I had a date in Mexico and I hate being late for anything. It's the British in me (although I don't always join the back of the queue these days and a decent cup of tea is a thing of the past). Shane, who I had met in Australia, and then again in the UK, was flying from Japan to join me in Mexico. He had parked his bike up for the winter and was coming to see what Mexico had to offer for a while, before heading back to Oz. Rhonda and I had arranged to meet him in Zipolite on the Pacific coast - A place I picked at random off the map.
The rain stopped on the second day but the wind picked up to a monumental strength as I hit the wind farms. Miles of enormous white blades, towering above me in perfect order. They looked like well trained soldiers, standing to attention and ready for battle. I was not so ready! Clearly the wind was predictably strong here and as soon as we hit this stretch, Rhonda and I began our own battle. We were being thrown all over the road. I had to rest under each bridge and then build up the strength to move on again 'Ok you can see the next bridge' I'd tell myself 'You just have to get to that bridge. That's all'. The phrase 'How do you eat an elephant?' popped into my head as I rode towards my next target. I kept repeating like a mantra 'One toe at a time. One toe at a time'! Luckily this only lasted an hour or so and just as quickly as it had started, the wind vanished! It seemed I had ridden out of the rainy season and into the hot and humid South Mexican winter!
Zipolite tuned out to be a quiet and curious little town. It is home to many ageing gringos who I imagine came here travelling during the 70s, got stoned and never quite found the motivation to leave. They still sit here amongst the colourful graffiti, sand and surf, smoking weed, listening to Bob Marley and occasionally going for naked strolls on the beach, come the cool evenings. It seems this stretch of coastline has gone and got a name for itself as a nudist beach, and so perhaps this would explain the serious lack of tourists. They all seem to be residing in Mazunte, just a couple of miles away. Mazunte is not as pretty and doesn’t have the same community feel to it as Zipolite. If you order something in a restaurant here in Zipolite, and they don't have it, you will soon find a waiter from one of the neighbouring restaurants, wandering down the street with your order. A glass of wine or a cold beer - always served with a smile.
I can live with the odd naked body wondering around. I guess I have only seen a handful in the 12 days I've been here and after the first one, well - you've seen one, you've seen them all right? The beach itself and the surrounding area is tranquil and I am impressed by the lack of rubbish. The wildlife is protected and plentiful. The lagoons are full of crocs (as we found out to our surprise during a boat trip to the mangroves) and there are lizards lazily basking (not unlike the gringos) in the extreme temperatures of the midday sun. I'm also happy to see many of the stray dogs being fed by the locals, although mange is still obviously rife here as in so many other parts. I am constantly wishing I could help - but there are so many. For now, all I can do is buy the odd bag of dog biscuits, and share them out when I see any particularly hungry souls in need of a little help.
After 12 easy days here, it is time to move on. Shane has caught a bus to the city, in search of a motorbike to join me for my Mexican adventure. Rhonda and I will catch up with him tomorrow, with our own mission of finding a chain and sprocket set. This is not as easy as it sounds and I may need to have parts shipped into the country. I also need a new front tyre, as this one (Hyundai) has amazingly lasted since Buenos Aires (around 15,000 miles ago)! The city also holds doctors and as I have struggled with a bad shoulder for the last two weeks (possibly a result of fighting the winds), I plan on an MOT myself!!
Once Shane has his bike, Rhonda has her sprocket and I have my shoulder seen to, these two solo riders will team up for a few weeks on the Mexican trails. Let's see if we can keep out of trouble.....and if we can't do that? We'll make sure we have fun!
NOTE: My new helmet is not doing so well. I spent a lot of money in Colombia in the hope that I would get myself a quality helmet that would last, with a reputable company. Sadly I got neither! The cheek pads and liner have a strange system to hold them in place - except they don't! Every time I take my helmet off, the inside of the helmet falls out. Now the poppers are missing altogether. This started happening just days after getting the helmet. I have tried contacting NEXX on several occasions over the last 2 months and they have yet to reply. It seems there is no customer service on this product! Be warned!