Belated Musings About The Beach

Josie at the Beach - San Carlos, Sonora - 19Two weeks ago Greta, Josie, and I were in San Carlos, Mexico, on the sunlit eastern edge of the Sea of Cortez.  I'm just now getting around to writing a bit about it.

When planning the trip, I wanted to not camp, because the week before I had just had a cold wet camping experience for a few days.  I wanted a good ol' semi-luxurious vacation.  I've never really done that.  My travels have always been about cheapness, and hardship, and doing worthwhile things along the way, like activist projects or making films.  For once I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself.  We also wanted to be sure to stay at a hotel that allowed dogs.  I went online and found a sort of hotel search engine site for Mexico, and one of the criteria was permitting pets.  When I chose that criterion, only one hotel in San Carlos came up - this place that looked quite fancy, the Paradiso Resort. However, it was within my price range and we decided to risk being surrounded by yuppies and shallow sorority girls and just go.

It turned out that we needn't have worried. The place was practically a ruin.  It was once a Club Med, but had long ago evidently fallen on hard times and could barely keep any rooms in use. In fact out of hundreds of rooms we only saw about 5 other guests, and several buildings were just abandoned to the elements and what were evidently roving bands of graffiti kids who'd been breaking windows and otherwise decorating the place.  In addition, most of the advertised features of the place were no longer available, like the sauna, tennis courts, horseback riding, etc, and the place was isolated from the rest of town with almost nothing within walking distance (like bars, restaurants, etc). Plus, they ended up charging an extra 130 pesos a night "pet fee", which was not noted on the website. 

Paradiso Resort in San Carlos, Sonora, México - 18

On top of all that,  the room doors didn't have deadbolts, just flimsy knob locks, and Greta didn't feel safe, especially with the evidence of marauding vandals and the isolation of the place.  We decided to move after the first night to another hotel more in the center of San Carlos, and we were happy there.

Despite this, I don't regret our mistep into this odd resort that time forgot, because it was such a strange experience.  It reminded me that sometimes these monuments to excess and tourist consumption sometimes become the results of some sort of capitalist miscalculation, and I'm intrigued to know more of the history of the place, although nobody we've talked to since seems to know the details of what went wrong.

I have this fantasy that the investors and owners deserted the hotel long ago and the desparate staff collectivised it and took over, continuing to run it as best they could, sort of like the factory workers in Argentina after that country financial collapse in 2002 (as documented in Naomi Klein's excellent film "La Toma/The Take". ) 

The other fantasy or vision I have for the place is a sort of alternate marketing idea: what might work better for them is to fess up, change their advertising materials to reflect the true conditions, and direct themselves toward a different demographic: a sort of hipster, Burning Man, radical art crowd.  They could market it as "luxury in ruins" and slash their prices, and invite fire dancers, acrobats, musicians and artists to occupy the place for free in exchange for performing nightly for the guests.  Dress the place up with bonfires, raves, cookouts on the beach and art installations and you could really create a stir and turn it into a popular spot for the young, the restless, the slightly scruffy and the oh-so-cool.  If they would just stop pretending to be something they're not, and reach out to the clientele that would dig the rough and edgy situation, they could clean up. ahem.  If they could get everyone to sign waivers before checking in, perhaps. Oh wait, this is Mexico!

Anyway, the rest of our time in San Carlos was relaxing, beautiful, and super fun. We got lots of great beach time, ate good food, and Josie got lots of excerise and new experiences dodging waves and chasing seagulls. And we were only slightly sunburned by the time it was all over.

Josie at the Beach - San Carlos, Sonora - 03

I love that photo of Josie's

I love that photo of Josie's wet head- she was wet the whole time we were there, it seemed. It was very fun- thank you, Steev, for making the effort to get me away from my desk for five days.

So glad all three of you had

So glad all three of you had a good time....nothing is better than a very relaxing vacation to get the juices flowing again! Great pictures, also.

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