Thursday, July 14, 2011

Observations from Cabo

Spent the better part of the past two weeks in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and now I’m back home suffering from a major vacation hangover. God I love Cabo. The weather is perfect, the scenery is beautiful, the fish are gigantic, the people are hospitable, and most everything is reasonably priced (relative to other resort destinations). It’s why I come back every summer. For all its glory though Cabo does have some quirks. In no particular order of importance what follows are my observations from Cabo.

1) Why is the price of everything in Cabo negotiable? Can you imagine walking into the Gap in America and haggling with the sales lady over the price of a pair of khaki’s? $50 dollars? No, I’m sorry that’s too much – I’ll give you $40 plus you throw in a pair of cargo shorts… and some chicle (I love that shit).

2) How come the cabbies in Cabo never carry any change and when they do it’s inevitably in pesos? Um, I’m no math major Jose but I’m pretty sure you owe me more than 20 pesos considering I just gave you $20 USD for a $7 cab ride. Nothing like ripping off the drunk Americans, I guess.

3) Why is the music played in every Cabo bar and restaurant always 20-30 years old? No offense to Brian Adams, Rick Springfield, or the Miami Sound Machine but come on. Would someone please enlighten the good people of Cabo that they can download CURRENT songs from iTunes for just $.99 a pop?

4) Why is the first thing they always show you at a Cabo car rental place where the spare tire and jack are located in your vehicle? I’ve rented a car in America at least a hundred times and not once have they shown me where the spare tire and jack are located. I always laugh and say but I’m sure we won’t need it, right? And they always smile back with the same sheepish grin – you’re screwed gringo.

5) How were the Cabo contractors / construction workers able to build a five star resort into the side of a solid rock mountain (Capella at Pedregal) including a lighted tunnel right through the bottom of the f*cking mountain, but they were unable to build streets with drainage? On the third morning of our trip it rained about a quarter of an inch and no lie every street in downtown Cabo had 2 feet of standing water for the rest of the day.

6) I know the term “Mexican minute” exists for a reason but does it really need to take two hours to serve me tacos and beer? What the hell are you doing back there anyway?

7) I’m fascinated to know if there’s a pecking order of seniority amongst the multitude of beach vendors? For example do the newbies get stuck lugging around blankets, ponchos, and heavy pottery while the seasoned vets get to rifle through friendship bracelets and those light-up-shoot-em-in-the-sky-thingies? Seriously – who’s gonna buy a blanket or a poncho when it’s 105 degrees outside, and what the hell are you going do with a ceramic salad bowl while you’re snorkeling and jet-skiing on the beach?

8) Why are there no child labor laws in Mexico? My daughter wanted beaded braids in her hair and I swear the little girl who put them in was like 5 years old. Not really sure if a Mexican parent’s motivation is to grow their family or their workforce.

9) Of the 3 channels broadcasting American television I'd be curious to know who's making the programming decisions. "Friends", "The Simpsons", and a show called "The Doctors" run on a continuous 24-hour loop. Is this bizarre grouping what they think is representative of American culture? I didn't even know "The Doctors" was a real show until I saw it on Mexican television.

10) How come everyone in Cabo’s an activities broker? The slime bag dudes pimping time shares at the airport, the fast talking guy with the bullhorn at the marina, the “concierge” at the hotel, the dude selling pineapple on the beach, the checker at the grocery store – they all want to “hook you up” with an activity whether it’s swimming with dolphins, zip lining across a desert valley, deep sea fishing, or under water basket weaving – you name it they’ve got access to it, and everyone wants a cut. Strange.

11) Speaking of strange if Mexico’s supposed to be so dangerous nowadays why has absolutely nothing changed in Cabo over the past 10 years (outside of the explosive development)? This was the tenth summer in a row I've taken my family to Cabo for vacation and never once for a even a single second have we felt threatened for our safety (less the time I drank a glass of ghost pepper habanero sauce but that's a different story). Don’t buy into the hype people – Cabo’s just as great and safe as ever. Being the furthest point south from the Mexican / American border certainly doesn't hurt either.

Until next year Cabo. Estancia de oro mi amigo.

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