Saturday, July 10, 2010
potatoes floating down the street
So we have arrived, safe and sound, in Puerto Escondido Mexico. We awoke this morning, in Oklahoma, at 4:45, threw on some clothes, straightened our bedroom adn were in the driveway waiting for our ride at 5;15. Everything went smoothly on our flights, until it was time to fill out the customs form. The flight attendant only had the forms (where we had to declare what we were bringing into the country) in Spanish. It was quite humorous as we we tried to guess what was being asked of us when we filled out the paperwork. Arriving in Mexico City, it was a little difficult finding our way to the appropriate gate to catch our next flight to Puerto Escondido. Not speaking or reading the language definitely put us outside our comfort zones, which is one of the goals of this entire trip. We finally asked enough questions and arrived in a "holding area" where we purchased lunch and waited for our gate to be announced. Money is our biggest challenge. Understanding if we are being ripped off is another challenge. When we did arrive in Puerto Escondido and had to go through customs, the lady next to us in line told us that we should be careful because the customs man would try to rip us off and make us pay money to get into the country. Ahead of us were a large group of surfers ( Puerto Escondido is famous for its surfing) and they were held up forever, arguing with the gentleman in charge. I did see two of them give him money adn I never did figure out why. When it was our turn we were each asked to push a button. If a red light came up , you had to have your luggage searched. if a green light came up you were free to proceed. i was teh only one, between, me , Tina and Angela who didn't have to get searched! As I waited for them out front, ( a very small airport) a taxi driver asked if I needed a ride. I informed him that "mi amigas" were still inside. When they came out (without having to pay any extra money) we all went with the cab driver. This situation pushed my comfort level as well. First of all, I haven't taken many taxis in my life, second of all, Tina flat out told the man he was charging us way too much. I had no clue and gladly handed over the 200 pesos for all three of us to be carted the 20 kilometers to Casamar. Upon arrival, we met Andy, our English host. He is bearded and young and, along with his wife Olivia, runs the Casamar. The gardener was waiting for us and insisited that he coudl get all of our bags. We were ushered into a lush oasis of a court yard and then into teh little office to meet Andy. he came out and said "you must be Denise, Tina and Angela!" Our names were written on a chalkboard, next to our arrival dates. This made me smile and feel welcome right away. Puerto Escondido, as with much of Mexico, seems rather poor. Casamar is a simple, hostel like oasis in teh middle of this rather rundown city. Andy showed us to our apartment - which has a couple of bedrooms, a kitchen and a little sitting area. There is a nice pool and several outdoor areas and we can see teh ocean from our private patio. After a little exloring of our temporary home, we set out to find dinner. We walked down a street - that seemed for of an alley really - passing people's homes and "restaurants" that were really outdoor seating areas of on the beach, with a small hut for cooking the food. We passed beautiful brown children playing in their underwear, horses, chickens, friendly residents, dilapidated buildings and many stray dogs. In the distance, the thunder was getting louder and the clouds were getting darker. At some point, a young boy asked us ( according to Tina) if we were looking for a place to eat dinner. We followed him onto a beach area and took a seat. We ordered our dinner and some drinks ( I broke teh cardinal rule and had a margarita on the ROCKS). Our view was of the ocean, surfers, etc. The waves got bigger as the storm hit. Our food arrived, one of us getting dinner at a time, and it started to sprinkle. We were under a thatch roof adn at first we couldn't feel much rain. Before long, however, the rain was really coming down and the thunder was crashing. We laughed and pulled out our umbrellas. Soon, here came our waiter with a large beach umbrella. He proceeded to hold it over us as we ate! I assured him we could hold it ourselves. LOL The rain just added to our adventure as we finished eating and decided to walk "home" along the beach. Angela and I held umbrellas ( mostly because I had my camera in my purse) and weren't sure if it was worth being struck by lightening. As we hiked along in the raging storm, we laughed and had an awesome time. Before long we had to cross a "river." Andy had explained that they had had some heavy rains and the river had 'broken through." It roared right across the beach to the ocean. It was a red clay color. Not sure what else to do, we trudged right through it! It was kinda swift but we managed ok. Finally, we found a flooded street and hiked up it as a river of water rushed down it toward the ocean. As we hiked along, we noticed some debris floating in the "river." I eventually identified teh debris as potatoes. I'm not sure why potatoes were floating down the street, but there they were. I found this hilariously entertaining. We eventually spotted Casamar and started to head towards our oasis. On the way, we noticed a sign for Corona. We found a little man who looked to be in an abandoned building, and bought some beer from him. We then came home, drank beer, swam in our pool and relaxed. i think it will be a very interesting trip!