The day Mexico lost to Holland in the world cup, we woke early to sip strong coffee on the roof terrace and watch the sun rise over the mountains.
Deciding to take an early morning road trip, we bundled into the car and headed north on winding jungle roads.
The town of Chacala was just waking up as we padded along its shores in the post-dawn light.
We kept driving. The road snaked through hillsides and dense green jungle. We arrived in another tiny town which consisted of a few shacks on the beach.
Fishermen were shucking oysters and preparing their catch for the day. I asked this man how much one oyster was. I remembered my friend Penny telling us about a time she ate oysters straight off the rocks and it had sounded to me so utterly wild, like the way food was meant to be eaten.
“For you?” he replied.
“Nada,” he continued, before silently shucking one, dousing it in seawater, squeezing lime over it and presenting it to me.
The road beckoned us still further north past miles of deserted coastline until we arrived in the small fishing town of San Blas. We drove around the town for a bit then decided to head back to the oyster place for an early lunch.
As we were departing the town, we passed a roadside grill presenting bright orange lobsters and huge, sizzling marlin steaks.
“Turn the car around!” I blurted out suddenly, remembering that fresh, cheap seafood is one of my reasons for living.
Tyrhone followed my order and did a U-turn next to a crocodile infested lagoon, bringing us back to the grill laden with creatures of the deep.
The world cup football game was blasting from a television inside the restaurant and was almost half way through. The crowd, though dressed for the occasion, were rather mellow. They sipped from over-sized bottles of Coca Cola and picked at huge shared plates of fish, salsa, rice and tortillas.
He’s not cheering, he’s stretching…
We ordered and sat down to watch some of the game. The score was zero all. We were in with a chance.
The food arrived.
Mexico scored a goal. I rose to clap and cheer along with the crowd but seemed to be the most excited spectator. Maybe I was really cheering for the meal. Haven’t you ever wanted to do that? Or perhaps I was overcompensating for the fact that the locals might think I was Dutch. Tyrhone wearing the opposition’s colours certainly didn’t help.
With just a few minutes left in the last half, Holland scored.
Our stomachs full, we watched on, slightly nauseated as Holland were awarded a penalty just before the end of time.
When the siren sounded about ten guys rose from their seats, shook their heads and headed back to work.
I was heartbroken for those guys in the tiny town of San Blas who could have really done with something to celebrate at work that day.
It was so very disappointing to lose on a penalty. Especially one, I might add, which was total bullshit (and yes, I am biased).
The crowd took it in their stride. I perhaps took it a little too hard and was surprised there wasn’t more of an uproar.
That evening, we returned to the roof terrace of Casa El Panorama, the BnB we are house sitting, to watch the sun set over the Pacific. The tiny isla in the center of Jaltemba bay lit up like an erupting volcano.
It kinda put things in perspective. Reflecting on a day of jungle roads, tiny coves, deserted beaches and fresh seafood, I mused that while Mexico may have lost their world cup match, they were winning in ways much of the world could only dream about.