Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting to Punta Allen

After the ride and the road, we figured that no matter how nice Punta Allen is, there is no way that it would have been worth it. To confirm suspicions, we are greeted with drizzle rain, gusts of wind and sandy streets in a gray bay. I'm sure it's lovely when the sun shines, otherwise what would truckloads of tourists be pouring in here for? (apparently it's for the dolphins and the turtles in the bay, and possibly the manatees in the lagoon).

The plan is to try and get a boat down to Punta Herrero on the next peninsula south. We wanted to go this way because we thought it would be a cool off-the-beaten-track experience and because I read somewhere that the highway from Tulum south is hideous for bikers (which ended up being old news - it was redone in 2009 and is now the same as the highway from Cancun with a great big shoulder for bikes). Because we are not herded around town in a tour group and we have time to kill, we talk to so many of the locals and we get varied responses about our P. Herrero inquiries. The "tours" quote us $500US, some people say it's impossible and eventually we find somebody who is willing to help us out and do the trip for about $130US. Now we just have to wait for the weather to improve otherwise the crossing is too dangerous.

We while away the days chatting to people, practicing our Spanish, discovering where to buy amazing fresh bread and honing our survival skills. Vinko comes running while I'm cooking dinner, and with a silly grin reveals a crab that he caught on the beach. We experiment with a cup of boiling water. It's strange in a primal way to watch the crab exhale a stream of bubbles and surrender to the inevitable. It's not very tasty. But it does make good bait, and the next day we spend 5 hours in waist high water out by the lighthouse catching fish. We caught 5 fish and feast like kings that night on our own version of fish and chips.

We also got to witness the festivities for La Revolution here. One morning we saw some little kids dressed up in sombreros and neck-scarves with wooden guns and mustaches drawn on their faces. Cute as buttons and chanting "Viva Mexico! Viva Punta Allen!" all the way to school.

We spend 5 days and 5 extremely windy, rainy, miserable nights in Punta Allen waiting for the weather to improve. I spent countless hours at night holding my breath and reminding myself that this was an alpine tent and that it surely had to withstand this terrible wind. But every morning the sunshine and clear skies deceive us into thinking that this will be the day... so we stay. It seems that many of the expats who are now locals came for a visit and never left. It's a bit of a strange thing, but again most people are super friendly and after a while we get waves on the streets and none of the tour touts bother to ask us if we want to go somewhere anymore. It was sitting in the back of Pierre and Alexandra's car talking about nothing and observing the tourists as if they were foreigners in my town that I realize the special opportunity we've created for ourselves by traveling this way, and I become really excited for our journey.


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