The little town of Chacala, Mexico, as seen from the flanks of an ancient volcano.
The little town of Chacala, Mexico, as seen from the flanks of an ancient volcano.
M.L. Lyke

Nervous Nellie vs. Mr. Wing-It

(M.l. Lyke)
By M.L. Lyke
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 25, 2007

I never thought of myself as a travel wuss, but there I was, busted, browsing for rentals at an Internet cafe in the little Mexican tourist town of Rincon de Guayabitos.

"Get off!" said my road partner, Bob, the man who loves nothing better than tooling down a Mexican highway on a local bus, prepared for nothing but the next big adventure. No itinerary, no plans, no reservations. That's travel heaven for Mr. Wing-It.

For me, it's travel hell. I'm a need-to-know girl.

We cut a deal. We had two weeks in Mexico to tour the sweet little beach towns north of Puerto Vallarta. The first week, we did it my way, staying at a multi-story villa in the surfing town of Sayulita with three other couples. Our friend Jay -- an uber-organizer who actually logs the contents of his freezer on a computer spreadsheet -- booked the stuccoed manse a year in advance. By Day 2, we were already planning breakfasts and dinners for the rest of the week. We had grocery lists, a book to tally expenses and Jay to work them out to the peso.

It was safe, comfy, predictable, right down to 5 o'clock happy hour. Guacamole, chips, margaritas, every night. The only variable was peanuts.

Everything was under control, including me. I'd taken precautionary antibiotics -- all I have to do is look at a map of Mexico to get turista -- and had an extra-large bottle of spray-on sunscreen. I arose every morning at 9 a.m. to watch the surf heave, crest and break below, then stretched, sipped coffee and lost myself in a novel.

Ahhh. The beauty of routine.

On Day 7, I kissed it all goodbye. It was Bob's turn.

* * *

Our friends taxied south to the Puerto Vallarta airport, dropping us off on the side of coastal Highway 200 to catch a bus north to . . . "Where exactly are we going, Bob?"

I believe, as we stood by the road, dusty, sweating in the midday heat, he said, "Trust me."

Maybe it was "Don't worry, be happy."

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