[Originally posted January 18, 2008]
I rushed south from the peak of the Mazatlán faro. I wasn't sure where I would stop but I wanted to stay someplace cute. The only place south of me that I recognized was Sayultia, just north of Puerto Vallarta, where Lesley and I spent a lovely-but-crowded long weekend about six months ago. It was a little too far for my late start, though.
Fortunately my motorcycle seems to be a social magnet; I had two different conversations with other residents of the Hotel Belmont while I was parked in the (once glamourous but now crumbling) courtyard. One of them casually mentioned the delicious seafood in San Blas so that immediately became my obsession. Still, it was a stretch, especially after a little detour that involved getting stuck in sand and rescued by two kids that happened to motor by on a panga.
I don't like to ride at night in Mexico. The cows and burros and dogs (and other things) like to sit on the asphalt at night because it's warm - and there are no fences to keep them off the highways. Plus, it's DARK here. Every guidebook I've read says in big bold letters "DON'T DRIVE AT NIGHT" as if Federico Krueger is sitting around the corner waiting for a gringo in a hurry. Honestly, the warning is fair - only people with a death wish drive at night in Mexico both because of the free-range livestock and the questionably sober opposing traffic. But there is a secret.
The road to San Blas is the worst kind of Mexican road. It's twisty, potholed, and rural. Dogs and burros hovered near the tarmac just waiting to throw themselves in front of a passing vehicle. Combined with the hours-away destination and the late hour, everything was lined up to crunch our humble narrator into a little pile of Austrian metal, Mexican cattle, and Norteamericano driver. However, the Coca-Cola Company came to my rescue.
After dark I had been following a small Toyota driving at absurdly (read: sanely) slow speeds, nearly stopping for every pothole in the road as if to inspect for pungi sticks
. It was driving me crazy but like any surviving Vietnam-era soldier I sure as hell wasn't going to volunteer for point duty. Then, the "flow of traffic" finally caught up to us - a red truck painted with the Coca-Cola logo, clearly delivering an emergency supply of sugary liquid to a desperately thirsty neighboring community. I ditched the Tercel for the Kenworth, which took me on a road rally at 70mph (at the slow points - I'm not kidding, I had a hard time keeping up on my freaking MOTORCYCLE) nearly the entire way to San Blas. From behind, I watched little furry animals dive out of the way - something I feel confident they would not have done had the driver not been Mexicano, driving a big truck, and a representative of the Coca-Cola Corporation.
San Blas is cute. It's the kind of cute that Mazatlán isn't; I liked it immediately, even in the dark. I stopped at the Hotel Bucanero (recommended by my lonely planet guide) and when the desk clerk offered me a discount on two nights I didn't hesitate. 150 pesos each.
Then it got crazier. I went to dinner and found myself drinking with two Canadian girls (Linsey and Terri), a colorful local (Donberto), an Australian (Tom), and a Brit (Dave). Tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour at 7am the seven of us are getting breakfast (read: beer), getting on a boat, and doing some weird combination of deep-sea fishing and whale watching. I have no idea what this will actually entail abut I'm certain it will be fun, mostly because of the first item on the agenda (read: beer).