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Ruben Rodriguez Trujillo was born and raised in Sayulita. His grandfather, who had been mining gold in San Sebastian, moved here with his family in the 1930’s, when the gold mining came to an end. His family was one of the first of seven families to live in Sayulita. In 1987, at the age of 17, Ruben moved to Los Angeles, where he stayed until 2005. He then moved back to Sayulita, where he has lived ever since with his wife, Monica, his 19-year-old son, also named Ruben, and his 12-year-old daughter, America.
What was it like growing up in Sayulita?
It was a lot of fun. At my age, there were about 40 kids running around in the wild. No sandals, maybe shorts, sometimes naked. There used to be a lot of fish, a lot of fruit – a lot of things to eat.
What did you do for fun?
We used to play baseball and soccer and go fishing and diving. We were surfing at the time, but with no special boards- just whatever boards the gringos used to leave us.
What is your best childhood memory in Sayulita?
My best memory – I have many. It’s really hard to say. Playing baseball at the school and having my first bike. My mom used to go to Puerto Vallarta a lot and I used to go all the way to Pemex to wait for her. The bus would hardly ever come - that used to be one of the happiest times when I would see my mom arriving back with bags of food.
How have you seen the town change over the years?
Really drastically – there have been huge changes. Good and bad. Good because we have more opportunities in life. There are more jobs and people are better able to support themselves. But, as the town has grown, families have split up and no longer live together. We’re losing our authenticity and the closeness of the families. It used to be that I’d go to the plaza and see nobody but original families there. Now, maybe I see one original family and 20 other families. The town has really exploded over the years.
How do you feel about the changes you’ve seen over the years?
Good and bad. You can’t have it all. Sayulita used to be very tranquil, but we had the necessities. Now we have more money for material things, but it’s not as tranquil as it used to be.
What do you like about living in Sayulita?
Sayulita is still a small town. You have an identity and you’re not just another number. People pass by and say hello to you by name. You can get around town with no car and kids love this place.
What do you do for work?
I’m in the restaurant business. I started in Calypso, but now have my own restaurant, Ruben’s Deli. I opened it five years ago.
How do you spend your free time?
I love gardening and taking care of my plants, and taking care of my animals- my goat, chickens, and mule. I also spend time with my daughter.
How would you like to see Sayulita in 10 years?
I’d like to see Sayulita with more order and be more organized. I’d like to see more infrastructure, a parking lot, a pedestrian street, improvements to the water treatment plant, more safety – without losing the charm of the town. I really support Pueblo Magico. It will benefit the whole community – the whole town will get a piece of the pie - not just the businesses.
What is the one thing you feel El Sayulero readers can do to help Sayulita?
When you’re coming to Sayulita, you’ve heard something about it that you like. We want to keep this place interesting and keep people coming back. Everyone needs to come together and keep Sayulita interesting—they need to voice what they don’t like, and what they don’t want, such as not wanting big high rises and Walmart in town.
Anything else you would like to add?
The whole community has to be part of the changes happening in Sayulita. Right now the wires are being taken down – it’s really amazing. Also, Sayulita would not be the same without the support of foreigners and nationals, and we really appreciate the support.