Category Archives: Mexico

A Walk on A Mexican Beach

IMG_8973I went for a walk on the beach while I was in Mexico to check out the area and see what was around. It was quite an eyeopening experience to see how differently people lived there.

I started by heading toward the point break that the guys had been so keen on surfing. Along the sandy shore was an amazing dirt cliff and just outside our gated community, up on those cliffs, were houses. Many were old and coming apart, literally falling into the sea as the cliff wore away underneath them. I could only hope that no one lived in them anymore as they did not seem very safe, but I couldn’t be completely certain.

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The cliff turned into a man made wall to stop the ocean from wearing away the dirt and as I continued along the sandy beach the soft sand it turned into a field of smooth rocks. They were like land mines and I had to carefully watch my steps as I continued to trek because sometimes they would shift and slide under my feet. My pace quickly slowed. Eventually the rocks turned into big coarse volcanic stone, which when wet was even more slippery. I climbed over them noticing that the beautiful ocean shore line had completely changed and the houses on the cliffs were more recently built and maintained. Eventually I reached a point where I could no longer walk without climbing down a cliff and walking through water. I decided then to turn back.

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I headed back to our gated community and reached our stairwell. I thought about walking up and decided to continue to the cliff on the other side instead. I had noticed a “Surf” graffiti wall in my surf session earlier in the day and wanted a picture of it. I walked along the shore in the soft flat sand. By the edge of the cliff were rocks that had been rubbed smooth by the tides of the ocean. I reached the sign and continue until the rocks became jagged and sharp again. This time however there was no volcanic rocks beneath. All the rocks had previously been part of the cliff. I noticed a way to climb up the cliff and reach the top, but decided against trying it. It looked very steep and there was a rope to help you reach the top. I paused for a moment and watched a man and his son climb to the top. I continued until I could go no further. It really was a beautiful beach, full of many different sights to see and places to explore.

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K58 – Surfing Puerta Del Mar

IMG_8971While in Mexico on my surf trip we went surfing a ton. When we first got there we geared up and headed straight to the beach break right out front of our house. The waves were about 3-5 ft and were steadily coming in. We charged through the white water to the line-up and once we got there we hung out waiting for a wave with some shape that we could ride for a bit. Occasionally an even bigger outside wave would approach and we would all paddle our hearts out to get over it. Often it would petter out and then reform again closer to shore. We each caught a couple waves and then decided to head in for some burgers at the other house.

The next morning we woke up early and headed out again. The waves were a little smaller, 2-3 ft and it was probably the best surf session of the trip. The wind hadn’t started up yet and most of the sets had some nice shape to them where you could catch a little corner either breaking left or right. We stayed out for a long time and our other trip buddies joined up with us as we drifted north, closer and closer to their set of stairs. We each caught several waves and hunger started to call our names back to the house for breakfast.

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We had heard the guys talking about a point break far off at a house that you could see from our beach break that they surfed the following day and that morning so we decided to take a walk south to check it out in the early afternoon. We walked the long tedious trek over sand, small round rocks, and volcanic boulders to arrive at the point break. It was a beautiful break that reminded me of Malibu, a slow mushy wave that goes right and rarely closes out in front of you. It was quite shallow at low tide and looked very treacherous and difficult to get out into the line-up. You had to either walk and paddle over sharp rocks or carry your board across volcanic rock and carefully time a jump into the line-up. On top of that, we couldn’t figure out how you got out of the water after you were in surfing. You couldn’t go back the way you went in. It would be too hard. (Later we learned there are stairs to walk up further down along the beach.)

Since the tide was so low we decided to walk back and have another little afternoon session at our beach break. We padded out, but the waves were mainly walled up and closing out too fast to get a good ride in. Instead we spent a little time just catching white water rides to the beach.

The following morning we had one more surf session at our beach break again. The waves were big again, 3-5 ft and didn’t have great shape. As the morning progressed I watched the waves from the white water get larger and larger and close out faster and faster. Occasionally they would form up again on the inside and I would be in the right place for a short green ride to the beach. Eventually we called it a day and headed in for some breakfast and packing to leave our beautiful oceanside paradise.

Next time, I plan to be confident enough to try my hand at the point break as that looked like the best place to surf within walking distance from our house. Gotta get out and surf more and now!

Mexican Tacos at La Fonda

IMG_8973On the second night in Mexico we decided to get a taste of some real mexican food. Kathy, our house manager, told us to try La Fonda, a popular restaurant in the nearby area. She is friends with the manager of the restaurant and made a reservation for us for 20 people.

When we arrived a long table was set up for us in the middle of the restaurant right by the dance floor. We all grabbed a seat and took a look at the  menu. It was surprising to see that there was no mexican food dishes on the menu. There was a ton of seafood and steak options, but not one mexican choice. Luckily, Kei was hip to eating out in Mexico and gave us the inside scoop. “Just ask for a mexican dish you want. They will make it if they have the stuff to make it,” he told us.

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As the waiter came around the table to get everyone’s order some of us ordered off the menu and some of us decided to try our luck asking for mexican food. Fish tacos and chimichangas seemed to be pretty popular at our table. I got the carne tacos.

Our food came and I have to say it was ok. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. It was just so-so. It’s what I would expect at a place in Los Angeles, not a place in Mexico. I guess I just thought it would be more authentic. I finished my plate and we hung out for a bit. Some of us danced and listened to the live band, but most of us just talked until they brought out our complimentary Mexican coffees. They had kalua and cream in them. I didn’t want to be up all night so I chose to skip mine, but boy did they look delicious.

Turns out in Mexico it is considered rude to give a table their check before they ask for it. They will let you stay there all night, thinking you might order more. Most of us did not know this, but a few did and eventually they realized our group was dying down and stated this fact. Once we asked they brought over the checks and divided everything up. There was a little language barrier, but it all got squared away.

I think next time we go back to Mexico we will try a new food spot. It was good, but there could be something better nearby and there are quite a few options that Kathy was telling us about.

The House at Puerto Del Mar

IMG_8973On my surf trip to Mexico we stayed in house in a gated community called Puerta Del Mar. The house was absolutely amazing. It was literally feet from the ocean. Just cross the street, pass the neighboring house, down the stairs, and there you were at the water’s edge.

When we arrived Kathy showed us around. We walked into the house’s entry way and it’s cuteness encompassed us! She showed us a small living room complete with an air hockey table, a bigger movie room, the kitchen, and downstairs bathroom. Upstairs there were 4 bedrooms and 8 beds. The master bedroom had it’s own bathroom as did one of the guest bedrooms. The other two rooms shared a bathroom.

There was also a stairwell that lead to the roof where during the day we could lay out and tan and dry out our wetsuits for another session later in the afternoon. In the evening we watched amazing captivating sunsets from the rooftop and on the second night two fires burnt in the distance. We never did figure out who set those fires off and if they were contained or not, but they were gone the following morning.

     

Downstair there was a garage where we stored our surfboards and a jacuzzi which we couldn’t figure out how to work it. The house was so big that even though there were 10 people staying in it, it never seemed crowded. It was perfect and exactly what we needed with a little extra for our surf trip.

After being there for a day and discovering it’s quirks we joked about the decor, noticing that it must be either called the IKEA house or the travel house on the block. Everywhere piece of decor could be found in IKEA and every piece you saw showed a different country or city. A map of the US license plates on the wall, a bathroom with pictures from Italy, and the bedrooms were all named after cities in different countries.

I stayed in the room called Shanghai, complete with two wall decals, one that said “Dare To Be Unique Magnifique” and the other that read “Stand A Little Taller Make Each Day A Little Better Than The One Before.” It was perfect, just the sayings I wanted to see for encouragement throughout my trip and future adventures.

     

Crossing Into Mexico

IMG_8973The other weekend, on a surf trip with some friends, I drove into Mexico.  While I have been out of the country, I had never crossed the border by car before and I knew this would be an experience to remember.

My friend and I packed up our surfboards, food, and bags for two nights at a house in Primo Tapia, about 58K from the border.  We met up in Los Angeles with the others in our group and traveled down to San Diego where we regrouped to cross the border together.

I was surprised by how close the border was to San Diego. Within a few short minutes we read a sign that stated “Last exit for USA.” This was it. We were crossing. We quickly turned our phones’ roaming data and voice off and  put them on airplane mode. No out of the US charges for us!

We crossed under the Mexico sign and through some lanes and were immediately ushered into a little pull off to have our car checked. They asked if we had anything we wanted to tell them about and we said no, a little unsure of what would happen next. We were then asked to pop the trunk, which thinking about it now was quite comical considering we had 2 surfboards on our roof which prevented the trunk from opening more than 3 inches. Not much they could see looking in there. The lady gave it a brief try, said we were clear, and sent us on our way.

Our leader truck friends had gotten stopped to be checked as well and while we waited our other friends that had been waved through pulled over to join us. There was a little confusion in Spanish between the border attendants and their car, but eventually everyone was checked and cleared. Once everyone was good to go we all pulled out behind the truck and we were on our way.

A sharp turn to the right over a bridge and everything was completely different than where we had come from. We had made it, but it looked like we had driven straight into a very rundown city. With the border wall to our right we continued driving, taking a few more turns and watching the city change to small towns that seemed less rundown. You could still see shacks along the country mountainside but they were much more spread out and just looking to the other side of the toll road there were upscale buildings completely finished that made it feel more safe. However, often, right next to those beautifully magnificent expensive buildings were partially finished abandoned ones. It just looked like Mexico ran out of money trying to build them and didn’t care to find more.

The view of the ocean was amazing and we followed it all the way south to our exit. We joked about how keeping it on the right was the only way we would know we were going the correct way since we only had a little map which was not very descriptive. We pulled off an exit and it put us into a little town. Things got a little crazy driving thru town as it seems like Mexicans don’t really follow the same rules of the road as we do. They would back out into the street without looking and stop in the middle of the road for no reason, but we eventually made it to our little gated community safely.

We showed our ID, drove in and found our house. Within minutes we were unpacked, suited up, and down at the water’s edge for our first touch of the Mexican ocean and our first Mexican surf session!