Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sayulita Day one

This is my first time in Mexico. I write this on my balcony overlooking the Pacific, listening to the sounds of the town below me. Music, people singing.
We left Toronto at 10 and were in Puerto Vallarta by 2ish Mexico time (one hour behind). As soon as we cleared customs we were inundated by men trying to solicit our business for taxis. I walked right through them, but it wasn't easy. They blocked your way and were very in your face. Finally one guy followed us out and said "are you taking the bus?" I said "Maybe" suspiciously. He said "welcome back, enjoy your stay." Obviously if you take the bus here, you must know what you are doing. I then asked him for directions to the nearest ATM and he showed us. We put in our bank card and it said it was going to charge us $29 for the fee. I said "no way!" and cancelled the order. Then a Mexican guy and his girlfriend came up and I told them the fee was outrageous here. We went to try another machine, thinking it was the particular bank and while we were in the lineup for that machine he came over to us and told us it was in pesos, not dollars. $29 pesos equals about 2.40 Canadian. Okay...I'm in another country!
We got our money ($3000) and then had to break the large bills for the bus. So we went to the nearest bar and pulled up a barstool and had a shot of tequila. Two tequilas, and they gave us a plate of succulent limes and a free plate of chips and salsa (spicy!). Awesome so far. Then we went across the street from the airport, over the footbridge to the other side, and there was the bus stop. There was a little bar there and a very friendly nice looking Mexican lady asked us where we were going. We told her and she consulted a man standing by the road with a clipboard. He said the next bus to Sayulita was coming in 15 minutes. "Would you like to sit down and have a beer?" Nice little racket they have. So just like they said, the bus pulled up and we got in, and it was $50 for two to Sayulita. The bus followed the four lane highway and at first it was rather affluent - weber bbq's, and New Holland tractors, car dealerships, even a Walmart. Eventually the road became a two lane highway and the business were smaller, even people parked under the underpasses selling fruit from their cars. The country is hilly, heavily treed, and dry. Even the creek beds are dry. I saw several cows and horses foraging in them.

The bus stalled twice going up steep hills. A woman across the aisle from me said Ooops! loudly and when I looked at her she smiled broadly. The transports and cars and pickups behind us simply pulled around us and passed, going uphill on the wrong side of the road.

Sayulita is the last stop and we almost missed it even then. The bus did a U-turn and started going back the way we came. A woman from London was sitting next to us and I asked her where she was going. It ended up we are staying at the same hotel. Luckily she has lived in Mexico for a year and spoke Spanish so she asked the driver if we were at the end and we were. I'm not sure what he thought we would stay on the bus for if we'd reached the end of the line. He pulled over and let us out. The stop was in the middle of a dry dusty road and there were several dogs milling about. The London girl pulled out her guide book and consulted a map. We started walking towards the ocean and town and I recognized the hotel from pictures.

The town is home to many dogs that seem to wander at will.

I love how the dog's body repeats the design in the sidewalk beside him. I could photoshop out the power lines.

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