We made it to Puerto Escondido, just south of Oaxaca City! We went a different route (Rte. 175) than the tour books and busses take (Rte. 131), only because we had people from both sides recommend it. It only took six hours instead of 8-10! If we were to fly, it would’ve taken us ½ an hour. The road itself was windy and twisty, lots of potholes, landslides, and to make matter worse, people wanting to drive fast just because they’re used to the road. One time we came around a corner, only to find a tractor-trailer on its side, another tractor-trailer trying to pull him out of the way, and a third heavy-duty tractor waiting to flip him over. The twisty, windy road over the mountains took its toll; not only on David, but after about three hours, our power steering went out! Here we were, coming down the mountain with curves so bad, it was making me carsick, and no power steering! We didn’t see anyone in sight to stop and ask for help. We ended up driving to a Pemex, the National gas station, where we stopped, went to the bathroom, and asked for directions to a service station. Pemex attendants only know how to pump gas and ask for cash, not fix anything, which, I guess is the new normal. Anyway, the attendant tells us directions and we get in and start the car – and the power steering works! We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out the mechanics of the problem.
Puerto is a beautiful, tropical fishing port. It is quite warm, compared to Oaxaca City. It is also quite humid. It reminds me of Hawaii or Jamaica. It has about 30,000 residents. There are a lot of tourists; I think probably because of two tournaments – the International Sailfish contest, and the Mexican Pipeline surfing tournament.
And now our house. First of all, we drove right to it! I (and David, I think) was quite impressed. The apartment itself is very nice, albeit too big for just us. It is up on a hill overlooking a small village named Bajos de Chila. The village, on a dirt road, complete with cows, chickens, goats, dogs, and three-wheeled taxis, is quite small; in fact, it only has an elementary school, a hardware store, and a couple of very small stores or tiendas. Our apartment has two bedrooms and two baths, two lanais overlooking an infinity pool, and the beach is in the background. The kitchen is to die for, although it’s a bit small. It has a full-size refrigerator and a six-burner, full-size stove. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but in Oaxaca we had a dorm-size fridge and a 2-burner stove. The pool is great; I went for a swim while David cooked supper. I loved looking at the sunset into the Pacific; I missed that! There’s also a big HDTV that gets a Canadian satellite. While it’s nice to have an English-speaking TV, after a while you kind of wish they’d just.shut.up! I don’t care about Kim Kardashian! There is ongoing construction (building another condo) and because of that, the owner gave it to us for half-off.
Okay, now the negatives. Distance: we are as far away from the town center as you can be and still be in Puerto Escondido! It’s at least a 10-minute drive; no cell phone coverage: the apartment is cement and we think it blocks the coverage. When we go outside, we have coverage, it’s just inside; no internet: I saved the worst for last! It’s amazing how addicted I became to this laptop and to my ability to talk all over the world. I couldn’t even do my online-banking! The owners want to sell these apartments; no internet is enough for me not to buy (if they were to ask me)! Right now I’m on the roof trying to get this stupid connection. I don’t have any pics right now; it’s too hard to upload.
We brought our car into a mechanic, who, luckily for us spoke English. We asked for a much-needed oil change, as well as checking out our power steering situation. We were told no problem, these cars were ahead of us, would we mind waiting? No problem! We took a cab and went down to Playa Principal. We went to a cute restaurant overlooking the cove. The cove was filled with fishing boats. Our table at the restaurant was under a thatched roof overlooking the beach and cove and in the shade. In fact, while we were at the restaurant, a fishing boat docked itself on the beach and the tourists/fishermen walked in with 3 smallish bonitos and four dorados or mahi-mahi. We stayed at the restaurant for a couple of hours, nursing our limonadas, my new favorite drink. When we drove back to the mechanic, our car hadn’t even moved! We were told five more minutes, five more minutes. A couple of hours later, we had our car back, with freshly-changed oil, but they didn’t even touch our power steering! Luckily, our go-to person at the apartment, Juan, told us that he was going to set up an appointment for us and drive us over there. Yay!
Today we got up bright and early and followed Juan into Puerto Escondido to the auto mechanic. I’ve got to get out of my “American” mentality and stop thinking that the only way to repair a car is to bring it to a dealership! Anyway, the mechanic hooked up the car to a computer and couldn’t find anything wrong with it! I’m glad Juan was there with us, because he translated everything David said. After poking and prodding a bit more, the mechanic said that he was 99% sure that it was the battery. Huh?! In the end, we got a new battery, but since we’re going to be here for another 26 days, if it happens again, we’re going to take it back to him.
Tomorrow we’re FINALLY going to check out the beaches. I already promised David I won’t wear my bathing suit; maybe I’ll get my toes wet!
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