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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
We drive south from Mazatlan and it quickly becomes clear we need a better map. Having dots for large cities makes it really hard to get around A huge atlas of Mexico, Belize & Guatemala is about $USD 18 and well worth it.
At first we drive on the free highways, which are narrow, winding and full of un-signed speed humps making us decide to give the toll roads a try. It turns out they are very expensive and we pay close to $USD 10 every 45km or so. The road surface is very good and we make great time making them feel just like American Interstates. You get from A to B in the fastest possible way and see exactly nothing of the surrounding countryside. Once off the toll road we are immediately on a very steep & windy mountain road, exactly what were are looking for
The countryside has changed significantly here on the mainland, with lots of farmland nestled in what is quickly becoming lush green jungle. The humidity has jumped up a lot and during the middle of the day the heat is oppressive, making us want to lay about on a beach. We find the perfect place where hundreds of locals are down on the sand partying, drinking, eating & swimming – everyone is having a great time. We throw the frisbee around and body surf for a while attracting the attention of local kids and a bunch of girls that want photos with Duke.
A little way down further we find a perfect secluded spot to camp, which works out perfectly until we sleep in a little late and get trapped high on the sand by the tide. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind getting trapped on a perfect white sand beach, except we are sharing the spot with about a hundred million local biting bugs. After a couple of hours we can tolerate it no longer and I drive the Jeep really low on the sand through the shallow water to get out of there. We pass through a couple of very remote towns well off the beaten path, where children stand in the street staring at us.
I don’t know, but I think maybe they’ve never seen a white person before.
Gas here on the mainland is actually a little more expensive, but almost everything else is cheaper. We stop a few times to re-supply odds and ends and pay all of $1.10 to re-fill both our huge water containers with purified drinking water. We roll into Puerto Vallarta in time to watch the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. Literally three quarters of the sky is some shade of red, yellow or orange and is often partially obscured only by palm trees.
We’ve driving in heavy traffic so I can’t get a photo this time around. I will.
Rolling into the Oasis Hostel we immediately love the vibe. About 10 people are hanging around at the front of the building painting a VW van, drinking and laughing. Duke and I quickly join them and we’re soon in the thick of things sharing tales of adventure crowded around the map on the hood of the Jeep. We really really like it here and make so many new friends we keep staying for “just one more night”, over and over.
When you find a place this good, there is no rush