Taken on 1st May, 2009 in Teacapán, Sinaloa, Mexico. Nikon D90, Exposure 1/20, Aperture f/3.5, Focal Length 18mm, ISO Speed 3200. Show on Flickr.

We've been quite isolated from society for the last couple of weeks.

With the swine flu hysteria we would have been advised to do so anyway, but it had always been our plan for this period because of the work we have to get done.

It won't be the last time we take a break from travelling to concentrate on projects, but hopefully it will be the last time we do so in a way that separates us so much from the day-to-day life of wherever we happen to be.

Right now, that is Teacapán, a humble fishing village in the state of Sinaloa. We are renting an apartment from Dave and Nancy, a Canadian couple, who ?spent the last thirty years searching the backroads of Mexico for the perfect beach location? until they found it here. We've been joined by Andy, Peter and Ross who are building Andy's new house a stroll down the beach.

This separation I refer to is not solely due to the work I've been doing but moreso perhaps because life on this perfect beach is itself very removed from life in the village. This stretch of beach is dominantly the gringo part of town; these houses, and the lifestyles of those who reside in them, bare little relation to those of Teacapaneros.

We have bicycles and have made modest efforts to spend time in the village. I met some local fishermen one evening by the port and spent a happy hour sitting around chatting in my broken but improving Spanish. I arrived home elated, exclaiming to Catherine ?Ya tengo amigos.? A few days later I went with Juan, my now ?best friend in town? to his English class and met his smiling, friendly, incessantly joking classmates who had the opportunity to unleash any question they could think of, in English, upon me. Yes, I like beer; yes, I have parents; no, I have no plans right now to return to Ireland, and the place went wild upon this final assertion! Juan also took me to his house, a very modest one room building where he will live with his wife and four children once they move out of her mother's home.

These encounters have however been the exception to our daily interactions. Most of our time has been spent around our apartment. It's beautiful here. It's relaxing. We can swim in the ocean and then sit on the patio with our laptops, working, twittering, chatting to friends at home on facebook. We have great fun with Andy, Peter and Ross, grilling fish and meat on the beach, sometimes drinking beer and tequila late into the night. I don't have to worry about speaking or understanding Spanish. I don't have to push myself to take photos in open public places because, sure, I can just take a snap of a sunset or a coconut on the deserted beach. Catherine has written her own blog post about social difficulties she has encountered here. Once we're in our own little world, none of these issues need concern us any longer.

I can only conclude that it is for similar reasons that expats here and worldwide seem to stick to themselves, living together in isolation from the country they have moved to. As a quick aside, why is an American in Mexico an expat but a Mexican in the U.S. is an immigrant?

I want to consider this laziness, this hesitation to immerse myself more fully in the place where I am. It's not a familiar feeling to me. In fact I have regularly given out about, and if I'm honest, looked down on people who travel and settle in bubbles, but it is a temptation I can now see the allure of.

For a while that made me sad, to see that I could so easily drift into a comfortable routine, habits, and a social circle that I might previously have condemned other people for having. Then I realised that I was happy that it was making me sad. I'm learning all the time. In Teacapán I am learning through experience that although elements of this kind of social existence are appealing, although the lifestyle could be construed as glamorous and ideal, although I like it here, I could find no ultimate satisfaction in leading a life so separate from the society I have moved into.

We are not looking for a perfect beach, for cheap property, or for a house in the sun. We are looking for a home and when we find somewhere to stay and live, we will live there as part of the community.


  • avatar
  • Maria wrote:
  • 6th June, 2009

Love this snippet of introspeculation! It's contagious!

  • avatar
  • joaquin lopez wrote:
  • 15th March, 2010

Thank you for your insight on my home town, I have often wonder about the gringos living among us but not with us so I loved your question about why gringos are called expats here and mexican inmigrants in the US; well... a Mexican in the US is an alien, that is "A person but not one of us". As you know now, in Teacapán you are welcome to be one of us, an expat or just a passing by gringo.

  • avatar
  • Oisin wrote:
  • 15th March, 2010

Joaquin, I'm glad you found my post about Teacapán and identified with some of the issues I was discussing. I do hope to return one day and spend more time in your town.

Conoces a Juan en esa foto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/prendio2/3524121211/ Es que no sé su apellido ni dirección pero me gustaría darle saludos!