The three of us sidestepped our way through an army of timeshare salespeople to where a stranger named David stood awaiting our arrival. He offered us a beer from the driver’s seat of his transport van and drove with gusto, saying he’d let us stop at the MegaMart for twenty minutes at no extra charge.
Lauren led us in a supermarket-sweep, loading our cart with mangoes, avocados, watermelon, and other delights of warm climates. In typical Mexico fashion, three uniformed employees bagged our groceries at a leisurely pace while we wondered if David was paying attention to the time.
Back in the van, Puerto Vallarta sped past, and in the blur, I saw a man balanced on top of a water truck, a massive hose clutched between his legs dumping a torrent of water onto banana palms in the meridian of our crowded highway. A pickup loaded with families in the bed whizzed by, little girls clutching their toddler siblings and parents feeling the wind in their faces.
David dropped us at our temporary home, and I popped open the Corona I couldn’t quite drink in his vehicle. Nothing could have tasted better.
Later, starving, we meandered over cobblestones through a dark empty town hoping someone would feed us. Magically, we stumbled on Ana Banana, a shack that still had two plates of meatloaf left and a band that rivaled the salt air, the twinkling lights, and the impromptu Shrine to Guadalupe festooned with fruit and flowers. We split those two plates three ways and then left it all on the dance floor, the fragrance of gardenias, the lapping of the ocean, and the call of a rooster keeping us company on our slow walk back home.