Day 159. 5th Jan
It was a leisurely assembly this morning. A lovely setting, right on the beach but we decided to move on by 10am and get closer to Mazatlan. That gives us only another 400+ k’s to Puerto Vallarta. It’s the airport that Jen will be flying into from Mexico City in a couple of days time.
Motorway charges are brutal. They are not bothered if the toll booths seem a little close together, so we decided to find the Libre, or free roads south, instead.
Mazatlan is a largish city Probably the size of Rotorua or Crawley but no doubt a much bigger population. I don’t have wifi right now to check, but will do (500K). It’s a seaside city and the white sand and blue sea give it a holiday destination feel. Being Sunday most business are closed so we found a parking for both vehicles in a quiet back street in an affluent area.
At the entrance to most large towns and cities they have the name in colourful large block capitals, so the idea was to take a pic of the kids inside the letters. Because it was convenient, Mc Donald’s for lunch. A forgettable experience, then set out to find water. Tim & Sarah have very large water tanks in their camper and they buy water in bulk from “Purificacion” outlets, rather than pay retail. However, being Sunday, they were all closed so, buying retail it was. 20L for about NZ$5. I bought one too.
All this takes time and it’s now 3pm and no sign of a camp site or free camping place. A Canadian chap in the supermarket car park gave us a place to camp, 50k’s away on the coast.
At the end of a track through a dusty village ringing to the sound of Mariachi music, passing two RV Camps, some clear ground, approx 3m above the beach. There is an island offshore and the sun is sliding quickly down behind it. There are tankers anchored, awaiting a berth further around the coast. Darkness comes quick here. 5.30pm and the light is gone.
Day 160. 6th Jan
Up and getting breakfast by 6am. This is a new experience for me! Everything outside, including inside the Caranex, is dripping with dew. Another beautiful morning and we are heading for Puerto Vallarta.
On the way back to the main road from the camp, there is a field of Chilli plants and the crows are sitting on the power wires above, holding large Chilli’s with their claws and eating them!!
We take the “Libre” road towards Tepic. It passes through many villages that give the impression of Africa. It’s my guess that school here is a luxury. That means that there is a massive pool of cheap labour. Workers tending crops in the field and people selling items at the roadside seem to provide the only work. Talking of roads, the free roads are just as good as the Toll roads, though the road to San Blas was very narrow with barely room for Tim’s big camper in front, to pass oncoming vehicles.
Mexico seems to be a country of huge inequality. There is very little infrastructure in these towns & villages. With such a large unskilled population. My guess is, with drug dealing, corruption and poor education, tax collection is an issue?
There are people everywhere hustling for a living. Despite that we have not felt unsafe. There is a large, though often idle, police presence. It makes one realise the importance of tax collection in our own countries, for a civil, orderly society.
By 4pm we are still well short of our targeted destination so opt to use a formal camp site. It’s on a cliff 10m above the sea. A flat grassy area but with typically marginally operating facilities. Taps and sinks that are rusty and barely any water. Toilets blocked and not functioning but it’s cheapish at 150pesos(NZ$12) per vehicle.
Jaxon immediately wants me to take him down to the rocks below as he has seen some crabs. They are great kids and are so knowledgable about wildlife.
After dinner it’s bed by 8.30pm. There is a layer of light cloud above so it wont be so damp from dew.
Unfortunately with doing the driving and stuff, I don’t have much time for taking pics. Once Jen returns, that will change. 🙂