February 26, 2006 GMT
Barra de Nexpa - Guadalajara

After a short day-stay in Pie de la Cuesta near Acapulco, I drove another 300 km on the mainly nice and twisted coastal road to Barra de Nexpa, a really tiny beach place the mouth of the river Nexpa. The place mainly consists of a few rentable huts, one or two B&Bs, and a really pleasently laid-back crowd of mainly north american pot-smoking surfers in their late 40ies or early 50ies.

However it's really rather a surfer than a swimmer or snorkler paradise, since the water is not as clear as in other places and the beach is mainly pebbles (although there is also a sandy stretch). So Huatulco remains my favourite. For the evening I was invited to a delicious barbecue and once again I almost regretted to detest so much the taste of smoke. ;-)

I somewhat took the habit to get up at 6 in the morning and hit the road latest at 7, so I can enjoy the road with hardly any traffic and with pleasant temperatures. So I started from Barra de Nexpa with the first dawn and drove a long way along the pleasantly twisted costal road with the sun rising in my rear view and hardly any traffic at all.

One characteristic of Mexican roads are the loads of dead animals - dogs, cats, raccoons (Waschbaeren), even entire horses and cows are rotting at the roadside. Another are the unpredictable speed breakers, the so-called "topes". Sometimes these topes are announced, sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are logically erected in villages along the road but sometimes they surprise you at a insignificant crossroads in the middle of nowwhere and without any previous warning. So you quickly learn to concentrate on the road and not dream about, or otherwise you'll quickly learn to fly...

It was around noon when I arrived at my planned destination, the tiny Laguna La Maria between the small city of Colima and the volcano of the same name. The Laguna had been recommended to me - and I was willing to spend a night in a tent. However it turned out to be just a simple pond with some nice green surroundings - just like you find it anywhere in southern Germany or northern France. For a mainly dry place like Mexico it might be spectecular, but I was rather disappointed. Apart from that, the owner of the place wanted 8 USD for a place for a tent with virtually non-existent sanitary facilities. So I quickly came to the decision to continue the journey to Guadalajara. Two hours later I arrived there, sweating and smelling (my gore tex gear needs a laundry again) and checked into the hotel.

Guadalajara is Mexico's 2nd biggest city - but it's a lot smaller than MX-City and it's a really attractive place with a fascinating big historical center and the charming neighbourhood Tlequepeque. Tequila is - apart from certain sorts of Grappa - the only hard liquor I like. The town of Tequila is very close to Guadalajara, so you find Tequila shops everywhere, some offer detailled explanations and offer tastings. I shouldn't have participated - now I couldn't resist buying two bottles (one "Joven"/"silver" and another "reposado"), both very delicious and traditionally made.

What really strikes me in Mexico is the lack of friendliness of almost all mexican service staff. Be it in a hotel, a restaurant, café or petrol station: You'll be happy to get a 'Hello' but rarely get a smile and never ever get a good-bye, let alone a friendly farewell. They just simply ignore you after you have paid. This is quite the contrary of what I have experienced in South America and I still have not become used to it. First I thought it might have to do with Tip - but you can try out any percentage between 0 and 20%, you'll allways get the same reaction, i.e. none at all. It doesn't either have to do with being Gringo, since the Mexicans are treated in the same way.

Posted by Winne Lichtblau at February 26, 2006 03:44 AM GMT

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