On the road again, Chiapas
We finally shake the dust off and get underway. Two more days working on the engine and seeking advice online and we finally give up. The mechanics here offer no more ideas or skills toward the problem and the online community seems to have run out of them as well. We decide we might as well load up the bus and move on. Not a decision we take lightly, and we know that the vehicle could break down in a far worse spot than we are currently in, but short a whole new motor, ordering a new set of carbs from the states, waiting and then finding out whether that fixes our problem (or not)...we don’t have many options. We also didn’t get this far by stopping every time someone warned us not to go...so we’ll see what happens down the road.
Our first day reminded exactly how hot it is here. Its been easy to forget sitting in a shaded camp with a nice gusty breeze blowing through at all times. We got a late start from camp because i had to make yet another attempt to get us firing on 4 cylinders. I don’t think we’ll make that mistake again. We ran really hot and it was a mostly tedious day of driving through the hilly serpentine roads of southern oaxaca state. While the landscape is beautiful, its stiflingly hot/arid and the ovenlike breeze coming through the windows took us back to our days in baja.
We pull into punta chiva and seek out a surf camp that we read existed here, but find nothing more than abandoned (or at least not currently opened) palapa restaurants on one half the bay rivaled by skeletons of similar restaurants fully entombed by sand dunes on the other side. Its so hard when pulling into one of these unknown beached to imagine what they must feel like when tourists come rather than the post-apocalypse movie set that we experience. We see less than 10 people and 2 cars in our day here. The wind here isn’t a breeze at all, more of a sandblasting as the strong gusts blow grains of sand around the bay. Not exactly a relaxing day on the beach but a good exfoliation for less than the price of a spa.
We hunker down behind one of the empty shells of a restaurant. A family rolls in later to feast on some mariscos and we enjoy a small show put on by the little girl/acrobat/magician as the sun sets behind her. A pleasant night despite the fact we realize the tiny treats the family has been snacking on all evening are in fact unhatched seaturtle eggs. Yes, that is illegal, yes seaturtles are on the verge of extinction, and yes that fired us both up a little.
Apparently this is fairly common however, especially in catholic areas worldwide close to easter. In an attempt to follow the rules of lent, people turn to eating turtle meat since it could be thought of as "fish" rather than meat. This is one of the times i wish my spanish were better...so that I could attempt to break into a somewhat understandable diatribe about how i’m pretty sure god's idea of fasting wasn't asking them to suck unborn baby turtles from their shells. This couple instead, told us of how delicious the tortugitas were and how i should have some as it would increase my “potencia”...and then walked away laughing hysterically. We weren’t as amused, but understand that change happens slowly especially when religion seems to be telling you it's okay. Apparently the vatican has been asked for at least a decade to clarify and educate people that turtles are in fact red meat...but so far nothing. We later talk to some kids who tell us that the practice is slowly changing as turtle camps educate people on the problems and schools get involved. We may have just found the direction of our next volunteering gig.
Jen was so upset by the whole event that she decided to kick a rock and spill blood to make a point. I think her sacrifice may have been missed by all present (including me), but we spent most of the evening trying to patch her up again. Nothing the ocean and a few days (or weeks) cant cure, Im sure- but for now it looks like her toe was attacked by a landshark.
We slept well between the sounds of the waves and the wind rocking the bus back and forth; and got an early start in the morning trying to beat the heat. Our attempts didn’t work. The engine was up to 220 before 10am and we were sweating well before that. Hard to imagine our friends back home are skiing on weekends or putting on hoodies to go to work. Actually sounds rather pleasant at the moment...
Our day of driving around salina cruz saw hefty winds that meant we had the wheel turned 30degrees into the wind just to stay on the road. The occasional gust would still blow us (and other vehicles) over into the next lane. Fun times.We pull in before noon to our next beach, cursing the number of stops we had to make in the last twenty minutes. Driving an air-cooled engine means you need cool air, which generally means you need to keep moving. That is difficult with obstacles in the road like topes and military checkpoints. Frustrating, even if the checkpoint guards are polite and want to do nothing more than give us directions to our destination and wish us a good day.
tonight's stop is Puerta Arista, Chiapas. It’s clear driving through town that this place is really hopping during the high season and holidays. Hotels and restaurants line the beach but all sit mostly empty now and everyone perks up as we drive by hoping we will choose to spend money at their establishment. They are less than excited when we pull in and tell them we simply want to park beside them and use their bathroom in the middle of the night in exchange for eating a meal at their place.
We finally find a place that feels right, grab a few needed items at the tienda and get a plate of ceviche (and a coconut to drink) for lunch. We kill the afternoon sitting in front of the bus, listening to wandering musicians and speaking with a few local kids as crowds of locals start pouring into town for the weekend. We learn that each year during semana santa a large international volleyball tournament occurs on the beach right in front of us. Awesome...but way better if semana santa were this week...or even next, but we will have to leave well before then. Later on, we notice a group of kids on the beach practicing their vball skills. It’s cool to think that in a few more years these kids may be playing against the pros that come to visit once a year! We watch their skills and are tempted to pull out the net and setup for a game, but with jen’s bum toe it just doesn’t feel right to make her sit and watch. Heal quickly toe...