Friday, October 29, 2010

Went North... Now Back in Mita

Joe, Paul and I headed north back on Tuesday to go look for waves and explore some of the northern areas of Mexico that I haven’t had the chance to see yet. We set out from Punta de Mita and stopped in on several spots like San Pancho, Santa Cruz, Aticama and Matanchen Bay. We checked out some spots for waves and really didn’t find anything working especially with the onshore winds we were having.

The first day was pretty cool as the drive was incredibly beautiful. We headed off into the mountains and soaring jungles that is the state of Nayarit. We noticed even more damage from the heavy rains that nailed this area about a month and a half ago. Bridges out, roads dilapidated and many landslides that were recently cleared plagued our drive north but we enjoyed every second of the fresh and beautifully green landscape. In Matanchen bay we found a place to stay for the night for a reasonable price and we set out to explore the long beach. This beach stretches almost to the horizon and reminded me a little of our beaches back in Texas with the hard packed sand and ability to drive down them without worry. We returned to Aticama for some supplies and hit the beach for sunset and our dinner which was tuna and avocado sandwiches. We hung out there for as long as we could until the jejenes (sand fleas) started tearing us a new one which we expected because this place has a long standing tradition of a horrible sand flee population.

That night we sat down and had a few beers with the guys running the place. I was pretty uncomfortable because the guy was some type of East LA gang member or something but he was sociable and generally pretty cool. Some of his questions seemed a little suspicious but I played them off with lies or general misdirection. Joe helped a good deal by firing back with some of the same questions to ease some of the tensions and in general everything was ok. My anxiety is getting out of control at times and frankly its really starting to ruin my trip. Ill talk more about this later…

The next day we headed back south to a beach town we stopped at because it is seriously one of the most beautiful beach towns I have ever seen in my life. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides and there is only 1 road in and 1 road out. The beach is a beautiful color with soft grains of sand and the waves are pretty gentle, breaking in a fun body surfing shore break in one big closeout. The mountains are lush with jungle and orchards of various types and the town is shaded by high growing coconut palms that stretch out onto the beach and they blow gently in the wind. The town was small and the people are nice enough. It has a tourist feel but not the aggressiveness that plagues so many small Mexican beach communities and that makes it very peaceful and quiet. The vibe overall and from the people I talked to, they like their community small and don’t want heavy tourism, hence my restrain of mentioning the name. Just do some homework on the area and you can find it on your own, just like we did.

Joe and Paul (the Australian guy traveling with us) got a room and I parked on the side of the hotel and slept in the car. The first night we found a fantastic taco place, albeit a little pricey but the food was good and we got to watch the Baseball World Series and Monterrey vs. Cruz Azul in Mexican soccer. The next day we took a hike out to the point so we could fish. Paul had a fishing pole and I was going to share my snorkel gear and Hawaiian sling with Joe. The rocks and reef were beautiful and just bountiful with fish but I don’t know anything about which fish I can eat and which I cannot. I didn’t shoot anything because I didn’t see anything that I knew for certain was edible and of decent size. Joe went around for a bit and had the same conclusion. Paul’s turn came up and he was out for a bit then finally I see him snag something. He shot a large angel fish and we told him you cannot eat those and basically you murdered a beautiful reef fish but we were laughing and joking with him. He felt bad enough so only killing one fish isn’t too bad right? We got back to town and talked to some guys and they said NO! You can eat those!!! I showed them the picture of the fish and they confirmed that yes they are very tender and make great ceviche! DAMN! That day we just hung out on the beach some more and in general just lounged around. Paul got to see a fight on the street involving the owner of the taco place we ate at and some other guy, crazy stuff. That night we returned to the taco place and enjoyed the fantastic yet expensive tacos. We talked to the owner a bit and he was very drunk and riled up about the fight still. All of a sudden the guy he fought with shows back up to either make amends or fight again, we still are not quite sure. The owner goes sprinting out of the place to meet the guy in the street and I notice hes holding a large butcher knife in his hand and a very large brick in the other. Crap, this is going to get messy! I start thinking of the logistics of the place and basically the nearest police are almost 10 miles away through a long winding road in the mountains and that’s not good if this turns into a shootout at OK Corral. We pay our checks quickly and get the **** outa there. By then the fight had calmed down a tad but tensions were still high and with the owner sensing us being uncomfortable he quickly calmed down and put down the knife. We hung out on the beach and enjoyed a few beers and then we decided to call it a night.

Upon walking back through the madness, Paul noticed a family all sitting around a car with the hood up. He calls me over and I start talking to the guy who owned the car. He tells me he has no power in any gear and the car just sits there, like the transmission is slipping. I start checking under the hood and notice a large amount of transmission fluid that has leaked or literally been slung out. Hrmm, Im thinking and I know manual transmissions just usually don’t “give up the ghost” like this but listening to it in gear and watching it sit there motionless I was starting to be convinced that they had a heck of a problem on their hands. I keep thinking about the problem so I decide to check his axles and sure enough, it see the drive cv axle wobbling while the car is in gear. Bingo! I quickly jack the car up and remove the driver side front wheel. I climb underneath in the sand and start working to re-engage the drive axle. I work it from side to side pushing as there are splines you have to make match up correctly. Finally it slipped in and locked! We threw the wheel back on and lowered the car and whammo they had their car back! I jacked it up again and explained to the guy how I fixed it and told him this is not very common and should not happen. There are locking slip rings to hold the axle into the transmission and he should have it checked out as soon as he returned to Guadalajara. He understood everything and they thanked us profusely and then asked “How much for the work?”. When I told them nothing, “gratis” the look on their faces was indescribable. How and why had these 3 gringos just come to their rescue and for free?? That NEVER happens right? Well it just did my friends!

Joe and I followed them out of the mountains and back to the main highway where there is a large town just in case they broke down again. From there they decided to push on to Guadalajara and they said their goodbyes and thanks to us and again just totally astounded at what just happened. We were all running on a high of good deeds because neither Joe, Paul nor I could fully understand what just happened either! What a great feeling!!! I have been looking for ways to give back to a country and a people that have given so much to me and last night I was able to do just that.

Today we came back to Punta de Mita to try and get in a better swell window for what little southern swell is left in the water. There is a large north west swell arriving soon, I just have to be patient. I have been feeling shitty about this trip for a few days but I think I just need a change of scenery. I need to be alone again so I can think about my life and this trip and just slow things down a tad. My van is a wreck because we are constantly moving so there is dirt and disorganization all over the place. My anxiety has been off the charts lately too but I think that is just something Im going to have to learn how to control. I start thinking about all the bad shit that can happen to me down here and next thing I know Ive worked myself into a full blown panic. This is something Ive never dealt with and since I don’t believe in medication, its difficult. I have to control myself and bring myself back down to reality, a reality that these people are NOT trying to kill me and not every cop is looking to bust me for something Im not doing. One of the few things that makes me calm down is that I know I have enough money to buy myself out of a crazy situation if I were to get in one somehow. I have to control this because it is controlling me at times and I don’t like it. Maybe I should find a bilingual psychiatrist or something because quitting on my dreams is something that really bothers me. Although I have been thinking about many other places I would love to go and I wonder why Im down here putting myself through this, especially when there is little to no surf.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dave, There are those of us that wish we could be in your shoes but we can't. Enjoy what you have and those that are around you at the time.
Sounds like you need to keep your self busy. Find something in the town that your in to help out in the community. Make some cash while your there even if it's only for dinner.
People (Not being directed at you) need to stop being damn selfish help out!
Have fun. I look forward to reading more. Later