper with something perfect?
Only Thailand and Mexico are, in my opinion, amazing cultures, in terms of lifestyle and living. Sure there are others, but lesser. Off the top of my head, Japan, Brazil, France and Spain come to mind, but for my tastes, nothing holds a candle to Tailandia y Mexico when it comes to an atmosphere of vibrant life.
At a glance, the two cultures and styles may seem to be complete opposites. Yet, at their core, they are nearly identical.
Arriving in Thailand you are greeted by sweet, beautiful, graceful, bowing Thai pu-yings (girls). In Mexico, your eyes and brain can barely handle the beautiful, strong, confident, sexual latina chicas that walk down the street wearing jeans in ways that boggle the mind as to how they could make a pair of jeans look so amazing.
Thailand is more about peace and serenity combined with chaos. While Mexico is about living the vida loca, with gusto, combined with regular siestas and lazy days at the beach.
However, beyond that pretense, the two places are about one thing. Freedom. Isara Seri, in Thai. Libertad en Espanol. And living and feeling life with little or no regard for anything else.
Not only my mind responds to these environs but my body as well. When I look in the mirror in Camerica or most of Europa I see an unhealthy, unhappy, sickly looking creature. My skin turns almost grayish and my eyes sink into my cranium. Thoughts of bludgeoning myself to death with a dull rock cross my mind on a regular basis.
Upon arrival in the lands of the free, however, the transformation is almost magical. Seconds upon arriving on the soil in Thailand or Mexico I become alive. It is like a B12 shot, two tabs of ecstasy and an intravenous direct drip of cialis. The colors are brighter. The food tastes more flavorful. The girls wellâ€¦ ay mami.
My skin sheds like a snake within 24 hours and I am glossy and have a glowing sheen. The whites of my eyes turn whiter and the green in my eyes turn from dull to lustrous. People stop asking me if I am 30 and start checking my I.D. to buy alcohol. My muscles relax and yet pump up, like dual injections of valium and anabolic steroids.
Hours later I find myself conversing, in Thai or Espanol, either of which now just come naturally, without thought, to a wonderful, intriguing member of the opposite sex about topics that seem unimportant yet are of greater magnitude than almost any topic that might be discussed in lesser places, such as Camerica. There is no, â€œso, what do you do?â€? or â€œwhere do you live?â€?, questions asked only to surmise the net worth in monetary terms of the other as opposed to, â€œwhat do you like?â€? and â€œhow do you feel?â€?, questions asked of true sentient beings. People living life as opposed to taking it.
Thailand and Mexico may change. Anything is possible. In 10 years neither place may not be so great. But for now, right now, both places are my homes.
I continue to look for possible condos or villas in both spots. I know I have mentioned various plans from time to time but I have never had a more clear idea of where I want to be and what I want to do with the remaining days, weeks, months and possibly years left, liver-willing, of my time on Earth.
A nice condo or villa, dually, in Acapulco and Bangkok are now not just thoughts, they will soon be realities. My travels soon to be only periodic breaks as I make my way from one home to the other, clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever way I feel like at that moment.
Half of the year to be spent amongst the exotic, serene Thais and the other half living la vida among the classy, vibrant Mexicanos.
While they are, and seem, worlds apart, they are the same place. In both places you can find young, usually tattooed males with facial hair driving along on a motorbike or scooter, helmet-less and completely untethered to worry, smoking a cigarette while doubling their wife/gf and numerous children. Itâ€™s not that they donâ€™t care about you and your rules. Itâ€™s just that they are so busy living and enjoying life they donâ€™t have the time or interest to care about what you are doing. As far as they are concerned, as long as you do not bother them they have no interest in bothering you.
Worry is probably not even a word in the Thai languageâ€¦ and for the most part, the Mexicans are carefree as well except for the unfortunate plague of Catholicism which has supplanted itself here. And, of course, the corrupt government and police mobsters â€“ as usual, the two evils in the world, the church & the state are the only things that can put a damper on paradise.
There is one main difference that I can tell between the two countries, however. And that is as it pertains to cost of living. Mexico is decidedly more expensive and your average Mexican taxi driver will be looking for any way to get an extra couple pesos off you while in Thailand even tipping is usually met with embarrassment.
But, while Thailand is practically free, Mexico isnâ€™t all that expensive either, relatively speaking. But it is definitely more expensive, in general, than Thailand. Not many people realize it but Mexico has a huge economy. It ranks 15th in the world for GDP, double the size of places like Greece and Taiwan. Thailand, for comparison, is 33rd. And the GDP per capita is $12,000 per annum in Mexico as opposed to $8,000 per annum in Thailand.
One thing that has really helped, in terms of costs, has been the continually shrinking Peso. The only currency in the world, other than the Zimbabwean WhoCaresWhatItsCalled, which actually has gone down more than the USD is the Peso. When I first came through Acapulco on my boat 100 pesos would equate to nearly $15 Canadian dollars. Now 100 pesos is worth $9.50â€¦ a nearly 40% reduction.
But compared to the cost of living in RIDICULOUS Australia, or Canada, or Europe, Mexico still seems very attractive. Just not as attractive in monetary terms as Thailand.
But even if both places cost twice as much as they currently cost, they still would be my #1 and #2.
And so, back to the pool.
**Note, between the time I started writing this blog entry and finished it I have made a down payment on a condo in Acapulco! See I told you I was serious. More on that, and some upcoming travel items, soon!