Walking On Sunshine
It’s 5:45 am in Guayabitos and it’s dark outside.
I hear an aggressive rooster crowing in the distance as I quietly crawl out of bed not wanting to disturb my sleeping husband.
Making my way to the bathroom in the dark , I quickly splash some water on my face, brush my teeth and arrange my hair into a decent braid. My clothes have been laid out the night before so I can get dressed easily and quietly. My shorts, t-shirt, socks and running shoes are ready to go and in a few minutes, so am I! Another rooster crows, a dog barks, they are the regulars!
I grab my camera and quietly go out the door.
Now it’s 6 am and there is a hint of light coming from behind that big mountain in the distance as I make my way down the stairs and onto the street. Nobody in our building is stirring and the night watchman is fast asleep in the lobby. Another dog howls somewhere in the distance. Next door, several roosters are now crowing loudly and likely annoying those who are trying to sleep.
I run out onto the almost deserted street.
As I make my way to the beach, the Mexican taco cart owner is unloading his truck with his helpers. They speak in hushed voices. There are breakfast tacos to be prepared for the locals and they are busy setting up their street side diner. It’s pleasantly cool outside . The sun has not made an appearance yet so the locals are dressed warmly as they get the cart ready for their morning customers. I greet them with a cheery “buenos dias” and they quietly and sleepily answer back. They are what I call the regulars!
I get to the beach and jump into the soft sand and make a run for the shore where the sand is hard packed and smooth. There I can easily start walking fast or make a run for it.
The sea air smells fresh and feels damp on my skin.
It is no longer totally dark outside and the first morning light is making its’ appearance. Nobody else is walking the beach at this hour. I see the almost full moon above Los Ayala and it is slowly disappearing.
The headlights coming towards me on the beach are bright. The pickup truck stops up ahead, a boat is unhooked and positioned on the beach and the work begins. The fish vendors are setting up shop and displaying their catch. Soon the first customers will make their way there to buy some fresh fish for an evening meal or perhaps a tasty breakfast or lunch. I wave and they wave back. They too are what I call the regulars.
I walk on and walk faster along the shore. The beach is perfect today! The tide is out. Sometimes if I feel energetic, I jog for a minute or two. But my passion is walking! Walking fast!! Today I chose to walk really fast!
I walk past some of the local restaurants along the beach. A few dogs bark and come out to have a look at me and then wag their tails as I call out to them, hola! hola! They too are the regulars!
By now the birds are stirring in the trees. The chirping, squawking and the chattering is getting louder by the minute. None of them make a move to get up for breakfast just quite yet. They are enjoying their spot in the palm trees making a loud, and for some sleeping people, an unwelcome racket. I love the racket! They are what I call the regulars!
I see more of the morning light appear and the sky above me is on fire. Shades of orange and pink fill the heavens. The clouds are moving wildly and they look like angry streaks smeared on a blank canvas. I quickly take out my camera, I must capture this spectacular light show now as it could change and be over at any moment!
There is an explosion of colour above my head and the drama in the sky changes within seconds. Sometimes the colours are so intense that I am left breathless. I snap some more photos so I can capture this amazing spectacle. The reflections at my feet in the water mirror the sky and I am now seeing double as I continue my walk along the beach! The colours fade but the show is not yet over, it’s only the beginning! It’s an unforgettable moment in time! Not one of the sunrises in Guayabitos is ever the same! And on this morning , this one is especially beautiful!
The sandpipers and shorebirds are skedaddling along the shoreline digging their pointy little beaks into the sand picking up small morsels of food for their breakfast. Their reflections in the pools of water on the beach enhance the beauty of this postcard like scene. They too are what I call the regulars.
The sun is still hiding behind the mountain as I make my way to the rocks and the cross. I walk faster, run a bit and breathe in the fresh morning salty air. I whisper a silent prayer and thank God for this amazing moment and for having the opportunity to take this all in! I am so blessed!
I walk to the rocks until they are in front of me. I choose a special rock for today and touch it gently with a purpose. This is part of the morning ritual, touching one of the rocks at the end of the beach. I am here, I am alive! These rocks are what I consider the regulars!
Now it is time to leave the rocks behind and make my way back down the beach. I see a few familiar faces. I recognize some other walkers by their walk. I pass some holidaying Mexicans who are strolling along with their large families. Their children are frolicking in the ocean with their clothes on and screeching with glee. Their parents are laughing with them. Perhaps they have never seen the ocean before! Grandmothers and grandfathers search for bits of shells and stones as they wander along slowly at a relaxed and easy going pace. Some are bundled up in heavy coats and layers of warm clothing. Many of the Mexican tourists have come a long way by overnight buses to experience the beauty of this beach. We greet each other with a friendly buenos dias and early morning smiles.
I meet up with a couple of friendly ladies who are picking up the trash left on the beach. They are there with their pooches and the dogs greet me with excited barks. We stop for a moment to chitchat and catch up on bits of the gossipy news in town. They too are the regulars!
Another boat has set up with some fresh fish for sale . Someone is selling muffins, turnovers and pastries. Another is making juice and smoothies. One young man is selling coffee. Tamales are being sold by another local vendor. They too are the regulars!
I keep on walking ,often waving at familiar faces!
The sky is getting much lighter now but the sun has not yet come over the mountain. There are more walkers now. One man is busily searching the sand with a metal detector looking for buried treasures. Another is fishing and sitting on a chair. I have seen him before but I have never seen him catch a thing! I think he does it for the fun of it! He is a what I call a regular!
Up ahead there is a bit of a commotion! The pelicans and seagulls are squawking and arguing as they line up near the parked boats on the beach. They are selling more fish. The birds are waiting for a few handouts and scraps that might be thrown their way. The vendors are selling an interesting variety of fish, shrimp and ocean delights today. One is grinding up some fish for ceviche. A senorita is calling out ….cameron!…cameron!….shrimp !…..shrimp!…come buy your shrimp! There are lots of people here ! Mexican tourists and others like me, stop to see what is for sale today, some are just looking, others are buying. There is red snapper, dorado, sole or other local fish that has been caught recently. I watch as the vendors sharpen their knives and get ready for the next order! Their filleting skills are admirable! I cannot resist snapping a few more photos even though I have done so many times before! The scene is interesting, lively and entertaining!
One of the fishermen that I have known for many years is calling out to me! He waves furiously and laughs and smiles as I wave back…sometimes I whistle to get his attention. He is counting my laps as I walk on the beach. He is one of the regulars!
The bread roll vendor has the loudest voice of all…
B-O-L-I-L-L-O he calls out…his mini baguettes are delicious, crusty on the outside and soft in the inside! We all know him!
Several food carts selling fresh BBQ fish are getting ready for their first hungry customers. The charcoal is burning, the grills are smoking and the vendors are preparing fish kebabs. I can smell the aroma of their special BBQ sauce! Pelicans are lined up beside the cart, their beady eyes watching in anticipation for an easy meal ! They are the regulars!
I pass all of the little beachfront restaurants and not much is happening at this early hour. A few lazy dogs are camped out in the sand and barely open an eye as I pass by. Some locals are sweeping and raking the sand and getting ready for the day. We exchange morning greetings, they continue to work, the dogs continue to sleep, I continue to walk. They are the regulars.
I have to keep on moving, there is so much to see and photograph…I am always thrilled to see this morning entertainment!
As I near the end of the beach, there are several fishing boats bobbing in the water. A few fishermen with big rubber boots are unloading their nighttime catch onto a waiting truck. Others are washing their boats out and straightening up their nets. Some are getting ready to head out for a day of fishing or banana boating. Someone is sitting on the steps watching the action and is smoking a cigarette. They are the regulars.
I touch one of the rocks on the wall at the end of the beach, another ritual…I turn around and walk on!
The sun is just about ready to pop over the mountain top and I do not want to miss this special show! I stop briefly to watch what the sky is doing . It is now that the sun really shows her face and the golden sunbeams stream through the cracks in the clouds as she appears from behind the mountain. Today there are many clouds. That makes it an interesting and beautiful sunrise. I am ready for this! I snap a few more photos, I want to remember this moment forever!
I quietly say another little prayer of gratitude! I thank God for this moment, for this special opportunity to be here in this place to see this glorious miracle in the making! A miracle I will never take for granted! The sun has come up again! Another breathtaking sunrise in Guayabitos! The sun, she is a regular!
I continue walking and head down the beach to finish my first round …..round two coming up!
The regulars are happy. I am happy.
We’re all walking on sunshine!
Written by Jasmine Hohenstein