Central America & Mexico ROUNDUP

Derek Mexico, Personal Stuff, Travel Tales 9 Comments

On Tuesday, which I just realized is tomorrow, I’ll be flying back to the US for a couple of weeks, marking an end to this most recent stage of wandering. I’ve spent five weeks traveling through Central America and three months living in Mexico.

When deciding on how best to summarize these adventures, I had no idea what to write. Should I talk about the number of insect bites I, or someone I was traveling with, received? (The final count was 1 millipede bite – this creature was the size of a toothpaste tube!, 2 bee stings, 1 wasp sting, 1 jellyfish bite, 1 scorpion attack, a night of fleas in the bed and one disturbed and unnecessarily aggressive fire ant.)

In the end I decided to start off talking about art…actually Art…and just see where it leads…

  • Art was the acquaintance of a friend of a friend who picked me up at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica at the start of this adventure – a Harley-riding, pistol-packing, ex-hippie, crucifix and Jesus statue-collecting, synagogue-attending, expat who invited me to stay at his isolated mountaintop hideout for two nights…oddly enough he cooked a mean lasagna…
  • Moving north, I tried my hand at super-ultra relaxation (which became a recurring theme on this trip) on the black sand beaches of Nicaragua’s barely pulsating Isle de Omotepe…thanks to the hammocks and lack of anything to do, I maybe moved a total of 26 feet in 3 days…
  • Upon arrival in Managua, I found myself needing to be slightly more alert as I ignored all advice and roamed the intriguingly dangerous streets of Managua…until a security guard demanded that I leave the area because “my personal safety was in immediate danger” and I then noticed a gang of unfriendly-looking fellows on pimped out BMXs following me around…
  • I then went volcano boarding outside of Leon, Nicaragua which resulted in losing 1 liter of blood and having to pick tiny shards of volcanic rock out of hundreds of open wounds on my body…for three straight weeks (I actually found a piece of rock in my hair five weeks later, which I guess more than anything doesn’t say much for my shampooing habits)…
  • Due to spending too much time in Nicaragua, I was forced to sprint through El Salvador (not without a pub crawl in San Salvador that involved a Guns N Roses karaoke session and a wacky taxi driver that had just spent 3 years in a US deportation prison) and Guatemala (where one piece of cheesecake, a ferris wheel, a salsa club, Berta’s taco stand and a bus ride to the wrong border town are what stick out most in my memory)…
  • At this point I reached Mexico, where I traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico City and then over to the village of Sayulita, located an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. I’ve already written about these places in Secrets from a Cesspool so I’ll avoid repeating myself here. I’ll just pick it up where I left off…which is when I left the village of Sayulita about five weeks ago…
  • I took a one week excursion to visit a friend near the city of Queretaro, where we stayed at an isolated 1,000 acre ranch owned by a Godfather-esque figure named Ricardo, while eating endless plates of food over four-hour long meals, observing ghosts wander the grounds at night (don’t ask), participating in a ‘constellation’ therapy (I can’t even explain this, but it was intense and a lot of people were crying) and finishing off with a hearty meal of fried worms wrapped up in tortillas and a bizarre chiropractic session that left crop circles on my back for a week…

  • It was then time to experiment with slowing down my pace of life, aiming to not only eliminate all stress, but even the mere possibility of stress…so I spent one month living in the barely noticeable village of Chacala – a 300-person, one-road, two-shop, nothing open after 6pm, no need for a shirt or shoes, home to an empty stretch of beach and more roosters than humans kind of community where going to the store to buy a banana is considered a strenuous activity…
  • And finally, during my last week I trekked over to Las Varas, the closest ‘town’ to Chacala (and home to the closest barber), in order to cut off the afro that had somehow grown on top of my noggin. And would you believe it, guess who I ran into? (Click on the photo if you can’t guess who I looked like)

Weird.

Today I’m actually in Puerto Vallarta, as I decided to stay here for two days before my flight tomorrow. Somehow I managed to book a room at an impressive resort, complete with 8 beachside pools, a private stretch of sand and a massive room with Jacuzzi and ocean view…all for $40/night, so I’m feeling quite satisfied with myself right now as I sit here listening to the waves roll in right outside my balcony door…

Anyway, my friends, it’s time to move on to the next stage of wandering, to take a break from violent surfing crashes (this video sums it up quite well) and speaking Spanish in a dialect that only my other gringo friend down here can seem to understand.

Where the next stage will take me I have no idea, although it very well may involve a return to Mexico in December. But before I decide on my next destination and before I decide whether or not to buy that camel I’ve been shopping for, I’m off to spend my first Thanksgiving at home in 7 years.

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Comments 9

  1. Shannon OD

    That story about volcanic shards stuck into your person doesn’t have me too reassured about traveling to Central America! 😉 Thanks for the tips on safety over there – it’s reassuring to know that other women are over there doing it. I can’t believe I’m just happening upon your blog, I look forward to reading your adventures too! 🙂
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Travel…Dreams and Plans for the New Year =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Shannon – to be honest, the volcano boarding was the most dangerous part of my trip to Central America – so now you know what to avoid! Seriously though, the usual traveler’s common sense will ensure you have a safe and rewarding adventure to that region of the world…

      And don’t forget that Mexico alone has an incredible amount to offer travelers. I’ve been ‘stuck’ in this country for almost 5 months now, not wanting to leave at all and loving it more and more everyday!

  2. Derek

    Earl – Well it all depends, but it’s looking like I’m going to Mexico in January if the other thing you’ve been helping me with falls through. But I think it will be more like Puerto Escondido area.

  3. Derek

    Abigail’s comment made me laugh out loud.

    I love it when people comment on blogs calling the author the wrong name…especially when your name is right in the URL.

    Someone called me Sean Ogle after they had purchased my product once. Pretty funny.

    Anyway, sorry to hear you’re leaving Mexico right when I’m getting ready to make my way there.

    Keep on rocking it Harvey Milk.

    – Derek

  4. Abigail

    Derek,
    I hope you will come back to Mexico in December or January! I’ll be in Mexico and beginning my adventure by the middle of December.
    Are you headed to Florida?
    Hugs to you wherever you are 🙂

    Abigail

  5. Nate

    I have to say I’m intrigued about your ghost story since I’m a fan of the paranormal and have had some experiences myself.

    All in all, sounds like an awesome trip. I absolutely love Puerto Vallarta….probably the LEAST exotic place you went, but a cool city nonetheless. When my wife and I go we stay in the ‘old town’ part of the city away from the tourist crap. Great people, wonderful food and pure relaxation. Not much more you can ask for!

    1. Earl

      Hey Nate – here’s the ghost tale! I was informed before I arrived at the ranch that there were often various inexplicable occurrences there. One night I was watching a movie at about midnight while everyone else was sleeping. I suddenly looked up and saw a human figure walk right in front of the window next to me which is not normal for that time of night. About five minutes later, the owner of the ranch randomly came into the room where I was sitting. He told me that he just woken up from a terrible dream in which some strange man entered his house and was pestering him about his businesses. He told me that in his dream he spoke to the strange man and said “Leave me alone. I want you to walk out of my house, take the path through the garden and leave through the gate at the back.” Oddly enough, the figure I saw was on the path leading to the gate at the exact same time he claimed his dream had occurred.

      And I agree with you about PV…getting away from the tourists is not so difficult over there and makes it quite a rewarding place to spend some time. I had a blast for those two days!

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