By Leza Warkentin
It’s been quite challenging to type while completely, bonelessly relaxed. I am feeling absolutely stress-free, wrinkle-free and irritation-free, just like my latest brand of detergent. So much so that I must say I am not even concerned about the fact that I haven’t had a moment today to buy groceries, and my children will probably be taking a sack of unpeeled carrots to school tomorrow for lunch. Why the temporary tranquility, you ask?
Today, Sunday, I took my family to Casa Magna Marriott on a Cupocity day pass. I managed to surprise them all, and not only was it wonderful, but I get to be Best Mom and Wife of the Year (for the bargain price of only 140 pesos a head). This may change to only Best Mom of the Day once I flip the lights on in their room’s tomorrow morning at 6:45, but I’ll take what I can get.
We arrived plenty early this morning in order to ensure that our spread of pool chairs was far from everyone else’s, as a courtesy to those who may not necessarily enjoy a full 8 hours of unrestrained childhood enthusiasm. Anyone who wanted to choose chairs beside us after viewing a full, disorganized selection of My Little Pony toys, Bionicles, and half-eaten nachos, well, they are at least going into it with their eyes wide open.
I’m sure no one will be surprised to know that spending the day at the Marriott was pure luxury and relaxation. The pool was wonderfully huge and cool, which meant that the children could swim far, far away from us while still in view. My husband and I could have entire conversations which could be completed without any of the following: “So I think we should definitely (STOP pushing her) save up for that extra (I SAID stop pushing her) tablet so that we can (I am counting to FIVE)…. What was I saying?”
I know this sounds like I am plugging the Marriott, and believe me, I have nothing but very pleasant feelings toward the hotel itself and its friendly, efficient staff. But there’s much more. You see, a day like this is usually not in the cards for families like ours in September. I wish I could tell you that we budget all year long and carefully watch our pesos while my husband is working like a madman from mid-October until May, but some sort of lightning strike would surely come down directly upon my lying tongue. So, while we have an abundance of time together, much of it is spent in the few activities in Vallarta that don’t cost a lot of money (like walking in the mall or sweating).
I think that websites like Cupocity and apps like WiP (When in Phone Puerto Vallarta), operated by friendly locals, have changed all of that. And, it seems as though Vallarta businesses are doing the smart thing by enticing those who live here year-round by offering deep discounts for products and services.
It’s a smart thing to do because it brings in business during a time when there is little business to be had. It also creates loyalty in both the local crowd and in the people who come to visit the local crowd. But you know what else? Whether it is purposeful or not, by offering these discounts and giving us all a chance to use the services that are usually reserved for foreign vacationers, the locals feel appreciated.
To me, it feels more like we are all working together to get through the annual septiembre de hambre. And that, my friends, is what good community is all about.