|Camping by the police post|
Next morning, we discovered the reason for the building materials as a team of workers arrived and proceeded to make breakfast on an open fire before loading all of the fronds and poles on a trailer to build palapas on the coast for tourists, and later to build additions to the police post. The hospitality of the police and the workers was extraordinary as they shared breakfast and stories. An offer to pay the police for our camping was politely declined : “It is our duty to look after your welfare.” So think twice and make sure you are well informed before you stereotype Mexico! Sure, there might be some bad things happening here (statistically not dissimilar to many US cities), but it seems to me that the good is much more worthy of attention and sharing.
|Waking up in the work-site|
A short drive from Las Glorias (our drives seem to be getting shorter by the day) took us to Mazatlan, a very sophisticated and charming little city on a beautiful coastline. Immediately it whispered invitations to consider lingering. We wondered the streets of the old town and a passing comment to a passerby on the street lead us into a very inspiring creative space where a number of artists and their families lived and worked together. Thanks to the presence of an artist (and a native spanish speaker) in our midst and the inspiring story of the PanamericanArte project (http://www.facebook.com/PanAmericanArte), we were soon embraced by the warmth of the community, visiting their workspaces and being treated to free ice-cream at their associated nevederia ((I think this is a bad translation of “ice-cream shop”).
|Very relaxed in Mazatlan's central plaza|
|Mexico is scary...|
|...in an affectionate way|
|Ice cream treats|
|The tropical coast south of San Blas|
From Mazatlan we entered the moist coastal forests of Mexico’s southern Pacific coast and camped the night under huge spreading figs (a dramatic transition from the cacti that have been my companions for the past months) at the aptly named Paraeíso (Paradise) campground with yet another glorious sunset and a whole host of new bird species to keep me amused.
|Roseate spoonbill in the San Blas mangroves|
As we climbed from the coast, we quickly returned to dry, scrubby country, with the re-emergence of cacti, and had our first taste of Mexico’s ancient civilisations of Los Toriles or Ixtlán which date back to 400AD and were occupied up until the arrival of the Spaniards. I guess I’m about to learn more about yet another chapter in the barbaric history of the occupation of the Americas.