It was twelve days ago that my wife and I packed our bags to depart on a much needed vacation to the southland. We were to spend 10 days with family right on the beach in Mazatlan Mexico. I knew nothing about Mazatlan other than that it was in Mexico and that I was pretty sure they spoke Spanish down there. Actually that fact alone should have inspired me to brush up on my espanol a little, but in typical gringo style I figured I would just wing it. “Donde esta el bano, senior?”

Stuffing all we could into one bag to avoid giving the airlines $25 more dollars for additional luggage, my wife Julie and I were well prepared for at least a week of sunshine and surf. I managed to shove in a sweatshirt incase the temperature fell below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at any point. Doubtful. We were off to show support to the Mexican food service industry, without neglecting the local beers of course.

When you land at an airport in Mexico, you pretty much know you have arrived. The old runways lead up to a single story multicolored airport building that smells like fresh urine. Well maybe it’s not that bad, but it isn’t a place you would want to be stuck for an evening. I was half expecting our American flight crew to suddenly start speaking Spanish to welcome us to Mazatlan. That would have been pretty cool, but they disappointed me in this daydream. “Welcome to Mexico. Don’t drink the Water,” is all they could muster up.

Making it through immigration with no problems, we were greeted by our van driver that would take us to where we were staying. Let me say this now, it is truly amazing that anyone in Mexico lives to see thirty. Driving here, while not as insane as video I’ve seen of India, is absolutely crazy in its own right. I really don’t know why lines are painted on the road in the first place, as they serve as a mere suggestion to their automobile friends. Locals drive their rusted out pickup trucks at 50 miles an hour down the streets swerving through lanes of traffic, while their entire extended family rides unsecured in the back. Little babies get special treatment however, riding like royalty in their mother’s laps. We passed a few infants with their protecting mothers in the front seat- half hanging their babies out the window like their latest prizes of honor. The infants smile to take in the sights of busses two feet from their heads. I saw a motorcycle with three riders, a dad and his two kids on the back holding on to each other for dear life. Like I said, it is amazing anyone lives to see their 30th birthday. I guess the ‘shelter’ of American seatbelt laws (passed way after my childhood) keeps me feeling protected, like some sort of guard standing outside my home at night. The absence of such order is a place they call Mexico.

Five days into our trip it had felt like two. It is amazing how much of a routine you get into on vacation. You leave a hectic routine life and go somewhere new to fall into a new routine of relaxation and no agenda. Every morning we woke up and went to work out. I went running through the local streets and pretended that I didn’t stand out as a gringo in my adidas workout gear and white sunburned skin. It worked until I would see a truck passing and every head in the car turn and look at me like I was some sort of new circus act. Guess that’s the price for running as fast as a cheetah.

After our morning workouts, we would eat some fresh breakfast burritos and head to the beach with books and bodyboards in hand. We spent the remainder of the days surfing the medium waves directly in front of our condo. We broke up the monotony by heading back to the pool bar for ‘mas Pacifico’s’- the local beer that kept us hydrated, and prevented outbreaks from a bad water supply. Our fruits and veggie nutritional needs were satisfied by pina coladas and fresh salsa with guacamole dip. All the festivities came to a close with a huge dinner, family telling stories, mas pacificos, una (o dos) shots of tequila, and perhaps a Cohiba cigar. Bed time…

I had plenty of time to think along this journey of relaxation, culture and family. Not the least of which was how much I get so wrapped up in daily life and stressful routines that I sometimes forget just how important it is to rest, and spend quality time with family and friends. I wonder if this is what God was trying to show us when he took his own day of rest after creating this planet. Rest is a mandate by our Creator, and when I look at the lives of Americans, myself included, we rarely rest and reflect on anything. Mexicans on the other hand are the hardest working people I have ever seen, but yet the construction workers in the afternoon take a ‘siesta’ and literally sleep on in the medians of the road. Strange to think about, but I think there must be something to it all. Perhaps this is how they live past 30…..

As all good trips come to an end, I hope to keep this perspective and perhaps commandment of relaxation with me. As I work hard to hopefully live out God’s will for my life, I hope I can be insightful enough to rest and reflect on what is truly important. May a little Mexico stay with me here in America.

Genesis 2:2
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.