Monday, April 13, 2009

Going Slow to Go Fast.

Well, he made it! After several long weeks of waiting and hoping for pipe dreams to become a reality, I'm now on the road with my brother, Anthony. Jason is back in Alaska and actually enjoying the cold and the snow and the dark (somedays I don't blame him, it's been brutally hot the past week). Parker packed up a backpack, left his bike in safe hands and took off hitch-hiking, ultimately trying to make his way to the summit of Izta, an 1800 foot Volcano outside of Mexico City. I was tempted, but the arrival of my brother and a desire to continue Southeast and see as much of Mexico as possible compelled me to keep the bike and continue on the highways.
The ride from Zihuatenejo was an excercise in patience, knowing I had more than enough time to cover the ground to meet up at the Acapulco airport. Passing the days slowly, getting up in no rush, stopping often, gennerally passing the time and taking in the scenery. Spent each night on a different beach, sometimes walled in by Palapas, sometimes with nothing and no one in sight. Spent my 29th birthday just as I had envisioned, on a completely solitary beach in the middle of nowhere. El Carrazal. I took a long dip in the Pacific, toasted the sky with a lukewarm Victoria (beer) and built myself a simple cake out of sand and watched the ocean swallow it whole. Made some pasta, started eating just as the sun went down and was immediately set upon by a swarm of mosquitos the likes of which I've never seen (must've been the swamp just opposite the beach). Gathered my things and ran for the shelter of my tent, but not before receiveing no less than sixty mosquito bites on my exposed legs and feet. Only other thing I got for my birthday was a flat tire.
Next day, March 30th I saw two pigs killed in cold blood, each more gruesome than the next. First, passing through a small village, hearing a commotion at the side of the road, I looked to my right. A pitbull had grabed a rather large pig by the neck and was flapping the thing around like a seal on sharkweek. The sight made me shutter, but hell, it's a dog. A pitbull none the less. That's just what they do. Later however, taking a detour along the coast along beautiful, cool palmlined roads and sporatic little villages, I witnessed a large pickup with "Jesus es mi seƱor" plastered over the top of the windshield, swerve with intention and hit a small piglet in the middle of the road. Passing the dying piglet, twitching and gasping in the throes of death, I could only think one thing: "Fucking rednecks". It's the same everywhere. I just hope that one day when that man reaches the pearly gates, St. Peter opens his big book and goes:
"Hmmm....everything looks in order, except this one thing.....looks like you're gonna have to spend some time in that other place."
And I`m not talking about purgatory.

Later, on the same road, I reached a large uncrossable river, and for the second time on the trip had to pay to be taken safely across a body of water. This time on a tiny, handmade, fiberglass bottomed boat, piloted by a young mother and her even younger son. The trip took about three minutes, cost about 15 pesos and left me in Pie De La Cuesta. Just several miles North of Acapulco. Seached out the beaches for nearly an hour and finally found a dirty patch of private property to call home for the night.
Acapulco is another huge, bustling port town focused mainly on gringo tourism, yet maintains more of a "mexican" big city feel than say, Puerto Villarta or Cabo San Lucas. Cabs everywhere, all blue and white VW bugs, passing, speeding and generally wreaking havoc all throughout the city like a swarm of angry bees. Only slightly worse are the busses, which all bear their own (often hilarious) names over the front windshields. Some of my favorites were "Amour Prohibido", "Resident Evil" (yes, like the video game), and even better, "Poison" (yes, like the band).
Being that I was a day early to meet Anthony, despite my efforts to keep things really slow, I broke down and got a hotel in the outskirts of Acapulco, as far as i could from the large gringo hotels and resorts. Exhausted from the heat, smog, and general anarchy of the acapulco streets, I more or less holed up for the day, napping and reading, fan on full blast, leaving only to grab the occasional bite to eat or another cold beer.
Finally the day came and I made the short, but brutally steep climb out of Acapulco and toward the airport. The reunion went off without a hitch, only a short delay in landing, and Anthony stepped off the plane into the tropical afternoon, just hours after boarding in San Francisco (it's taken me how long?). Needless to say, it was good to see him, good to know that for the next six weeks or so I'd have one of my closest friends and dearest family joining me in the fun. Unpacking, rebuilding and setting up the bike (oh yeah, he brought me a new wheel too!) too some time, and we barely had time to get away from the airport and to the beach before dark. Ended up camped on the future site of a large hotel, where a very friendly security guard insisted we camp for our own safety, where he could keep an eye on us. Not exactly the ideal for his first night in Mexico, but when pressured, we do what we must.
Fortunately, the next days long ride brought us to a beautiful wide, sweeping beach and the shade of a Palapa overhead. Playa Ventura (aka Juan Alvarez). One of the prettiest beaches I've been on so far. Happy that Anthony could finally breathe in the salt air and realize "I am here". Camped below a family restaurant and generally lived the good life for a day and a half. Catching up with each others lives, drinking beer, eating fish that the proprietor had pulled from the ocean that very day, the waves just yards from our tent in the event that the day got too hot. I didn't want to leave, and after two nights it was like pulling teeth to drag ourselves back onto the hot and sweaty highway.
Spent last night and the day here in Pinotepa National after a long and grueling ride through the flats of the Guerrero Oaxaca border and the foothils of the Seirra Madre. Tomorrow we turn east. Into the mountains for (five or more) days of steady climbing (according to my map we'll just barely skirt a 8990 ft. peak!). Toward Ciudad Oaxaca and the ruins at Monte Alban!

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