Oh how I miss Mazunte. Of all the places I travelled in the world, Mazunte will always have a special place in my heart. Maybe it was the chilled out lifestyle, the nutty people I met, or sleeping in a hammock and waking up by the sunset every morning, but Mazunte was different to anything I’d ever experienced before. Here’s my next short story from my time in Mexico.
|What a playa….Mazunte
Photo by veisto
If you were an artist and a client asked you to paint a picture of paradise, what would you draw? Maybe a gorgeous creamy beach with crystal-clear waters in permanent sunset, or a livelier one with house music pumping out the packed bars all day with free booze and barbeques, a simple nudist beach, or maybe there would be no beach at all.
Unfortunately, Victor was no artist, I hadn’t asked him to draw a picture of paradise, and he was Argentinean. What would my father say about trusting a man from the same country as Maradona? Blocking out memories of the Hand of God, along with my stereotypical prejudices, I jumped on a bus to Mazunte like Victor had suggested.
The trip down from Oaxaca was a mere six hours through the mountains, but it felt much longer. The driver must have come from the same driving school as the nutcase that took me to Monte Alban as he was up to similar daredevil antics. He steered close to the edge, whizzed in and out of vehicles on blind corners, and scared the mezcal out of the passengers.
Maybe the drivers were trying to frighten gringos from coming back. I imagine their conversations in the pre-journey bar.
‘Hey Ricardo, how many gringos today?’ asked the barman.
‘Only four, a quiet day, you should have seen their faces as they got off the bus; white as worms. We won’t be seeing them for a while.’
‘Ah Ricky, you’re too tough on these guys. Look what happened to Juan; if you’re not careful, you’ll end up like him down the bottom of a ravine. God rest his soul.’
‘It’s where I belong. There’s no other way to go. Gimme another mezcal I’ve got time for another before the return trip.’
I was grateful when we stopped for a toilet break high up in the mountains. Mist drifted past and rain drizzled on my face. Locals welcomed us by pointing to a couple of small restaurants and a wooden hut selling packets of crisps, sweets, and soft drinks. After the helter-skelter ride, I felt queasy so stayed clear of any food and took some photos of the cloudy views.
‘Where you heading mate?’ I asked the only other gringo. He was leaning forward slightly and resting his hands on his thighs.
‘To Mazunte, what about you?’
‘Same.’ Ed was from
, a tall and stocky lad in his early twenties. Portsmouth
‘Bit of a nutty driver eh?’ I said.
‘Yeah man, I’ve been on a few mental journeys but this guy’s a proper road hog.’ Ed’s face was a pale shade of green.
‘Don’t worry; it’s all downhill from here.’
‘But that’s why I’m worrying.’
Ricky must have decided that it wasn’t his time to go. The downhill journey was just as nerve wracking as the climb, but we had less life threatening moments. We arrived in Pochutla, a boring town worthy only for catching a bus to the beach destinations, and pushed through the taxi drivers as they pulled on our rucksacks.
‘They’re not shy here, are they?’ Ed said.
‘Nah mate, a bit rude if you ask me. Let’s get a bus or something.’
Instead of getting a taxi we went for the cheaper, and friendlier, option and caught a small truck with MAZUNTE – ZIPOLITE hand written on a wooden board nailed onto the front.
Photo by madiko83
To start with just Ed and I were in the van, but as we drove through the town locals jumped on so we ended up hanging off the back; like free spirits as the wind blew our hair.
As we got closer to Mazunte I could smell the Pacific Ocean. I had not seen the sea since I started my travels and was excited about finally chilling out. The driver let the locals off now and then, but watching them waddle into the forest like little hobbits was strange. Where did they live? I thought I’d been living a simple existence in Oaxaca working at the bus station, but they must have lived on the bare essentials.
By the time we turned off the main road, all the hobbits were gone and the driver dropped us off in Mazunte. The main street was a thin road dotted with hostels. One supermarket was on a corner with a straw hut internet cafe opposite. A bunch of signs for hostels pointed up a sandy lane heading towards the sea.
One sign caught our eye – Einstein’s Hostel, Sea View.
‘So that’s where he’s hiding,’ Ed said.
The sandy path felt hot as we wandered along, past trails diverting off into the hills, until we arrived at the beach.
On first impressions, Victor’s idea of paradise was similar to mine. A cove hid the beach away from the rough ocean and cabanas lined up until the small rocky cliffs at the end. All that was missing was the free booze, barbeques, and the nudist section, but that would come later.
We were both ready to run and dive in the cool sea after the stuffy journey, but we heard a conch bellowing.