Matt the Frenchman met up with us at our RV Park in Puerto Vallarta along with his new friend Pamela from Wisconsin. They were recommended a beach about 100km away and after spending one more night at Tachos we got a late morning start heading south for a village, road and beach that didn’t exist on any of our maps nor our 2 different GPS.
But we were told it exists.
The rolling hills allowed occasional glimpses of the Pacific as we traveled Mexico Hwy 200 to the town of El Tuito where we searched narrow cobbled streets for ice and I succumbed to 2 roasted chickens with corn tortillas and hot salsa for $10. Fast food at its best, lunch at a bus stop on main street. I don’t know if its considered rude to eat out on the sidewalk like that but Mexicans still said “Hola” and “Buenos Tardes” so it couldn’t be that bad!
We got directions to head out of town, asking for Corrales in our poor Espanol and using the maps that don’t have it on. We headed down a narrow road grown in by shrubs to discover it opens up and there are highway signs! Okay, part of them are missing but the important stuff for us was there. Corrales!! That’s where we were trying to get. It must exist.
A 100 km day seemed like it was going to be a breeze. I imagined getting to some gorgeous beach in time to bask and swim in the afternoon sun.
Matt and Pamela would have fewer problems than us due simply to height. They could get the motorcycle in to some very nice secluded beaches. But Reggie (our van) isn’t as flexible. So after traveling back and forth the last 20 kms of very rugged roads looking for beach access we asked the people at the end of the road (literally) if we could camp on the beach with their pangas (fishing boats) as we were unable to get under all the growth on the other beaches.
They were more than gracious. Maximiliano let us park in front of their store/house, and told us we could put our tents (tienda de campana) in front of the palapa beside the pangas. Dark was upon us.
We bought some beers to patronize the store we descended on, and we sat on his patio sharing beers and our unshelled peanuts. Max joined us for the peanuts and a little lesson in language-sharing. He told us of a nearby faro (lighthouse) and that he’s a childless only-child. Juke box blasts.
Amazing what we can communicate without sharing the same language.
Sleep was good if you could ignore the crashing waves, the dogs, the roosters, the braying donkeys, and a snoring husband. Earplugs quiet them all but that donkey is still incredibly l-o-u-d!!
Under darkness of early morning I sneak out to use the banos which kafuffle us. The men’s with a urinal has a sheet-curtain door. The other stall with the only proper toilet has no door. Your view is right out onto a sandy opening in the road where the pangas are, where 3 storefronts face. Why the ‘door’ for a urinal but not a toilet??
In the dark nobody can really see you in there. But in daylight one feels conspicuous. We already feel conspicuous, as if camping in a town’s living room.
Later in the morning we take turns using the bano while several family members stand in front to build a wall. Jesus notices our situation then instructs the boys/men to pee in the ocean (it isn’t illegal here in this village…it is in PV where Matt the Frenchman got hauled off to jail guilty for that infraction) and the girls/women can use a different bano with a wooden door. Gracious!! There are actually 3 stalls at the new-to-us banos. Women, men, and just a urinal.
We are all relieved, and much more comfortable staying here for a few days now that the banos situation has improved with privacy. At some point a curtain goes up on the other bano. We now have options. None are flushing. A barrel full of water rests near by with a bucket. About 3 bucketfuls will get solids down. Fingers crossed.
Every fishing village has their own system for getting their boats in and out to sea. Maret & I are fascinated comparing this village with others that we have known.
The pangas are anchored in the bay here at Corrales. A few are up on the beach. Under dark the first crews got in a panga on the beach and shoved it out. They stopped at other pangas dropping men off in different boats before they all head out for the catch.
Others come down to the beach and jump on kayaks, paddling out using their hands or flip-flop to paddle. It’s a short trip to their panga, then they come into beach and pick up others, delivering them to other pangas. The kayaks are anchored for their return. They might be sunk by the time they return due to cracks or holes, but they are tied to another boat or to shore so they can be retrieved.
A fisherman accompanied by his wife and 3 daughters jumped on board their small-motorized boat. Middle daughter started up the motor after dad paddled them away from shore. Everybody but mom climbed onto a panga and set off fishing. Where mom went I don’t know.
Within about an hour and a half the return began with their catch of the day. Small hammerhead shark, African pompano, Durango, many of the fish we became acquainted with last winter on the Baja. They sell them to restaurants in the Puerto Vallarta area.
Work done for the day the beer, smokes and joints come out. I don’t know that they even eat breakfast. They just start hanging out under the palapa near the store.
Laars awoke with an enlarged gland, Anders with a headache and fever, and Gaelyn with a sore throat. Kids climb rocks around the point to see what’s there…more rocks, shore and ocean.
Mitchell and Maret paddle out on the surfboards to get a different view. Later Mitchell takes the kayak out to the other side of the bay and gets uncomfortably close to a breaching whale. It wasn’t his choice but the behemoths to cross paths there! We saw some breaches from the beach, wondering where Mitchell might be. Did he see it, too? Oh, yeah, Momma!
The other kids doodle, more creations on paper, play card games. Laars sits in the shade and builds things with sand, Popsicle sticks, leaves and shells. Whatever he finds he builds with. Everette helps a guy fix his roof. The men repair and/or repair their boats. Everette and Mitch work on the dory and mend a man’s leaky kayak.
The weather is questionable on Christmas Eve (it rained during the night) but Mitchell catches a ride out with the men to collect their nets and catch over night, so we decide to stay thru the next few days. We are low on food but we’ll hang around and observe how they celebrate Feliz Navidad.
Mitchell is given a reward for his participation in retrieving the fish and we pay Amelia to prepare us a meal. It becomes our Christmas Eve dinner shared with Matt the Frenchman and Pam. Red snapper, freshly ground maize (corn) tortillas, refried beans, hot salsa, lemons with salt. We feast, and end the meal with peanut butter and Nutella in tortillas for dessert and a game of Dutch Blitz.