méxico: el día dies
off to caleta de campos

"I just had a pill. I'll be okay." -susan.
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Coastal Caravan:
Car #1: Susan, Fraser, Annie
Car #2: Jan, Len, Kev, Aim
Destination: Pacific Coast
Estimated Time: 5 hours
Actual Time: 7 hours

Claim to Fame: We've piled nearly every gringo in Morelia into these two cars and we're all caravaning to the coast. One notable exception: Mel and Frank. They're arriving a day later because Frank says he has to work. I think he really just wants some time away from us kooks.

Tortuga Viejo of the Day
It's the coolest thing. There's this beautiful beach that looks completely deserted except for a few bungalows here and there. But washed up just a ways out from shore is a huge shipwreck. It looks like an oil tanker or grain ship and it's just lying there for you to stare at.

it's also an optical illusion because as soon as you see it, you think to yourself that you want to walk over to it. About an hour later, you're still trying to get to it and it's the same size it was before.

This is something you'd never see in the States, they would have called it dangerous and would have it cleaned up in weeks. Here they have left it alone, in all it's haunting beauty.

Going Coastal
Febrero 7 - We were off to the coast! Goodbye inland, goodbye dust, goodbye trying to get a tan in the driveway. We're headed to the Pacific, where the air is clear and the water is warm.

Where were we headed? Some guy named Gringo John's got a house that he rents out to nice folk like us. Now, none of us have ever seen this man, and in fact, I don't even think any of us have spoken with him. We may not even have had the address of his house, but Jan Starr was coming along, and she's apparently knew something about this place.

If you had to sum up Jan in a word, you might start with 'positive'. But stopping at simply saying 'positive' would be like describing a tidal wave with the single word 'moisture'. She's the sort that, upon being shown her own forearm, say, "My goodness! That is sooo neat!" So for Jan to describe our upcoming accommodations as "such a neat place", honestly, we could be staying anywhere from the Playboy mansion to the Bates Motel.

After six hours of driving, we finally reached the coast. And what a welcome! It looked, well, it looked very much like any dust-ridden inland town in Mexico. But, but this was the coast! We were supposed to have left all this dust behind! Where have you taken us? "Not to worry," says Jan with a smile.

We turned from the highway onto the main street, waving a teary goodbye to pavement. The main road is a relatively straight, relatively flat dirt road for Mexican standards. We turned from the main road to a side road, then from that side road onto another side road which only just fell inside the bounds of the definition of the word 'road'. Then we turned again.

The dead-end can only be described as a crude drainage path on the rare occasion when they get rain. The entire road was one big tope (a tope is a Mexican speedbump, but a speedbump to the same degree that Jan is 'positive'). I remember one time I went blueberry picking with my dad, and, being a lumberjack by trade, he had a habit of driving straight through the Canadian brush, toppling small saplings as he went. That road was better maintained than this one. But, for the lack of vocabulary, I'll continue to refer to it as a 'road'.

This last 'road' was populated mostly by goats, piggies and nearly naked children, almost indistinguishable from each other due to the layers of mud on their bodies. But we're pretty sure the goats were the ones with the beards. We still didn't give up. Jan's spidey sense was really kicking in now. She had progressed to a 60% level of optimism that this was the right road. That's 20% more than just a few moments ago!

Now, don't get all googly-moogly and start cancelling your vacation plans in Caleta de Campos next year just because I've called it a barren dustbowl. There's more to this story than the town. And there's more to the town than just dust and bearded kids.

At the very very end of the very very bad road, there was a very large, very white gate. The wall around it was topped with broken glass as a security measure (beats barbed wire) and looked as though whoever lived there wanted to keep people out, not invite them in.

"This is it!" Jan was sure of it! She lept out of her jeep and ran to the gate. Every single one of us asked ourselves what we'd gotten ourselves into. A dusty town. A goaty road. A glassy gate. We crossed our fingers as she opened the gate...

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

getting there...

Nuestro Sitio Ahora
Caleta de Campos

Mañana: Relaxamundo

see the full map...

El Tiempo:
Hot and Humid

Las Estadísticas
Mel's Distancia:0.0km
Mel's Gasolina: None!
Jan's Distancia:450km
Jan's Gasolina: 300p

Drivers: Jan, Len, Kev
Vehicle: Honda CRV
Cylinders: 4

Gringo John's Casa

Hammocks on the roof. We've never slept in hammocks before, and we can kind of see why. Although we've got the best view in the house, we also have to stay in one position while we sleep or risk getting rolled out of the hammock.


All:Melons, Buns, Leftover Stuff
Garbage Dump with Cow Remains
Mexico 37
The Gang:Sandwiches with Butter on Them
Gringo John's
Caleta de Campos
The Gang:Beef & Onion Tortillas, Salad

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© 2002. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Friends don't let friends drive libres.