PUERTO PEÑASCO, Mexico The good burghers of Arizona blast their SUVs across the border to "their" beach. The gringo beach. You know, the one larded with construction-stalled condo skeletons and half-million-dollar unsold villas behind security gates. Where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez, they rev their noise-making toys: ATVs, jet-skis and light-planes. They hoot and scream and booty dance to questionable disco music deep into the darkness*. Thriller! Thrill-er night!
For me, the answer isn't as clear as my first cringe. Both played-out stereotypes the Mexican hustle and hootin' Yank insularity sickened me. Yet for my friends' nuptials, this curious Phoenician subclime worked.
Call it the destinationless destination wedding. No one struggled to order or tripped on colonial cobbles. In fact, we didn't really see many locals, aside from the caterers, hair braiders and rental agents.
Aside from "no, gracias" to a few hundred border touts, I never busted out my mashup Spanish (Italian with a twist of lime). Liposuctionlike, Puerto Peñasco's removed the lumps gringos despise, while keeping the cheap beer, lax speed-enforcement and sandy coves that are wonderfully appealing until you examine water purity stats.
Strange as all that was to a travel writer, it freed my mind for important things. Like Rylee and Brandon's smiles shining brighter than the sunset even if his ring dropped off the satin presentation pillow and into sandy oblivion.
Puerto Peñasco I won't ever love. That resort strip is the Kraft Singles version of Mexico, a sanitized-for-your-convenience Möbius strip running from Scottsdale to the Pacific. The place is Muzak, plus a few gazillion decibels of redneck motors.
Still, I wouldn't have been anywhere else this weekend.
*Ahem, I may have been involved with some curious, inebriated DJ moments. So I should cast the first stone selfward really.