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Barra De Navidad

Written on: Thursday January 3rd, 2008

A journal entry from: Camping Mexico



It is Christmas morning. I am sitting here in our little apartment, in Barra De Navidad, which we have rented for two weeks as there are no campsites in this town. I find it hard not to wish I was at home with my family this morning, but then I look outside and feel the warm humid air and hear the beach, and that helps those feelings to subside.


Christmas is a funny thing for me. I don?t particularly subscribe to the whole thing, neither the religious nor the commercial aspects of it. However, I really enjoy all of the time for family and friends. This year I?m missing my family,friends, and maybe, just maybe, some of the gifts ;)


Barra De Navidad is another small Mexican town, with what appears to be a small fishing fleet, some gringos, and certainly no shortage of creepy, not-so-subtle Mexican men, which leads me quite nicely into my next story:


My cousin Julia and I (My Uncle Tim, cousin Julia, her boyfriend Chayne, Gill, and Aunty Angie are here as well) decided to take a leisurely bike ride to the next town North of Barra, called Melaque, to do some shopping  (Colin and Chayne had gone surfing for the morning). This involved a few kilometer bike ride down the highway, Mexican style!  To this date I have noticed that I receive enough cat calls and whistling when I am WITH Colin, let alone biking with another girl down a busy road, past numerous construction sites. At first it was what we expected, whistling, a creepy hissing sound they make, kissing noises, etc, but then it just turned ridiculous.  As we rode down the highway on the way home a truck full of men called out at us as they drove by, proceeded to pull over ahead of us, get out of the truck, pick some flowers on the side of the highway, and stand there holding them out to us as we rode by. Then, another similar truck drove by, pulled over ahead of us at a taco stand in front of a construction site, called over all the men working and eating there to watch us ride by. They were relentless. Needless to say Julia and I vowed to never bike to Melaque again.


While in Melaque Julia and I purchased Chayne and Colin the most phenomenal Christmas gifts of all time: two blow up sharks to ride the large shore break on! We decided on the sharks over the blow up dolphins, orca whales, turtles, yellow bananas, and all the other toys, for their air-o-dynamic form, and general masculine appeal. Chayne was delighted with his shark on Christmas morning, and I think Colin was, um, confused?  Since then, they have managed to master the extreme art of shark wave riding. Oh, yeah, and Colin named his ?Soup?. I suggested he call it ?Best Christmas Gift in History?.


If you?ve ever been fortunate enough to spend some time in Mexico outside of the major tourist towns, you will have experienced the somewhat ingenious way that these people transport their animals and entire families. Don?t be fooled Westerners, the back of a small pickup truck is plenty of room for at least 14 or 15 people. The cab is not to be used for less than three people, and if you?ve got a couple horses, dogs, kids, whatever, no problem! Just stick them in the back too! The first time I saw a horse just standing in the back of a small pickup while on the highway I was floored. Since then, we?ve seen a truck with two horses, two kids, and two dogs (one sitting on the bumper) all in the back together. We took a video of that one.  


If you know me at all, you know I think all animals are interesting and beautiful. Thus, I was delighted to spend an entire morning just a couple of meters biting distance away from eight foot wild crocodiles in Manzanilla.  Really the only major attraction of this small town, the wild crocs spend their days sunbathing in a lagoon and mangroves right on the beach. Alas, the Mexicans have put up a plastic ?do not cross? line for your safety, so no need to worry. Further into the mangroves stands (barely) a rickety old fence as there are several more crocs there and a busy road (right along the mangroves). I can?t help imagine that this town, like Barra De Navidad, is slowly being ?discovered? by gringos, and will some day develop into a larger tourist town, inevitably destroying much of the fragile habitat of the creatures that really should receive most of the credit for attracting people to this town in the first place.  Ironic.





This is the longest time we have spent in one place during our entire trip.  We have spent the past few weeks with Alayna?s extended family in a town called Barra De Navidad.  We have been surfing, snorkeling, swimming, walking, reading, hanging around on the beach, and doing nothing during our time here. 


Chayne found out about a beach with a good surf break about 40 minutes north of Barra.  To get there you must drive through a one street town and down the side of a nice ranch which leads you out onto a deserted beach and un-crowded waves.  The waves break over sand and present a lot of opportunities to get inside the green room.  The first wave I caught at this location was a nice overhead right which turned out to be first time I have ever came out of a tube.  I wanted more waves like my first however have yet to score one as sweet. 


We have spent a few evenings at the Sunset Bar down on the main street.  You can get a gigantic pina collota (sp?) for 50 pesos, however, after having several over the past few days my gut has protested late at night; it feels like my bowels are trying to pass a bunch of tortillas which have massed into one ball.  I have been trying to eat more healthily the last few days as my diet has been deteriorating, I still take my vitamins every day that Alayna puts them out for me. 


Apparently ATV?s constitute as passenger vehicles here and no drivers license is required.  It is common to see boys and girls less than thirteen years old driving three of their friends down the main street.  Pickup trucks are used as busses.  Today we saw one truck with 14 Mexicans in it, 5 in the cab and 9 in the box, driving down the highway on our way to go surfing.


On Christmas day we did a whole lot of nothing.  Angie and Scott bought a piņata for us to destroy after our turkey dinner.  Tim gave a good toast at dinner saying it is not usually the Christmas? you spend at home which are remembered but those for which you are away, there is no doubt I will always remember this holiday season.  Shots of tequila and spins were prior to a blindfolded 10 seconds of whacking the piņata.  Most of the candy we had filled it with was alright but some of it was really bad.  You cannot guy good chocolate down here, most of our searches for chocolate result in either Magnum ice cream bars or chocolate cookies, no bars like back home.


We have spent most mornings touring around the area, either going surfing or checking out towns.  In the afternoon we usually retreat to Tim?s condo and sit on the beach then go swimming in the ocean or pool.  The beach is fairly steep here and there is no outer reef so the waves crashing on the beach present good opportunities to bodysurf??or shark surf.


I bought a large bag full of prawns for our surf and turf dinner the other night, 86 pesos was all it cost for enough to feed several people with prawns alone. 


On Christmas day I bought all of the ingredients, yes, Clamato was found, to make Caesars however I must replenish the supplies for this evening.  I ran into a couple who was also buying clam and tomato juice and asked them if they were making Caesars and they replied ?Bloody Marries?, I laughed inside and felt sorry for them.     


We have found several good places to eat in town for less than 40 pesos each.  Tortillas are a staple in Mexico and every meal seems to include them however they are nothing like the ones you get back home and are always delicious.  A few of us ordered fajitas from a restaurant the other night, bad service by Mexican standards, and they came with our food replying they had no tortillas left, we quickly created a fuss and they produced them in a few moments.  What are fajitas without tortillas?  Stir fry I guess, salty stir fry to boot.


New years eve was a fun night.  The 9 of us down here went out for drinks at sunset followed by dinner and drinks at another restaurant and one more bar before coming back to the beach for a fire about half an hour before the countdown.  The resort here had a nice display of fireworks and a lot of Mexicans lit some off.  We wanted to buy fireworks however never saw them for sale, they were obviously easy to get a hold of as many people were lighting them off in the streets. 


Today on the way to go surfing we saw a dog covered in lime about 5 ft off the highway, it could have been moved ten feet into some tall grass but whoever was taking care of the accelerated decomposition didn?t feel it was necessary to remove it from plain sight.  Cats, dogs, snakes, the odd horse or cow, and vultures make up the assortment of road kill you see.  We have seen two tarantulas in the past week, I hit one of them but it has not rained yet.  I saw a lot of sting rays jumping while I was playing in the waves, lots of fish too.  A guy from Texas was out in the waves and said he saw a shark about 5 feet long on his paddle out, I guess he was feeding on the fish with his friends.


From Kristin on Jan 3rd, 2008

LOL...you have to love it when you see the "entire" family in the back of pick-ups. It was the same way in Thailand. Looks like you're having an amazing trip. The Prawns look amazing.

From Don, Patti, and Pete on Jan 8th, 2008

Still following your trip. We remain at Los Barriles with the wind surfers, though calm the last several days.

From Mumma on Jan 8th, 2008

Hey doll and Colin, Absolutely fantastic photos, can hardly wait, see you in Ixtapa soon. AML, Mum