Jan 22, 2013

Punta de Mita – Entrance Point to Banderas Bay

We build too many walls and not enough bridges.
Isaac Newton


VW bug with dry palm leaves for roof!
Rather than going directly to La Cruz at the end of Banderas Bay as we did last season, we decided – or should I say the winds decided for us – to stop over at Punta de Mita (or Punta Mita by the locals) about 10 miles closer to the ocean, near the entrance of the bay. At first, we hadn’t thought we would like Punta Mita for it is a surf area, meaning waves, waves, and more waves, as well as a mega resort area, meaning tourists, tourists, and more tourists. To our dismay, even though waves and tourists were present, Punta Mita has kept a lot of the Mexican cachet.

Small outdoor church
Back to the land of small tejuino (fermented corn drink) bicycle carts and nuts and dry fruits wheelbarrows cruising up and down the streets and alleys. In addition, a small open air palm roofed church on a street corner, to small mom and pop colorful taco stands on the street, everyone here is cheerful and we feel very safe. We stay about 10 days and all this time; leave our kayaks on the beach and they stay there untouched until our return. Where in the US could you leave unlocked kayaks on a beach full of people – and they say it’s dangerous in Mexico! We are surrounded by surfers, paddle boarders, kayakers – most people very active and fit.

Kids are so eager to work – they are quite amazing to watch. If only we all had half the determination they have. I observe a small 5-7 year old boy desperately trying to carry a 5 gallon jug of fuel to one of the pangas on the beach. Thankfully, it’s not quite full for it takes all he has to move it around. Along the way another little kid offers his help and for a short while, they share the load. He’ll probably get a peso (8 cents) or so for the chance to help. On another corner is yet a smaller child filling up gallon jugs of water to bring to the men across the ways who are cleaning the parked cars along the road. The men have access to water but that doesn’t stop this little enterprising boy from trying to help for a peso. At a food booth, a cute little guy is helping keep the flies off the baked goods by waving around a stick with a few yellowish-white ribbons attached to its end. He’ll be at it for about four hours – all in a day’s work.

Colorful doorway
Now for the waves – we are learning to land our newly acquired kayaks in larger waves. In ten days, we managed to get completed dunked (i.e.: turned over) by a large wave once (Marie), or twice (Mike). The look on Nikki’s face when it happened was priceless. She had disappeared under the kayak and Mike and I were frantically looking for her while also chasing our floating-away sandals and keeping our kayaks nearby. Thankfully she always wears a floating vest and it kept her right at the surface – in this case she happened to be covered by an upturned kayak. As the great trooper that she is she went right back on and still looks forward to paddling with her people, which to her means time on land where she can sniff, search, scratch, meet other dogs, dig for crabs, etc.

We had waves upward of six or so feet and when you learn to surf them right, it can be a lot of fun. Of course, the spectacle of both of us being dunked at the same time right in front of throngs of onlookers having breakfast at one of the beach restaurant was humbling to say the least, but how else do you learn, how else but to laugh at yourself… To be fair however, people in dinghies couldn’t make it to the beach that day or the few that did or could got quite wet in the process. After his breakfast ashore, a man who owns one of these mega yachts (110 feet or so and worth many millions) took the command of the dinghy away from his captain so he could show off to the three well dressed ladies who were onboard with him. The captain reluctantly gave him the wheel for he knew how treacherous the waves could be. To our surprise, he hit a wave the wrong way and the whole party was soaked to the bones. What a way to impress the ladies hey! Money doesn’t buy you dryness!

My architectural favorites - cupola
We found a small pizzeria (Mita’z Pizza) – yes sometimes we crave good old American food – although she served us delicious spinach quiche – another of her specialties. Nicole, the owner, is originally from Switzerland and has been in Mexico for 13 years. As with many other Mexican business owners, the restaurant is run from her own home. On the day we got thoroughly soaked she offered to give us towels while she would wash and dry our clothes for us while we were eating. She also offered that if the waves were still too big for us to return to our boat, we could sleep on her couch. Another act of kindness coming from a person who has so little. We felt extremely thankful although we didn’t take her up on the offers. It was a warm day and we eventually dried off. Where again do they advertise this when they speak of Mexico? It’s not that she was from Switzerland for as she told us, all her neighbors do the same thing.

Finally the winds became too much for us at the point. We could not seem to ever warm up so we decided to get back ‘home’ to La Cruz, where there is much more to do and so far our favorite area in Mexico.

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