This is a kind of retrospective about some of my personal experiences living in Manzanillo. It’s been seven years since we stumbled upon our little beach front condo having no concept of whether we’d made a wise choice or not. We knew we loved the area and the people, we’d done the research, listed our criteria, visited a couple of times, but it still takes time to find the lay of the land and settle into something of a normal living pattern here in the winters. At first there was much we didn’t understand. Now in retrospect I can honestly say we couldn’t have done better considering our circumstances; we thank our lucky stars for our great location smack on the beach surrounded by congenial Mexican neighbors with the graces and manners that I can only remember as a child, from the old movies. They have made us feel welcomed and part of their familial community. Every year our Spanish is improving and they are very patient with us as they help us with pronunciation and chuckle at the odd ‘play on words’ that doesn’t quite translate. (Or the constant, hand waving game of charades)
Winter was once a much beloved season for this Canadian. And I still adore the brilliant light on freshly fallen snow with crystal blue skies reflecting on heavily snow laden trees and roofs with chimney smoke curling into beyond. But as the decades have sped by, my poor old body enjoys the view and, of course, loves the family and friends, but not the frigid cold so much anymore. Having skied the Rocky Mountains, tobogganed the surrounding hills, cross-country skied in the back woods, skated on lakes and back yard rinks; some of the penalties of my lifestyle have caught up with me including having broken both legs, some localized arthritis and little minor ailments that wear you down over time. I think at this juncture I’ll just have to admit to being older though far from dead on my feet. I’m on the downward side of the hill, but haven’t picked up too much speed yet. It’s time to live with some abandon and believe me this is the place.
That brings me to some of the wonderful aspects of being a ‘snowbird’ in Manzanillo. The subtleties have become apparent and I can now actually call the annual sojourn a welcome health therapy! For the first two to three weeks, the heat and humidity are like breathing liquid air– especially arriving from Alberta and its extreme dryness. Now that I am beyond the oddness of it, I welcome it.
You will need to go through the initiation each year of being a soggy drooling mess, donning the sweat bands, moving more slowly and never being too far away from fans and breezes. Air conditioning is OK for sleeping, but if you rely on it for total comfort you’ll never leave your condo or vehicle. There are payoffs. The chronic sinusitis and headaches I suffer with have completely disappeared. This is a major result for a woman who has suffered chronically since I was eighteen and even succumbed to surgery. The salt sea air is a remedy I would highly recommend. I also know people with psoriasis problems that find their skin problems completely clear up. And while on the subject of skin, your skin becomes like satin and plumps up, which for the elderly is a real bonus. And so does your hair! Apologies to those with thick natural curls, who may be challenged to tame it, but for many like me with fine baby-like hair, we’ve never had so much control and thickness. Yahoo!
Now let me tell you about the light here: It’s golden, it’s soft, it’s flattering, it’s like candlelight. Do you understand what this means to a woman? It means we look younger and therefore feel younger and this is a very good thing. I can’t imagine the men mind it too much either. If you’ve contemplated a few nips and tucks, you might honestly not want to bother. That is until you return to the harsh white light of northern locations and see the difference as ‘things’ begin to shrivel and dry up again. There is so much to be said for the tropics.
I have so many positive things to share with you about being in the Manzanillo area, but I’ll save some of that for future doling. But for now the last, and not the least by any stretch, is the slow washing away of joint pain. I haven’t quite figured out why yet, but suspect the combination of heat, humidity and sea-level all work together to ease the pain of arthritic joints and other ailments that cause stiffness and immobility. Although definitely not a total cure for me, I feel the pain melting away in my hands though they look the same. It is such a bonus to be able to walk away from pain medications and slowly find a bit more agility. This, of course, is not a scientific fact, but simply one woman’s growing awareness backed by numerous friends having the same experiences.
Manzanillo is a ‘certifiable’ baby-boomer therapy retreat and there’s plenty of room for more. Come visit and see for yourselves. As an ultimate bonus you’ll discover a lack of tourist commercialism, an enviable police and military presence for confidence and safety, several lovely all-inclusive resorts, fine dining for reasonable prices because you mostly join the locals for entertainment, movies, concerts, dancing and socializing. I kid you not, this place really exists.
Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.
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