Mazatlan to Colima
Friday, March 26 to Sunday, March 28, 2010
Mazatlan to Sayulita
Sayulita to Bocas De Iguanas
Bocas De Iguanas to Colima
In Mazatlan I was feeling a bit lonely and somewhat "all Spanished out". There's only so much companionship I can get when I don't speak the language fluently. Since I was staying with the regular Mexicans at the north end I hopped on the bike for the trek into town. Maybe I'd find some American food and some English language company. Not much was happening downtown so I sat on the Malecon for a few minutes and listened to some music from the restaurant across the street. Disheartened I went back to the bike and decided to go to bed early. As I was putting on my helmet A KTM 950 Adventure went by. The rider looked over at me and made a quick U-Turn and parked near me. I went over and asked where he was from "Victoria" he replied. "Wurr's thaaat?" I asked. He politely started explaining when I interrupted him with a scheming smile and told him that I was from Victoria as well.
Craig and I decided to go for a bite. He went from Seattle all the way to the area near Manzanillo and was on his way back home. When the music became too loud for a conversation we went back to his hotel patio with a newly bought bottle of Hornitos Tequila. Words flowed, things were said and the bottle became lighter.
I went to the local bike shop to try to find a bolt which had vibrated loose. I found the bolt and got to sit on the local bike dude's home made bike.
Due to the previous night's late hours and imbibing I left at 11:00am. "Traza Tu Ruta" Mexico's rudimentary version of Mapquest gave me a distance of 450km's to Sayulita. Sayulita had been recommended by Craig and some others. Well! I thought that should take me about 5 hours. I suppose some people don't learn very fast since I should have known better from previous experience in Mexico. The road was rather boring, long, slow in places and hotter than hell in July. I came up behind a police vehicle and debated whether I should pass or not. Just as I had decided to go for it he gave me the signal to pass. He was already exceeding the speed limit himself. I'm beginning to like the cops down here. Just when I thought I couldn't go on any longer I saw the turnoff I was looking for. Within minutes the scenery changed. The road was winding and narrow and there was beautiful, delicious, amazing shade most of the way. The air cooled off considerably and in places the trees formed a canopy over the road as I rode West towards San Blas. The road wound along and around rolling hills covered with banana trees, palms, papaya, and mango trees.
I finally pulled into Sayulita and went to the RV park. 250pesos for tent camping she told me. After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I went to another site. 100pesos per person he said ...and 100pesos per vehicle. When he saw my eyes popping out of their sockets he lowered the vehicle charge to 50pesos.
I approached my tent neighbours and said "I've had a long day, I'm cranky and I need a beer. Do you know where I can get a cold one?” I'll give you one of mine" said Jeannine from Northeast California. She had wisely realized that it was best to hand over a beer to prevent some major carnage in town :-)
Sayulita is quite a cute little town but expensive as hell. It apparently used to be some hidden away surfer hangout. It's now been taken over by wealthy folks and houses were listed at around 400,000USD. I went for a veggie burger, the first one since I'd entered Mexico. I guess the upside of gentrification and Americanization is that the food options change. They even had real coffee, not the instant stuff they normally serve all over the place. It's even hard to find anything except instant coffee in the stores, except in larger towns.
As it turns out it's the beginning of Semana Santa in Mexico. It strikes me a bit as the Mexican version of spring break. So I listened to them hooting and hollering into the wee hours. I was hoping to stay a second night but it was not to be.
After a bit of an argument with the campground staff I got back the 50pesos I was owed from the previous night (they had no change when I paid) and off I went. Then I had to go through Puerto Vallarta. I simply did not care for it. And to think that I once almost made the mistake of booking an all inclusive vacation there. It was busy, it was noisy and over the top touristy. Nuevo Vallarta to the north was basically a sanitized resort area with a guarded entrance. People were waiting along the street with brochures. An attempt to pull me over for a "brochure handing" ended up in failure for the poor sap. South of Puerto Vallarta the very bad road winds along the picturesque coast. This is still Mexico Hwy 200 and it was slow going for quite some time. More boring and hot terrain and I decided to pack it in very early in Bocas De Iguanas (Mouths of Iguanas) a bit north of Manzanillo. Here I'll be camping beside a young couple from Kelowna. At least it's far away from the monstrous crocodile that was lounging near the beach. I'm curious about them. They're driving a 40' RV and they're in their 20's with a cute little daughter who was eager to show me her newly acquired lizard. You don't often see anyone below the age of 55 driving around in ginormous RV's.
Beach at Bocas De Iguanas
I went for a walk on the beautiful beach and saw a sign saying "Beach Bar Open". So in I went and asked for a Margarita. "Are you a hotel guest?" she asked. "No, I didn't even know there was a hotel here" I replied. She wasn't really supposed to serve "outsiders" and had to check with someone else first. I decided to head back to my little plebeian campsite and had my Mexican wine in a hammock instead.
That coconut could be your head ...yikes!
I decided to sleep in the hammock with my sleeping bag. It was simply divine, albeit a bit cold in the morning. I simply had the urge to move on even though I was getting tired of riding and pushing myself in the heat. I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for but I'll know once it presents itself.
From Bocas De Iguanas I was going to head down the coast but changed my mind and went a little bit inland to Colima, Colima, Mexico. The good four lane road winds its' way uphill and is great on a bike. All of a sudden, as I approached Colima, a huge volcano dominated the landscape. It's one of those perfectly shaped ones that just rise out of the ground like it owns the place. Some research tells me that it's the most active volcano in Mexico and has erupted numerous times, as late as 1999. The area is therefore prone to many earthquakes and not too many colonial buildings are standing. The Colimenses have turned destroyed building sites into nice little parks all over the place.
I quickly found a nice little 300 peso hotel. Complete with little parking garage, air conditioning, and a nice little pool in a courtyard. I sat down to do some blogging and was quickly approached by Tony the restaurant manager. I assured him I was fine and needed nothing. He promised to not interrupt my Internet time and returned about every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure I was OK and really didn't want anything else. After about 5 times hearing him say "Miiichelle" I simply ignored him, pretending to be fully immersed in what I was doing. He stood for a few seconds, and then he left me alone for the rest of the evening. I got absolutely no blogging done.
I'm quite frankly a bit cranky, tired, lonely, probably have some heat exhaustion, miss my sweetie ...hi Patti! becoming a bit discouraged by the sheer size of this country. I knew it was big but I didn't take into account the heat and the fact that an equal distance back home only takes 1/2 to 2/3 of the time than it does down here. Well, I've been invited to stay over with a Horizons member in San Cristobal De Las Casas in Chiapas. Chiapas is apparently the "undiscovered" jewel of Mexico. I'll probably take him up on it when I get there in 4 or 5 days.
This morning I'm sitting at some neat little sidewalk cafe at the Colima Best Western. I'm looking out onto a nice verdant park and locals are simply milling about and enjoying the day. I see almost no gringos and there is a refreshing absence of aggressive vendors trying to rope in tourists. In Manzanillo they almost stepped out in front of my bike to try to get me to stop. So far I like this place.