This is where the Chicagoans can really start to hate me.
(I wrote these entries right before going to sleep both nights, and I am typing them up with as few edits as possible, for authenticity.)
Friday, January 25 2008
I am about to go to sleep on a rather thin mattress covered with strange stains on an upper bunk under mosquito netting at a hostel owned by Carlos "Einstein" on Playa (beach) Mazunte, less than a mile away from the southernmost point of Mexico. And perhaps it is just my buzz talking, but he ink is flowing very freely from my pen and I have never been so glad to be writing with a pen rather than on a computer.
From beyond our dormitory float strains of (I must admit) rather reggae music that are a perfect and cliche accompaniment to the undeniable odor of marijuana that permeates the hostel. It's a hostel--and a beachfront hostel at that--what do you expect?
To begin at the beginning, we started our day off at 5am with a nicer van than we expected but also with one less person than we expected. Never minding that slight change in plans, before too long we were on our way--a way that consisted mainly of mountain switchbacks taken at optimistic speeds. Situated as Oaxaca is, in a valley, turns out the ENTIRE route to the beach is through mountains. This led to a couple of intense cases of nausea (not on my part, thankfully) but the trip was otherwise uneventful. (By the way, for those concerned, I started the day in a great mood, much improved from the day before. Despite our slight change in plans, I had a handle on things and we were on our way!)
We arrived at Mazunte a little after 11am. Six of our party found rooms at a place called Hotel Ziga while the other four of us, myself included, ended up with a two-bunk "dormitory-style" room (with private bath) at the aforementioned "Einstein" hostel next door.
At 70 pesos a night (including breakfast), who can complain?
The rest of the day ws basically spent defining the word "relaxation." We ate a leisurely lunch at a nearby comedor, then explored the main street a bit, read for awhile, and then headed down to the beach.
I spent a good two hours at least in the water. Despite being the Pacific, the water here is delightful, and I really enjoyed myself riding he waves into the shore and just generally floating around. I wandered down the beach with a couple of people before heading back to our room for a quick rinse (I will NEVER get all this sand out of my hair) and change of clothes before meeting up with everyone, hanging about in hammocks, before heading to dinner. We ate at a place on the beach; a few of us shared three kinds of shrimp (garlic, beer battered, and ala diabla) and milkshakes. We finished the evening with beer, mixed drinks, a fire poi open mic night (watching not participating), and plenty of conversations that it is for the best will probably not be recalled tomorrow (not for scandalous reasons but simply because they were pointless).
Tomorrow morning I am going snorkling with sea turtles. And I intend to meet Carlos "Einstein." Otherwise, the entire day is free free free, and I cannot say that I mind.
The music is still playing out on the deck, and I hope that I can get to sleep, but I think I will take a page from the book of the chill young french dude (who was almost certainly high) who cleaned our room earlier, and not worry about it.
On, and the stars were amazing. There aren't even more than I've seen before, but we were out on the beach long enough tonight to watch the constellations progress across the sky, and that is pretty amazing.
(I'll try to put on part 2 sometime tomorrow.)