Two months in paradise
After an extended 9 week stay in Puerto Escondido, it was finally time to say goodbye.
Staying in Puerto was an incredible experience, and it was hard to leave. I've had so much fun surfing and getting immersed in the community here. While my Spanish is still far from fluent, it has improved greatly, as have my surfing abilities. I became a 'regular' at more than one establishment in Riconada (the area where I lived), and I made so many great friends, with both locals and travelers alike.
Last week I had my 31st birthday, and was fortunate to share it with some great friends at Pinches Tacos (home away from home). They even surprised me with a cake! It ended up having nuts in the frosting (to which I am very allergic), so I had to cautiously only eat the cake part. It's the thought that counts, right?
While the surfing, scenery, and learning have all been great, it's always the people that share the experience with you, that really make the whole thing memorable. Here are some of the wonderful people I shared Puerto with:
Flying from Puerto to Oaxaca with AeroTucan
When it came time to leave, I decided to book a flight, rather than take a bus. Due to the windy mountain roads, that are required for land travel to Oaxaca (my next stop), the bus can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours! After doing some research online, I found two potential airlines that fly from Puerto to Oaxaca for around $100 USD. One is called Aero Vega, which is just one pilot who owns a plane or two and flies whenever he's free, and the other is AeroTucan, which has a desk at the airport, and a website.
Originally, I wanted to fly AeroVega, because I heard it was a bit cheaper, but I never could get in contact with the pilot. My email was unanswered, and he don't seem to have a webpage or official contact method. So instead, I flew with AeroTucan. I didn't know what to expect, but it turned out being a wonderful experience.
My flight was at 8am, and left right on time. The AeroTucan plane was a small single propeller airplane with room for about twelve passengers. The cabin was tiny, with no divider between the cockpit and the passengers, so you could see all the instruments on the dash.
I expected the flight to be like a roller coaster, with turbulence over the mountains, but it was actually very smooth. The views were amazing, and the total flight time was only about 30 minutes!
I'm now staying in an AirBnB apartment in central Oaxaca, and enjoying cooler weather and a more active city scene. Live music is constant, as street performers are out in the Zócalo (main square) every day. I'll also be meeting up with a friend, who I met last time I was here in early 2016. He's from Holland, but has been teaching English here in Oaxaca for the past three years or so.
It's hard to believe I'll be back in the states, and going back to work in a few weeks. Until then, I'll be soaking up as much Mexican food, culture, and nature as I can.
Last week, I had surfed five days in a row and was feeling pretty exhausted. However, an invitation to play some pool and hang with friends in Zicatela was too tempting to refuse. When we headed out, I noticed that I had developed some sinus congestion and a case of the sniffles. I figured my body was just in need of a day off, and while I wondered if going out was a bad idea, I crawled into the taxi, and headed out.
The bar was quiet when we arrived, and the lack of music was noticed immediately. We were told their speaker had recently blown, and that's why it was quiet. "No matter." I thought. Typically, I find bars too loud for my introvert ears, so the ability to hear my friends, as we conversed over pool and drinks, was a treat. As typically happens though, each round of drinks paved the way for the next, and by the end of the night, I knew I would be paying for this night well into tomorrow.
My premonition was realized as my eyes opened around 7am the next morning. I was parched, and my whole body ached. "I'm getting to old for this." I thought, as I reached for the water bottle next to my bed. I chugged a half liter and fought for another hour of sleep. As the day progressed, my dehydration was replaced by a fever and I knew my immune system had been stretched too thin. Over the course of the next two days, I would sleep about 30 hours. On day three I was feeling decent, but wasn't sure if I was ready to surf again. However, I found out that it was photo day, and if I wanted photos of my surfing (which are used for the weekly coaching sessions each Friday night), I would need to muster my energy and hit the waves, despite my not feeling 100%.
Once I was on the water, I was feeling pretty good. The salt provided a nice nasal rinse, and the constant movement was a welcomed change, after laying in my bed or hammock the past few days. The sky was grey, and we were circled by a number of large black black birds (not sure the name of them). I actually rode quite a few waves that day, which was surprising, since I hadn't been in the water for a few days prior.
After we got out of the water though, I knew I hadn't recovered from the sickness. My body ached and felt like I had been hit by a train. I closed my eyes as we drove back home, and immediately went back to bed - sleeping another 5 hours in the afternoon, and then again 12 hours when night came. Fortunately, I recovered again in the next couple days, and i'm happy to say that I feel fine at the time of writing this.
It turned out that the timing of my getting sick could not have been better. I had just completed the rest of my Spanish lessons the week before, so I didn't have class to miss, and Puerto Escondido had a tropical depression brewing off the coast, that was expected to drop 8-12 inches of rain on our paradise town during the same week.
It rained for about 3 days in a row, causing small rivers to form in the streets. During this week was the first time I seriously considered leaving, and continuing my travels elsewhere. apart from surfing, this town doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of entertainment, so when the beaches are flooded, cabin fever sets in fast.
As soon as the storm subsided, the sun broke through, and it was back to the beaches!
Howdy Planet was created in April, 2017. The name tips its hat to my Texas roots, and is a play off "lonely planet", since I too have a deep desire to explore this beautiful rock that we call home. This site is a place where I can document and share my upcoming travel experiences. It is for the enjoyment and inspiration of others, and for myself, as such memories will undoubtedly fade over the months and years ahead.