8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.9
(continued from part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.8)
The coastal ride continued to be nothing less than spectacular along an excellent road through thick canopies of shade through mountain curves and nice straight aways. Ruby seemed content with the smooth road and wanted to continue all the way up the coast. But, I realized I'd likely not make it to Puerto Vallarta before dark so I stopped at the first roadside restaurant that sold seafood. After a splendid fish dinner at a little place called La Buda, and a couple cool papaya licuados the owner's brother asked me about Ruby and my journey. We shared less than favorable comments about each of our respective governments and he suggested I should stay on the beach there at Chamela for the night. He claimed their little playita was the most beautiful in the Pacific and that I could just stay on the beach for free. I asked if there where rooms or palapas I could rent and he said no. But that I could just put up my hammock in one of the little palapa restaurants if I wanted. He urged me to at least have a look. And pointed me down a little dirt road off the highway.
Winding down the soft dirt road as it wound around small lagunas full of water lilies and flanked by giant magical looking trees, I finally came out of the little forest onto a small inlet on a bay that hosted 9 small islands. There were about a dozen small fishing boats on the shore in front of 3 or 4 small palapa restaurants. The sun was nearly fixed to set as the light turned a magnificent golden orange. I pulled Ruby under one of the palapas, got off and inspected the premises for hammock worthiness as the owner, Gladis, and her girls watched me. I then asked without even introducing myself,
"Hey, do you folks mind if I hang up my hammock here and sleep for the night?"
They looked at each other and then she said,
"I don't see why not. Let me ask my husband if he thinks it's OK."
Her fisherman husband was lounging in a large colorful hammock and said it was fine with him. I offered to pay for the rent, and they refused. I insisted on at least $30 pesos or so. They thought about 2 seconds and then the husband said,
"Nada! You don't have to pay anything."
His wife moved a couple of the plastic tables and chairs aside from the middle of the restaurant and suggested I hang my hammock in the middle in case it rains I won't get wet. She pointed back down the dirt road into the forest and said there's a small tienda where you can by water and juice if you like, and asked if I could please try to move my hammock by lunchtime before the customers arrive. She told me they'd have fresh fish if I were hungry the next day, and they all loaded up into a truck and drove off leaving me there with the sunset. I couldn't believe it! I found heaven once again! So peaceful and quiet. I jumped onto Ruby to pick up cigarettes, water, and an ice cold Coke and made it back into my hammock just as el Sol was just kissing the horizon.
With only a few miner disruptions of crashing in the cocina that turned out to be 2 or 3 kittens rummaging for bits of fish to eat, and a fisherman or two heading out into the night to collect lobster, I had a peaceful sleep until the sun rose and the next round of fishermen were heading out with octopus spears. I just lounged for most of the morning and Gladis' husband made me coffee before he headed out for octopus himself. After a nice swim, Gladis prepared me a fresh fish lunch. She said the price was $60 pesos, but I explained I only had $50 pesos since I hadn't changed money in awhile. She said, "That's OK. I'll just give you a little smaller fish." and, winked. After I'd finished the delicacy, and handed over my $50 pesos, she said that she was only charging me $40 pesos so I could buy a nice cold Coke with fresh cut limes if I wanted.
Can you imagine?!!! A foreigner rides up to a restaurant in the States, dismounts, inspects the premises, then without even introducing himself asks if he can hang a hammock inside the restaurant to sleep for the night? My guess is that the FBI would be promptly called to investigate a suspicious character and the poor foreigner would be more or less out of luck! I'd bet a pretty peso he would not be welcomed as one of the family and made as comfortable as possible. But, I suppose stranger things have happened. ;-)
(to be continued in part 8/02/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.10)