Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Seeing Sideways- Or How I Learned to Love Rocky Point


Science tells us that sometimes you can see things more clearly from the corner of your eye than you can when viewing it straight on. It has to do with the cones in the center of your eyes, which see details, and the rods at the edges of your eyes, which collect light.

Take stars, for example. Gazing at the night sky you see a faint star from the corner of your eye. Turn to look at it straight on and it disappears. Look away, and there it is again, lurking tantalizingly at the corners of your eyes.

So it was with me and Rocky Point. At first glance it seemed a very faint star at best, and looking at it straight on I wasn’t particularly impressed. I’ve lived in and visited many places in Mexico, and to my eyes Rocky Point did not compare favorably. Other places were greener, or had lovely colonial architecture, or there were breaching whales you could watch from shore. And that place over there was better developed/more visually exciting/had more cachet. And so on.

I weighed Rocky Point in the balance against other locations and found it wanting.

In fact, I was so busy comparing it to other places that I failed to see Rocky Point for what it is. I’m chagrined to admit that I once dismissed it by saying that sure, if you live in a hot, landlocked place like Phoenix any beach is going to seem like Paradise. Yes, I really did.

Breakfast at Playa BonitaBut then one sultry summer morning as I was enjoying breakfast with friends on the patio at the Playa Bonita Hotel, something clicked and quick-just-like-that my point of view changed. I’m not sure what it was that did the trick. Maybe it was the sound of children shouting and laughing on the beach, or a squadron of pelicans soaring low over the waves, or the angle of the sunlight catching Whale Hill across the bay. Maybe it was the camaraderie of Mexican friends who knew me well enough to poke gentle fun at my awful Spanish as we laughed together. Maybe it was all of it.

But there it was, and with a sense of surprise I thought, “What a great town this is!” In the corner of my mind’s eye I saw the dusty streets, friendly people, flamboyant sunsets, the ocean and tide pools and the fishing boats heading out for the day’s catch. I thought of the laid backness of the place, the funkiness and quirkiness of it…

And the funny thing was, when my mind’s eye turned to look at it straight on it was still there. Somehow, I had fallen in love with the place, warts and all.

Some old timers think Rocky Point is ruined already, with its new resort developments and condos and modernization. They liked it the way it was. For some in future years, the way it was will turn out to be the way it is today. But however the future works out, one thing is for sure: As a faint star or a bright one, Rocky Point shines.