Home is where the dog is.

After six months of criss-crossing a solid quadrant of the globe, from Mexico to Alaska to the PNW to the Azores to Panama to Memphis, I am back in Puerto Vallarta with Porkchop and smelly dog kisses never felt so good. This beast has my heart, for better or for worse.

It is because of that that I’ve decided to set up a permanent home base here in Vallarta. I got back here around the first of February and camped out at a friends Air BnB while looking for a long term place.

I think I’ve found the perfect fit.

Oddly enough, it is the very first place in Vallarta that I inquired about when searching for a rental from Alaska back in December 2016. It is much bigger than I need for myself, but a reasonable walking distance to all of my favorite things (20 minute walk to my favorite beach bar, El Barracuda,) and there’s a fantastic taco stand on the corner, and it has a rooftop pool and bar with a bit of a view out to the sea. The price is right at 6000 mxn per month (About $325 USD at current exchange rate,) and Porkchop does really well on the roof by himself when I need to run errands, so we’re going with it.

20180218_085513.jpgThis house, I’ve dubbed it Casa Demasiada, is so very different from my last tidy concrete box on the sea. The house itself is so empty, as it came unfurnished and more or less remains so, and echoes with all the tile and concrete typical of Mexican construction. It is an open air apartment, second story with tall ceilings. It feels like a big, bright cave filled with all the noise of the neighborhood below.

And there is so much of that! Where before I listened for the chacalacas and the slap slap slap of the pangas on the waves, here everything is so much more…alive.

Early in the mornings the roosters start crowing, then the dogs start barking as their owners wake and let them out onto rooftops and sidewalks to do their business and see what’s what. The vendors all have megaphones attached to their trucks announcing the arrival of gas, or water, or vegetables, or pastries. The radios from the day laborers working on new construction all around come on mid-morning, battling for air space for a while before one wins out and the tapping of rubber mallets leveling new-laid bricks or the scrape of hoes mixing concrete add to the rhythm of it all.

In the afternoons when the children get home from school, they kick the soccer ball around and play and fight outside in the street, occasionally getting a cackle from an errant hen whose scratching has been rudely interrupted. At night, everyone gathers on the sidewalks with the music playing again…usually a calmer a tempo with rich, crooning tenor.

20180309_192535.jpgI felt like I lived in a secret garden before. Here it feels like I am a part of life. I am participating in this beautiful circus that rises up in waves all day, swelling around me and reminding me of my own presence in this moment. And then it calms to a quiet murmur at night as I lay on my back on the roof and look at the stars and count constellations and watch the moon rise above the mountains behind me as I tangle my fingertips in Porkchop’s fur.

This is good. It is what I needed. It is what I was looking for.

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