The ‘Sounds’ of Silence

Sound of Laughter from the kitchenI’m new at Playa Viva—I arrived almost a week ago to the Pacific Coast of Mexico to support local economic development projects in the Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa region. I’ve lived and worked in rural and urban settings in Latin America and spent a good amount of time traveling through Mexico, so my first impressions of Playa Viva and the neighboring community of Juluchuca might differ somewhat from those of other first time visitors.

I’m used to the familiar sounds of a rural town, the friendly manner of the Mexican people, the never-ending supply of fresh fruit and juices, and the delicious foods to be found around every corner.

Playa Viva is a Mexico I haven’t seen before. In the week I’ve been here, the calm and peacefulness that pervade this refuge have impressed themselves upon me. After serving vacationing guests for the past year, the hotel and its staff are preparing for a vacation of their own during the upcoming rainy season. So, things have been quiet—quieter I’m sure than they are when there are a few other guests roaming the beachside paths.

But, even in the midst of such peace I’ve begun to recognize all the sounds that make up what I recognize as such a calming silence. The biggest component is the crashing waves—24 hours a day they’re just a couple hundred feet away providing a steady beat of soothing rhythm to my days here. Chirping birds (and squeaking salamanders) punctuate the ever present sounds of the surf. Come meal time you’ll hear the clanking of pots and pans and the clinking of silverware and glasses as we get ready to eat. Here and there laughter rings out as the hotel staff prepares for a well-deserved break. As the sun sets a steady hum of insects fills the evening and the rest of us slip closer to sleep.

So silence here really isn’t that silent at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relaxing. When the waves pause for a moment you notice their absence, and it’s like the ocean is taking a deep breath in preparation for its next cascade on an unblinking beach. Playa Viva seems designed to promote this kind of closeness to the living, breathing earth that surrounds this beachside enclave. Breezes blow through open air buildings and I look up to see shifting palm trees and iguanas scrambling across the sand. There aren’t walls to shut these creatures out and envelop me in an artificial bubble, there’s just the steady sound of rolling waves that draws me closer to them.

Editors Note: Nick comes to us via i-Dev International. More on them via this link.

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