Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Steven and Lisa 1I am up early to meet up with Lisa and Steve. Both have been surfing for years with Steve having done so for more than 50!

However it is Lisa’s birthday and we are following her recommendation to try a surf break she surfed some 17 years ago.

HeraldoWe drive to the lagoon where Lisa, as the only real Spanish speaker, haggles like a champion to secure us a little boat to take us across the Chacahua lagoons to the break.

Our captain for this journey is Heraldo, who you see pictured here.

Saltwater CrocodileHeraldo helps us to spot all th local wildlife including some of the many saltwater crocodiles which are in the lagoon. We dont actually get as close as this picture would suggest because they drop out of sight when you get close by, and because these remnants of the dinosaur era are the largest of all living reptiles are quite agressive and have lots of teeth I’m not too keen on putting my gopro or indeed my hand over the side of the little boat!

Board on the noseThe route to the beach is staggeringly pretty with so many beautiful birds living on the lagoon or in the Mangrove Swamps which we have to navigate our way through to get to the beach.

This is turning into a proper surf safari!

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Kabbalah BarAfter my stealth surf at Peurto Escondido I meet up with Lisa and Steven for a quick drink, where we agree to go surfing together the following day for Lisa’s Birthday.

I stay in the bar when they turn in and quickly meet up with Daniel and Pia from Canada. I have a great laugh chating with them in the Kaballah bar which has become my adopted home.

Wrestling MaskDan is proudly sporting his new surfer tattoo and I dont normally like them, but can admit to being more than a tad jealous of his ink work.

Pia even persuades me to have a go at salsa dancing whilst there. I wasn’t very good an thankfully there are no pitures of any of it.

You will have to make do with this one of me in the Mexican wrestling mask I picked up earlier in the day. I have wanted to go see the wrestling whilst in Mexico because it is huge here but have not seen anywhere to do so yet.

At £5 the mask was a steal though. Grrrr

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Zicatela 1I am a up early and straight over the road to check out the surf at Playa Zicatela, but am a bit gutted because the beach break supposedly as good as Pipeline is breaking just off the beach and is 4 feet high along the whole length of the wave, all of which is closing out and crashing simultaneously on to the shore. Boogie Boarders are getting 1 second barrels but nobody else is.

I am feeling a bit poorly today so dont rush in, instead taking a stroll down the length of the beach to ‘The Point’ which is the break off the rocks at the south end of the bay, enjoying all the bikinis on display. While there was a tiny peeling section there, my board was about 2 miles away in the hotel and I couldnt face another walk back, because it is roasting hot and the walk has already wiped me out, so I go to my room for a nap.

Steven and Lisa at The PointLater in the day I decide I must get in the water regardless of the quality because of the location. I have already procrastinated longer than I should but then am delayed further by bumping into Lisa and Steve (pictured here the following day at The Point) two surfers from the San Francisco Bay area of California who I had met and had a couple of drinks with in The Mirador Hotel in Acapulco. Steve had spotted me strolling down to the beach, hollering “They will let you Brits in anywhere” to get my attention. I stop for a brief chat but the sun is almost at the horizon already so have to dash off and then paddle out into the waves which haven’t really improved.

On this I can’t be specific though because it was effectively night surfing using only the light of the full moon by the time I got in the water. I did catch a few quick drops, then make the bottom turn before getting hammered by the waves. Such stealth surfing is not easy at the best of times, but it was almost impossible here. However I did catch a few waves before realising I was effectively sharkbait, and clearly visible to them under the full moon during feeding time. Looking around I cant even tell if anybody else is out so take the sensible option of paddling in.

Not the best surf I have ever had, but thrilled to have bagged this internationally reknowned break on my trip.

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Dali ClockI am in a great mood today and try to catch up on as much blog backlog as I can before leaving the hotel. I get stuck right into it but do not notice the time ticking by and it is after midday before I look up.

I need to get a wriggle on because I have another long drive planned through the rest of Guerrero state and then into Oaxaca and I am so late leaving it will certainly mean another night time drive.

As usual the scenery is breathtaking but there isn’t much to report other than that, apart from my most spectacular launch off one of the Topes (speed bumps) to date. I actually had hang time after hitting a huge unannounced one in the dark. They even put them on toll roads in this area which is ridiculous.

Really tired I eventually roll into Puerto Escondido several hours after dark where I announce my arrival by driving around the town’s one way system the wrong way with The Specials blaring out my window. Everyone is running out into the street to ty and tell me, but after getting hassled by so many hawkers in Acapulco I wrongly assume the same is happening here, waving them all off with a firm ‘No Gracias’. Eventually I realise there are no cars pointing the same way as me and rather sheepishly drive back past everybody on my way to the hotels at the surf beach

Huge Zicatela SurfI am however really stoked to be here. It is one of the best beach breaks in the world, and is known as the Mexican Pipeline. Not one for the faint hearted because of the massive close outs and huge potential for snapping surfboards.

Once settled I go for a couple of beers across the road from my hotel and can hear the waves crashing in, so am salivating for the morning

 

 

 

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Acapulco CabWhat I hadn’t told you about Acapulco was that about 1 car in 3 is a Volkwagen Beetle of the older variety.

All the local cabs are Beetles too, and I availed myself of their services many times whilst here because it was so cheap to do so. (That is once you have got past the silly Gringo quote you are given initially!)

Acapulco Beetles

They continued to be manufactured locally long after they stopped doing so in the rest of the world.

I am told they only stopped making them here in 2004. However every body tries to pimp up their cars and so many have neon lights attached as well as stereos that sound that they are bigger than that of the Olympic Stadium!

VW Beetle Land

At times they are the only thing you see on the road, and I was considered quite the high roller in my Neuvo Vocho.

Several people wanted to buy it from me but I am not done with the little green surf machine just yet.

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Mariachi

As well as my disguise I have been only listening to local radio since coming across the border so that I do not bring undue attention to myself as I arrive at places.

I also thought it would help me a bit with the language, and it has because by now I at least understand the numbers. However it is largely Mariachi music all day and if I hear one more Ya-pa-pa-paaa on a trumpet in the next few days I think I am going to kill myself.

The Walkman is going to be firmly reattached to the car stereo!

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DCIM100GOPROJulia (which would be pronounced Hulia back in the UK) is from Argentina. She works in Mexico City for an Argentinian fashion company who are trying to expand, and she is tasked with turning around their new store there. She is in Acapulco on her own, enjoying her day off and trying to see a bit more of Mexico during her time here.

After our turtle encounter, which Julia told me she had initially thought was a dead sea-lion, we get on famously over a beer and get to know one another. However I am surprised that she is completely unaware of the world famous cliff divers here in Acapulco and tell her she really must see them if nothing else while here. I invite her for join me for dinner at my hotel where she can do so, and am very pleased when she accepts, because if I have one complaint about this trip it is that I have been severely lacking in female company so far.

We agree to meet later at my hotel, and after being taught how to kiss like an Argentinian I rush into town to sort out the shopping I had originally planned for today. It takes longer to find the things I am looking for and then I get stuck in such a bad traffic jam that I am almost late for our date. However Julia is also caught by the same traffic and thankfully doesn’t arrive until after I have had to time to make myself more presentable.

Cliff SunsetAfter enjoying another of the amzing sunsets here, we go down to dinner where I show off by pointing out Jupiter which has been visible in the night sky ever since Hawaii. Julia gets to enjoy the Mexican traditional show laid on by the hotel, and is as amazed as I was by the cliff divers’ acrobatic performance.

Me and JuliaWe share a lovely bottle of wine over our meal and even navigate a conversation on Las Malvinas or The Falkland Islands, depending on where you live, without going to war.

We are looked after by the hotel staff, who took this photo of us with the cliffs in the background.

We have a wonderful night together, but Julia has to be back in Mexico City for work and I need to push on myself so I make sure she gets home in a cab. One day Julia hopes to visit the UK and I hope she does. After I get back of course!

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Captain RobIt is my last day in Acapulco so I decide to see the sights. I start with a boat trip from Playa Caleta to the Islet of Roqueta where there is a submerged bronze statue called the Virgin of Guadalupe. We see it through the glass bottomed boat but I dont get any decent pictures to show you.

As the only gringo on the boat they make me honorary captain for the journey, however I soon realise it is another opportunity to bleed some more cash out of me. It is a fun picture though so I dont mind the 100 pesos too much.

acapulco_beachAfter the trip I take a taxi though the dust and choking traffic fumes to the beaches in front of the uber hotels lining the sea front at Playa Condesa.

To get to know Acapulco a little bit I start at the southern end of the bay and start walking back towards my hotel. It is my usual plan for getting to know places but it is so scorching hot I am seeking a parasol and some ice cold beers before I got much further than a mile.

DCIM100GOPROWhilst guzzling these I notice something odd in the shallow water. It takes me a while but eventually I realise it is a turtle, but one with a huge humped back unlike the very flat ones I saw in Hawaii.

I have the GoPro with me, so abandon my gear and the beers to race into the water swimming out to it, getting loads of pictures. It didnt seem fazed by me at all and was in fact not doing much so I wondered if it might be tired or just enjoying the warm water to chill out for a while.

I am making such a fuss that an extremely attractive young woman comes over to see what I am going on about. With my encouragement she swims out and is thrilled when the turtle lifts its head and checks her out, much as I had already been doing! When we get back to the shore I ask if she would like to help me finish my beers and am delighted when she accepts my offer…

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GuadalajaraI have been reliably informed that the Mexican look I have been cultivating makes me look like I am from Guadalajara because of my greenish eyes. Armed with this information and feeling more and more confident with my limited Spanish I am trying to interact more and more with the locals.

wedding_ringsI have been having lots of fun with the Receptionist at the hotel called Nayelie ever since I arrived when she put a wrist band on my arm to identify me as a hotel guest. Quick as a flash I asked if that meant we were married much to the amusement of the other staff who jokingly offered to sell her to me, all of which is much to the embarrassment of the lovely Nayelie.

I am planning on going to the Disco Beach club one evening because my Rough Guide to Mexico says it is ladies night and I want to go out and have at least some non surf related fun while I am on the mainland. However Nayelie is kind enough to warn me that it is not at all ladies night on a Wednesday but in fact the gay night for the club, which is about as far removed from my intended goal there as one might possibly get.

I dont really have a plan B because my hotel is quite far from the main area of town and I dont really know it at this stage. Sensing my disappointment though Nayelie tells me she is finishing work in a few minutes and then going out with her friends, and asks if I would like to join them. I jump at the chance and drive off into the night with them in a comvertible.

Nayelie and FriendsAfter check out a few places they take me to a great little club on the first floor of the main street called Terazo de la Contesa. As soon as I get in however and am really hanging out with loads of Mexicans for the first time it is blatantly obvious that any delusions I have been under about the way I look are way off the mark. I am better part of a foot taller than everybody else and feel like Gulliver in Lilliput.

DSC_0451However despite the lack of deep communication all round I have loads of fun in a evening full of salsa dancing, club beats, beers and laughing with new friends. I am shattered by 2am though and leave them to it. They want to come and help me get a cab to make sure I dont get ripped off but once armed with the correct price I tell them I am ugly enough to look after myself and head home, sneakily paying for all the beers by way of thanks for such an entertaining evening. It was only £10 and not to big a deal to me so I hope I did not offend them by doing so. Really, really lovely people.

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Diver 1The Hotel Mirador where I am staying at overlooks the famous cliffs that locals have been hurling themselves off for years. I have to be honest in that I thought it would it would be little different to diving from the rocks and cliffs at Angel Bay near Llandudno where I grew up, which I did personally many times.

However it is breathtaking stuff because not only do they dive but they also add in somersaults, flips, etc.  of the quality that Tom Daley would be proud of.

You can just see the diver stood at the top of the cliff here in the spotlit show I watched, but also the streak at the bottom which was his mate who had just launched himself into the night sky. It should give you some idea of the scale, but also how far out it is necessary to hurl yourself.

Tarzan New YorkLocal diver Raoul Garcia was the most famous of them, having dived from the cliffs nearly 25,000 times. His skills were called upon by Hollywood many years ago when he was asked if he could dive from the Brooklyn Bridge in New York for the Johnny Weissmuller film ‘Tarzan’s New York Adventure’. He did it successfully but anybody who knows how high that is will find it hard to believe it is possible.

Things didn’t end well for Raoul though. He showed a little too much bravado in his seventies saying he could still do the dive even though he had not done it in more than 15 years. He was dead two weeks later!

Cliff Divers2The current bunch of nutters are always hanging about in the foyer of my hotel to keep warm.

However I do still think that going off the big rock at Angel Bay into a shoal of Mackerel swimming in the chilly waters of the Irish Sea would be an experience they are not ready for yet!

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