“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.” Martin Buber
Days: 26h April – 9th Mai 2016
Kilometres until 9th Mai: 14.390
A familiar blue line showed up on the horizon as I was approaching Mazatlan. The fresh wind confirmed. I was back at the ocean. Leaving north Mexico and the desert behind meant also leaving the completely non-tourist environment and the challenges of the insecure travelling. On the one hand, I felt like lying on the soft pillow of easy travelling for a couple of weeks, on the other – I felt that I´ll miss the excitement and uncertainty of the travels in remote areas. First, it was time for a swim in the ocean…
Mazatlan is one of those cities that make you feel good. It attracts tourists but mainly Mexicans, so for me the cultural experience did not get lost. The promenade of the city is maybe the best one I´ve seen. The very long street along the coast offers an interesting diversity, starting from the cultural old town and ending in the party area of the city. Martin (the Czech guy with his van), I and Chris (the Austrian backpacker) camped on a hidden place at the port just beneath the light house. It was good to wake up on the sound of the waves again.
On our second night, we were woken up by the police who searched through my car and after not finding any drugs told us “politely” to get the hell out of this place because it´s way too dangerous during the night. So, we ended up sleeping in the cars 200 meters further down the street. On the next day, we said goodbye Chris, who decided to stay longer in Mazatlan, and headed south.
On the way down, we came deep into tropical Mexico. Palm trees were surrounding us, small street shops were offering every food you can imagine. We stopped to get some mangos and bananas from the trees. Every look on right offered a new view over lonely beaches with palm trees.
We randomly stopped at one small village where the El dia del Nino (The Day of the Children) was being celebrated. As we were walking across the main square, where all the people had gathered, our white skin stole the attention off the children for a moment. It was truly great to see part of the local daily life undisturbed by tourists (alright, I mean tourists other than us).
Our next stop was Sayulita. After so many weeks through Mexico we finally saw young western tourists, mostly surfers, which were over flooding the place. To be honest, I liked a lot the vibe of Sayulita. Despite all tourists, it was calm during the day and exciting during the nights. Life was easy again. Martin and I allowed ourselves to fall into our comfort zone for couple of days, using the presence of the beach and all the young people to enjoy some surfing and active night life.
One of my best memories in Sayulita was one early evening at the main square. All the Mexican residents of the village seem to have gathered and have started a fiesta with music and mood beyond anything that any bar in the area could offer. The life music, an old Mexican couple dancing ridiculously well, grandmothers shaking their bodies surprisingly lively – that´s something that can keep your smile on for hours. At the end, old American couple taught all the Mexicans some cowboy dancing. What a party!
Mayto and the wonders of the remote Mexican coast
After three days of relaxing in the touristy Sayulita, we headed south. We took a wonderful walk trough Puerto Vallarta, enjoying an amazing promenade which could compete with the one in Mazatlan. Puerto Vallarta impressed me with a very fresh vibe of the city centre.
As next, I followed the secret tip of my good friend Flo Martini, who is doing the same roadtrip to Central America but just few months ahead of me (more about Flo´s travels here: http://flo-unterwegs.de/ ). We went to the small village/beach Mayto. We got off the main road and drove to a road which on several occasions almost completely destroyed my Rocinante.
Visiting the place turned out to be one of the best decisions ever. The remote village did not see many visitors out of the area, especially Westerners. The beach was long and wide, with no one to see on it for the most of the day.
We camped on the beach close to some coconut trees. With the help of our climbing equipment and some strong motivation each of us climbed a coconut palm to get the fulfilling reward of coconut water and nut for weeks ahead.
In Mayto, I met with a friend of Flo – Jorge, an amazing guy in my age, who after 10 minutes of talking behaved to me as if we knew each other for 10 years.
Jorge showed us the local educational centre for sustainable living “Rancho Mar y Sol” created by an American named Daniel who lived there now with his family. I offered my help to Daniel for couple of days and he allowed us to stay and get to know that truly impressive place as well as to hear the interesting story about creating it. The time spent in the ranch was very inspiring and motivating for me and got me dreaming about projects in the areas of energy efficiency and sustainable living that I want to bring into fulfilment later in my life. So, on the last morning in Mayto I turned on my car, waved goodbye to my new great friends and drove ahead with a smile on my face and excitement in my head.
Colima´s image of nature and cultural vibe made it our next goalOn the first night there, we visited a local dance festival and met another friend of Flo – Roberto, who (together with his girlfriend) was our host and guide for the next few days. Roberto introduced us to his local clique and in no time we found ourselves playing guitar and singing with bunch of young Mexicans around us. I even got a personal free-style Mexican rap about “Baba Vanga” from Bulgaria and the pride of the Czech Republic Chico. Alberto made our stay great.
On the third day in Colima, we drove in Martin´s van to climb the volcano not far away from the city. The road up to the top was disastrous. Martin didn´t give up and we came on top of the volcano “just” on the price of almost destroyed tires and one big hole on the engine oil tank of Martin´s van. The view of the active volcano just several miles in front of us, constantly releasing smoke, was impressive. We came back to Colima just as the engine oil of Martin´s van got almost empty. Roberto welcomed us properly with some tequila. The next day was spent repairing the vehicle as well as our bodies and minds.
The hard way to Mexico City
Martin decided to go to the city of Guadalajara after Colima and I decided to continue further in direction Mexico City so we took farewell. I chose to drive through the beautiful remote coastline of Michoacán and then through the mountains of Guerrero despite the warnings of the locals of active cartels. The first day of driving along the coastline was relaxed, full of palms and amazing miles-long beaches with nobody to be seen in each direction. A place for relaxation.
On the second day, I reached Zihuatanejo, a chilled small town on the coast. As I saw the entrance sign I realised that I know the name from somewhere. It´s the town of the final scene of the “Shawshank Redemption” movie. (SPOILER ALERT!) Even if I did not spent the last 15 years in prison like Andy, I allowed myself to relax at the lively vibe of the city. I made a salad on the beach and did some people watching on the bay where a fiesta was being unleashed.
As next, I had to go through the remote and “tricky” mountains of Guerrero in order to get to Mexico City. At first, the road through the mountains was peaceful and I didn´t see many cars. Then, as the road went though some extremely poor villages, the people and their looks at me became rough, reminding me of the North of Mexico. The police presence was very intense in the cities. Jeeps with heavily armed policemen on the back were a regular sight even in the smaller towns. As the night approached, I was stopped by the police for a check. As I told them that I plan to continue and sleep somewhere near the road as it gets dark, the eyes of the policemen widened: “Highly not recommended! Go back to the biggest town and park somewhere near the centre in a light place”. My intuition agreed with him. I did not like the area. I stopped in front of the police station in the previous town and had one restless night. For the first time in Mexico, I felt unsafe.
On the next morning, I started my final ride to Mexico City with the first light. After 300 kilometers, the area became greener and there were more Mexican tourists to be seen around. Soon, I came on a big highway, the first one of this size I´d seen in Mexico. Again, I was arriving in a different, modern Mexico which I did not know.
Special thanks to my editor – Natali Kancheva
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