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North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Puerto Escondido
April 17th 2018
Published: April 17th 2018
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Flying into Mexico City, Izchel’s joy was infectious, we were all very looking forward to being here.....Alexandra taking to everything Mexican like a pescado to agua! Having this time with the kids taking care of me with so much love it brings tears to my eyes.....thank you!

Some reflections on the shimmering surfaces of Mexico.....and wondering just how superficial my observations are and what’s really going on? V difficult to glean in a short time.

Mexico is colour.....brilliant, clashing, shades you would never contemplate painting your house in are everywhere, and seem to work. Interlaid with brilliant tiles, designs from Aztec, Mixtec, Incan, Outcan and contemporary.....vast walls overlaid in ceramic, Arabian origin blues and whites to tiny isolated single pieces that have to be sought out to be appreciated. Mural tile pictures in a similar style to the My Khe beach wall, I’m still unsure at what stage they are broken into individual tiles?

And flower colour....the intense purples, reds, yellows, whites of the irrepressible bougainvilleas, taking over walls, entire buildings, city scapes.....the wild and uncontrollable colours matching their growth.

Rusty V8 pickups, bow legged cowboys in faded denim, tooled leather boots, belts and leather tools? Round people.....round parents and a string of round kids rolling along the dusty street.

Every 100 metres along every road are bloody great topes, sleeping policemen, speed humps call them what you will.....forces traffic to an almost stop, older model cars deal with them badly!

And everywhere big mobs of cops....regular beat cops on foot, on bicycle, quads, cars and trucks. Paramilitary heavies in foreboding black muscle armour and carrying well worn armaments. Mad Max style vehicles of the industrial strength bull bars, blackened windows radiating fear, not something you’d readily photograph, they sort of tell you to look away. One local told me he found it very reassuring to have an armed cop on every corner of his neighbourhood.... he was taken aback that I was taken aback!

I do love the zocalos, open space squares in every town and city, lots of trees and flowers, statues of local or national heroes, intersecting paths, fountains and always people.....or the vast open space zocalo of Mexico City. Everyone can enjoy the zocalo, lots of young, courting couples under the watchful eye of a chaperone, families eating ice creams, flying kites, riding bicycles, pushing prams....old people taking the sun, chatting or dozing, an enviably strong feeling of family and community....and history, it is all so old, you could take a time machine back 500 years and it wouldn’t be very different. (5,000 years?)

And the ubiquitous cactus...well, if you can’t grow anything else in your garden at least you can grow cactus. The small leaves of some variety are very delicious, and others the source of the revolting pulque and the wonderful tequila and mescal....mmmmm

It’s all very dry, hot and dry, I’m becoming fig like, much slathering of cream and guzzling water...I’m still pruning out, wrinkling and parched, I’m drinking 15 litres of water a day and still dehydrated wtf?

And V&Ts are 95% water surely.

And of course the inequality is everywhere obvious, just like everywhere, the rich rolling out of their razor wire encrusted armed guarded gated communities in big flash armour plated cars with security convoys, oblivious to the beggars, street slummers, under educated, underfed, kid riddled families, unemployed, unwashed, unwanted.....but they don’t get to enjoy a quiet sitdown in the zocalo with an ice cream or a beer and watch the rest of the world go by.....

Tulum has the brilliant white talcum sand and crystal blue water Caribbean style, the seppo festering culture of Cancun is slowly spreading down the coast, reminds me of the DN development, gradually sucking up the beaches, building walls and pools so the foreign tourists can come and enjoy....what exactly? The poolside bar tended fastidiously cleaned facilities lovely western styled rooms, restaurants and restrooms, never having to see a local unless you run into the cleaning woman....now what country are we in today dear? But far enough down the coast it’s still real, the boys in the makeshift gym on the beach below the watchtower, the aging Jose, casually guarding a vacant block, right on the beach, renting spaces to tent backpackers, fabulous beachfront accom, right next to this bizarre upmarket campsite...glamping they call it....I think wanking might be closer, delux camping for 200 bucks a night wtf? But you do get a bed in your floored tent and a cushioned umbrella-ed sunbed on the beach and wait service who dash about with drinks with little umbrellas and cold beer....hmmmmm

And swimming the cenotes of course....ayayay

Then to Puerto Escondido on the Pacific, the place of broken dreams and more broken surfboards from some of the most powerful waves around. It’s sort of surreal when you hit the beach, all very innocuous like any suburban beach, sand, flies, water...you get the picture....then you go in and find a disconcertingly strong undertow, you’re getting pulled out quite quickly into the deeper water...then a wave suddenly starts building up towards you...holy shit, it’s a monster...in seconds you’re swept up, smashed down, no forgiveness here, barrelled and bashed you try to get out but you’re stuck out there, no way back in, no way out....even after avoiding the full onslaught of the wave there’s a secondary roiling swirling wash that sucks you back under....finally a break in the set and you struggle ashore.....I need a beer, Margarita

Rasta braided dreadlocked beaded hippies like 500 years ago....or was it only 12...or 50? Oh so quaint westerner houses, villas, superb architecture local and imported, fabulous designs to suit the open air living, more colours and bougies, small but perfectly formed swimming pools, tropical gardens manicured to within an inch.....impartiality in partly palatable and purely palpable palapas as the definitive Mexican roof style......den of iniquity for vermin dust and fire but tres cool....

A loose knit community of foreigners, living out their remaining years in uncloistered gossip ridden semi fearful mini fiefdoms desperately seeking mechanisms to mexicanism in their birtheritage-denying newlife....but never really leaving it too far behind.....medivac to Medicare, PE to John Hopkins ....what do the locals think about that I really wonder.....In between the beautiful modern but tasteful foreigner palapa topped townhouses the delected junkyard chicken runs of the local paisanos, houses that are either halfway up or halfway down?....concrete slabs dusty, scrappy schools and sporting centres, monuments to election promises and dedicated to local historic figures....everything seems a bit derelict....and it’s all on Mexican time......although the housekeepers, gardeners and pool cleaners are very regular....and always on time......

And the younger set, the surfers, hippies, travellers, packbackers, it looks like nothing much has changed in 50 years...which is pretty reassuring I reckon....maybe a few more vegetarian restaurants and yoga classes but the vibe man, it’s the same....hahaha

Then Ben gestured hypnotically, I had a last 24 hours with them in Mexico City, what a fabulous 24 hours.....I do love this city this time! And thanks to Liza as well!

Got to the airport and they tell me I need an ETA to get into Canada....WTF?.....Ben again to the rescue and somehow managed to get it sorted with an hour to spare.....I still don’t know what an ETA is....every other time into Canada I’d had no problems....I just hope these fuckers need all this shit to get into Oz....well no, actually I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!

.....vaya con huevos! 🇲🇽


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