I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

Trip Start Jul 06, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, July 14, 2006

In Puerto Escondido, I found my way (When I'm traveling I often "find my way", asking people on every other block which way to go, picking up familiar words on the way. When I return home and can understand directions I feel like a genuis.) to the Crucero (turns out that's the name of a hotel) to catch a bus to Pochutla, from where I intended to catch a taxi to Zipolite (where there aren't any troubles - well at least very few).

The bus was boarding as I arrived. It was a steambath inside. I've learned to accept these boiling situations as free saunas. Refreshing! The music was blasting. A friend once told me -ruining all Mexican music for me forever - that every song in Spanish has the word 'corazon' in it. Now I listen for it every time. I have not yet been disappointed.

I was the only gringa on the bus. At the front was a huge picture of the Virgen of Guadelupe. Next to the Virgen was a yellowed piece of paper taped to the wall advertising a local gynecologist's services. There must be some kind of connection between the two...

Just before we got to Pochutla, the boy who took my fare asked me if I was going to Mazunte or Zipolite. I said Zipolite and he shouted for the driver to stop, grabbed my backpack and dropped it on the ground outside the bus. I got off and the bus took off, leaving me on the highway next to a small cafe in the middle of nowhere (enter tumbleweeds).

A man from the cafe jumped up and asked if I wanted a taxi. Sure. We drove through the steaming jungle and through a couple of charming rustic tourist towns. In twenty minutes we were in Zipolite.

Zipolite beach in the off season is a sleepy town with a strong sun, palm trees, rustic (I'm going to use this word a lot here) cafes, cabins and hammocks. I carried my bag through town, checking out different accomodations. I found one place that had two rooms beside eachother, each with a hammock out front on a patio facing the ocean. In the occupied room, a large man lay asleep while another sat in a hammock drinking a beer. There were empty bottles everywhere. No thanks.

I kept walking, enjoying the Zipolite sauna fully clothed.

I suddenly heard The Eagles booming from a bright yellow building. I paused for a second and looked in. The building had a palapa patio with a sand floor, a hammock and a plastic table and chairs. Toward the ocean at the front of the patio sat three men on a log.

A chubby bald gringo with a scar on his face jumped up and welcomed me loudly. He was shirtless and had white paint on his elbows. He begged me to sit down and took my bag and set it on the ground. He offered me a beer. "First one's on the house", he said. He introduced me to a few Mexicans sitting around, referring to them as his family.

He told me he'd been there for thirty-three years, that he was one of the original twelve hippies in Zipolite, of which only four remain. He spoke in Spanglish to the locals, calling them "f$&%ing spics" and other similar words in Spanish. They swore back, laughing.

On the log, a drug deal started to go down between one of the three men and a skinny stumbling woman with a bald spot on the back of her head. She looked as if someone had yanked out a handful of her hair.

The Gringo went ballistic. He interspersed welcoming sentiments ("First beer's on the house", he repeated) with Spanglish derision aimed at the log men. It was then that I noticed he was slurring and one of his eyelids kept drooping. Imagine a cross between Dennis Hopper and Marlon Brando in 'Apocolypse Now'.

Soon the log men started shouting back. Dennis Brando walked quickly over to them, yelling that he'd been here for "triente thres" years. I downed my beer and took off.

I continued for some time down a dirt road, looking for a place called Hispuedes Lyoban. I passed ramshackle houses and stray dogs. I seemed to be heading out of town. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't starting to worry about this place. What kind of hell had Marlon Hopper and the Original Twelve established here?

Lyoban was such a surprise. I walked into the restaurant/bar and asked a small man with a moustache if it was his place. He was very welcoming, and led me to my rustic bamboo room. It's clean and does the trick. The place is two levels. Upstairs on each side are four rooms. In front, facing the ocean, are a few hammocks flanked by beach chairs. Downstairs is a restaurant, half on patio and half in the sand. At the ocean sit four tables with roofs made of palm leaves. There is a bar, a pool table, pingpong table and a foosball table. Sand everywhere. I had arrived!

I have spent so many hours in a hammock and on the beach. I run into the water now and then to cool off. I drink cervesas at night. I watch the waves. I get sunburned and recover. I swear I have to reapply my very strong sunsreen a couple of times a day. My sweat just melts it off my skin.

I just finished a book by Tim Sandlin with this great quote by the main character experiencing hot humidity for the first time: "Where I come from we keep our water and our air separate".
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