The trouble with the Mexican Pacific is all the stuff you can't get. For instance, you can't get beeped. Or lunch in five minutes or less. Or Morton Downey Jr. You can get horizontal, bronze, away, refreshed, sand in your shorts, stupified, mesmerized, surf-whipped, down, weak-kneed, stupid and even busted, which happened to me. But you can't get call waiting, microwave fajitas (ketchup with that?) or an ulcer.
Believe us, we looked into these things, at great personal sacrifice. Photographer Walter Iooss Jr., his assistant, Dan Jenkins Jr., and your reporter set out with a case of Pepto-Bismol to leave no margarita glass unturned and no sunset unregistered along one of the world's longest, most languorous, laughably low-budget coasts.
We traveled from the blue, blue waters of Cabo San Lucas on the tip of Baja California, across the Sea of Cort�s to the mainland of Mexico and the posh jungle seaside resort of Careyes (perhaps the only place in the world where you have to stop your jeep on the way to the polo match in order to let the crocodiles cross the road), down the coast to sun-stroked Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, over the mountains to the shoppers' paradise of Oaxaca (an ancient dollop of Mexico that may not be on the Pacific, but on my map is only an inch away), across the mountains again to Mexico New (Huatulco, the country's latest resort, with its nine traffic-light-green bays) and finally, up the coast again to Mexico Familiar ( Acapulco, where a wake-up call for before noon is presumed by the hotel operator to be a hoax). All in all, not a bad 12-day assignment. And no heavy lifting.
Oh, one other thing you can't get along the Mexican Pacific is hotel laundry service. Or at least not without speaking fluent housekeeper. And so when you come home from this discount paradise and you have worn one shirt taco-side-out three times and taco-side-in twice and your bag is starting to smell so ripe that even the gorilla in the American Tourister ad wouldn't go near it, the first thing you do is dump everything directly into the washer—which is what I did. But what you might fail to notice is that all your Pulitzer-potential notebooks are in there too; and by the time the notes have been through the dryer, they are a lot like Dr. Ruth: tiny, wrinkled and a little mixed up.
And so what you get out of notes like that is a story like this, which is sort of disorganized and out of sync. Of course, when you think about it, that's a lot like the Mexican Pacific.
FORTY-FOUR THINGS ABOUT THE PACIFIC COAST OF MEXICO, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, THANKS TO A GUNG-HO MAYTAG
1. The three most important words for the traveler
!Hola! (hello), gracias (thank you) and destapador (bottle opener).
2. The worst place to be a grasshopper
In Oaxaca a certain, tiny variety of grasshopper is sometimes known as lunch. We knew you would want to have the recipe:
About 1,000 grasshoppers (the younger the better)
1 cup guacamole
1� cup chili sauce
pinch of salt