On the way home from breakfast the other day here in Sayulita, I heard the distant sound of sirens. That’s an uncommon occurrence in this part of Mexico – contrary to what the media would have you believe – so I went to take a look.
I’m very glad that I did.
It was Revolution Day, and the town was out in celebration. Unbearably cute kids were everywhere, the girls in their best dresses, the boys with painted mustaches and wooden guns. The smoke from makeshift cannons drifted across the main street as a group of tiny cheerleaders paraded past, young and old alike reveling in the moment.
Towards the end of the parade came this group of young women on horses, their white dresses shining brilliantly in the sun. Even the horses were perfectly groomed, plaited manes and leg warmers included.
It was the perfect way to start the morning.Continue Reading →
I didn’t spend all of my time in Yelapa lying in a hammock or playing with my new friend Mr Toad (although to be honest it did kind of feel like it).
Before breakfast one morning I strapped on my walking shoes and headed off to find the closer of two waterfalls that are well-known around those parts. As it turned out, it was even closer than I’d expected – it’s pretty much on one edge of town, just a few minutes from the main pier along a mostly-paved path. Too easy, really – there were even signposts pointing out the right way to go. Not that there were really too many choices.
Despite it being so easy to get to, Lauren and I had the waterfall to ourselves the entire time we were there. Birds chirped as the spray covered us in a light mist, while other, larger animals rustled around anonymously nearby. It was only when the rumbling of our stomachs drowned them all out that we finally decided to move on…Continue Reading →
Big Bend National Park is an anomaly really. Buried in remote southwest Texas and forming the border with Mexico for nearly 250 miles, it’s simultaneously one of the largest and least-visited national parks in the United States. While somewhere like Yellowstone sees three million people per year through its gates, Big Bend is nine times the size yet gets less than ten percent of the visitors.
The reason, I guess, is that it just isn’t really on the way to anywhere. We were staying in Alpine, the only town of any size in the vicinity… and even that only had 6000 residents and was around a hundred miles away.
Populated this part of the country is not… and that, of course, is exactly why we went there.Continue Reading →
I recently spent a few days in the small town of Yelapa, leaving my laptop behind for some quality hammock and beach time. It’s a beautiful spot, accessible only by boat or, apparently, a length hack through the jungle – strangely enough, we opted for the water taxi!
The hotel we were staying was brilliant, albeit overpriced for Mexico – open air and overlooking the river, it was the perfect place to relax. Well, until sunrise that is, when the local rooster population decided to celebrate another day of being alive.
They weren’t the only animals that we made the acquaintance of, however. There were a couple of cats, several dogs, a few mosquitoes and – after heavy rain one night – this friendly toad who decided he’d much rather hang out behind our bed than weather the storm outside. It’s hard to blame him, really.Continue Reading →
We hadn’t planned to go to Roswell on our US road trip, but when we realised it would only add a couple of hours to our drive from White Sands, Lauren pestered the hell out of me until I gave in… I mean, I happily agreed to make the detour. I mean, it’s not every day you get to visit the site of an alleged UFO crash landing, right?
No, no it isn’t.Continue Reading →
The official Day of the Dead festivities here in Sayulita were a fairly raucous affair, with well-known bands, giant dancers (no, really) a party that ran until the small hours.
As darkness fell the day before, though, a more subdued celebration took place in the main plaza. Memorials to those who had died throughout the year had been erected throughout the day, and friends and relatives of the deceased lit candles in their memory.
They were simple yet poignant reminders that none of us will be here forever.Continue Reading →
Last week I celebrated two years on the road. It wasn’t a big celebration – I’d had that with friends a few nights earlier – but as Lauren and I ate smoked fish and polished off a bottle of wine, we unsurprisingly got to talking about the most memorable aspects of our travels.
“What are your three favourite cities?” one of us would ask, and then we’d both have to come up with an answer. “How about your favourite meals? Guesthouses? Sunsets?”
I was as surprised by the differences between our choices as the similarities, and we ended up playing that game for hours. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the wine, of course.
Since I figured that perhaps Lauren might not be the only person interested in those answers, I decided to write down as many as I could remember here as well.Continue Reading →
There aren’t many cemeteries around the world that I’d willingly spend much time in, but the one here in Sayulita is an exception. It’s a bright, colourful mass of gravestones and mausoleums, strewn up and down a rocky hill that overlooks the beach and town below.
Rather than a place for sadness, it seems like somewhere to celebrate the life of those who have departed. Surfboards dot the landscape, along with other mementos of the deceased. There’s even a little beach at the end of the path (Playa de Los Muertos, literally ‘Beach of the Dead’), and all in all it doesn’t look or feel like any other cemetery I’ve visited.
I was there the afternoon before the Day of the Dead celebrations here in Mexico, and families were out tidying up the graves of their loved ones in preparation, chatting away as they weeded and polished.
If I was going to be buried anywhere when I do, I can think of far worse places than this.Continue Reading →