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Mexico Mainland

MEXICO | Saturday, 3 October 2009 | Views [2842]

24/25/26 Sep: Days 11,12 and 13

San Blas:  its called Stoner's Surf Camp and its the first backpacker hangout I come across!  I am so pleased!  I pitch my tent and open up beer!  I meet a group of friends that have been travelling from Canada in their van.  4 Kiwis (des neo-zelandais) and 1 Frenchman, Lucas.  All were very cool.  I spent a lot of time talking to Lucas who had just spent months in Peru analysing an irrigation project.  He is a hydrologist and irrigation specialist (he's just come out of studying that at university in France).  He's working for different projects to improve and make their irrigation more efficient and more focused on lowering the environmental impact.  Anyway enought talk...its time to try surfing.  I have a good session on my first night here!  I catch a few waves and I'm jumping up and down on my board.....i'm so happy!  Tonight we all head out of Tacos in town.  On our way back we walk past the major road works that blocking the whole street (we have to hop and skip over mounds of soil and sand).  But what, whats the music?  The workers are all drinking, lauging, dancing and having a good time!  There's even one of them in the whole still digging away (no beer for him!).  Road fixing the Mexican way I guess!  It is so funny! 

I have a day off surfing the next day, just taking it easy.  The day after I go out on the board again.  My best day ever!  I caught so many waves!  Granted, surf camp owner "Pompis" (and also national longboard champion!) was in the water giving me advice, also telling me when to start paddling.  The conditions were perfect and many waves were to be had.  I feel I've got it now so watch out!  [but I guess surfing is like golf!  As soon as I feel I've got the hang of it, I loose it again!]

On the 26th I decide to set off for Puerto Vallarta (they call it just "Vallarta").  I get into Vallarta, the sky is black and the downpour begins!  It is raining so HARD!  I can harldy see!  I hit a flooded part of the road doing 50km/h....and the splash water just goes everywhere...its splashing all over the windscreen....I can't see anything!  I break hard...trying not to hydroplane!   Just made it!  Ok, its slow spends now esp. when I hit water.....I make in through Vallarta into the old part of town where I'm looking for the Lonely Planet recommended Hotel of my choice.  The street I want is one way...can't go down it....so straight on...I've got to find my way back.  Oh...and the police is being me.  Lights flashing.  Mmhhh.  I'm actually already pulled over as I need to figure out which way to go.  He's on older gentleman and starts explaining that I turned too abruptly.  I'm lost I said and its a one way street with no one in it.  "Para usted une TICKET" he says.  Mmh I guess everyone understands that piece of spanish.  It said it so eloquantly!  I protest.......and we start talking about Guatemala.  After exchanging a couple of insights about my adopted country he comes back to the subject at hand....."a usted le voy a dar un TICKET".  Yes I know you've already said that....but its a rubbish claim.  I was not even speeding and did nothing wrong this time comparatively with my driving so far, where i've been speeding pretty much all the way down Mexico doing 100km/h in 60 and 80km/h roads).  He going back to his car to get his TICKET book and returns, proclaiming his intention once again "Le voy preparar un TICKET por 500 pesos" (I'm going to write out a ticket).  Somehow I'm sensing he's feeding me hints [nudge nudge!!].  I say "I've done nothing wrong and if you think I did its certainly not worth 500 pesos!....is there any other way". "What other way" he says.  I think we are now on the same thought process!
"I don't know what other way, maybe you can help me out here"
"how much do you want to pay"....haha!  So here we are!....the corruption game is now unmistakably here!
"Do you have kids and grandkids?  I have lots of sweets I can give you"....no that does not seem to be working...
"Look I'll give you 50, well 100 pesos"  I say
"There are 2 of us....100 each" he says
"No, its 100"
"100, with the sweets then" he says.
So there it was, the deal was concluded.  I start looking for some pesos...I only have big notes...I certainly don't want to get those out, so"Do you take US dollars?" I say
"si, senor!"....THAT IS SERVICE FOR YOU!

27 Sep: Day 14

Puerto Vallarta:  I have breakfast at a little cafe by the hotel.  Its also got a book exchange.  I order a bagel sandwich (yup I'm starting to miss them!) and a juice.  After breakfast I decide to walk around town to see a little bit of it.  I walk about 3km into the new part of town down some back streets.  I make my way on the main street and start looking at tourist shops to get a cute t-shirt for Deia.  I'm in my shop of choice where I find the perfect shirt and I'm buying it.  Just then 2 of the gang of 5 Kiwi-French group walk in!  Its this magnetic draw of person who randomly keep meeting!  I walk around for a bit more and make my way back down the promenade. 

Close to my hotel there are fisherman on the beach under umbrellas opening up fresh oysters and preparing them on plastic plates by the dozen.  Mmmh......how much.....only 60 pesos!? (thats only USD5)....deal me IN!  I sit on an upside down bucket and dig in....fresh lemon and oysters....sooooo good......I'll have a second dozen please! 

28 Sep: Day 15

After a night camping impromtu on  the beach of a small town, I set off south.  I was in the state of Michoacan.  The drive is beautiful.  Lots of lush green scenery often bordering the pacific coast.  There are many beautiful beaches.  I finally find a place that looks nice for a spot of lunch.  There is a pool and I have a swim while I was for lunch.  After lunch I decide to chill in the hammock for a while.  I was the only guest in at this restaurante bordering the beach.  During that time another car pulls up.  It turns out they are 2 Canadian friends that are travelling south.  I say I'm heading to Antigua.  Guy says that he loved it there, and especially the Bagel Barn. 

I had not mentioned it to him yet, so surprised I tell him I am the owner.....he's really surprised and happy! 

He'd been talking about The Bagel Barn to all his friends in Canada and had justed talked about it to his friend Pat that was with him.  Small world!!  Anyway, they decide not to stay here for luncha and we say our farewells.  I set off again myself and after driving a few hours, its about 5pm and I decide to stop in a town called Zitanahuero.  Its very very nice, very mellow, lots of little businesses (bars, restaurants, tourist shops etc) that are all very cute without being a cheesy tourist trap.  I was very impressed.  After parking the car and walking around to figure out which hotel to stay in I get back to the car to get my things.  Just by magic I feel someone tapping my shoulder....the small world I was talking about just got smaller:  it was Guy and Pat again!  We all pile in to the same hotel and go out together that night.  Food and drinks first, then more drinks in our hotel room, then even more drinks at a bar and finally a few more drinks at a club.  Before we know it, 6AM is the time! 

Holy Moly.......time for bed!

29 Sep

I wake up to the sound of pounding roadworks just outside my room.  It was 11AM!  I feel somewhat rested and thirsty and very sweaty.  I get naked and climb into the shower - and almost out of an action of habit open the tap and expect the shower to start cooling and rinsing me off.....I turn the tap more as nothing.....and it seems there is no water!  Drat!!  Ok, so the beach it is (its only 50M down the street).  I put on my swim short and leave the hotel....oh and first I need something to drink...and fast.....gatorade it is...then dive into the water....ahhhh cool off!  Next I need some food to settle my stomach (interestingly enough I have not headache to speak of as yet!).  After scoffing down an omelette I get myself back to the hotel, where Pat and Guillaume were starting to become alive again.  I grab my computer and walk to the beach promenade where there was a delighful  little cafe, with a tree and plants right in front of the fisherman's beach corner.  I sat there doing some internet, waiting for the others to appear.  We hung out for a good 2hours there.  Then a quick lunch and set off to towards Acapulco.  We set off quite late and only made so far.  We stopped to refuel and while we waited I asked the attendant for a nice beach to spend the night.  We follow his directions and it turns out its a sandbar with lots of little shacks and palapas that are inhabited and made for people to camp.  They even provide you with all that you might need.  The way across is by Gondola......our timing was impecable, the sun was setting in the midst of a cluster of palm trees on the horizon.  I serenaded Guy and Pat with romantic Italian songs whilst our boat guy pushed us across the water way with his long wooden pole.  We were so happy with our spontaneous beach find!  Just as we made our way onto our little island, through the set of huts and over to the pacific side, the sun was just starting to touch the horizon....crimson and shivering.  My favourite time of the day!  Good night sunshine!  Then off to set up my tent.  We sat in hammocks talking while dinner was being prepared.  Delicious shrimps for some and a grilled fish for me.  Yum yum......

30 Sep: Day 16

Wake up in Paradise!  Walk down the sandbar to where the outlet where the ocean mets the river and mangrove waterway.  A little yoga on my mat overlooking the mixing waters:  pacific ocean waves + currents coming onto them from outlet = some very interesting water movements!  Lots of birdlife going about their business.  So many fish that they get washed up on shallow sand by one wave and claimed back into the ocean with the next.  It was funny to watch!  We now wanted to make it as close as possible to Puerto Escondido and Mazunte (backpacker hangout in the state of Oaxaca.  This is where I expect to be spending a few days when I get there).  We reached Acapulco after 1 hour and stopped on the beachfront "strip".  All the big hotels are there.  Its really nothing to want to go there for.  There are much better big tourist towns than this.  I suppose I've seen it now!  Moving on.  Lots of driving later we get to a large uninteresting town where we stop for the night.  We are now less than 2 hours away from Puerto Escondido - we'll make it tomorrow AM for sure.

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