Monday, September 21, 2009

Punting Punta Negra. Viva Boca de Tomatlan!

A postscript to our day seeking shade and river water. On Sunday, after a late breakfast and stops to procure gas, ice and a roast chicken, Israel and I made our way up Mex 200 to Punta Negra. I found myself getting cranky with the many interruptions to the drive. Israel doesn't drive, so he doesn't memorize where things are. All we could remember was seeing people down in the trees by the river. And it wasn't a good sign to see a parade of pickup trucks with entire familes lounging in the back with beach towels and barbecue grills all heading in the same general direction. We kept having to turn around on a mountain road with a lot of blind curves...
We finally jigsawed the Beast into a narrow pull-off next to a bridge and picked our way down a rocky hill, carrying our chairs, our cooler and Bo pulling on his leash. It was a pretty place, but sadly, Mexicans dump their garbage everywhere, and we had to make our way past large families setting up picnic tables, and kids clogging up the idyllic setting with blow-up crocodiles to reach a narrow spit of gravel where we could set up our chairs. We stuck it out for an hour and a half. The last straw was when a huge family set up a 3ft x 5 ft table and a barbecue grill two feet from my chair. At that point, we surrendered, packed up and left.

We decided to keep driving south, up into the mountains. I thought, this is NOT going well, especially when we tried to get to our favorite spot on Mislamoya beach and had to back all the way out on a narrow, bumpy dirt road to accommodate another car trying to exit.

The good news is we ended up in the tiny village of Boca de Tomatlan, where the wide Horcones River flows out of the jungle into Boca Bay. We parked the car and hiked past beached fishing boats to the beach and the river, which is about a quarter mile across and no more than two feet deep at the center. The cool river water flows steadily toward the mouth of the bay -- just powerful enough that you can anchor yourself in the sand and let the current wash over you. I've since heard horror stories of rogue waves that build up in the mountains and come crashing down on the bathers below. Someone told me that three tourists were drowned after one of these waves rolled through. It's always somethin'.

There were quite a few people, but all locals -- not a gringo to be seen except pasty li'l ol' me. Pelicans swooped down, landing on the water and floated backwards toward the bay, occasionally dipping their bills to catch fish. Bo absolutely adored it. He has completely overcome his fear of the water. He walked out into the water chest deep, and at one point, swam from one side of the river to the other side with no assistance from me or Israel. What a dog. We plopped down and let the river flow over us for the next two or three hours.

On our way out of town, an old man offered Israel two avocados for 15 pesos -- just a little over a dollar. Israel pulled them out of the bag for me -- I swear, they were nearly the size of footballs! We also spotted a small house for sale...and wrote down the phone number. I imagine the town is mosquito-ridden at night, but I sure did enjoy the fantasy of living

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