jueves, abril 25, 2024

Endless Summer by: M. P. Bulnes

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It all begins that one morning you step out of your home and feel the change in the atmosphere. There’s no breeze.  And there’s a warmth that wraps around your body and reminds you that there’s a beach nearby awaiting you. The radiant and unforgiving Baja sun announces that summer is here. Perhaps a week before it had been windy, and it feels as though the weather changed in the blink of an eye. As you get in your car, the seat might burn your bottom and the A/C takes longer to work its magic, so you roll your windows down until it does. On the Carretera Transpeninsular, you start spotting pickup trucks with surfboards tied to the back, speeding past you to catch a couple of waves before work. To some, summer means higher electricity bills and two showers a day to stay fresh. For others, it means vacation time. To me, summer means longer days and a slower pace. This endless summer is home.

Growing up in a small town known for its year-round sunny days can shape you as a person. We were raised in a town where people pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to vacation. Having the beach within walking distance of my home has always made me feel like a billionaire. When I was little, on special occasions, my mom would pick us up from school with the beach bags packed in the trunk. We’d change into our bathing suits in the car and go to the beach instead of doing homework. Before all the nightclubs and fancy hotels, Medano Beach was our backyard. No matter how much sunscreen my mom applied, our skin showed who we were. We were children who grew up by the sea, and we had the tan lines to prove it. When we’d visit my family in the city of Guadalajara, they’d be appalled when they saw us walking towards them in the airport wearing flip-flops. Flip-flops? In the city? If only they knew my feet would always feel trapped in closed toe shoes. They belonged and always will, bare and in the sand. 

Years later, the last school bell of the year would proclaim the arrival of summer. As a kid this meant pool parties, trips to Los Barriles, and what felt like infinite days on the beach.

As a teenager, I’d wear my bathing suit under my school uniform. Skipping class to catch waves was normal for the cool kids. But I wasn’t that cool, so I waited for classes to be over to jump in my car and drive to El Tule with my friends for a quick dip on the days we didn’t have soccer practice. We’d have to be home before sunset. Back then, summer meant bonfires and flings. 

But then it was time for college. It’s common for locals to leave town after graduation. Most of us end up going to either Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana or Mexico City. We moved to these cities in search of better opportunities. I remember looking at college brochures and realizing how small Cabo felt and how big the world really is. After a tearful goodbye, I put on closed toe shoes and left.

Most of us would fly back to Baja when the semester was over. Back then, summer was a time for reconnecting with high school friends at the Nowhere Bar, drama, and love stories. Being a young adult in Cabo is fun. The same way Medano Beach felt like my backyard when I was little, the party scene in downtown Cabo was the new playground. 

The flight back to the city was packed with familiar faces. Nothing would make me feel more powerful than walking back onto my college campus after a long summer home with a perfect tan, sun-kissed hair, and incredible memories. 

As our early twenties turned into late twenties, things changed. The pandemic found us Cabo Kids scattered around the world and brought us home. It made me reconsider everything: my values, my plans, and my goals. I remembered where my feet belonged. After I received a job offer at the local radio station, I decided to move home. 

Many of my friends did the same, and for a while, as the Baja summer arrived, we felt like kids again. Before the world settled into this new, post-pandemic pace, we’d work remotely from a pool or the beach. We’d end our work days with trips to Acapulquito, where some would surf and others, like me, would read or gossip on the beach.

The pace picks up, and the beach feels far away because we are occupied with real estate or timeshares to sell, weddings to plan, houses to decorate, or articles to write. Medano Beach is far from the barren, idyllic beach it used to be. It’s filled with life and fun but it’s different. We go camping once a year- if we’re lucky- and just thinking about drinking a jarrita at Nowhere Bar gives me a headache. Leaving the office after the sun has set isn’t what I pictured my life in Cabo would be like.

One day, I woke up and realized my feet hadn’t touched the sand in weeks. It’s still there. All we need is for things to slow down a bit to be able to enjoy it.

And then it happens. Days start to feel a little longer and the sunsets more magical. I feel my friends getting restless, pitching our favorite summer plans in the group chat. From my terrace, I see people carrying surfboards, and I think about finishing up this article so I can grab my bikini and head to Las Viudas for a swim. It’s still light out. These are the clues that my favorite season is here and a reminder that it doesn’t ever really end. This endless Baja summer is home.

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