A dozen plus reasons entice people to travel: unique adventures, diverse cultures, dabbling in foreign languages, family bonding, beautiful scenery, get-away time, relaxation, meeting new people, devouring delicious foods, and bucket list check offs just to name a few. But one key reason might be often overlooked: reviving childhood friendships. Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas proved the ideal place for a dear friend of mine for more than sixty years to join me for a week. Reviving our friendship proved good for the body and the mind and even better for the soul.
When I was 12 years old, my family moved. Our new home was in the same city, but my school changed and, with that, most of my friends. Almost immediately, I met Janna. Worries about my move evaporated as we became close friends. Over the next sixty plus years, we have each married, raised children, progressed in our careers, moved to different states, divorced, remarried, and entered years of grandparent joy and exhaustion. We have always kept in touch with social messaging and notes and eleven years ago we traveled together from Italy to Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. Eleven years might seem like a long time between visits, but we picked up just where we left off as we met at the Cabo San Lucas Airport and set forth to spend a week together exploring the area.
Perhaps more accurately than exploring the area, we explored the value of our friendship. It proved to be an easy thing while traveling, and I recommend its tonic to others. We shuttled to our resort, Pueblo Bonito at Sunset Beach, where an ocean front condo awaited us. Janna’s sister had recently passed away. Janna had cared for her with her expertise as a nurse as COVID and infections reared their ugly heads. She will soon return to Arizona to arrange a memorial and help settle affairs. It was good to be with my close friend, take a breather together, and know that the needed rest will re-energize the body for what lies ahead. Friendship and the tranquility of Cabo gave us a needed peace at this time of loss.
On our first full day Esperanza’s Tours picked us up bright and early for a day’s touring of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, two distinctly different towns. The downtown plaza area of San Jose del Cabo emits artistic charm. The church sits in front of the center square, with souvenirs and churros at one’s beckoning call. Fishermen busily caught their daily fills, and waves dashed up to us along the shoreline. We would return a few evenings later for the town’s Art Walk and Mexican Show at Jazmin’s, trying our best to keep up our conversation while engulfing chili rellenos. On our drive back to Cabo San Lucas, we stopped at a glass blowing factory and jewelry store, happy to pick up souvenirs of our trip. Then we scurried aboard a glass bottom boat for a quick trip from the marina to Lover’s Cove. The knowledge and cordiality of Esperanza’s Tours served us well in our introduction to the tip of Baja California. (For more information, contact [email protected]).
Reviving a sixty year plus friendship calls for soaring into the sky and diving into the ocean’s depths. Cabo Expeditions and Cabo Blue helped us achieve our goals. In the morning, we met at the office of Cabo Expeditions for our parasailing adventure. We were the only ones going out that hour with our boat crew of three amigos. Parasailing is one of my favorite things to do in a beach location. I love the gentle push and pull of the rope and the soaring toward heaven. Janna took to it like a pro, and it made me think that our friendship is a gift that extends beyond the world’s surface. Three dolphins played beneath us, and I wondered if they too enjoyed a fantastic union of comradery. We felt at one with each other; we felt at one with Nature, and the world was good. Later in the week Cabo Expeditions took us on a zodiac for whale watching. The mid-morning was spectacular with humpbacks breaching and venturing near our boat. We marveled at the miracle of the whales’ migration. I learned that whales, too, enjoy friendships with others of their species. They are a matriarchal society, living for their children, and often selecting some whales in the pod in preference to others. It felt sublime for us to share this bond with these mighty giants of the sea. (For more information, see www.CABOEXPEDITIONS.COM.MX).
Cabo Blue’s snorkeling trip out of the marina proved to be a hoot. About thirty people gathered on the catamaran and off we sailed toward Land’s End. Again, the day was beautiful and gentle breezes pulled us close to the coral reefs. Janna and I had no idea that this would be a booze cruise, and surely it earned that reputation. Non-stop drinks flowed, that is to everyone else except Janna and myself as neither of us drink alcohol. Snorkelers: most were not. In fact, I stayed out longer than anyone else once we reached our swimming destination. Janna learned a few tips and enjoyed the experience, and we laughed and laughed at everyone’s antics. Dancing, trying to stand upright, and mixing up the boat deck with the water proved a blast for us to watch. The fish are mainly grey old fellows and sturgeons, but I’m sure with the guests’ alcohol intake, they became every color imaginable. They probably picked up a few new names as well and we hope the “snorkelers” survived the night. (For more information, see [email protected]).
Juan Taco Food Tour proved great for getting to know local spots for delicious food. We stopped at four taco restaurants, a tamale stand, an ice-cream shop, and a tequila bar. The first was for pastor tacos. Set only a block back from the marina, the chef marinates pork in a combination of dried chilies, spices, pineapple, and typically achiote paste. They are slowly cooked with charcoal or gas flame on a vertical rotisserie called a trompo (spinning top.) The meat is shaved off as the outside is browned and made into tacos. I love the history of the pastor taco, a traditional Mexican dish. This cultural and culinary blend served Lebanese immigrants well as they attempted to both preserve their heritage and avoid being ostracized from Mexican society. The pastor taco speaks boldly to me as Janna and I preserve our heritage while fitting into our new surroundings. Another favorite of mine was a smoked marlin taco, strong in flavor. Shrimp is another locals’ favorite. A grandmother makes about 400 tamales daily and her grandson sets up the delicacies along the sidewalk and sells out every day. Blessings to abuelita; her tamales melt in your mouth! (For more information, see [email protected]). Sharing a good meal has a way of reinforcing friendship, and delicious huge tacos can’t be beat.
Beach strolls, lying around the pool at Pueblo Bonito, and sampling the resort’s carrot cake rounded out our week, and soon it was time for each of us to fly back to our homes. We came home to our busy lives and families but, more importantly, to our strengthened friendship. I had an inkling the week would be great but, in hindsight, it proved even better. Sad to say, connections with friends often have a way of escaping us. They don’t need to, and travel can prove to be the perfect tune-up for the perfect restoration.