We’ve both spent a fair amount of time on Mainland Mexico both surfing and bike touring, and we have seen almost all of the Pacific Coast at some point. Somehow though, after months of solitude in Baja, we weren’t quite prepared for this nutty environment of Mainland. Baja is a rugged, rough landscape but civilization seems, well, “civilized”, as it’s fairly quiet, subdued, and slow. Mainland, however, is a different story. It is of the more in-your-face variety – jungle covered hills, crowded towns, squawking birds, colorful shacks, dogs, music, loudspeakers, vendors, kids, soccer games, roosters, bikes, motorcycles and everything else under the hot sun. While we loved the tranquility of Baja, Mainland presents new and different adventures!
Our last two nights in Baja, including New Years Eve, were spent at Tecolote, a beautiful beach near the Pichilingue harbor, where we prepped to take the ferry to Mainland. To ring in 2012, we splurged and treated ourselves to a swim with the whale sharks. Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and they are often seen in the Sea of Cortez to feed on plankton. They are the “friendly” sharks. That’s why we can swim with them – they filter plankton and don’t eat humans, like other sharks. So we hired a local guy to take us out to see if we could find some sharks, thinking we would cruise far out into the Sea of Cortez to seek out the sharks. With another young Mexican couple with us in the little panga, we slowly motored out of the La Paz marina and within 10 minutes, within sight of La Paz hotels, saw some fins sticking out of the water. Now, mind you, the sight of this just sends your heart rate through the roof. It just goes against intuition to jump in the water when you see very large fins skimming the water, but we gave each other a wide-eyed look, and jumped in the water. Here’s a very amateur video of us swimming with these beasts. Yes, that is me screaming through my snorkel at the beginning:
As with any traveling in a foreign country, getting information can be challenging, so it took a while to figure out the ferry situation. Can we sleep in our camper? Will they put us on deck? What about the dog? Are there bathrooms? Is there food? Oh, I guess I forgot to mention, that of course, we wanted to take the cheaper second-class freight ferry, the one that all the truckers take, so there are always more questions when you opt for the cheap-ass version. We completed all of our paperwork (There are rules about driving a foreign car into Mainland Mexico, so you have to prove that you are not going to sell the car.), purchased our tickets and drove onto the boat. Contrary to our expectations, it was great! The ferry was only half full so there were only a few semi trucks and a few cars and we were put on deck with a great happy hour view and a lot of room to walk around. And we got two free meals to boot! Dozer slept the whole time, even without the help of doggie tranquilizers.
While on the ferry, we met up with a great couple – James and Sarah – Brits who are bike touring from Alaska to Chile. It was so delightful to chat with them about traveling, bike touring, and living an alternative life. Talking to them was so energizing and re-affirmed for me that I am really a traveler at heart. Check out their blog here.
We are stoked to be in Mainland, sweating our _________ (insert body part here) off. Kind of like home turf for us. We are surrounded by coconut palms, bougainvillea, and bugs – many of the biting variety. As we get hotter, the beers seem to get colder. One thing Mexicans do have figured out – refrigeration. I don’t know how they really get those beers that cold….
Te que cuides!