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If you have ever been on Sayulita’s main beach, you have likely seen Norma Alejo, a local Sayulita beach vendor, who is never without a friendly smile on her face. Ten years ago, Norma and her parents moved from a small town in the hills close to Mexico City to Sayulita for a better life. “There is more opportunity for work here in Sayulita,” shared Norma, whose mother and father are also local beach vendors.
Initially upon arriving in Sayulita, Norma worked alongside her mother, braiding full heads of hair. At first, it was a frustrating experience for her, but as time passed, her hair braiding skills improved. “It took me five hours to braid the hair of the first girl. Now it only takes me 30 minutes,” she confided. Over time, she began selling little animal figurines, such as turtles and bears, made from stones. Four years ago, she also began selling sarongs and sarong pants, which are made locally. “The sarongs sell the best and I also make a little more money to live on selling them. A lot of people like them because they aren’t too expensive. They can be used for towels, dresses, everything,” Norma said.
Norma is a hard worker and works 9:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday. As a beach vendor, she is required to have a license to sell items on the beach, which has to be renewed annually. She generally sets up an area outside of Capitan Pablo's and walks the stretch of beach from Capitan Cook’s to Don Pedro’s. “I like this spot. It is the best place for sales and most of the people are in this area,” shared Norma.
Throughout the years, Norma has seen a change in Sayulita and the tourism. “When I first arrived in Sayulita, it was very quiet. There weren’t a lot of people and there weren’t a lot of houses, not like there is now. There were only about six beach vendors. Now there are about 75. With more people living here and more tourists, we can make a better living for ourselves,” she said.
“Here is my life. Every day I come in the morning and I see the ocean. I see a lot of friendly people and most people are very nice to me. I’m very happy to sell here. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else,” Norma added.