Of all the beautiful things I saw in Cabo, the rock formations of El Arco are my favorite.
Not entirely sure if my question was polite, I decided to ask anyway.
"Martín, what about Mexico makes you most proud?"
Then, in the darkness, I leaned forward to hear his response.
Portrait or landscape? I can never decide.
We were driving home from Flora Farms, a good forty minutes away from our hotel, and our cab driver, Martín, had been politely silent for all of the outbound trip and now the first few minutes of the journey home.
But my tongue was loosened by the drunken beauty of the evening, and I wanted to hear more from the people who belong to Mexico, to better understand what it means to be a Mexican.
Darkness had long since settled in, and as we rode on under the stars, Martín began to talk.
"Of all the beautiful things in Mexico, I am most proud of our people's hospitality. People from all around the world come here to visit Cabo and other cities in Mexico, and we want everyone to feel welcome and cared for."
His words made a melody in my heart. What a lovely thought, that a country's greatest gift could live in the hearts of its people.
I told Martín about all the kind and generous people I had met during my stay:
our poolside waiter, Luis, who cracked jokes and encouraged my wobbly Spanish banter with him
the sweet woman from housekeeping who came to clean up the handfuls of sand carelessly spilled from my swim suit onto the bathroom floor, who spoke not a squeak of English but painstakingly swept up every single grain
Erika, the concierge, who seemingly juggled six guests' different requests at once with a charming smile and not so much as a single hair out of place.
And I told Martín about the Mexican-Americans who put a new roof on my house a few years back. As they hammered away, they sang Mexican folk songs in rousing choruses and brought along a microwave to heat up their wives' good Mexican cooking in my back yard at lunchtime.
He smiled at my stories.
I couldn't see his face but I could hear his soft chuckles as he drove on in the dark.
Then Martín told me about his wife, who books reservations for local Airbnbs and tends to the family, and his two children, a girl and a boy. His daughter, he explained, is madly in love with Shawn Mendes. A few years ago, he and she were en route to Mexico City to see the pop star in concert when an earthquake happened. Their plane was rerouted and the concert cancelled; his daughter was devastated. But more recently, Martín bought tickets for the two of them to have breakfast at a publicity event with Shawn, and his daughter was able to pose for a picture with him. Martín proudly showed us the pic on his phone - Shawn looking handsome beyond words and his daughter beautifully composed for a girl standing in the arm of her idol.
The ride back to Pueblo Bonito passed in a snap, and too soon, I was climbing out of the van and saying goodbye to Martin.
"Come back to Cabo soon," Martín smiled. " I hope I will be of service to you again."
And I knew, in that instant, that my time with Martín had been the very best part of my trip to Cabo.
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Read all about my latest trip to Mexico