I’ve broken one of Roger’s golden rules “Never go back”. Here I am in San Blas via Sayulita. To be fair I probably should mention that “Never go back” was always trumpable by “Remain flexible at all times”, but I’ve been wondering if this is one of the types of situations the first rule was designed for…
I got off the plane in Puerto Vallarta on Sunday afternoon still not sure where I was headed. I couldn’t get a firm grasp on what felt right. I would have spurts of enthusiasm about each possibility but none were strong enough to outweigh the general feeling of inertia and low-level anxiety. And I felt lonely, after all those days surrounded with people in Susan’s house. I decided to go somewhere I know people. So that narrowed it down to Sayulita or San Blas but I was still finding it impossible to make a decision between them. I sat down in a restaurant at the bus stop across the road from the airport and ate marlin & prawn burritos and tried to feel it through. Nada. I paid my bill and decided that if a bus to Sayulita pulled up in the next 10 minutes, I’d take it. It did.
It was siesta time when I arrived so everything was closed, including the yoga place I stayed at last time. The gate was open at the hostel around the corner so I dumped my bags there with an explanatory note and went to the beach. No waves. But the guys at Wildmex were pleased to see me; Diego has grown a moustache, Vassilis has headed to the Canary Islands, Brad has taken over Amalia’s job in the tent, otherwise nothing much has changed. They were interested in the news from San Blas and envious about my trip to Nexpa. Again I was amazed at how tight-knit the surfing community is here – everyone knows (of, at least) everyone.
Back to the hostel where I met the owner, Connie, who is 50 something from California, and a wonderfully welcoming host. No single rooms so I took a bed in the 4-bed rooftop dorm (something I usually avoid like the plague), but I had it to myself so it was perfect. Hung out with Mel and Tommy (a gorgeous young Canadian couple), Stefan from Germany, and Jordan, a skeletal bearded young hippy who it transpired is a breatharian. Hasn’t eaten in 22 days. Couldn’t help myself, I kept offering to buy him a taco. Or at least a milkshake? Poor love.
I surfed the main beach break early in the morning on one of the free dungers from the hostel, a 7’6″ funboard, similar size to my board at home. First time I’ve been on something that short for ages! I only caught 2 waves but it reminded me why I want to do this. Then the break got crowded and I remembered why I don’t want to do it in Sayulita. But Connie was driving up to San Pancho in the afternoon and had asked if anyone wanted to tag along so I decided to stay one more day.
San Pancho (real name San Francisco if you’re looking for it on a map) is a pretty little town just north of Sayulita which once had a huge government funded mango and coconut processing operation. It failed soon after it was started but left behind it a collection of interesting and sometimes beautiful industrial buildings. Most are still empty but several have been taken over by enterprising expats and artistic locals who have converted them into community project spaces: a library, a recycling centre, community gardens, workshop spaces for dance, yoga & circus skills for kids, offices for a charity to protect the local jaguars. It’s really inspiring, and beautifully designed, with everything from the window bars to the lightfittings to the furniture made out of recycled stuff. The beach is nice too, shame about the crocodiles :-)
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Back in Sayulita I did some yoga and talked to Connie to try and sort out why I was feeling ambivalent about being back in Mexico. She was helpful, at least in that I have somewhere else I feel welcome to return to if I need a friend. And she has a friend at a surf place in Costa Rica who may need someone to look after his house for a while… so it could work out fortuitously.
Jumped on a bus to San Blas, still feeling like it may not be a good idea but not sure what else to do. It’s hotter here than last time. And even quieter. I chose badly by checking into a dark, hot dingy room with a single window so no through-breeze. And something wrong with the fan that makes it overheat so it acts as a heater. Urg. Went to the beach. Sat on the sand feeling sad. Joe (Laura’s dad from the Nexpa trip) appeared and gave me a hug. “Come on, I’m taking my board out to segunda”. Things started feeling better.
The sea temperature is 26 C. Yum. Fish were teeming around us. Strangely, the waves flattened as we went out, I only caught one wave, and Joe 3, but it was nice to get wet and be on my old yellow longboard again. Said hi to Pompis and wandered town being welcomed back by everyone.
Things are looking better today. I changed hotels and I love my new room, its light and airy and has an outlook. And air conditioning, which I might need soon once the sun gets lower and the famous San Blas bugs start biting. I borrowed a bike from Pompis so I’m mobile again. I caught up with Agustin who has been unwell, and Victoria who has decided to leave next week and go back to the States. We hung out at Agustin’s place, I splashed in the pool while he lay around recuperating and Victoria did the gardening. Bumped into Laura and Pitufo. Feeling at home again. No surf today, but.
I’m happy to be here now but still feeling aimless and like I’ve lost the plot a bit. I hope I can find it again. The one-track mindedness I had for the first few weeks of the trip has gone. I’ve had so many days NOT surfing that it seems ok to do other things now. Maybe that’s alright. Maybe there are some other things I need to be learning right now. Or maybe its just lazy. I’m going to allow myself a couple of days to concentrate on working out these feelings and planning the next move. And I’ll surf, of course, if I can :-)