Puerto Escondido

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Puerto Escondido

So we have been rocking it in Puerto Escondido for almost two weeks…you might say the waves have a hold on Tom. He’s been getting up around 6AM every morning to head out surfing with Derek, the guy who owns the place we are renting. I, on the other hand, am NOT up at 6AM not only because early mornings make me feel ill but because these waves are huge and scary. We have seen so many people coming out of the water with surfboards snapped clear in two! Derek broke his board in half last week…that does seem to keep the faint-hearted away from these waves.

The main beach, where many surf tournaments take place is called Zicatela. It is massive and is known as a “back-breaker”. Gee…can you imagine why I have chosen not to go in the water?

To the left of Zicatela is La Punta (good name “The Point”) which is another main surf break. If Zicatela is misbehaving the locals all head out here and surf all day long. It is a bit crazy to watch as the take off is right in front of some serious looking rocks. I just about freaked out one day last week when Tom fell right in front of them luckily he was fine as usual. On smaller days it can be an okay spot to learn but I think (after getting caught in a big set) it is a bit strong when you are new to the water.

Here is Tom surfing – early morning at La Punta (sorry the quality is not so great)

Surfing La Punta, Puerto Escondido from Kels M on Vimeo.

I did manage to catch one little wave one day last week at La Punta which was pretty fun. Tom was yelling at me to paddle and then a local surfer was yelling the same thing in Spanish which was just a bit distracting but it must have done something as I managed to get myself up and on the wave. YAY! Right…now I have to try and do it again.

Another great beach just to relax and swim in Playa Carrazalillo. It is beautiful and reminds me of some of the beaches I saw in Asia. It has a couple of shacks selling food and drinks as well as a couple of board rental places. It can be a good place to try surfing on long boards…we did see a couple of people catching waves the last time we were there.

The people here are all really friendly and chilled out. The vibe is pretty laid-back and surfing is the lifestyle here..in fact we heard that the kids got a day off school to surf because the waves were so good! There is a pretty large gringo population but, like Sayulita, everyone seems to get along ok.

There is some serious road construction going on on the main highway here as well as the main road by the beach. The way work is done is pretty shocking and, to the westerner’s eye, more than dangerous but somehow they manage to get things fixed up..well for a few years at least.

And Tom has been busily trying to fit in with the Mexicans here…the “roll my t-shirt over my tummy it is so hot” look really seems to suit him.

After Troncones we headed to Acapulco to stay a night or two before we drove the 6.5 hours to Puerto Escondido. Acapulco turned out to be what we thought it would be – busy and too touristy, though the 60s and 70s remnants of Acapulco’s heyday were pretty sweet. We decided that one night was more than enough for us in Acapulco.

BAH…the next day started out like it was going to rock! We were up at 7:30am feeling good and ready to get on our way to the beach. Since we left the hotel at 8am we thought it would be a great idea to pick up some groceries at the Mega (aka Mexican Superstore) to save some money before arriving in PE. So we Mega’ed, went to the bank and then headed out of town. We gassed up and asked for directions to make sure we were on the right highway, “Si….si si derecho, derecho, derecho!” (yes straight, straight, STRAIGHT!) nodded our Pemex man. SWEET! The crazy driving in Acapulco was soon to be over! We headed…yup straight and all we came to was the airport and a dead end…we pulled a u-turn and tried another way which too was wrong. At the same time this was happening Marlin’s back tire started to squeak upping the irritation factor to a dangerous level. Then we asked some nice guys at another gas station who pointed us in the right direction, the problem was the entrance to the highway was under construction so we were feeling a bit clueless as to how to get on the highway. Just as Tom spotted the detour route the tourist police pulled up and shouted at us in Spanish. I happily thought they were going to help us get around the detour. I was all like smiley and happy then the guy came up and asked to see Tom’s license…uhhhhhhhhhh like this is what we needed to deal with some guy wanting a bribe. So we got out the photocopy of Tom’s license (we keep only copies in the glove box) and then the “policeman” aka tourist police which is not the same deal starts going on about how we did not respect the signs, were speeding and, since we refused to hand over anything but a copy of the license, were driving without a license and so we had to pay a fine of 4000 pesos ($400 USD) or he would impound the car and put Tom is jail.

Thanks to many friends in Mexico we stood our ground, refused to hand over any original copies and finally agreed that we should all go to the station. All of a sudden Tom asks for the cop’s ID and badge, which put the ball back in our court. He asked why and Tom smartly replied that we needed to show our embassy to make sure there are no problems when we return home! It definitely shut the guy up. He then said he would do us a favour, we only had to pay two fines and then we could go. We agreed and told him we would follow him to the station to “make sure all the paperwork is done correctly” and lo and behold his “boss” decided that we only deserved a warning and then pointed out the way to get to PE. We wore that man down! As we burned rubber we noticed another poor tourist being apprehended for some ridiculous traffic violation.

Yay the open road….we start motoring as we had lost a good hour driving in circles and being harassed by the cops. Thinking we had only the open road ahead of us we started to put some more miles on Marlin. We went through about 4 military checkpoints one of which requested to see Tom’s passport and both of us were on edge thinking that they were going to rip our car apart, fortunately for us they decided we were not worth the hassle.

As we crossed from Guerrero state to Oaxaca we were sure that we would make it to Puerto Escondido in the next few hours when I noticed that all the cars ahead of us were stopped. Naturally I was thinking this could be one of those highway robbery setups but turns out it was actually a road block as there was some sort of strike against the government going on and, this was the ONLY highway through. So, in the 35 degree heat with no A/C, we literally sweated out the strike which was supposed to end 4 hours later. Some version of luck must have decided that we had put up with enough and the rain started down and the roadblock let up after 1.5 hours.

We restarted the drive for what felt like the 10th time and reached PE at 8pm after dodging huge potholes in the tropical storm Odile…good times. This was one of the last things but maybe the best thing we saw on the LONG drive.

Just your average drive in Mexico from Kels M on Vimeo.