Dipping into the central pacific coast in the towns of Mazatlan, Mexcaltitán, and San Blas, was a totally different experience than the north and the mountains. The roads were flat and the humidity was a killer. It felt like you would simply melt away in the heat if you stopped longer than a minute in the sun with the bike gear on. I took to stopping riding at least between the hours of 12-3 to try and rest in the shade like the locals did.
I said goodbye to my Dutch friends at Mexcaltitán, a little ancient island village, thought to be the ancestral homeland of the Aztec people, settled sometime around the year AD 500.
Almost every square inch of the island is covered in houses, ringing in an oval from the water jetties up to and around a central square. Restaurants hang over the water, the cool breeze brining timely relief from the heat. As this is a shrimping town, the restaurants serve nothing but shrimp. I felt like I had walked onto the set of Forest Gump.
Camping on the beach in San Blas seemed a better idea in theory than practice. Tiny sand fleas covered me most of the moments I set foot on the sand (just where I had set up my tent!), and I was the lucky one to be the one in four that are very allergic to them (only discovering this 24hours later!). My body is now covered in welts, that are incredibly itchy, even days later.
I had my first swim in the ocean since the Arctic, and the warm Pacific waters were a totally different experience. I spent hours floating in the warm waters, trying to find relief from the intense heat, and the biting insects.
As I was back solo again, the sense of protectiveness of the people towards me intensified. When setting up my tent the owner of the camp assured me I would be safe. After an interaction with a local man while swimming, our conversations dramatic as we used hand gestures to supplement poor language skills, alerted a group of men who came up to me as I exited the water to ask if I was ok, to see if anything had happened to me, or if I needed help.
I wandered the streets and I felt like I had through much of Mexico, that feeling that I was one of the only western tourists. A man stopped me in the street, he said he was ‘Pompis’ Cano, and that he used to be the national longboard champion. He recalled San Blas of the 70’s with ‘long haired hippies lining the gutters smoking dope and playing guitar” his eyes seem to fade away to a time gone past, ‘ and I was one of them’, he winked…’hair down to here’ he motioned to half way down his back…“now we just have police and the army…’ He sighed. ‘Where are all the tourists now?’ He swept his hand across the deserted streets. He invited me for a smoke which I declined, but then gave me advice for the restaurant with the ‘best cooks in town’ before riding off on his bicycle into the darkness.