View From Hotel
Day 1 in Puerto Escondido
didn't start until late afternoon. Our early morning trip from Oaxaca
took 6 grueling hours to wend its way through the mountainous interior. I was in pain nearly the whole way and just outside of Oaxaca I had to ask the driver to stop because I thought I was going to vomit. Luckily I avoided it, but the vertiginous switchbacks on the steep mountain faces didn't help my condition one bit. We stopped after about 3 hours in the middle of nowhere. Really, I have never felt so isolated in all my life. It was a two-dog and one-donkey ramshackle place and there were a couple comedors dishing up food for lunch.
I had a soda and seemed to feel better. The meat they were pulling out of black plastic bags and hanging over wooden poles didn't tempt me...geez, I wonder why? At that point I didn't want another meal until I got out of Mexico. Finally, after what seemed an eternity on the bus I glimpsed a bit of blue in the distance and we pulled into Puerto Escondido, site of the 3rd best surfing in the world.
After getting our bearings and hailing a taxi to take us to the surfing beach, Zicatela, we found a nice hotel next to the sand and settled in. Jerry had something to eat, like a fish taco, and I had a soup that was supposed to be just broth but ended up being a mountain of vegetables with chicken and rice. I think I was on the way to recovery. We headed to the beach for a bit and then took a walk down the street to check things out.
Not a very eventful night as both of us were still a bit sore from our ordeal. I had a mosquito net but Jerry did without. Noticeably more mosquitos than in Oaxaca and I was a bit worried about malaria, although the guy at our hostel in Oaxaca assured us that malaria wasn't prevalent in Oaxaca or Puerto Escondido, but maybe further south going towards Central America there was more chance. So that helped ease my fears.
Next day we both felt much better and I got a hearty breakfast and then hit the beach. We were going to rent some chairs but the price seemed a bit steep so we just lounged on blankets and got into the very warm, very salty water. The undertow there is pretty strong and I stayed nearer to the beach. Jerry ventured out further and seemed to enjoy battling the fast-breaking waves.
While lounging there I looked up and a Mexican guy that had talked to me for a bit up in the ruins of Monte Alban
near Oaxaca was standing there waving to me. What a coincedence! I went over and we ended up talking for quite a long time, and in Spanish too. My longest Spanish conversation yet. He seemed to be a really great guy and we enjoyed talking so I invited him to dinner with us. After a few hours on the beach under the blazing sun I started to notice that I had gotten quite red so I headed in. We met Enrique later on and went to a restaurant on the other side of town where we could look out over the water in the cove as we ate. We had the chef grill us a whole fish and we started with some salads and Jerry with a really spicy raw shrimp bathed in habanero juices.
Enrique warned him and so did the chef but Jerry was all about it. In fact, as fiery as it was, it was delicious. The burning was on the lips and tongue but then it passed. It really was terrific, as was our fish. We talked about many things...Enrique's family, travels, Mexico, politics, life..the usual things and we didn't tire of conversation for a long time. We decided to have a nightcap at a bar nearby and though it was loud it was fun. I ended up talking to some Finnish girls who were shocked I knew where Finland was. They told me they just say Germany because no one in Mexico seems to know about Finland! Another girl was starved for conversation. She was from Toronto and was there with her boyfriend to help build some cabanas and then sell them.
She had been there for a month and was lamenting that her library was unaccesible and she was dying to read something and have English conversation. We were having a great chat when her boyfriend came up and said it was time to go. He was Spanish and Enrique told me he saw him getting jealous as we were talking. It was a harmless conversation but I guess he didn't know that. We walked back and called it a night, but not before sampling some of the great cultural export from America known as Jackass that was playing on the bar screens. Ahhh...what they must think of us!