28 August – Day 37
Zihuatanejo, Mexico to Playa Ventura, Mexico
Distance: 399kms (time on bike = nine hours, excluding one hour for lunch)
The further south we travel, the better the beaches get. In equal yet opposite proportions, the roads get worse. I don’t want to harp on about the roads.. suffice to say that they are terrible, in every sense of the word. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to drive, that’s for sure. It’s hot, sweaty and at times stressful work just being a passenger! Today’s travel included at least 50 speed bumps – including several on highways, where we’re generally not travelling at a speed bump friendly speed. At one point, we paid for the privilege of a toll road / tunnel through a city of over 2 million people… only to have the tunnel – three lanes of smoothly tarred road with actual lane markings – disgorge us abruptly, like an unexpected and surprisingly juicy burp, out onto a two-lane dirt road. Chaos. It was utter chaos.
The day’s journey also included an unexplained and total road blockage just short of our final destination for the day. Based on the number of lorries queued up, the road had clearly been closed all day. In both directions…
It was hot and we were tired and not at all excited about the prospect of a night camped next to the bike in a queue of trucks on the road. So when a couple of locals pointed out a way around the blockage through backstreets (and, as we subsequently found out, ankle deep mud, bog, sand and pretty much any other un-motorbike friendly surface you can imagine!) – we thought it was worth a shot… especially when a couple of other smaller cars seemed to be taking it, too.
And – we did make it around the jam… but not without several extended patches with Adrian riding the bike solo and me, dressed in full motorbike regalia including boots and helmet, running (yes, running!) along behind the bike, through the mud, in the heat, trying to keep up. It would have looked hilarious – a couple of gringos traipsing through the back country, massively overdressed by Mexican standards, with this girl running and sliding along behind a guy riding and sliding what was possibly the biggest motorbike they’d ever seen. It was not our happiest moment on the bike (or off the bike, in my case)!!!
[hmm – the above possibly does count as harping on about the roads… oops. It’s actually hard to avoid on days like today, when the roads essentially are the story of the day!]
Anyway. Onwards and upwards.. or, to be more accurate, southwards.
We’re in Playa Ventura. It’s apparently an ‘it’ destination… in December, January and February. In August, I can vouch from first-hand experience that there are very few tourists in the town. We were the only ones at our hotel – and possibly the only ones in the town at all. And we were definitely the only non-Mexicans.
The beach is very rough and rocky so there was no swimming for us… and almost no dinner, too… by the time we ventured out for some food, around 8pm, pretty much anywhere that was actually open at all had closed… and it took one local taking us to his brother’s cousin’s place (or something like that) where a lady took pity on us and ceased watching what appeared to be a Mexican soapie to make us (a very nice) dinner. A good end to a long day.