The Sun is Shining

It is difficult to believe, but I am writing from the stone deck of a private Mexican villa, feet propped up on a brick firepit and silhouetted against the vastness of pure ocean. How did I get here? I wonder to myself. How does this even happen?

Since beginning our journey, there has grown a small, nagging conviction in my head – a despairing – that is sure I will suddenly wake up and be back in my old, familiar bed. Back where we look down and never look up. This seems an un-reality. I know that gorgeous private beachfront mansions are hardly the norm in Mexico, which lends an even greater air of improbability. We are off the improbability charts. Occam’s razor has broken.

Last night, a bonfire blazed in the firepit and beers and shots led to drunkenly deep conversations. Nikki and Brad were past tipsy, Rhys was on his way, and Doug was feeling pretty good too. I hadn’t had many, on account of still (still!) feeling under the weather. The firelight danced across their animated faces, all engrossed in disparate conversations, with the endless waves singing in the background. It was a purely perfect moment that stretched on for hours.

Hours earlier, as we crossed the international border, I was struck by the immediate differences between Baja, CA and Mexico. This country has been devastated by the economic collapses that prevent tourist dollars from existing in past quantities, and limit interest in Mexican exports. Tiajuana looked on the verge of collapse, an old, seedy broad who has seen better days, but can hardly remember them. We drove along the coast, alternating between feeling wonder at the natural beauty of the coastline and tasteful, quaint architecture, and feeling sadness at the shacks and shanties, buildings half-constructed, unfinished monstrosities of concrete and paneless window eyeholes.

Doug’s little village is La Mission, predominantly made up of American tenants and local support staff. It is beautiful – but unreal. I am sitting on a beach. No one else is in sight. The Beegees are singing “Night Fever,” having been piped in through the house. I see two sandpipers running along the edge of the water, playing chicken with the tide and sifting for edibles with their long beaks. The sand here is a greyish white on top, and black underneath; when the tides move, the water drags the brighter sand across the surface and deposits lovely fractals of pattern.

Rhys speaks a little Spanish and so was able to carry on for a few sentences with the restaurant staff this morning. I hadn’t heard him speak it before, and couldn’t help but smile at hearing so-familiar lips embrace a sound so foreign to me, and do it comfortably in his own voice. Nicely done, but strange. Unreal.

Our ship is currently scheduled to disembark on Thursday. That’s when our “real” journey begins, supposedly – but sitting on a Mexican beach dreaming of nothing is adventure enough for me at this very moment in time.

Be here now – the rest comes later, unbidden.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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1 Response to The Sun is Shining

  1. Kristin says:

    I love the way that you explain how you feel hearing Rhys speaking Spanish! In just that one sentence, I can feel how much you love him! The two of you together will write and amzaing story! I cannot wait to read more!!

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