I just got back from a five day trip to Mazunte-- a little beach town on the Oaxacan coast. I'm planning on setting the third book of the Notebooks series there, so I went to do some research (very grueling, of course...)
This is a beach I sometimes vacationed at while I was living and working in the mountainous Mixtec region of Oaxaca, much further inland. Even back then, I felt I wanted to set a book in Mazunte someday-- it's so sweaty and sunny and salty and sandy and jungly and flowery and mango-ey and hammock-ey-- I knew I wanted to dwell in that space in my mind for a long time... which is what I'll be doing with this book-- The Jade Notebook.
So, my husband was supposed to come with me (Toddler was in the company of his doting grandparents), but alas, the day before the flight, I noticed his passport had expired. So.... it was a solo trip! (Don't tell him, but it was actually kinda nice traveling alone-- I love it-- no schedule, no compromising, easier to meet people, etc... but, shhhh.)
My days were like this: I went to bed early and woke up late-- nothing's better than sleeping under a mosquito net with wave sounds and insect songs lulling you into a blissful state...
When I finally got out of bed, I swung on the hammock for a long time and watched the ocean and listened to the waves some more.
I had cafe con leche and fruit and yogurt (including papaya! yum!) and granola on the balcony overlooking the water.
Then I wrote more of Cerise Notebook (the second of the series, set in France) for a while-- (I didn't go online once for the whole trip-- it felt great!)
Then I swung in the hammock some more and went for a swim in the ocean.
Then I had quesadillas for lunch, talked with some nice people, and swung on the hammock some more.
I had afternoon tea and chocolate and wrote some more of Cerise.
Then I walked along the beach, hung out with locals playing volleyball and skim boarding and fishing and playing tug of war-- a really lovely family atmosphere in the evenings. Then I walked to the tip of Punta Cometa-- Comet point-- and watched the sunset and wrote in my notebook. Ahhh...
At nights, I had fresh fish on the balcony and talked with more nice people.
To come back home, I walked along a dirt road for a long time with my giant backpack and caught a colectivo-- a tiny car crammed with four people in the back, two in the passenger seat (I was one of them) and the driver-- cumbia music blasting, the driver's collection of little stuffed turtles dangling around the rearview mirror, along with the ever-present Virgen of Juquila-- Oaxaca's Virgin. In Pochutla, I took another colectivo to the airport in Huatulco, bought a bunch of cinnamon-almond-chocolate with my extra pesos, and caught the flight home.
And now I'm home, and thankfully, I've managed to hold onto that rhythm of waves and insect songs and a swinging hammock and that delicious feeling of melting right into the hot, humid air.
If it sounds to you like I did nothing but swing in my hammock, eat, sleep, write, and swim, you're mostly right. I did do a little interviewing-- that's where the oh-so-grueling research part came in-- but that's all top secret information. I don't want to spoil the book for you... Okay, I'm going to make some of that hot chocolate now.
Gracias for reading!