The ride south from Escondido to Mazunte was short, quick, but incredibly HOT!!! By the time I arrived I was covered in sweat. I checked into Posada del Arquitecto and booked two 'Estrellas' (hanging beds that overlook the ocean and sit under the stars). One for me and the other for Daniel, my temporary travel partner, but permanent new friend. He arrived by bus some time later that day. After dropping my bags, I ran to the shower, stripped down, and stood there under the cold water for what seemed like hours. I can't even describe how good that felt. I'd end up taking six or seven just like it during my time there.
As soon as I arrived in Mazunte I realized how different it was than other beach towns like Escondido. It is a small village that has a cozy feel and family vibe (everyone seems to know each other), filled to the brim with laid back, super cool, young hippies. There is also a compound filled with families that prefer to live and raise their families 'off the grid'. There is a 'one-with-the-earth', peaceful feeling that surrounds the place. Although everyone seems to do their fair share of partying (mostly 'organic' - I was offered mushrooms by the bracelet guy, and weed by the tattoo guy within minutes of arriving), I'd say there is much more healthy living that consumes most people's time. All around there are people giving/receiving Reiki, chanting, meditating, and the place is scattered with people semi-permanently fixed in various different yoga poses.
The first night Daniel and I explored the city a bit, then called it early. There was a five day festival going on, which brought people from all around to celebrate the saint of the village (the name escapes me). I guess the travels from the day, exploring the town a bit, and the preceding days/long nights in Escondido did a number on us. After a decent night I woke up early for a sunrise run on the beach, which was really magic. I tell ya, when the right song comes on at the right moment, sometimes life just feels right... almost too good. After my run and workout, I laid there on the empty beach next to a beach dog listening to music, thinking, and basking in the morning sun for a bit (this track a good example). Later that day we took the bike on a bit of a detour to La Ventanilla to do a short boat tour where we watched a massive crocodile devour a pelican. It was straight out of National Geographic. I felt like the croc deserved propina (a tip) for the show. Then we rode out to the point to watch the sunset. We were perched atop a rocky cliff with a group of hippies blowing conch shells and chanting. The sun set perfectly and then behind us a bright and beautiful full moon rose up to overpower the sky. It is hard to describe... I'm thirsty to take in more moments just like it.
That night we met a couple of British girls. Jo had just finished organizing an electronic music festival in Playa del Carmen. Apparently she is a bit of a big deal in the music scene. She met up with her friend who is a production manager for Bestival (another popular music festival in England). We partied it up for a bit in the plaza over buckets of mojitos, street food, and cold beer. It was the final night of the five day celebration, so the plaza was filled with a mass of people dancing and getting proper 'mega-spangled' (like that Jo? I was able to work in our new word). Those two were good fun and will be amazing music contacts to have in the future. I envy that they are both passionate about their work, but at the same time get to travel the world and do what they love. Sounds pretty spectacular.
Yesterday morning I woke up and packed. I had originally planned to spend a night in Salina Cruz at a surf camp, but got a wild hair over breakfast and figured I'd just book it all the way to San Cristobal, which would give me three nights there instead of two. The ride was long (360+ miles / 9hrs), but I'm really glad I did it. I experienced every bit of riding bliss along the way. The beginning of the route was filled with amazing twisty roads, sunshine, and endless beach views. The middle of the ride was flat road through beautiful wind turbine farms. Again, the right song at the right time had me playing air drums and dancing in the saddle. Throughout the ride the temperature dropped significantly. It started out around 87F and ended around 47F. The third part of the ride was incredibly exhilarating as I found myself darting quickly in and out of busy night traffic through the streets of Tuxtla Gutierrez. It is hard to keep up with the delivery guys on the little 125cc bikes, but I'm happy to say that I bolted through the city center in what had to have been record time. Only sideswiping one car with my pannier (oops!). The final bit of the ride was again filled with absolutely amazing twisty sections and then opened up into some nice smoothly paved high speed sweepers that led down into San Cristobal, which at that point was resting peacefully below a gorgeous yellow/grey full moon.
I checked into Rosso's Backpacker Hostel here in S.C. and was pleasantly surprised that not only did they have a perfect, secure courtyard for the bike, but they offered me a free night. Apparently Rosso loves motorbikes and if you arrive here on one, your first night is comped. After getting unpacked and showered, I met a few travelers in the courtyard and we explored a couple of restaurants/bars. Both had amazing live music and an uber cool crowd. The young people here remind me of the hipsters in Buenos Aires. Sharply dressed, confident, smart, and full of life. Since this is Chiapas, home of the Zapatista movement, there is a bit of a rebellious aura about them as well. The second bar had a great live salsa/cumbia band. I met Veronica straight away. She is a local that speaks zero English. My broken Spanish didn't help things, but we hit it off on the dance floor and danced sweaty salsa through the night. It was quite fun and she wants to meet up again tonight. I plan to explore the city today after finishing up some much needed chores (i.e. finances, e-mail, laundry, etc). I also need to buy an iPhone 5 charger as mine stopped working, which may be a challenge tracking down.
For those reading this, if you are on the fence about doing a trip like this. Seriously, fucking do it!!! Sorry for the language, but there is no other way to put it. Someday never comes... Along the way I've experienced life like I've never felt before. Some good (mostly all good), some bad. At times I've been lonely, at times surrounded by new friends. At times I'm at wits end (i.e. crashing the bike, being lost, etc), but the majority of the time I'm in a constant state of surreal elation. It really is an amazing feeling. During the ride yesterday I realized that this is a temporary journey, and made a point to really soak in the day.
I guess that's it for now... I'll write more from here in San Cristobal. After this I plan to make the trek to Antigua where I'll study Spanish and live with a host family for a week and begin the next chapter of the adventure in Guatemala and the remainder of Central America.
Until then, salud!!! ~ D