We stopped at a kiosk and traded green dollars for blue and yellow pesos. After examining our new colorful currency, we bought an equally colorful blanket and headed towards the ocean at San Miguel Beach.

The sand was coarse and foreign between our toes, unpolished and unrefined. But the water was warm and there were no rocks. As we waded out, the sand became softer with each step.

A man dragged a red wagon filled with ice and beer across the beach. I could tell the wagon was heavy by the way he used his entire body to pull. The man would break his stride and stop for anyone that made eye contact. Ava called, “Dos cervazas por favorWe swam and drank and spoke to each other in bourgeois accents. “How lovely it is to be on holiday darling.”

pina-colada-ensenada

Back at the hotel in Puerto Nuevo, we followed a sign for happy hour and live entertainment. We ordered two Pina Coladas that, after fifteen minutes, never arrived. Across the room, a round man with red cheeks wore a sombrero and stood on a makeshift stage. He plugged in a small, made-for-home-use, karaoke machine and turned on a disco ball that hovered just above the tip of his hat. We agreed that he must be the live entertainment.

He removed his sombrero and wiped a forehead covered with sweat as the opening chords of, “Something in the Way She Moves” came through the tiny speakers. Just as Ava and I lost control of our laughter from hearing George Harrison in a Spanish accent, our server carried out two large pineapples, a bottle of rum, and a machete. We carved up our Pina Colada’s like edible arrangements and poured the Bacardi over them.

Puerto Nuevo is famously known as “Lobster Village.” With only about two hundred inhabitants, the village is easily missed on a map and often overlooked by those traveling towards Ensenada. We walked down the road and rehearsed, “Langosta por favor.”

We walked into the village center with our nostrils stinging from the dust of the road. I had already begun to sweat through my blue button down shirt. Shop owners waved tequila and shouted promises in our direction. Packs of children charged towards us with racks of vibrant bracelets. Each one with a generic American name sewn in.

We haggled over fake Ray-Ban sunglasses. “$20 each. No, come back, ok two for $30. Amigo, you’re killing me… Your girlfriend she loves them, you see? Ok, my friend, $20 and you take both.”

We walked up the stairs to a restaurant with our new sunglasses and flashed our own splurging smiles. We ordered bacon wrapped lobster tails, buttered claws, and a bucket of Negra Modelos. The bill totaled just $60.

The waves crashed into the restaurant’s foundation and a sea breeze mixed with the humid air like ice hitting tequila. I looked over the dessert menu and Ava pulled my hand to hers and began to laugh. We were international travelers, 50 miles south of home on another planet.

For Ava and I, it may not have been as glamorous as a trip to Paris, but at least we have enough pesos left for a bag of churros on our way out.