Cabo San Lucas felt like a post modern art movie to me. The ones that you enjoy excitedly without understanding exactly what’s happening. There are some scenes that don’t make sense in the context and you realize that you need to read what the critics, the experts say. Sometimes they come up with the interpretation that uncovers the genius of the production, although sometimes they overthink and give interpretations to a simple scene the movie makers haven’t put a lot of meaning into. Visiting Cabo San Lucas by boat put me in that movie interpretation mode.
As soon as we rounded the Southmost point of the Baja peninsula, we were greeted with a scene of large green grass fields. These were such a contrast to what we had been seeing for the last 2 weeks but also it was contrasting the greater landscape. These fields were large but the desert was larger. Are they golf courses in the middle of a desert? Sure they are. How much water do they use to keep the grass alive, how is this economically viable? What about the environmental impact? Maybe they have solar panels to produce electricity and run desalination plants with that energy. Sunlight and salt water are abundant here. Would it make it environmentally and economically feasible? These are for sure the questions the director wanted us to think about when they included this green scenery in the brown landscape.
Later on, we see the real natural beauty as we round the corner into the bay, the iconic rocks of Cabo San Lucas. There are so many boats, so loud. You have to maneuver your boat to see the rock of your choice without being blocked by another boat. You quickly realize that these boats are positioned and moving so intelligently that at no point in time you can see all three rocks without a loud and crowded boat being in the way. As soon as you think you will get a good view, you look behind and you realize you just became the view. Smile! Don’t get me wrong, this is all normal for any touristic place, but also keep in mind that we haven’t even arrived yet. It was a drastic transition.
We hit the town soon after. The life here felt completely detached from reality. Or maybe I was the one detached from reality. When I think about it, this is more likely after living on a small boat for a while now. But come on! There are so many Americans that it doesn’t even feel like Mexico anymore. It’s okay, I say to myself, this is a tourist town. But still! Even the tourist towns should have an identity, tied to its own history, or nature or something. But not Cabo. Cabo is all about lifestyle, but it’s not the lifestyle of the residents. It’s the lifestyle of the tourists. People come here to experience the beach parties, the night clubs, the luxury, the show off and money… What about us? Up until now, Cabo was a geographical point for me. The tip of the peninsula. But this city and its own character meant something completely independent of my expectation.
I imagined seeing a town of resorts at the summit of Mount Everest. The large international companies would take their employees to one of these resorts for a “team building” holiday where they’d all play a non-cooperative game: office politics. They couldn’t even go outdoors because they cannot breath. But they are on top of the world! I smile at the absurdity of this picture in my mind, while enjoying the mixture of loud DJs from different resorts by the beach. Then I started thinking about the cliche story of a patriarchal family living in the country side. This imaginary family has four little girls and the parents are extremely disappointed. They are trying hard, doing everything they can think of to have a boy: They take advice from the elders, they visit spiritual leaders, monks. They pray and sacrifice to god. All for a boy to take the legacy of the family, the farm house and all the work that comes with it. When they finally manage to have a boy, the destiny of this kid is written, independent of what he wants or who he will become. He is going to take over the land and take care of farm. And the usual drama begins when the kid grows up and develops interest in music and also proves to be talented. This makes the parents extremely unhappy, to the point they become the villains of the story. I felt that, in my judgement of Cabo, I was about to become the villain of the story.
At this point, I have accepted that Cabo does not exist in regular space and time, its location in my head doesn’t matter to its visitors and time is always the same here: party time. It’s the boy that left the countryside for a big city to become a rockstar, and managed to do so. He forgot his parents, his sisters, his childhood friends, his origins… We can keep judging him for that, or start enjoying his art. We’re at the concert venue already.
As we spent more time in Cabo, the lifestyle slowly grew on us. I enjoyed being treated like an American tourist and of course the ice cream and the fast internet. I even enjoyed watching people take pictures of themselves in this beautiful and crowded beach with clear water. Have I mentioned the fast internet? This was like browsing Instagram faster than internet. But Cabo reminded me that I don’t need to understand the people. Instead I need to not judge them. They are here, they are hard to relate to but they are still part of the beauty. They are not here to enjoy the scene, but they are making the scene. I am part of the making too.
We saw so many pangas with a sign on the side that says “glass bottom boat”. I wondered what the tourists see through the glass: the true natural beauty that the geographical Cabo can offer, or just the reflection of their face full of make-up. Stop judging Yalçın! And ask yourself the real question: Which one of these images is more pretty? The sea lion that is swimming under the boat or the reflection of the face of a happy person. That’s I think what made Cabo a truly enjoyable place for me. It is full of happy people. Even though this happiness is based on hiding the truth, sweeping under the rug, forgetting the worries temporarily. Even though it doesn’t make sense to a rational mind, it still makes a beautiful environment to enjoy.