Sunday, April 26, 2015

How Visitors change the perspective

This past week I have been enjoying the company of family who are visiting Loreto from Canada.  In the case of my sister and brother-in-law, this is their third visit, and this time they were accompanied by my niece, her husband and their two young boys making their first visits here.  To accommodate this get together we rented a near-by home for the young family, while my sister and her husband stayed in my home.

The origins of this visit began with Westjet announcing their new direct service to Loreto from Calgary, which made the logistics much simpler for my niece’s family to travel here from eastern Canada where they live, and meet up with my sister in Calgary for the trip south.  Which makes their trip another example of the impact that this Westjet service is having on the numbers of Visitors we are seeing here this spring.

It is also an example of the expanding age range of the Visitors who have been coming here in recent years.  Pre-retirement Baby Boomers were an important demographic in the original Loreto Bay Developer’s marketing, along with those who had already retired.  But given the travel distances and more limited air access in the early days of the Development, younger Visitors and families with children were less common than they have been in recent years.  Presumably this trend towards a wider age range of Visitors will continue, as it becomes easier and less expensive to travel here, particularly as the numbers of retired Boomers living here increases and they invite their younger adult children and grandchildren to visit.

One of the rewards of having Visitors here is that it creates an occasion for me to see where I am living most of the year through their eyes – and to appreciate this place even more, as a result of that  refreshed perspective.  While I usually strive to live in the moment and not take my day to day circumstances for granted, it is, I think, inevitable that one tends to becomes somewhat “jaded” over time – even if those circumstances include an almost ideal climate, palm trees, and a beach on the Sea of Cortez!

But when Visitors arrive and see our Community with its multi-colored homes, surrounded by manicured landscaping, incorporating exotic plantings and multiple Community Courtyards with water features and secluded places to enjoy reading a book – or just the scenery – their reaction makes it easy to recall why I chose to live here over 10 years ago.  And also to feel a growing sense of community pride in how this place has evolved and matured during that period of time!

Visitors also can change the day to day routine which I am prone to, living and working here as I
have done over the years, and provides the occasion for me to enjoy some of the simple activities that I tend to overlook as I go about my normal life here.  For instance, going to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in town (something I don’t do as often as I have in the past), and when we had a short wait for a table, I found myself conducting an impromptu tour of the town square and original Mission Church, before we sat down for a delicious meal.  And then, following the meal, being serenaded by a street busker playing a handmade marimba (wooden xylophone) which he carries on his back from one stop to another, a moment that will hopefully live as a memory for my young nephews of their first visit to Mexico.

Simply taking my Guests on a shopping expedition to town to stock up on groceries, and introducing them to the “hunting and gathering” concept of provisioning, visiting several small specialty stores, while remaining adaptable and ready to enjoy what is available - as opposed to expecting to find everything on one’s list. And so, through this process, I too can see again the simple activity of buying groceries here, not just as a weekly routine, but as a unique – dare I say exotic – experience, when seen through the eyes of a person used to the typical North American supermarket.

It is also an opportunity for me to play the tourist in my own town again.  Like the day that I took them to the local “Clam Shack” (officially Vista al Mar) for a tasty lunch on the Beach before we headed to Puerto Escondido and went on a Glass Bottom Boat tour of Danzante Island, where we saw thousands of fish from dozens of species, including over two dozen rays, a particular highlight for my young nephews.

But I also realized that not everything during the visit needed to be an “event”.  Like the afternoon
the nephews played a somewhat anarchistic game of over-sized checkers on the inlaid game board of the Palapa Patio near my home, supported by an appropriately enthusiastic adult cheering section.  Likewise, the simple joy of running into the surf washing up onto the Beach – when you are 5 or 7 years old!  Or, in the case of their parents, the restorative power of heading to bed early (Baja Midnight) and being wakened by birdsong as the sun begins to rise on another beautiful day in Loreto Bay.

Of course, it is also a treat for me to have this time with family, when we spend most of the year thousands of kilometers apart - an infrequent opportunity to briefly get to know children who grow up so quickly, when it can be a long time between visits.  To be able to spend most of an evening in conversation, rather than trying to communicate over Skype before we lose the connection, or reduce the conversation to its relevant points in an email.

As one visit draws to an end, and the other reaches the halfway point, I consider what memories will be left after they leave.  Like a crowded dinner table for a change, with several family conversations going on at the same time, my nephews keeping a running total of the geckos they have sighted during their stay, these will be among my memories of their visit.  As for my Guests, my best wish for them is that during their brief stay they too will have gained their own appreciation for “Living Loreto”!