Despite a seemingly apocalyptic list of dangers about Mexico; that we’re often reminded of back in the USA, my wife Patti actually feels pretty safe in Cabo. The great thing she says is that it’s only a two hour flight from Los Angeles. But, what she doesn’t add is that it may take you something like twelve hours to actually set foot in Cabo. True.
I think they got the idea for the movie Manifest from our present Cabo trip. The premise of the show Manifest centers on the strange vanishing (and sudden reappearance though years later) of an airlines plane similar to the one we flew in.
On this week long Cabo trip our pilot added another hour to our flight on account of an abortive landing; he said he needed to do one on account of a strong tailwind. I think he forgot to put the flaps down on the first landing. As I sit on a window seat in aisle twenty something I look out the window waiting on the flaps to deploy as they normally do during landing. Nothing happens. The flaps are those moving parts behind the wings that fold down to cause drag, thereby reducing the landing distance.
Nothing again. Then suddenly we’re on a long climb again. The go around took almost as long as the flight here. And when we finally land it takes what felt like an hour to disembark on account of having to find a tall exit ladder. We passengers wait patiently on the tarmac for a bus.
The bus arrives, we all board and then travel another 250 feet before again disembarking. Then it’s about another quarter mile of walking, riding the escalators, two separate stairs before finally encountering people herding strips before arriving at Mexican immigration. This is only if you have no luggage. If you do then remember that the good stuff always follows the bad stuff.
Once you get the green light (literally). It’s like a Mexican lotto system. You push one button while Mexican customs looks on. Your outcome is either a green or a red light. If green you are free to go on and advance to a hoard of Mexican drivers all vying for your business. If red then a sickly looking and bored black lab will approach you while the contents of your folded stuff spills is now spilt onto a table so your fellow passengers can size up your entire wardrobe.
Small towns like Cabo oftentimes have very distinguishing features. A woman in our shuttle bus actually didn’t know that Cabo means Cape. In Spanish, “Los Cabos” means “The Capes.” “Cabo San Lucas” translates to “Cape St. Luke;” “San Jose del Cabo” translates to “St. Joseph of the Cape.” Cabo is also just 30 miles south of the Tropic of Cancer, with a Mediterranean-like climate.
Our enterprising driver served us iced cold Pacifico beers on the ride into Cabo. It takes about a half hour of driving to make it to the end of the tollbooth before he makes his way southbound. Patti and I sit in the back row while three elderly women sit in the row ahead of us – each one periodically coughing.
We’re still in a Covid year so everyone in the van including the elderlies are wearing a mask and drinking their Pacificas.
We also wore a a mask the entire flight to Cabo. Come to think of it, this is the longest I’ve worn a mask since this thing first started. Patti kept freaking out. I said don’t worry, it’s just old people cough. Old lungs don’t work like they used to because they become stiffer as you get older, causing them to expand and contract less easily. I sort of made that one up but, it made her feel better. And the elderlies matched everyone beer for beer. Then one of them pipes in that you can’t be a country unless you have a beer. Corona? Pacifica? Modelo? We now wonder which one as she is laughing so hard at her own humor before we start talking about Margaritas.
Traditional Mexican towns are laid out around a central square even from the time of the Conquista. In 1573 the King of Spain, created what was called the “Law of the Indies,” which set forth rules for colonial life, including a decree stating that all new towns must have a central plaza surrounded by important buildings; usually the church and government offices. These places are called Zocalos. Even the smallest towns have them. But not Cabo.
Soon we drop off everyone at various hotels along the way. I’m looking forward to a margarita and Mi Casa always gets it right. The margarita nails four of the five: the salty rim of the glass, the sweetness of the agave, the bitterness of the tequila, and the sourness of the limes. … So when you take your first sip of a margarita with salt, you cut the bitterness of the lime and tequila, while heightening the sweetness and sourness.
Wishing me a happy birthday!