In March of 2010 I was presented with the wonderful opportunity of visiting Mexico by means of a ship from Holland America Cruise line. We were going to visit three cities during our trip: Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Upon hearing of our family vacation, which in my experience have always been dreadful, I was a little bummed. I would have rather gone somewhere without my family. On the other hand, I was extremely excited because for the first time I would be able to use my four years of learning Spanish in real situations.
During the trip, I quickly changed my mind about family vacations. The minute we stepped off of the ship and into Mazatlan, I was in love. Everyone was speaking the language I had only heard on scripted tapes in class. Being as it is that I want to major in the Spanish language, I couldn’t wait to begin speaking and practicing.
It wasn’t until the second city, Puerto Vallarta, that I really became confident enough to speak. I ended speaking Spanish with everyone I could so that I could practice. I loved it.
In Puerto Vallarta, I got a taste of the culture. The culture, the food, the people, I loved it all! We bought fresh tortillas, still hot. We went through markets buying all sorts of things by which to remember our favorite city. It was hot, and all of us being afraid to drink the water, we bought bottle after bottle from road-side stands.
When I think Puerto Vallarta I think color. There were flags everywhere, dancing in the wind. People dressed in bright colors were all around. The restaurant at which we dined featured men singing beautiful mariachi and fajitas that they carried out ablaze. It was beautiful.
I soon became the prime translator in my family as I am the only person who speaks Spanish. I was happy to do so because when I spoke I was in a constant state of excitement as the beautiful words slipped out of my mouth. The people could understand me! And I could understand them. Perhaps I’m mildly insane but languages to me are the most beautiful thing in the world, as evident in my strive to now learn a third.
The third city, Cabo San Lucas, better known as Cabo, was not as exciting, but definitely just as fun. The culture there is extremely Americanized and I hardly spoke Spanish at all except to tell the vendors “No, no lo queremos,” meaning, “No, we don’t want that.” If I encountered someone who did speak the language, he wanted to practice his English. The thing I remember most, though, was the vendors, chasing after us the whole time, screaming, “Special price for you today!” “Twelbe, I give you twelbe dollars.” The city was crazy.
One thing I did do in Cabo was snorkel. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone! I have been swimming in chlorinated water for most of my life but ocean water is a different story. I was terrified. The local lifeguard (I think he was a lifeguard) helped ease my mind by holding my hand and saying “No te preocupes, no tengas miedo,”, or “Don’t worry yourself, don’t be afraid.” When he finally dragged me out there and used his tortillas (stored in a Coke bottle) to attract fish, I had the time of my life. It was such an amazing experience to see the fish dancing around beneath me.
My experience in Mexico was simply unforgettable, as you can tell. I absolutely cannot wait to return.
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