As I keep mentioning in many of my recent posts, I'm back in Mazunte, the hip and cool surfer hippie beach town on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca state. It is here that the Covid caught up with me last year, turning from a phenomenon on the Internet (okay, okay, let's say far away places) into a huge monkey-wrench being thrown at pretty much every aspect of everyday life.
Since it is a bit relevant, let me share my short series of posts titled Covid in Paradise about how I experienced the Covid madness in this town about a year ago:
- Experiencing Coronavirus in Mazunte
- La Playa Prohibida - The Forbidden Beach
- Volunteering at the Mazunte Filter
- Hoping for Less Bullshit After Corona
One Year Later, As If Nothing Happened
So I was rightfully curious to find out how the situation had changed in one year. Looking at other places, it seems like Covid is still going rampant. Italy, for example is closed once more, as my Italian friend has informed me. Also Hungary, Germany, and the States seem to be in the grip of the third wave, though please don't quote me on this. I am really behind on my world news updates.
Here in Mexico it seems like the situation is less serious. The green light is upon us, according to many maps, meaning that the number of cases has gone down sufficiently to ease back on the control measure. That is... which measures again? In Mexico City, I remember I had to carry a mask in my pocket, so I could put it on before entering a supermarket. Also, there was this weird law that every other weekend I could not buy alcohol in my neighborhood, but had to walk five blocks further to a district that did not bother implementing dry laws.
Anyway, thanks to these rigorous measures (which everyone seemed to circumvent in their own way) the virus has been fought back successfully, so it apparently doesn't pose a threat any longer.
And in Mazunte?
Arriving here in Mazunte, I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything was pretty much back to normal. The streets, bars, beaches, and restaurants are packed with vacationers, and the only masks that I noticed were on the chins of the waiters. So far so good, but there was still a dry law. In theory, this meant that you could not buy alcohol after 5 p.m. in stores, and 7 p.m. in bars and restaurants. In practice, however, that was up to the interpretation of each individual proprietor. And if you showed up with a backpack, the shop owner couldn't care less what time it was. You just had to make sure not to walk out of their store visibly carrying the beer. Not a problem!
March 15th, the Official Cut-off Line
But even this last trace of the formerly fierce Covid restriction was lifted two days ago. Now we can again enjoy unrestricted alcohol sales, which have resulted in endless beach parties. I can see the rebound effect. And given the number of tourists in town, it really seems like they came to celebrate the End of Covid or something.
Talking to them, I discovered that I wasn't all too far off from the truth. Many travelers, especially from places like Spain or Germany, seem to have come specifically for the relaxed way Mexico is dealing with this pandemic. It's true for the whole country in general, but in places like Mazunte even more so. And I would think myself a fool for believing that the locals haven't noticed this. Quite clearly, Mazunte now has become attractive not only for those looking for surf and sand, turtles and crocodiles, yoga and meditation, tai-chi and reiki, weed and nudity, but now also hassle free normality - not the new kind, but something alike to what we used to know.
Any Real Danger?
Just to give you an idea of how bad the pandemic hit this area: in all this time there has only been one recorded case of Covid in this town, which just happened to be the mayor, around the same time the former US president came down with it. Just like Trump, Mazunte's mayor managed to get cured miraculously over a weekend. Interesting... Political Covid? Maybe. Did it pay off? Who knows. Though I think the numbers of tourists speak for themselves. If the people of Mazunte are smart, they will continue capitalizing on it, and offer an example to follow for the rest of the world.