The whole idea of going to San Jose del Cabo had been Laura’s, of course. She was the one most willing to take abrupt, unfathomable risks without a moment’s hesitation. She was the one who had decided they should hitchhike to the Burning Man festival with less than a hundred dollars between them the year before. It had been Laura that had proposed they take a year off school before going to university the following fall. It was Laura that reached out to pull Sarah in for the first kiss they had shared in elementary school, and it was Laura that brought their intimacy to a sexual level in their last year of high school. When it came to being crazy and living like “you only live once,” Laura was Sarah’s inspiration.
They had been on a school camping trip in Squamish when Laura had reached under Sarah’s shirt to feel her breasts while leaving a trail of soft kisses on her neck in the tent they shared. This moment had awoken both to an understanding of who they really were and what their relationship meant. Without Laura’s willingness to take risks, Sarah may have taken most of her lifetime to come to an understanding of what would bring her happiness in life. For this gift, Sarah reciprocated a gentle patience with Laura and her wild antics, knowing that from that ability to break out of the norm, comes the gift of living life to its fullest.
San Jose del Cabo and the beaches that lay between it and Cabo san Lucas was the most romantic location Laura could possibly think of to take Sarah with the money they had saved for just such an adventure. Once this decision was agreed upon, Sarah stepped up and initiated the organizational skills she exhibited so well in these situations. While Laura’s wild sense of adventure, romance, and penchant for spontaneity inspired and awed Sarah, she knew from experience, a little planning was necessary or the whole plan would fall apart like a daydream you can only partially remember.
Immediately after the decision to go to San Jose del Cabo was made, Sarah was on the internet looking for the cheapest flights from Vancouver to the Baja. This was not going to be a pipe dream they only talked about. She was going to make this one happen. Within an hour, she had their flight booked. They were to leave Vancouver in three days, at 6:45 am, and they would land in San Jose del Cabo at 10:45 am. At Laura’s insistence, these were one-way flights. She refused to decide on a date this adventure south would end. She preferred to leave that up to fate.
After a brief phone call to Marcus, their stay on his property was confirmed. He would be at the airport to pick them up. There was a trailer on the property they could sleep in for free, as long as they could host some incoming tourists that would be staying in the beach house. When asked if there was an address they could give their parents, Marcus referred them to the Airbnb webpage that advertised his rental. The ad was aptly named, “Casita Desiderata.” A Google search revealed the definition of the word “desiderata”. It was a wish list of desires. Sarah loved the title, although she knew her parents wouldn’t be so keen on it.
Within minutes of the phone call to Marcus, Sarah had the webpage highlighted on her Facebook wall, and broadcasted on her Twitter feed. This is how her parents found out where she was going. She had blocked them on Facebook long ago but forgotten about Twitter. As the news of their pending voyage spread through her friend’s list, many of her and Laura’s friends chimed in their aspiration to join them. One of these friends was quite serious. Her name was Sage Johnston.
Sage had been a close friend of Sarah and Laura for many years. She had been a year ahead of the girls in school and had always been someone they looked up to and respected. Sage had been a bit of a matriarch for all the girls in their social scene. She commanded this respect with her integrity, honesty, intelligence, and her beauty. When Sage’s private message came into Sarah’s inbox, asking if she could join the girls on their adventure, with plenty of money she had saved for a trip like this, Sarah knew it was a serious offer. She also knew how quickly an adventure could change course, regardless of any planning.
Sage needed an answer quickly. She only had a small window of opportunity to be on the same flight as the girls. Sarah and Laura wanted to discuss it before giving her an answer, so they asked Sage for an evening of discussion before a decision would be made. Sage understood, and they agreed to talk in the morning. Both the girls knew this would dramatically change the dynamic of their trip, but the concept had a lot to offer. Sage was an incredible person with lots of skills for this kind of adventure. Her street smarts and wisdom could prove invaluable, should things go sideways in Mexico with Marcus. Sage also had money, a decent understanding of Spanish from a previous trip she had taken to mainland Mexico the year before, and Sarah knew her parents would be far happier to hear a third, older girl would be joining them. Marcus needed to be contacted again, so he would be able to prepare for a third girl as well. This didn’t seem like it would pose any problems -there probably wasn’t a single, straight boy alive that would turn down an offer of three beautiful women instead of two on their property. Sage was also well aware of the hidden relationship going on between Sarah and Laura. She had guessed the extent of it, and had confessed her hypothesis, at their grad party at the beginning of the summer, where Sage had attended as her step-brother’s date. She had reassured them she would tell no one and had held true to this conviction. This fact brought her further respect and admiration from the girls, who had been scared she’d let their secret out to the ignorant group of “cool girls” at the top of their West Vancouver social scene.
The decision as to take Sage or not was a major one and the girls sat down in the back yard, beneath the willow tree branches, till late in the evening considering it. By the time the moon crested the roof of the house, where it was obscured by the woodsmoke curling up from the red-brick chimney, they had an answer for her.
If you would like to have Sage join the girls on their trip, please turn to Chapter 4
If you think the girls should stick to their original plan, and travel alone, please turn to Chapter 8
The two girls sat up most of the night talking about the adventure that was about to begin in a few short days. After weighing all the advantages and disadvantages, they finally agreed, Sage should join them on their trip. They both felt Sage would be an invaluable traveling companion that would only make the trip safer, and more exciting. Sarah was especially thrilled to have Sage coming along. She was wise, well beyond her years and tough as nails, should an occasion call for it. This Marcus character seemed like a good guy, but Sarah still had her concerns. The girls thought it best to have Sage, a girl renowned for her judgment of character, along for the adventure.
Laura was also thrilled Sage was coming, but for different reasons. She had never told Sarah this, but she had shared a very special night with Sage a few months before her sexual encounter with Sarah in the tent on the school excursion. The evening tryst between Laura and Sage had happened on an innocent sleepover at Laura’s place while her parents were in Paris on business. It had been a deeply intimate night of passionate love-making, where Sage had allowed Laura to explore her sexuality with a woman without any inhibitions. Laura could still conjure the image of Sage’s body arching in the moonlight before her on a mattress they had dragged out onto Laura’s back porch to sleep on. Together, they discovered rhythms and motions that sent both the women to a place of bliss neither had discovered before. Laura could still smell, taste, and feel Sage’s essence and she knew she wanted more of it. The only question stopping her was how to make it happen while maintaining an honest, trusting relationship with Sarah? Regardless of the growing anticipation of spending more time with Sage, she didn’t believe she’d be willing to compromise the bond she had with her lover and best friend. For now, at least, her longing for Sage would have to remain a fantasy imagined in moments with Sarah in the darkness.
Sarah called Marcus in the morning, immediately after notifying Sage she could join them. She explained that Sage would be buying a return ticket, the date of which would be decided by the pricing. Marcus agreed to the addition of the third girl without hesitation. He said there was also a motorhome on the property where Sage could stay. He was also happy to hear Sage already knew how to surf. She had perfected this skill at several mother-daughter surf camps with Surf Sisters in Tofino when she was a kid. Since then, she had returned to Tofino every summer, where she had stayed with her aunt, Carolyn, who owned a house near the town’s center. She had even done some work for the Surf Sisters, teaching other youth how to tackle their first waves. Marcus pointed out that Sage could pay for her stay with surf instruction. She could also be in charge of the board maintenance that was always needed when amateurs attempted maneuvers around the rocks at Old Man’s point, down the beach from his property.
Choosing what to bring to Mexico, besides Sage, was another matter the girls needed to attend to. This proved more difficult than expected. After an extended argument that lasted most of the afternoon, they agreed to only bring one backpack each. That way, as Laura explained, if they didn’t like the scene at Casita Desiderata, they could easily just take their stuff and leave, moving around the Baja without much hassle. Finally, by dinnertime, the basic necessities were settled on: shorts, shirts, bikinis, underwear, one summer skirt each, two pairs of shoes, `a bottle of citronella mosquito spray, and a small amount of bathroom supplies. This was all they could fit in each backpack. It wasn’t much to be starting a new life with, but it would have to do.
The three girls met at the corner of Granville Street and Davie Street the morning of their flight, all of them nervously excited about what the day would bring. They all agreed, trying to sleep the night before had been impossible. Following a breakfast at The Two Parrots restaurant on the corner where they met, they walked a few blocks down Davie Street and hopped on the Canada Line, a rail-car that ran directly into the Vancouver airport.
Stepping into the main floor of the departures building, the girls’ adrenaline peaked when they heard the roar of the planes taking off outside the airport’s windows. Time moved like a dream sequence as they shuffled one-by-one through customs and past the smiles of airline personnel that led them to the gate where their plane had begun boarding.
Ears popped, a movie played without sound, several over-priced beers were drunk, and then the plane began to descend. The sound of a baby screaming provided an eerie backdrop to the view of San Jose del Cabo, an island of green on the southern tip of a long strip of copper mountains, valleys, and white-washed beaches that stretched northward. Each mountain looked climbable, every beach looked to be a secret hideaway, and the emerald city felt like an oasis of adventure and excitement. Even the child’s screaming sounded like a symphony that was announcing their arrival.
After the plane finally landed and the whistling of the engines subsided, passengers began to stretch, stand up and gather their belongings from over-head compartments. Still-smiling stewards and stewardesses feigned sincerity with goodbye’s and well-wishes for the days in Mexico that lay ahead. One-by-one, passengers were ushered through turnstiles into the terminal where a series of lines led to several desks where serious looking Mexican customs agents pored over passports and issued tourist visas. Before these desks could be reached, each person was required to walk through a turnstile with a large button that was to be pressed. Above the turnstile were two lights -one green and one red. If pushing the button turned the light green, the tourist was passed on to the custom’s desks. If it turned red, they would require a much more intense scrutiny of their bags and reasons for being in Mexico. Sage had warned the girls about this moment and had said she had never seen the light turn red, so there was nothing to worry about.
Each girl pushed the button and on each occasion, it elicited a green light that allowed them to pass without further interruption. Once they attained the customs desk, each girl handed the custom agent the form they had filled out on the plane and they each received a tourist visa. None of them examined it to see they had only been given a thirty-day visa. They were far too excited to notice such a small detail.
Walking through the gate and out into the main greeting area emphasized the reality of their adventure realized. This was certainly a different airport than the one they had left behind in Vancouver. As tourists, bags gotten from the conveyor belt in tow, merged towards the exit door, a swarm of Mexican concierges awaited them with signs held in front of their faces. There were small signs written in pen, large signs with computer printed names, signs that asked for groups leaving for their all-inclusive destinations, and signs for unnamed passengers needing rides to San Jose del Cabo and Cabo san Lucas. Signs were everywhere, but none of these signs had the girl’s names on them. Despite the promises to be there to pick them up, the man they had seen in the Airbnb pictures was nowhere to be seen.
After parading through the dwindling crowd of eager greeters for more than an hour, the girls finally pulled their belongings up to the outside bar patio adjacent to the arrival gate’s exit door. Each ordered a “cerveza por favor,” the first Spanish words Sage had taught them. The first oddity of being in Mexico the girls noticed, apart from the warm, moist air, was the fact that patrons of the bar were allowed to smoke right there on the patio. An older German man and, what appeared to be, his much younger wife sitting next to them were smoking up a storm cloud of fragrant American tobacco. The husband was on a cellphone mostly yelling at someone in German for the first twenty minutes they sat there, and when he finally got off the phone, Laura took the opportunity to ask him to use it to call Marcus.
“Excuse me sir, do you speak English? Can we use your phone? It would seem our ride has forgotten us. It’s a local number. Can we call him?”
The German man looked suspiciously at Laura for a moment, then down at their pile of bags below the bar stools. After waiting a full minute without answering, he handed her the phone.
“Make it quick. Phone calls from Mexico on this thing cost a fortune.”
Laura rummaged in her backpack for her phone book where she had Marcus’ number listed. She pulled it out, dialed and waited. There was no answer and no voicemail to leave a message. She handed back the phone. The girls stared at each other in silence and continued to sip their beers, their optimism waning. Sage ordered a round of Tequila shooters.
The remnants of Mexican drivers were congregating just outside the other end of the patio, paying special attention to the three obviously abandoned women. One of them with what looked like a hotel uniform on began gesturing at the girls to come over to talk with them. The girls tried to ignore them.
“Senoritas, do you need a taxi? We have cars and buses going to Cabo if you need a ride. Is someone coming for you? We can make you a good deal? A special price for such beautiful women!”
At first, the girls ignored the Mexican men, but as time moved on and there was still no sign of Marcus two hours after their arrival, and it seemed a choice would have to be made. The price of beers and Tequila at the airport bar was ridiculously expensive, they were starting to get a little too tipsy for such a precarious start to their vacation. A move to somewhere had to be made. Sarah was the first to finally admit they had been abandoned by Marcus and she expressed the stark reality of their situation.
“He isn’t coming. Fuck me. We know where he lives though. I drew a map that I have in my backpack. His house is right beside Zipper’s Restaurant and that’s half way to Cabo. Let’s just pay one of these drivers to take us. Can’t cost that much. It’s only like thirty kilometers. He knows we’re coming for Christ’s sake. Maybe he got a flat tire or something.”
Laura immediately suggested they hitchhike, an idea that was shot down by the other two girls as fast as it came up. There was more silence and another round of cervezas before Sage formulated a very different suggestion.
“Why don’t we just take one of these rides to a hotel in Cabo and stay in an all-inclusive resort for a week. I have more money than you think, and you can always just pay me back when we get back to Canada. I don’t mind. I have my dad’s credit card. He won’t notice or care. This Marcus guy is obviously not responsible and maybe he doesn’t even have a house on the beach? I say we just forget about him and salvage our time here by basking in the sun while we’re fed beers by cute cabana boys. What do you say?”
If you want the girls to take a cab to Zipper’s Restaurant, turn to page ??
If you think the girls should give up on Marcus and get a hotel in Cabo, turn to page ??