1,800 miles in 18 days. That's how many days we have been in Mexico and how many miles we have traveled. I write this from Zihautenajo where we are rounding out the southern end of Mexico. On Sunday we will head to Acapulco where we will stay in a fancy-pants resort (thanks to Cal and Linda!) for a full week.
I titled this post "Mexico is still good" because of the sentiments we have heard along the way from Mexicans. Every chance I have had along the way I have asked local Mexicans their thoughts on the violence, cartels, drug trafficking, etc. that seems to be plaguing Mexico. They are not naive. They know what is going on in their country. Mostly what they have expressed is sadness. One man, who owned a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, told me that the tourists used to be 80% Americans and 20% Canadians. Now he said it seems to be the opposite: 20% Americans and 80% Canadians. So many people have been so excited to see Mark and me, as Americans, still traveling to Mexico. Another woman asked me, "When you go home, will you tell people that Mexico is still good?" So here is my post, Mexico is still good. There are bad things happening, and of course bad people, but that does not come anywhere close to encompassing the whole of Mexico.
Good things in Mexico:
Little boys all over the world love motorcycles.
A village cemetery the day after Dia de Muertos.
Stands lining the roads selling "Cocos frios." Cold coconut water fresh from the coconut. Pulp included if you like.
The last couple days we have been riding with Evan, who is a very sweet 20-year old from Canmore, Alberta. His Spanish is considerably better than ours since he spent nine months traveling South America last year.
This is Evan, making friends with the parrots at a roadside restaurant.
We had been told at one of our hotels that it was turtle season all down the west coast. As we were riding two days ago we passed a barely noticeable pullout with a rusted sign that said "Conservacion de tortugas." There was a small path leading into the palm trees. We followed it as far as we could on the bikes and when the sand got too soft we got off and walked. We found a small grass-roots conservation group: several local Mexicans and several hippy backpackers, under a grass hut playing cards and looking like they had just woken up (turns out they had). They told us that every night at 9:00 they started their work: walking up and down the 2 kilometer stretch of beach and watching for female black sea turtles to come up on the beach to lay her eggs, until 5:00 am. Of course volunteers are always needed. We were hooked. We drove up the road and found cabanas to stay in and returned at 9:00. The process goes something like this: The female turtles come up to shore to lay their eggs. The volunteers watch as she does so (apparently she is not shy), then proceed to measure the length of her shell, unbury the eggs, count them, put them in a plastic bag and take them over to the turtle nursery (a fenced protected area of the beach), and re-bury them. Meanwhile in the nursery several people are watching for the turtles that are hatching. These little pequenas are collected in a huge bucket and taken out on the beach and released to the ocean.
Mark and Evan helping Alan, our guide unbury some eggs.
I loved the pequenas (the little ones). They are perhaps the most cutest things ever.
We all stayed out there until 2:00 am absolutely entranced. Did I mention there was also phosphorescence so both the sand and the waves were glowing in the moonless night. One of the more amazing experiences of my life.
Mexico has been good to us, and while we continue to remain aware and alert, we are enjoying every moment. We still have another 1,000 miles to the Guatemalan border, who knew Mexico was so huge!