Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Always Listen To Your Mother

After hearing the news that our traveling partner, Jessi would be leaving us in La Paz to head of on her own return to Canada, my mom wrote me back with these words:
"It’s too bad Jessi has to stop now. You are just getting to the best part of Mexico!".
Always listen to your mother.
Caught the ferry out of La Paz on a sunday afternoon. Not much to be said about 18 hours on a boat except that I never, never, want to be lost at sea. Ever. Looking out over the moonlit water, no land in sight and only the silent vastness of the ocean in every direction made my stomach churn and my head spin, even from the deck of a giant ship. Imagining floating in that empty darkness still haunts my dreams. So much for a life at sea. I´ll stick to my landbound ways, thank you.
Arrived in and consequently departed Mazatlan as fast as possible. Out of the city and into open country. Immediately aware of the change that had taken place. Vegetation everywhere. thick, green, and wet. Pepper fields on either side of the highway. Cutting off the main road and along palm lined beaches. Iguanas skittering off the edge of the road, three armadillos crucified on a barbed wire fence. A warning, perhaps, to would be sqatters like ourselves. You are not welcome here.
Heading south and the jungle becomes deeper. Strange birds overhead, giant, bright green butterflies, strange calls in the night. Huge mangrove trees and stands of palms, coconuts, bananas, camping out in a huge mango orchard. Knowing what to eat by whats in the bed of the pickups passing by. Jackfruit, huge and spiky and piled high in the back of a rusted old ford. Cantelopes straight off the vine. Getting lost twice at dead ends, cursing the lack of detail on my map ("but this shows the road goes through!"). Long days on the relative safety of the toll highway (free for bikes!). A hundred miles with a nice, wide shoulder and a chance to enjoy the passing scenery.
Decided one night to camp at a place called Playa Chacala. A small beach village catering mostly to Mexican vacationers. Tired and hungry, we stopped in at a small restaurant for a meal and a drink. Looked out on the beach and saw a familliar face at a distance.
"No way....it couldn´t be......that´s.....PARKER!"
Parker and I met in Beverly Beach, Oregon, and rode together almost all the way to San Francisco, Ca. I knew he was in Mexico, but he started nearly a month before us. Never would have expected to run into him like this, here. Just sitting on some random beach, 9 km. off the main highway. He´d hit a dog and messed up his bike. Said that he´d been on the beach for almost a week. Jason and I joined him for a day day on the beach. Waking up with a swim in the warm clear water. Bought fish from a fisherman staight from the sea. Gutted and cleaned them on a piece of driftwood for lunch. Slept to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Lulled to sleep again by that same vast ocean.
I spent an afternoon in the sand with his ailing bike and got it back to some fuctioning capacity. Now we are three again. Heading south. Taking our time. Enjoying the beaches and the jungle. Enjoying the beauty and magic of every moment. We´ve truely reached the best part of Mexico.
Always listen to your mother.....

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