There’s a lot to this one, so let’s start at the beginning: The New.
After having a hot shower, we packed up and left El Desemboque. We only had about a half a tank of gas, and the 5 gallon jerry can to get us to our next destination, so we had to head back towards civilization (Caborca, again) instead of traversing down the coast. It took us about an extra hour and a half to drive that way, but we needed gas, and the roads were toll roads which are considered to be safer, and are in much better condition than non-toll roads. Our next planned destination was Bahia de Kino, a bigger fishing village, with a small tourist area along the beach.
En route, we stopped at our favorite taco truck in Caborca again (brunch), before heading south towards Hermosillo and then to the coast. Something we started doing early on in the trip is stopping to eat where there are lots of locals. This indicates 2 things: 1) The food is good, and 2) It won’t get us sick (very important when spending prolonged periods in between bathrooms). If the locals eat there, it’s clean (would you go back to a taco truck that got you sick??).
In Hermosillo we made another gas stop, and an ATM stop. While walking the dogs around as Mike waited on line for the ATM, I spotted a pharmacy in the little complex with the bank. I decided I should try to stock up on some feminine supplies (birth control pills). She was confused for about 10 seconds about what I was asking (contraception is the same in English and in Spanish, but my pronunciation is awful) before procuring the typical 28 day packs. The cost: approximately $8.50 for a 3 month supply. Over the counter, no questions, no issues. It would be nice if it was like this everywhere (ahem, America). I’ll probably stock up before heading out of Mexico, just because it’s already so cheap, and I won’t know for sure what other countries are like until I get there (supposedly, it’s the same). Finding a pit stop for a bathroom was another issue. A lot of gas stations don’t have bathrooms, and if you do find one on the road, it’s not usually pretty. The one we found had no TP, no running water in the faucets, and no locks on the stall doors. Good thing I pack tissues in my purse and hand sanitizer. YUCK.
We arrived in Bahia de Kino a little after 3 pm, and as you pass through town the road splits between Kino Nuevo and Kino Viejo. We headed towards Kino Nuevo, and it was beautiful. Lovely stucco homes 50 yards from the beach lined the left side, and on the right were more homes and some restaurants or mini-supers. The strip was probably only about 2 miles long and there was nothing after that until you got to the next town. The next town was full of Ceri natives who like to trade, and apparently weave beautiful baskets, but, not needing a basket, we decided to skip it. In addition to trading, they also tend to beg when you don’t want to buy anything (saw this). We stopped for some groceries for the next day and spent about 8.50 US on some salsa, veggies, eggs, chorizo, chips and bananas. It’s a mini mart, in the tourist section, so it’s a rip off, but it’s still cheap by our standards.
Scouting the beach for spots to camp we saw a few gaps between houses to drive through to the water. Mike got to test out his 4WD when we got a little stuck in a soft patch trying to turn around. Good thing we had the Jeep, I was not looking forward to getting the tow rope and high-lift jack out to pull us out. We went back to the beginning of town where we saw some palapas (excuse my spelling, that’s just what they call thatch roof shelters) with tents set up under them, next to a bathroom for beachgoers. The cost there: 100pesos per night to use the palapa, and 5 pesos for the bathroom. Rip. Off. Beach camping is free in Mexico, and besides, we couldn’t even use the palapa as it was too short for even our ground tent. So we drove on, and found a sturdier area to park the Jeep, in front of two empty properties. A few hours after setting up camp (free), Jose, the caretaker for the adjacent property, came over to chat a little (no English whatsoever) with us. We had trouble understanding each other, and at first were afraid he was going to ask us to move, but eventually we got that he was offering his home for our use (he was missing several teeth in front, so between that and the speed we had trouble keeping up). We appreciated his offer of showers and bathroom, but declined. We had all our “necessary” items and could take care of ourselves for a few days before we got too stinky. The beach in New Kino was lovely, if a bit chilly at night and early in the morning. There are people who come out after the weekend to clean up the beaches as well as locals scouring for cans (15 pesos per kilo to return). So, aside from some random garbage blowing about, and a few bird and fish carcasses (had to keep a close eye on the dogs) it was quite clean.
Our first sunset in Kino Nuevo
After a filling meal of chorizo and egg tacos for lunner (lunch/dinner), we cuddled up in the tent for our first evening of beach camping. Starting from this point we got into a 2 meal a day schedule. Big breakfast, big (late) lunch, no dinner (maybe a snack), means fewer dishes and less garbage – it also means there’s less waste after a meal (no leftovers allowed!).
It was the weekend, so a few houses down there was a house party going on. These teenager/early twenty-somethings were up until the wee hours of the morning. Apparently, Mexicans know how to party! Even with the interruptions of impromptu singing and frolicking, we woke early the next day. After breakfast we heard a strange barking sound. Down the beach, there was a seal digging around in the sand for his breakfast! He came very close to shore, so it was cool to watch. The bird life was also bustling every morning, chasing the fisherman from one end of the beach to the other. Alcatraz Island was across the way and is a bird sanctuary, so it’s no surprise there were so many around.
Our Seal Friend, about 15 feet off shore in the shallows
I spent the rest of the morning washing clothes (water courtesy of our friend Jose) and doing dishes from breakfast. We walked around with the dogs, drank some beers, had a late lunch, and got ready for night #2.
Fancy Bucket washer and Line Dryer. Cost: $18 on amazon
Puppies enjoying their stay at the beach
The wind picked up that night, and kept us awake some of the night. In the morning, we decided we may need to move but wouldn’t be going far, since we weren’t done with Kino yet, and decided to spend most of the day at the beach. Thanks to some research my sister had done, we had 2 options for RV parks, one in New Kino, and one in Old. We figured with some big rigs around us we’d be better protected from the wind. That day, we met a young girl from Telluride who was bumming around Mexico. She was maybe 20, with a bird bone around her dreadlocks, and an all-around hippie vibe. She congratulated us on getting out of the “Hamster Wheel”, offered us some crappy weed, and shared some watermelon in exchange for a beer and a Hi-C. Mike referred to her as “smelly cat” (she didn’t actually smell). Nice girl, but a bit disillusioned. However, she was also a testament to how “unsafe” Mexico is. She was traveling alone, bumming rides, and had no issue getting this far south, and was staying in Hermosillo with some people she met there. Yep. Scary place that Mexico.
Around 3 pm, after a big lunner, we headed out, thanking Jose profusely for his hospitality. Following the old adage, to leave it cleaner than you found it, we took up our garbage and the garbage of others off the beach on our way out. Off to Kino Viejo. Part Deux coming soon…
Current Update: We are in Puerto Vallarta enjoying a spoiling stay at the Westin (Thanks DAD!) while apartment hunting. We plan to spend a month in the area either north or south of the city.