Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico

The mainland and sayulita seem to have prompted an even more laid back and lazy attitude from us.It could be the fact that we are rebounding from a week of stealth camping in the water-filled streets of LaPaz, or it may be the fact that the bus had coconuts wedged under two tires while the other two were jacked up for access underneath, but we quickly grew into the new lifestyle of having internet and running water at our fingertips and a pescaderia and market blocks away. We also don't mind the rainforest around us and the grove of palms swaying overhead…a stark contrast to baja even with the green we saw as a result of rains last month.

I tightened the transaxle mount (this time with the aid of a second jack to put it at correct height first) and worked a bit to improve our accelerator pedal function. We can get around, but clearly have a rebuild kit in our future. For now it means that it's best to drive without shoes as the pedal sticks a bit and requires a quick pull up whenever you'd like the revving to stop. I knew eventually those monkey toes would come in handy…

Mostly we just chilled, relaxed and waited to hear whether the rv park we are sitting in decided to accept our offer of a long term stay for less money (since we aren't really tapping their services like an rv). I think we were both surprised to even hear ourselves talking with them about staying a month since our longest stay in one place to date has been 4-5 days before we started itching for movement. I guess that means we are getting ample exploration and may be entering a new phase of the trip.

They did offer a reduction, but we still think we could likely get a small house for what we are paying here and decide to move on. We can't help but chuckle at the fact that we refuse to stay at a place (on the beach in mexico) because its costing us almost $20. Not so long ago we would have happily flown in for a long weekend to avoid the rain and paid exponentially more in a small room not far away.

Sayulita brings up a lot of conversation and inner dialogue for us- about small towns in foreign countries that get flooded with expats and gringos (pros and cons), about how possible it may be to make some money to extend our stay here during peak season, but that the expensive nature of the town would make it a mute point, and about what's next for us.

Only on our 2nd day do jen and i wander over to the ping-pong table. Takes about 15 minutes for us to wonder if we should accept that month-long deal after all. definitely on the list of ways that jen and i can kill hours easily is playing ping-pong. We have flashbacks to night-long battles in the basement of our place back in portland and fall right back into our rather competitive pong brains. I promised jen i wouldn't talk about who won…so let's just say it was a gruelingly close match. While we are playing we meet one of the more energetic and charismatic characters of our trip… Santiago the donut artist saunters up selling his fresh pastries and while we have no money with us or intent on buying, he is equally as excited to talk with us as we are him. His energy and smile are magnetic, he seems to be that guy who knows everyone in town and by the time we part ways he is promising to talk with his network about finding us a cheap house for the next month. Next time we might even break down and buy a special caramel pastry.
We head south of town to Bucerias to meet up with old friends. Technically an old coworker Yumiko, who i worked with 12 years ago for a total of maybe 3 months. Regardless, she and Dean are quick to invite us over to catchup, and stay as long as we like. I can only hope that if/when we ever settle and own a home in a tropical destination that we will be half as welcoming to fellow travelers as these two are. We meet their two handsome and sweet boys Enzo and Kenji, and we double take between karma and their blonde lab Sage most of the night while sipping some tequila. Check in with us in a few months, but we may also have them to thank for blowing our trip budget on our newfound beverage "upgrade". We pile in their car, pick up a local friend and hit their favorite taco joint. We spend the evening sitting around the table back at their chill casa talking for hours about our stories, our travels and our lives. Dean and Yumi set out many years ago on a similar trip from portland to panama and back…they just never made it back.  And all because of a certain dinged up surfboard- can't help but wonder if something similar will happen to us.

Dean broke out some photos from their trip and we had an amazing time chatting and laughing about life on the road. These two have such an amazing energy and style, their boys are clearly soaking up the same, and we feel like we could have been the closest of friends years ago rather than a short-term overlap in employment.