13.10.16. San Blas, Nayarit to Puerto Vallerta Jalisco. Mexico
We awoke in pools of sweat, as we had fallen asleep. The four fans in the strange little ‘bungalow’ we had chosen to stay in barely moved the stale air around the room, despite the window being open and covered with a mosquito net.
We wondered how we will manage this humidity? Since 11 am the previous morning our skin had been clammy and dripping. It may well be that we need to forgo our motorcycle jackets, and pack them on the back somehow. Obviously, we wear them for safety- but there comes a point when if you overheat, your rationality can become compromised, so we needed to think carefully. We both have breathable goretex motorcycle suits, but it is impossible to have something that is suitable for every occasion. Later on in the trip, we will undoubtedly need the weather protection and insulation they provide, but for now…………….perhaps not. Of course all the Mexicans ride in shorts and a vest, and who can blame them in this heat.
We were ready to leave by 8, or 7, we were unsure because the time keeps hopping backwards and forwards by an hour. There was no breakfast for us. We had used our newly purchased Jetboil cooker to make up our rice and sardines for tea last night, which was all the food we had with us
We rode for about an hour, and stopped in a small town Zapalcuan, outside of a police station. Whilst I went into the minimarket for some supplies, Paul rang his Aunty Bren fro a catch up. As he was talking to her he said ‘I’d better put some air in that rear tyre it’s looking a bit flat’. After eating the ‘mystery meat’ sandwich I bought Paul, he looked again at the tyre and, oh, it was a bit more flat- we had a puncture!
We quickly decided that Paul should remove the wheel and change the puncture himself, despite a great lady trying to direct thim to a ‘mecanico’ around the corner. Paul hunted for somewhere there would be shade long enough for him to do what he needed to. Ah great, there’s some in the square, under the tree, so he pushed the bike over and got started.
Of course it wasn’t long before we had a crowd of people around us, all having a look and shooting questions at Paul in their rapido Spanish. He was very patient, trying to answer them all, whilst also trying to keep them from ‘helping’ with removal of the wheel and tyre, with their screwdrivers and things. One most helpful little boy was called Jesus, and after a lot of different suggestions, and kicking and pulling of the tyre every time Paul turned away it emerged that his Papa was a mecanico working around the corner. Paul asked him to take the removed inner tube to Papa for repair, and they negotiated a price of 30 pesos (about $1.50).
In the meantime, we had a visit from Jaume, the town pastor, who told us off for parking on the village square. Paul apologised, telling him we hadn’t realised- and he told us to make sure to respect the rules of Mexico in future, but that if anyone else challenged us, we should tell him that Jaume said it was ok. I was popping to the shop for drinks, and otherwise residing on a bench under a tree, shaded but still not exactly cool. We had made another new friend in the toothless shoe-shine man, who was thrilled every time something went right in the proceedings.
At one point, I took out my litte electric fan, which I can hang around my neck for a quick blast of breeze, and the biggest toothless beam appeared across Senor shoe-shine’s face.
Jesus returned with the news that the inner tube had too many holes for repair, but as Paul had fitted the other one, it was no problem, and a point was reached for the wheel to be re-seated into position. Jesus proved himself to be very handy and helpful with this job, until the last points were reached, and the wheel kept moving from side to side in its place. We needed money, so we asked where the bank was and I was despatched with Jesus, four blocks on the left to the bank. A useful job to be done, but also meant that Paul could finish off what he was doing.
On our way to the bank, Jesus chatted along, and I managed to understand most of what he said. One thing I clearly understood was that he wanted some fresh coconut milk from the seller who was peddling up beside us. I didn’t catch all of their conversation, but I know it involved tyres, moto, Englishes! No doubt at this point, after an hour of being in the town every body knew our predicament.
The ATM was of course out of order when we arrived at the bank, but ould be working in ‘20 minutes’, so Jesus and I returned to Paul and Senor Shoe-shine.
We started packing away, and Paul told Jesus he’d like to buy another inner tube, and they set off together with Jesus in the sidecar for some laps of the town. Mr Shoe-shine was so excited by this he ran round pointing and telling everyone what was happening.
As Paul and Jesus passed Papa’s shop, Jesus called out ‘Papa’ and Paul said Papa looked up in sheer astonishment, as they sailed past. Of course everyone in town knows each other, so there was a lot of calling out, and at one point a friend of Jesus’ was riding alongside them on his motorbike, cheering and laughing. No replacement inner tube was to be found though, so they returned to the square. This whole experience was topped off by Paul having his boots shined so he could see his face in them.
We set off feeling very welcome, and happy, but with adjusted plans for the ride, as time had been eaten away. We rode another 60 miles to Puerto Vallerta, a very busy tourist town, with high rises which seems very American. At the third hotel we tried, we had success (its difficult to find secure parking in this kind of place), and Paul came out beaming. The hotel is in the old town, so much prettier, our room has a sea view, and best of all, we were allowed to wheel the bike into the hotel lobby! It now sits proudy there for everyone to file past as they enter the hotel. This was absolutely no big deal for the staff of the hote, and they couldn’t believe we wouldn’t be allowed to do that in England.
Phew! What a day.