A Small Mexican Fishing Village

Adrian de León
5 min readMay 4, 2024
Photo by ÐREAMW4ŁKR on Unsplash

The sun has set once again in the distance; a blazing sun has delved into the horizon, leaving an orange and red trail. In its wake, a dark screen has appeared in the landscape above us. A hot day has turned into a cool evening, and the palm trees are dimly lit by the artificial lightening adorning our hotel. The only sound we can hear is that of the sea breeze rustling through the wide, thick, leaves of those same palm trees. A few hours ago, when the sun was at its zenith, the sky was a light, ever expanding, paint brush of blue. As the sun waved good-bye, this same sky turned into a black canvas illuminated with speckles of star dust.

Dogs are barking in the distance, and from a distance, a listener can never quite tell what the barking is about. These street creatures could be playfully shouting at each other, menacing one another, or simply defending a territory that they claim is theirs, but is actually the land of another, more powerful entity. These dogs act just like humans, or should I say, we humans act just like these dogs.

This small fishing village town, wrestled from the slumber of rural life by Lonely Planet and leisure tourism, is quiet, and sparsely populated. Across the coastline hotels and restaurants have sprung up, like seeds of trees watered by liquid cash. Yet, they seem mostly locally owned, quite rudimentary and yet charming at the same time.

The menus across these different restaurants resemble each other, offering a small variety of sea food and chicken dishes in various combinations of sauces, garnishes, and with the same selection of beers and refreshments. All the beers are local, all of the tables and chairs are plastic and most are advertising paraphernalia for the country’s largest beer companies. Every table you sit at will have a jar of picante and limes in the middle. Every server will be local, blessed with long black shining hair, and dark brown skin hardened by lives under the sun. Every server will share a quick smile, will fail to hold eye contact for too long and will serve you with a respect that never suggests the veil that separates you from them will ever be broken.

In this small Mexican fishing village where the conglomerate hotels and gentrified foreign investment have come to die, there is no accommodation for what an outsider may prefer. The town is unassuming and therefore doesn’t assume much about what others like. They serve fish, because fish is abundant, and they serve beer because the Mexicans who frequent these places love beer. They serve aqua de Jamaica and Horchata because, for generations, those are the drinks that have been sourced to refresh the local population. The picante is hot because Mexicans eat picante for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The tortillas are made out of corn, served in a basket and placed on the table without asking for permission because corn is the staple diet of the country these people were born in.

During the week, the restaurants close by 8pm, and the music has stopped booming an hour before that. The restaurants close early because there are few people about and because business sets when the sun sets. This small Mexican village is built similarly to the rest of the villages across the peninsula. At the centre of the village you will find a square with green park benches, a waterless fountain, and where local life comes to shield from the unforgiving sun. Surrounding the square, businesses have popped-up: pharmacies, ice cream shops, mini-markets, souvenir shops, cantinas and marquesita stands. Most are closed and those that are open are sparsely populated, and most of those who work there are lingering outside the front steps, heads stuck in the clouds, wishing the hours away.

Yet, because this is Mexico, sound and music is never too far away, and in the town square, reggaeton and cumbia can be heard in the distance. Blaring out of the speakers of a home or business, just as it does across a million others throughout the country. In the hot air of the dry season, little kids run around, shouting and laughing with each other, while their parents and grand-parents stroll with no destination in mind. Out of the local basketball court, echoes of balls bouncing in off-beat unison can be heard. With a little more inspection, short men of all ages can be seen practicing their shots and dribbling, honing a skill-set, polishing a hobby, and reinforcing a love affair with every movement.

Outside of the mains square city lighting is scarce, with most of the lighting coming from the flood lights and headlights of the cars, trucks and bikes whizzing past. On those bikes, one can find individual men or women, but also families of three or four riding together. Some of those family members are as young as just a few months, holding onto their mothers, eyes closed by the force of the air as the father races through town. Of course, no one wears a helmet. Unlike more developed parts of the world, security apparatuses are few and far between, with one police station equipped with one police car, and from what we witnessed, one policeman, who spent the afternoon sun dozing in the shadow of his place of work.

There isn’t much noise emitting from the streets of this small Mexican fishing village, but yet in this tranquility life flourishes all around us. It is just hard to see because it is happening in the shadows, it quiets down at night, and the life lived is for those who live it. It is lived for the present, not for the future. These lives are lived differently from the ways prescribed by people who believe to live in the future and who tell others who live in the present that they are living in the past. It’s a small Mexican fishing village where boats go out at sea to fish, where dogs roam without collars or masters, where kids wander without worry or restrictions, and where locals hold no reverence nor contempt for those escaping societies where the future is more important than the present.

This is a small Mexican fishing village.

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