Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Beach Paradises...

April 5th to 9th 2009

We leave Playa Azul and ride out through the jungles of Vietnam....

Well not really, but this is the area where they filmed Rambo 2, and I always get flashbacks when I see this....

After the incredible ride of the last 5 days beside pristine, palm lined beaches, we leave the coast and travel a few kilometers inland. Frankly it all gets a bit dull really, and it's just incredibly hot and humid away from the fresh sea breezes. By midday, we are starting to bake and energy levels are waning, when we stop for supplies and learn of yet another hidden beach just 3 miles down a dirt track.

When we arrive it seems it's not so hidden after all; most of the local village is already there. It's a Sunday and about 50 people have turned out to repair the old and build some new Palapas - a sort of wooden frame covered in palm leaves to provide shade. We form part of the crew and help to carry the mud to make the bricks to build new BBQ stands. It's a lively affair with people coming and going and taking time out to feast on the copious quantities of food that appear from various cool boxes.

And suddenly they all leave and we have our beach paradise to ourselves....

The following day it's a short ride into Ixtapa. 

In 1970, Ixtapa was a nowhere coconut plantation on Palm Grove Bay. Then Fonatur; the Mexican government's tourist department decided that maybe Acapulco was all a bit too 1950's. They decreed that a new Cuncun style resort should be built further up the coast to take advantage of the amazing beaches and coastal islands. After laying power lines and creating a water supply, this cookie cutter replica of all other tourist resorts sprang up out of the palm trees....

By applying market research and listening to what American tourists with fat wallets really wanted, Ixtapa has been incredibly successful at attracting the green stuff. 

It's as much a playground for Mexico's finest as it is for American package tours patrons. It also attracts a disproportionate number of time share vendors with prices in the mid 7 figures. That's dollars, not pesos, and hotel rates can match anywhere in the world.

But we're cycle touring riffraff and we need to find the cheap seats. Fortunately there's an RV park where we can camp right on the ocean a respectable distance away from the high rollers.

Here, bits of the coconut plantation remain and we arrive just in time to see the bare footed "look mum, no harness" style of harvest they have around here. It took this guy less than 20 seconds to shinny up this 20m tree, with nothing but a 3 foot machete to break his fall if he slipped.

And 20 seconds later....

Now that's fresh fruit! And we never had to stray from the tent to get it. 

And check out Sue's cyclista style tanned legs. For the next couple of days everywhere we go we hear mutterings of "dos colores" which means 2 colours in Spanish. Because I have a warped mind I make a note to find out what the Spanish is for "Leg Transplant" and "After the Accident".....

We take some time out to visit islands in the bay and eat fresh shrimp the size of your hand. The water round the island covers a small reef, and we snorkel amongst an array of impossibly coloured fish. They swim so close you can touch them in the crystal clear warm waters. One gets a little too close and takes a tiny chunk of meat from my leg - a piranha wannabe....

Could have been worse though....

This guy lives in a "natural reserve" with lizards and giant iguanas close to the town; about 300m from the beach. It's less a reserve and more a small swampy area right by the main road. There's a cycle path and it goes right over the top on a wooden bridge just 3 feet above where these crocs bask. The chain link fence to the side runs about 20 feet and then stops..... 
I just hope these guys get fed regularly, otherwise that wooden bridge just looks to them like a conveyor belt passing food before their sharpened fangs....

But that's enough sightseeing for us and we're off to the beach with the beautiful people. Looks like the volleyball has just started....


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