It has been over a year since my senses felt the pleasure of being at the beach. The smell of the salt air or the warm ocean water. The beautiful people walking arm in arm along the sand while watching the sunset. It was time for me to make my way to the Mexican beaches.
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My great plan of exploring the remote villages on route from Oaxaca City to the Oaxaca coast failed. I desired some beach time. I chose to hit the busy highways and cycle to the beach as soon as my legs could get me there. Unfortunately, some unexpectedly large hills stood in my way.
I found myself nearing the top of a large climb. A small shop was set up to serve packaged crappy foods and sugary drinks. I stopped to hydrate and snack on whatever they could sell me. Two rather intoxicated men sat outside sipping their beer. They slurred and cursed at me about how horrible a particular North American President had become. I had to advise them that I was Australian. That changed their tone a little but not there drunkeness.
We chatted amiably for about 20 minutes as I rested. I was surprised at how well my Spanish has improved over the last year or so. What happened next was rather disgusting. The two men then jumped into their vehicle and drove off. They were driving a pick up truck designed to take paying passengers. About 200 meters up the road I watched them stop to pick up a passenger. They had trouble walking. If there is one thing that scares me on this trip, it is the stupid things that drunk people do.
The Hedonists of Zipolite Beach
After a couple of days of cycling from Oaxaca I reached the beach. I made a plan to stay at the coastal village of Zipolite for about a week to get my beach fix. Zipolite is a hedonist community of hippies, nudists and escapists all living in this fantasy world for the short time that they stay there.
As a single male traveler I found the place to be strangely unfriendly. It was very clicky. As I was neither a nudist or a hippy I just didn’t seem to fit in, despite the somewhat hedonist lifestyle that I have chosen to live. I felt out of place and cut my planned week long stay to just 2 nights. During that time I ate excessively, drank moderately and spent several hours getting sand blasted on the wind swept beach. I left with a plan to find a more deserted beach to rest, relax and read my book about the ancient cultures of Mexico.
The Deserted Mexican Beaches
A look at Google Maps revealed many seemingly deserted beaches along the coast. I picked a couple of potential sites, loaded up the bicycle and set off on a mission of discovery. Many of the best beaches seem to have surf camps set up near all the best local surf breaks. I wanted to avoid them if possible.
A small overgrown trail led me off the main highway, through mangroves, across and windblown flat plain onto a deserted beach. Exactly what I wanted. I felt like I was in a Corona Beer commercial. Rolling waves crashing along the beach with not a person in sight. All I needed was the beer and a surf board.
It was early afternoon when I arrived and the heat from the sun was oppressive. I sheltered behind a small patch of coastal shrubs for several hours reading my book and wondering how great it would have been if I could have carried several days worth of water with me and set up camp here for a couple of days. All I would need is a basketball, called Wilson, to talk to. Although good company to share such an amazing place with would have been better.
I walked the beach in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a rip current running along the beach so I chose not to swim. The Mexican Beaches on the Oaxacan coast are known for their strong rips. Also, if I went for a swim it would be very likely that I would end up with a nasty rash when I started cycling again, as I had little fresh water to rinse myself off after a swim.
The best Sunrise and Sunset
Sunset was equal to the best I have seen so far on this trip. The moonless night ensured that the stars put on a special display just for me. I was alone and completely unaware what was happening in the world. It was relaxing not to be bombarded with this constant stream from the media about how bad the world was. In my world it was amazing.
The dawns first light woke me. I sipped on my coffee as I watched the sun rise on the eastern side of the beach. A constant stream of pelicans were on the move towards the rising sun. Occasionally they would rise up and spear head first into the water to catch their breakfast. But my water reserves were running dangerously low. I couldn’t stay and enjoy a lazy morning on the beach. I had to make a move from the deserted Mexican Beaches to the cool mountains.
Climbing to the mountains
By 9am the heat was enough to make a heat loving freak like myself start to melt. The temperature steadily rose all day, made worse by the lack of wind. The black road surface did its best to try and melt my tyres. I had a slow leak. Every hour I had to stop and put some air in the tyres. I use a puncture prevention product called slime. A green goo that I put inside the tube. It makes its way to any punctures and self seals the tube. It didn’t seem to be working, I must have a big hole.
I set up camp beside a busy highway and made a rather crude repair of the tube. This green goo was all over the inside of my tyre and outside of my tube. I questioned if the patch would hold. The first hours of cycling the following morning confirmed that my questionable repair had failed. The shade of a local grocery store provided an opportunity to change the tube. Half the town seemed to appear to watch this strange person repair his tyre. Most of them wanted to take a photo of me. For a short time I was a celebrity.
Repair complete it was time to make my way up to the mountains. I made a plan to climb to the mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas. An indigenous village that has become a tourist town. Heat and humidity gave way to rain and thick clouds. Visibility was so bad that I could only see 50 meters at times. I made it there safely and caught up with some old friends.