Two minor highlights, though:
A few days ago I was starting my morning run, heading to the beach along the sidewalk of the resort. I was fiddling with my watch as I was jogging along. I was suddenly startled to see in my peripheral vision a full grown Bengal tiger loping alongside me, not three feet from my side. I instinctively jumped away laterally before I focused directly on the beautiful beast and realized it was behind the bars of its cage. I got a boost in heart rate, a shot of adrenaline and a chuckle out of it. It would have been fun to have jogged the rest of my run with a tiger by my side.
On my way back from my run along the beach a day later, I came across a young woman who had collapsed on the beach with her concerned father kneeling over her. My first responder training kicked in and I asked if they needed help and clearly they did. I did an initial assessment, concluded that there wasn't anything immediately life-threatening going on and asked if they would like me to get a doctor, which they did. I trotted over to a security guard at a nearby resort and perfectly fluent Spanish came out of my mouth, asking him to get a doctor and to help me transport the woman from the beach into the shade. I was impressed listening to myself speak the language so naturally. The downside was that the response was in rapid fire Spanish and my sudden fluency seemed to only work in the speaking direction. Turned out the young woman was okay, just dehydrated and overcome by the exertion in the heat and humidity. Her dad was grateful for my assistance and I felt good for the rest of the day.
This evening I'm having Christmas Eve dinner at the local yacht club and then heading to the old part of Puerto Vallarta to lurk amongst the locals celebrating their Christmas. I miss my friends and family, but am going to make the most of my unique situation.
Best wishes for the holidays to all who are following this blog and, futile as the sentiments might sound right now, I sincerely and desperately hope for long, sustained...
Peace on Earth