I think I first heard the song in 2001.
Even though I was six years away from setting foot in Mexico for the first time (for only an afternoon that day, an afternoon which would have to keep me fed for yet another six years), the minute I heard that song, I knew I wanted to one day stand on that pier, that Muelle de San Blas which Mana sings about.
For the past 21 years, I have sung the song in showers, in cars, on beaches, in kitchens. Every time, it gets me. Every time I renew my vow to one day, stand on that pier.
That day came last Thursday.
Offered a full day of exploring in a comfortable car and with a perfect-for-me travel partner, I chose to go to San Blas, which I had recently learned was only a few hours away.
Off we went, Lila in the back seat, ready for adventure.
It was Mexican Independence Day and even though I don’t have one Mexican cell in my body, I felt full of the Essence of Celebration.
We made many stops. For tacos, for “Balazos” (“Shots” in Spanish: a tiny glass full of a fluid chili salsa with a couple of oysters or shrimp floating in there. Not my favorite, but so fun to see people loving them), for Arroz con Leche, and for the heck of it.
In typical Mexican style, we had left about five hours later than my usual planning mode would have organized, and by the time I saw the sign “Bienvenidos a San Blas,” it was already mid-afternoon. I was crazed with an embarrassing level of excitement. The town of San Blas was quiet and pretty. I wondered what it would be like to move there for a while. I always do that, check out what a chapter of life would look like, in a place that charms me. This way, in my head, I am not really a tourist, but rather … I don’t even know. I just do that.
I immediately knew I didn’t want to ask where the pier was. I wanted to find it. I wanted it to find me. I was at the edge of my seat and had The Song on repeat on my iPhone. I also had a patient pilot.
So we ambled through streets filled with lots of water (rainy season is serious stuff) and I cheated a tiny bit by noticing the “playa this way” sign.