Dancing With Butterflies;The Day I Went AWOL

If you know me or have ever read anything I write, you know that people often respond to the things that I say or do with phrases like “that is just crazy”, “really didn’t think that through, did you?”, and the most common response of all, “I would never do that”.

I don’t try to do shocking things. It just works out that the things that I think about doing aren’t always in the normal range of acceptable behavior for average people.

I have some projects going on in Mexico. Before you jump to conclusions based on my previous statements, they are humanitarian aid projects and do not involve illegal activity.

On one of my recent visits, I finished my work a few days early and found myself with some free days. Idleness is almost never a good thing for someone with a colorful imagination like mine.

I keep a running list of things that I want to purchase or do that are slightly outrageous and will probably never happen.

Important Travel Research

With time on my hands and the Jaumave bus station in walking distance, the item from my list labeled “explore small ejido (village) found on Google Maps”, took control of my body and common sense, and caused me to board a bus. I felt that the world and mankind needed to find out if this tiny, tropical paradise was all that I hoped it was, and it was my duty to conduct this “important travel research”.

I Left Jaumave, which is located about five hours south of the Texas Border and headed south to San Louis Potosi. From there I boarded another bus which took me to Guadalajara where I spent the night. From the bus station in Guadalajara, I took a taxi to a hotel that was not more than two hundred yards away. It was already dark and there was no way in heck I was going to walk anywhere in the dark, alone. (I have some common sense)

The next morning, I walked across the street and bought my ticket to Puerto Vallarta, which would be my next stop, but not my last.

Mexico is a beautiful and diverse country. As we got farther from Guadalajara, the arid desert mountains of the Sierra Madres slowly transitioned into lush, green farms with red dirt and rock wall borders, it was a drastic and awesome change. I was completely blown away. Jalisco was very different than I had imagined.

I enjoy traveling by bus, mostly because it is not in the air, but I also enjoy being able to slowly and quietly take in the scenery. On my last bus, I believe the driver was a big fan of the Bee Gees. He played the same four songs for the entire trip. As I marveled at the lovely mountains and jammed to “Stayin Alive”, I felt completely and utterly at peace.

I think my wanderlust would have been incredibly satisfied just with the bus ride and scenery, under normal circumstances, however, I was on an important mission and needed to complete it. As the farms turned into jungle, I knew we were getting close to the Pacific Coast.

I booked a room at a hostel just a couple of blocks from the Malecon. I was pleasantly surprised that even though it was incredibly affordable, it had a stunning view and was in a perfect location.

If PV had been my only destination, It would have been enough to blow me away with its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, lush mountains and the quaint and lovely cobblestone streets which sloped steeply down to the Malecon.

Rising above the ancient rooftops of PV, the music and the rich, vibrant culture filled the night air. I walked the Malecon, ate the food, drank in the art, culture and views. It was one of the most incredible and enjoyable evenings of my life.

The next morning, my heart and mind were bursting with excitement to finally be heading to my destination. I hailed a taxi and headed to a place called Boca De Tomatlan.

Boca is where locals and occasionally tourists, catch a water taxi to get to the villages south of PV. The water taxi is just a big Ponga which they can cram a shocking amount of people into.

I let the first one go without me because it was so crowded. I had visions of a news headline that read: “unidentified American woman drowned along with five hundred locals due to the fact that they were stuffed into a twenty-foot ponga”. These taxis stop at several small villages along the coast. One of the stops is Yelapa.

Yelapa is a forty-five-minute ride from Boca Tomatlan. It is only accessible by water. The thought of no cars or technology was what made this little place especially enticing. It was one of the most beautiful and anticipated forty-five minutes of my life. The towering cliffs with the jungle in the background and the crystal blue water in the foreground were a delicious feast for my eyes.

As we neared Yelapa, huge rock formations rose from the water and thatched rooftops began to emerge from the jungle canopy. I cannot ever remember being so overwhelmed with visual beauty. As we came into the bay, I was finally able to see the little fishing village in its entirety. It was more than I had hoped. It was a magical dream.

I jumped out of the ponga into the waves, stumbled to the shore and fell into the first lounge chair that I came to. I stayed there for hours enjoying the hospitality of the local restaurant and looking out into the beautiful bay.

I took a break from my lounge chair only long enough to explore a waterfall, walk down the lovely streets, and dance with some butterflies.

After a full day of absolute pleasure, I caught the last taxi heading back to Boca Tomatlan and then headed back to Puerto Vallerta, the bus station, and did the whole trip in reverse. The entire thing took place in less than thirty-six hours and I arrived home in Texas without ever being missed.

The fact that there were other tourists in Yelapa when I arrived did nothing at all to deflate or discourage the notion that I alone was the true discoverer of Yelapa; the tiny village I once found on Google Maps.

While waiting for the taxi in Boca, A local man told me about his village located a little more south than Yelapa and even more enticing……………………and oh yes, the next chance I got, I went……….To be continued……

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