Wednesday, February 14, 2007

1150 Miles so far...

So far, 1150 miles already. Los Barriles - Topolobampo (95m) - Mazatlan (285m) - San Blas (196m) - Puerto Vallarta (106m) - Cuyutlan (201m) - Barra de Nexpa (150m) - Zihuatanejo (117m)

Now we are Zihuatanejo and as far as the room we’re staying in, wishing we weren’t. The room is SCARY – this is where my husband brings me for Valentine’s night – the old romantic....!! There’s a dingy cavern of a bathroom off the main room with no electric that works – probably because there’s water dripping down from the socket – right onto your head as you’re sitting on the toilet. The beds are covered in threadbare sheets, the only window looks out onto a small stuffy courtyard right next to noisy restaurant and is filled by a handicapped child wailing all day and a screaming baby – it’s quality – no really!!

Still last night was the opposite end of the scale as far as location goes. We found our ‘picture perfect’ beach cabana to hang out! It was a great surfer’s beach called Barra de Nexpa, which was quite deserted apart from a handful of palapas and beach cabanas. Ours was 2 level with a small kitchenette downstairs and up a rickety wooden staircase into the attic where there were 2 beds and a big open deck looking out onto the beach and a hammock swaying in the breeze where we could lie whilst supping our large cocktails, brought from the next door palapa restaurant. All rather idyllic!

The last couple of days riding have been fantastic scenery too. The coasts of the Jalisco, Colima and Michoacan states. OMG! Oregon, California coasts – pack your bags and get down here! This really gets the medal for spectacular-ness. Deserted, undeveloped, miles upon miles of twisty winding roads through banana plantations and coconut palms. Dozens of quaint little beaches, small family homes that have opened up their verandas to serve food to anyone that happens to pass by. The road has generally been very empty of other vehicles and pretty good smooth surface, the only real hazards being the ambling cows and donkeys (oh, and the dozens of ‘topes’ (speed bumps) that litter every small pueblo we pass through – they are pretty darn effective). We stop midway through our journey on most days to take a break, and have found some great little beache and coves to take a dip in the water and have a cold drink in the shade!

Puerto Vallarta was fun. Succumbed to a certain amount of tourist tackiness and went on a boat cruise out to Los Arcos to snorkel (a shame that we couldn’t even see our feet in the murky, polluted water – too many tourist boats pass through here it’s all gone grimy). On to a couple of beach villages – Quimixto and Las Animas. Both of which are only accessible by boat so quite quaint and old-worldy. At Quimixto we hiked up to a waterfall in the jungle to take a refreshing dip – the water was really cold though so it really was ‘just a quick dip!’ (Yes that's Chris goofing around in the water - he was somewhat braver than me, and much stronger - the current really was quite intense!)

The best bit by FAR about Puerto Vallarta was just strolling along the Malecon at night. We were there on the weekend when things apparently do ‘hot up’. The place was packed with people, so many locals too. There’s free entertainment in the amphitheatre on the seafront – we saw some traditional Mexican dancing and also some clown performance (all in Spanish though but we got the gist that he was amusing). Also lots of street artists – mime artists, spray-can artists, break-dancers, stone balancers, and lots of sand sculptures all the way along a half mile stretch of the Malecon – and to finish off an area around the town square full of street vendors with all different types of food and drinks stands – it was such fun. It was just an average weekend thing but for us it really felt like a ‘carnival/party’ atmosphere.

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