8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.6
(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.5)
After a beautiful ride over to Ixtapa to watch the sunset, I put Ruby to sleep after tightening up all her bits and pieces, and set out to find some local seafood. Les' words echoed and I decided that perhaps I should do a bit more to support the local economy too, so I located one of the touristy seafood restaurants that lined the beach. I paid 5 times more for the meal I had, and the waiter was so pleasant I gave him an exceptionally nice tip and felt good doing so. That is, until about 5 hours later when I couldn't stop going to the bano, and felt quite ill. I was determined to continue South and hoped that the abdominal pains and nausea would ease up once I was distracted by the ride. Not such a wise decision. By the time I hit Lazaro Cardenas, the sun was boiling my brain inside my helmet, the abdominal pains had become more severe, and I felt like I was going to toss my tacos right into my face shield. If that weren't enough, the dusty exhaust of Lazaro Cardenas was making me need to sneeze, and being afraid a good sneeze would bring my "support the local economy" seafood up with it. Not pleasant. And to add insult to injury, the town of Lazaro Cardenas is an absolute armpit. At least the part I road through. And everytime I stopped for directions the temperature inside my helmet would rise a few degrees and I'd begin to feel faint. I thought, "If I could just make it through this god forsaken town and back into the sea breeze, I could hang on a while longer. But, I ended up continually going in circles. I was so frustrated at one point that I was literally screaming in my helmet, "Where is the f@#king highway? Why are all the road signs painted over with green so that nothing is marked?!!!" I uttered several more profanities at full volume until I looked over to my left and saw a truck full of military personal in full gear with machine guns. Actually, I think they were more startled by the screaming gringo on a motorcycle than I was from them and it amused me mildly.
I would even pull up to an intersection and ask a group of people sitting at a covered taco stand which direction the highway North toward Puerto Vallarta and would get 3 completely different answers and one person saying just ask a taxi driver. A taxi driver!? Never!? But soon I swallowed my pride and after an hour of going in circles was set back on course. Finally, Ruby and I could breath again and the coastline made for a brilliant diversion. But there was still this nagging gastonomic issue to contend with. The breeze helped sure enough, but I was still pretty miserable and had to pull over. I spotted a simple palapa restaurant seemingly in the middle of nowhere sitting atop a cliff overlooking dramatic bluffs below. I spotted a hammock or two, and an outhouse toilet. Seemed like a pleasant enough spot to get grounded for a while, and when I asked the woman if she had any herba buena tea for my stomach, she pulled a pot off the ground growing various plants and asked if I wanted her to prepare it for me. Ahhhhh!!!! Soon the pains were subsiding and I was laying carelessly in a hammock overlooking the sea. I could have stayed there longer and would have until the woman's husband was trying to convince me to go with him up into the mountains to get some gold and silver. He said, "The hills are full of it and if you have cash, wouldn't you rather trade it for gold!?" "No, I have no use for gold. But, why don't you just carry your load of gold and silver to the city and get a buyer there?" He stammered at my curve ball and answered, "I can't get it by myself, it's deep in a well and I would need your help. But, if you don't have any use for it I'll just have to figure something else out."
A silence fell and I took the opportunity to get back on the road. One last visit to the bano for good luck, and Ruby and I were sailing down the coastline again. Dropping down to straight flat parts that hug the coastline, then twisting back up into mountain passes covered with a canopy of trees for shade. With the exception of getting bogged down by the occasional semi, bus, or dump truck overloaded with rocks or coconuts (some falling off the back). It was a fantastic ride. Getting around the trucks isn't such a problem since then bog down to a crawl on the inclines, it's just that the blind curves get pretty tight with no much room to shoot past them without risk of hitting someone head on from the other side. Not only that, but you also have to be very wary of people passing blindly from the other side as they often do and allowing yourself a few inches to get out of the way. Another tip is to be careful following too close behind the taller trucks. They scrape the top of the canopy and send fairly good sized broken branches with leaves crashing down on you. It's not too bad once you get past the trucks and get back into your rhythm curving left, right, left, etc. It's really kind of a smooth rhythm you have to get into until after an hour or so and you've forgotten you're not the only soul on this road and are startled by a huge semi rounding the same tight curve from the other side and he's using half of your lane too! Tends to wake one up from the ecstatic hypnosis. ;-)
The name Maruata came up on a sign. I'd been there before and the coves there are stunning for sure. But I was determined to stay at a new beach this time, and as I recall, Maruata is very popular with the stoned, bongo-playing, mota smokers... as well as the mosquitos. So I just blew right past without a stop. I still was enjoying the clarity of mind without "smoke" or booze and wanted to keep riding that train a bit longer. During the long hours of thought, I decided my problem had mostly been habitual. Using anything to divert my attention from regular life every chance I could instead of just taking it head on. I also figured this is where the problem is, not in the use of various plants, but in their habitual use. I realized that oftentimes I'm partake just for no reason at all. I can't deny that I have certainly enjoyed benefits from occasional "plant" use. And, a nice drink every now and then or a fine glass of wine definitely seemed almost therapudic when taken in moderation and used to enhance a given life moment. However, learning to recognize when one is using such "remedies" for a specific and controlled beneficial purpose, or just using them for the hell of it habitually without regard to purpose would prove to be the real challenge. For the moment I was content to stay clear headed and enjoy all the current textures of my life. I can understand how some might find refuge in dulling their senses from time to time in order to take a break from real life for awhile, but I can no longer understand how people can go to so much trouble to get to some remote beach, jungle dwelling, or mountain hut... and instead of soaking up every ounce of smell and sensation, they choose to dullen their every sense as quickly as possible. I've done it myself, and the only answer is that it's because I'd habitually learned to dullen myself for ANY occasion instead of just the most severe when it might be appropriate. But laying in a hammock with the cool breeze caressing every inch of skin while you're watching the sun explode into heavenly fire as he slips past the boundless horizon? I think I'll take THAT glorious cocktail... straight up.
(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.7)