In Praise Of Easy
Leaving the Puerto Vallarta airport, we knew right away that we were back in North America. Alongside the highway, we saw Wal-Mart, Home Depot, a mega-grocery store, Domino’s Pizza…
“Can we go to Wal-Mart?!” asked 10-year-old Jackson enthusiastically from the back seat.
Jack’s experience of places like Wal-Mart to this point in his life has been limited to our annual Christmas visits to Baltimore, where my family lives. To him, Wal-Mart is a special treat, along with Toys “R” Us and Best Buy.
The truth is, places like these are a special treat for me, too.
We’ve been living for more than 13 years in parts of the world that don’t have big-footprint shopping. I miss it.
Because places like Wal-Mart make life easier. It’s easy to shop in a Wal-Mart (because there’s so much choice, all under one roof), and it’s easy to buy there (because the prices are so low).
Many things about being an expat aren’t easy. We embrace the challenges, savor our way of life, and encourage Jackson to do the same. But, now and then, I admit it: I enjoy a couple of hours in a Wal-Mart as much as the next mom.
In the part of the world where we’ve come to scout this week, the expat life can be easier than it is elsewhere, and not only because there are three Wal-Marts here.
We’re still south of the Rio Grande, but, everywhere we go, we’re reminded that we’re back in North America. The roadways are wide and well-paved, the waiters speak English…
This is coastal resort Mexico, meaning it’s a part of this country that has been packaged for easy. A lot of money, from both the Mexican government and private investors, has gone into making this now world-famous stretch of the Mexican Pacific accessible and expat-friendly.
You know Puerta Vallarta. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made sure of that. It’s as beautiful as you imagine, the sand as white, the swaying palms as sultry, the indigo sea as inviting.
And, if you’re shopping for something nice, on the beach, it’s typically expensive.
But north of Puerta Vallarta is a further stretch of white sand, swaying palms, and indigo sea, another 100 miles of it, that, a few years ago, was officially dubbed the Riviera Nayarit. The Mexican powers gave the region a name and then made a plan for packaging it for development. Mexico has a long track record at this. I’d say they’re better at it than any other country.
In fact, development in this region is already well under way. In addition to the world-class coastline and the high level of services and shopping, this area boasts seven golf courses and three marinas. A new international airport is planned to make access more direct (right now, the drive from the P.V. airport is about 45 minutes).
The competition for the product this region of Mexico offers is in Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, all of which boast beautiful Pacific coastal stretches of their own.
We’re here to draw some comparisons. More tomorrow…