I cherish the fact that our mean machines lend themselves to munching miles when scorching roads and melting riders’ needs arise. Namely blasting 260 miles from San Cristóbal to the Pacific coast—is just one of the extrinsic rewards that comes with a two-wheeled reality. Don’t get me started on the myriad intrinsic ones…Vroom!
Cobbling together an understanding that the first roadblock we stumbled upon en route to Salina Cruz on the coast had just been initiated, Jason wasted not a second in swerving around a body of busy people, and deviating around the barricade like a rat fleeing a rising flood. Close on his tail, I scurried quickly behind and we were out of there. No questions asked, no objections raised but to be fair, folks had simply failed to notice us stealing through.
There was bound to be another barricade in store. So be it, I was prepared to face the music this time; armed with sunglasses and sun block, my hat and water were also in easy reach. Even if it meant we’d have to sit like corn kernels on a stove hotter than hell. Not wanting to pop—perhaps a question of when not if—ready or not, the thought filled me like hot oil. The air was charged and heavy but I couldn’t see a single grey cloud blemishing the sky. Bizarrely, blockade number two followed a similar pattern to the first one, and there wasn’t an ounce of drama attached.
‘Not a full house, but we’ll play on,’ I mused. Most things come in threes and so too did our trio of road blocks. Two out of three in the back of the net dulled the edges of my apprehension, perhaps we were on a cheeky roll. Could we slip through the net undetected, yet again? Apparently so. If one thing was clear, there was no aggressive air around these Mexican protests and despite being yoked by making a stand, they either possessed a collective indifference towards letting us pass, or weren’t quite reactive enough to stop us sliding past. Bingo!
Leaving the road blocks and the you-won’t-get-away-with-it-again theory behind, we leaned at an acute angle into a boisterous wind, battering us through the middle of perhaps Mexico’s biggest wind farm—easily 1,000 of these spinning turbines—into a hairdryer hot wind. Blasting our faces for the best part of the day, it all but devoured me whole, in great greedy gulps. The air was like a thick swamp, the humid heat elbowing us constantly in the face. It was almost too soupy to breathe, stoking something threatening to boil over inside me. I felt stretched sore afterwards, having been buffeted and sunburned in the saddle for hours on end.
Cream crackered, we pulled into a stony track that took us to Camp Cocoleoco, an established campground at Concepción Bamba, just a little further on from Salina Cruz off the Pacific coast. A surfer’s Mecca but for me, it was a haven of shaded hammocks and access to freshly caught seafood on the sea front. There, shining in the sun, stretched a burnished eternity of wave and motion that faded into a still horizon. With no running water at camp, it took everything I had not to throw myself head first into the large drums of water and instead, drenched myself with sloshing bowls of cooling aqua all over myself. Arrrh, Bisto!
At Blue Rock Café half a mile from the campground, my growling stomach had me half-mooned around a plastic table, and before I could savour the salivation that comes before every meal with a zealous appetite, I dived in for food like a seagull at a city beach. Fed on fish and beered, the adorable owners Elordia and Oswaldo hugged me goodbye and we ambled along the beach without a single regard for the passing of time; we stopped to watch the bats scour the beach for their supper, breathing in the panoramic view of the ocean. The sun was setting creating a palette of the sky in swirls of lavender, oranges and fuchsia. The ocean below was a rolling kaleidoscope of turquoise, aquamarine, violet and white. Looking up and down the moon-washed beach, aware of the moonlight on the water flickering silver, endless waves crashed against the white sands.
Following the curving line of surf, Jason meandered up and down the sand-dune buffered bay with his camera the next morning, while I walked up to a modest line of flip-flops waiting on the sand, where they’d been kicked off by the surfers. Having met a young couple, Rosie and Tim from Devon, who happened to be pretty experienced surfers, I couldn’t wait to see them dance with the waves. The sunlight sparkled like champagne fizz off the ocean as it corded and flowed, its pulse mixing with my own.
Refreshingly, the water was free of seaweed that normally tumbled in with the surf, which piled into wave-scalloped peaks. Nestling my nether portions into a comfy spot, I buried and unburied my feet in the warm, fine sand. Unabated, the waves pulsed upon the bleached sand, each foaming advance racing up as if trying to tag the tip of my toes—then falling back in a white rush and undercutting its successor.
The surfers didn’t disappoint; tubing through as each wave broke, curled and furled—the perfect dance began as their boards soared on water with an exhilarating speed. Later, I watched the tide coming in—erasing footprints, demolishing a sand castle decorated with pebbles, ridding the shore of its daily history. Come dusk, there were two children fishing from the rocks and the odd surfer catching the wave’s last offerings in a strong amber light. No streetlights, no impossible-not-to-overhear-mobile-phone-conversations, no crowds, nothing to disrupt the peace.
Fully committed to the relaxed lifestyle that the beachy haven insisted upon, I closed my eyes, listening to the shrill cross talk of unseen frogs and twilight insects, the calming waves of nearby ocean, and closed my mind to nothing but sea air induced slumber.
Combing the shoreline the following day for more hidden sandy gems, iOverlander pointed us towards Cabañas la Habana in Zipolite. Good moto-friends of ours had described the place as a “very mellow beach spot.” They weren’t wrong. A line of rickety wooden beach huts on stilts—each adorned in their own hand painted designs—gave rise to a fabulous sea breeze and a room with a view. A truly rustic little find. Local men would allegedly keep their eyes permanently peeled up and down the beach for punters like us to indulge in their tasty treats.
Jase dived into his shower and siesta while I walked to the water’s edge and let the ocean consume my feet. This was my idea of settling in. Warm waves licked my legs, greedily. With another red-hot ride under our belts, I waded in a little farther and exchanged sweat and heat for salt and cool.
The ocean’s undertow beneath the ferocity of the waves swept me clean off my feet as I landed in a heap on the seabed, head poking up just above the waterline. The sea’s wrath pulled at me, scraping my knees on the sharp bite of the gritty sand as it tossed me around, like a leopard seal’s plaything. ‘I’m not sure I like this,’ I groused to myself; I’ve never really enjoyed the same kind of comfort on the surface as I do submerged. In this watery liquid locale in which I now found myself, my thoughts suspended in the hydrosphere were solid—hotter than fire and wetter than water—Oh my giddy ants!
The pounding of the surf grew louder, as if it carried a thousand voices…think you’d better get out. I stumbled sideways before I caught my balance and darted to the edge of the shore. My ‘Bond Girl’ exit from the ocean would have to wait another day. Instead, I floundered and scrambled up the sand towards Jason like a clubbed fawn, despair firing my veins. Exhaustion sapped my meagre muscles, the skin prickled on my knees spotted in red and tickles ran across my skin like invisible ants. I watched the surf roll and whisper down the shore…wise move, lady!
Something pulled at me. Not like something grabbing at my arm, but something subtler, less physical. Rustic-hovels-on-stilts aside, Jason found our dwelling more of a sweatbox than a bohemian beach hut when the breeze died a death, and teetered on spontaneously combusting if not staving off hyperthermia all night. The resort erred on scruffy over shabby chic and having been pre-empted that we’d be bestowed with juicy fruits at our door—courtesy of the strolling beach vendors—got only an eyeful of middle-aged to mature barrel-bellied men, each with their pair of plums and banana hanging loose. Don’t be so prudish, Lise, Zipolite is a nudist beach..! I guess it was a little like when the sun dips behind a cloud and you feel your mood change instantly in response.
2 thoughts on “3-5 Aug 2015 – Jammy Dodgers, surf’s up dude and sometimes, life’s a beach”
Love that stretch of coast in Mexico! This post brought me back!
Now that’s coolin’ it!