Sayulita Storm

In the late 1970's there was a huge tropical storm in Sayulita. Most of the Beach was washed away, and people got killed. Most tourists fled during the sixteen straight days of rain and flooding. But one family did not. An American hippie couple decided to stick it out in Papa's Palapas, then, a one room shack set back just from the beach. The woman was pregnant and a few days past her due date. The couple had no car and busses had long stopped braving the rising river. In fact, the day before the brunt of the storm hit the river flooded over the small bridge in town. So, unless one of the boats could make it, there wasn't even a way out of Sayulita.

Lightening struck in the early hours of the morning. At invisible sunrise, the sea swelled. The American couple moved down into the kitchen of Papa's Palapas, the roof had all but lifted off. As the ocean water crept under the door the couple looked at each other with awe. This was unlike anything that they had ever been through. Little did they know, it was about to get even more intense.

Just then, the woman went into labor.

As she paced the kitchen, the water level rose, pushing the couple to climb up on top of the large metal table. And on that table, in the kitchen of Papa's Palapas, with the sea pouring in the door, and the wind pulling of the roof, a baby girl was born. As her proud father cut the cord, the wind abruptly stopped and the ocean silenced. Sun rays snuck beyond the edges of the clouds and lit the sky. The people of the village stirred in their houses. Cautiously poking their heads out of doors, they heard whelps and cries from the beach. And then, out of an almost flattened shack come an American couple, carrying a newborn baby girl.

"Como se llama?" Everyone asked. "What's her name?"


I heard this story on one of my first days here in town, as do most people. I had since forgotten it, all the sun and clear skies make it almost seem impossible. But today I remembered every last word.

Sitting in the shop today I was talking to a young girl of about thirteen. She was excited because her sister, who had been, most recently, traveling through Chile and Honduras, had returned to live in Sayulita. Her sister came in then, and we chatted a bit. About travel and change and, of course, jewelry. I reached out my hand for hers, "My name's Hannah, what's yours?"

She looked up and kind of shyly gave the same response as those American Hippies gave to the people around them over twenty five years ago, "Sayulita Storm."

"Nice to meet you," I replied. And then I remembered.