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Shape-shifting in Puerto Vallerta

Puerto Vallerta.

There is a thing. A thing called a Nagual. It is an Indian tribe, but it is also a witch doctor. A brujo.

I met a man named Eduardo. He grew up in the mountains around Puerto Vallerta and was the oldest boy in a family with a father who was frequently absent.

The Nagual can shapeshift. It has been seen on the roadside as an animal half-horse/half-dog, huge and terrifying.

I sat in my kitchen a day before my scheduled flight to Mexico after receiving a message from my Aztec son-in-law. I told him I was going to Puerto Vallerta. He told me I should learn more about the Nagual.

My daughter sent me a google document to read over. She needed help with her school work. Google signed me in as anonymous because I did not sign myself in.

It signed me in as Anonymous Narwhal.

Nagual is pronounced na-wal.

Narwhal is a unicorn-ed whale and the word is pronounced almost the same.

I met a man on the boardwalk along the hot Mexican beach in the city. He was selling pastries. I bought a chocolate covered donut and asked the man’s name. “Joe’” he told me. He grew up in a village outside Puerto Vallerta. He spoke to me in Spanish. He told me he was Indian. I asked him about his native language. He called it Nagual. He taught me how to say hello and how are you. He said I picked it up very quickly.

I sat in the car with Eduardo as we wound through the steep mountains outside Puerto Vallerta. Green and plunging, they held my attention like a flame captures a moth.