Every once in awhile during the last eight years living as global bedouins, Jeanette, LouLou and I discussed what our future would be like again having an actual address. We’d browse online viewing different spaces in various U.S. locations. Two opportunities piqued our interest at the end of May, one in Los Angeles, another, South Beach, Miami; either space will be move-in ready July 1st.
For several years now the term pop-up has been used whenever entrepreneurs utilize commercial square feet on a temporary basis. Although LouLou’s best high school option is in Manhattan, we thought why not acquaint ourselves with America again before her classes begin September 2018. Jeanette and I have other Gerard Saint D’Angelo novellas to edit this year, alongside brand expansion, developing beauty and fashion related products; neither objective would see much headway traveling abroad.
Famiglia di Schiavo’s last hurrah wasn’t flying off to Bali, the Seychelles or St. Barths. Realizing upcoming expenses will be relatively foreign to us, we selected a more economical sojourn for this month-long June holding pattern. If America’s current political environment is weighing too heavy, or day to day pressure has anyone feeling trapped, Mexico can be an inexpensive getaway. Most Mexican destinations by air require inconvenient layovers at a poorly planned Mexico City International Airport; Puerto Vallarta is the exception, daily direct flights take off from several major U.S. airports.
Months back Jeanette bookmarked a renovated Puerto Vallarta listing on Airbnb: top floor, lots of windows, four ceiling fans, AC, two large bedrooms with full baths, kitchen sufficiently equipped, dining table for six, two sofas and balcony. Our hosts, Luis and Sarah, greeted us with ice-cold orange infused washcloths, a teeming fruit basket, floral arrangements, bottled water and nine chocolate covered heart-shaped marshmallows. We were shocked to receive what I’d consider a very special rate: thirty-one dollars per night.
Our neighborhood isn’t the PV most travelers frequent. Nothing here is geared to please tourists. There’s an open-air mercado five blocks away; vendors provide fresh fish, meat, poultry, tropical fruit, pico de gallo makings and a tortilleria that also stocks homemade chipotle salsa, two kinds of rice, pinto or refried beans — each pint runs 17 pesos, .94¢USD.
Streets here were paved using river rocks, sidewalks are rather narrow, changing levels with makeshift steps between each property. HeShe cheap-dates congregate feet away from an auto parts yard — adjacent to a panaderia — butting up against one of PV’s abundant medical clinics. A fresh squeezed 32 ounce Vampiro: beets, celery, carrot and orange juice costs 50 pesos, $2.77 USD. I’ll have to be perfectly honest, the beach seven blocks away is not très chic. Another better seaside experience might be taking day trips on local buses and boats to Yelapa, Mismaloya, Islas Marietas or Sayulita. We prefer our two mile walk on the Malecon going to central PV. Once there the decision of what to eat can be overwhelming: pescado sopa — octopus, red snapper, alongside shrimp tostadas — pozole, chile relleno, tortas, chicken tamales, chilaquiles and carnitas or birria tacos. The four mile round trip usually gets us back by eleven, an hour before PV’s humid summer temperature becomes uncomfortable.
LouLou was in the market for Mexican bracelets and necklaces this morning; she’s a discerning consumer — buying two suitable pieces before breakfast. Part of the kick about being in Mexico is stopping at food stalls while getting chores done. LouLou’s meal was spicier than Jeanette’s and mine this morning, enough so she needed some chilled sparkling water from one of a zillion Oxxo’s, Mexico’s 7-Eleven. I paused at a busy intersection believing the slow foot traffic was clogged in front of an Oxxo entrance. Within seconds I bumped into a young Mexican girl carrying an armful of colorful woven bracelets. A little boy flying his paper airplane nearby looked like he could’ve been the older girl’s brother or son. She offered a deal for three bracelets, Jeanette paid up after LouLou made her pick — somehow the 50 pesos just didn’t seem enough.
After telling us this boy was her son, I felt compelled to ask what he wanted; she seemed perplexed, repeating myself, the girl replied, “An airplane.” I then inquired, “Where can we find him one?” She pointed onward saying, “Seis cuadras.”
Shelly gave birth to Ricardo when she was only seventeen; he starts grade school this fall. Bending down to introduce myself, five-year-old Ricardo delivered his cherub hand stating, “Mucho gusto.” He continued flying the paper airplane throughout our twenty minute walk, every toss proudly peering over to see who of us was paying attention. As I suspected Shelly said his father wasn’t in the picture; she and Ricardo live with her mother.
We took an elevator up in the first store; Ricardo rode it as if he were riding an impressive wave on a surfboard, gliding upward enthusiastically. Five of us combed the toy department for an airplane, yet didn’t succeed. Kind of strange, Ricardo didn’t pout; I did however sense he was immune to certain disappointments. I asked Shelly, “Where else can we try?” Ricardo stepped forward, smiled saying, “Woowort.” Another six blocks ahead, one other surf stance upward, toward Woolworth’s second floor, we discovered an airplane the size of a Hot Wheels car. Ricardo didn’t appear terribly interested, but I thought I’d ask anyway; a glum shake of his head confirmed my hunch. Seconds later Jeanette overheard Ricardo whispering, “remoto” to Shelly. He seemed resigned having to accept an action Tron figure as consolation, until one of us, I don’t know who, spotted a yellow sports car with blinking halogen headlights, batteries and remote. All of us took Woolworth’s escalator back down, Ricardo leading with the sizable boxed car in a death grip at his tiny chest.
Following our parting of company outside, I watched Shelly and Ricardo walk away; Jeanette tapped me on the shoulder saying, “Jehr, look at my legs.” Mexico’s ninety-plus-degree noon heat couldn’t prevent Jeanette’s emotions — her legs were covered in goose bumps. It’s such profound encounters cruising the world that give deeper connection to an untethered lifestyle.