Feb 21, 2014

Travel to Puerto Penasco, Mexico: Where the USA and Mexico Rub Shoulders

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Pto. Penasco is on the NE shore of the Gulf of California

Travel is one of the great joys of my life.  I love learning about people and watching the world from a different perspective. My husband and I have been lucky enough to see cultures unlike our own and to learn that our values are not necessarily all that there is. It has become so much of a part of our being we had forgotten the shock of seeing the lifestyle in third world countries. But while seeing the world through the eyes of our friends, I felt a certain degree of surprise again that people surviving in such hard circumstances.
Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort
Golfing in the Sun
Sandy Beach at Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mx
This last week our group visited a border town in Mexico very close to Tucson. After a drive through the Tohono Oodam native American reservation and south into Mexico, we arrived at the 5 star Las Palomas Beach Golf Resort on the Gulf of California. The journey was marked by a delay because of a car wreck involving a crime scene that forced a trip on the back roads through the reservation. The drive that would have normally take 5 hours was lengthen by almost 2 hours. We went through the Border Patrol checkpoints along the way and we were allow to enter Mexico after our car was looked over by Mexican authorities. Our passport was not checked when we left the country...just when we reentered the USA. Even at the outset, the short vacation lost all resemblance to our quiet life here in Tucson.

Las Palomas condos all have a view
of the Gulf of California beach.
Puerto Penasco is located only 60 miles south of the border but is it a world away from what we see in a normal day here in the USA. There are lot of expats in the community, huge resorts, golf courses, and in town there was a lively small market district. Because the Mexican way of life involves bargaining hawkers are after you all the time. But most of all there is evidence of poverty. Like almost every community in the USA, there is drug trade and crime.

Their resort business has suffered because citizens of the United States are frightened by news of drug lords and  I think US citizens expect to see gunfights in the streets. We were grateful our friends were willing to come with us.

At the Las Palomas Resort we were treated to a upscale condo experience. Inside the resort the pools were constantly clean and a quick call to the desk would get you all the maid service you could desire. It is a gated resort with security. The food was wonderful and the water filtered/purified. Outside the resort was a different world.

I need you to understand that we didn't see the situation as bad. But dirt streets and shacks that served as home to people let us know that the division between the haves and the have nots was wide indeed.

The Mexican government is building a dock for cruise ships north of the town so I think things will be getting better and better for the citizens. Jobs for those that are willing to work will be more readily available.

The thing that is most difficult for Americans to understand is that a third world culture is very unique. Things we see as awful really are not. It is not bad...it is just different. But it did take some adjustment in attitude because we were so close to the USA.

Roof top view from a small restaurant in Old Town Puerto Penasco
near the Malecon. Resorts in the background.
We golfed, ate wonderful food, walked on the sandy beach and bought fresh shrimp to bring home. All in all a visit to this small fishing community was worth the time...interesting, enlightening and most of all wonderful. In the end we were glad to be home...but then we always are!

Have a wonderful day.

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We celebrated my husband 76th birthday at Blue Mar Restaurant (rated best in recent years)
Ultra light planes are available for rent!
The setting was stunning!
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