Home: Playa Santispac beachfront tent spot
The night remained quiet, with small waves lightly lapping the sand 30 yards from our tent. There was probably some noise from engine-braking trucks on the highway, but for the first time in forever there were no crowing roosters, so dawn came with a peace appropriate for our location with its stun-you-to-silence beauty.
The morning was as cloudless as all the recent days have been, so there was little drama to the sunrise, but nonetheless we took a pre-breakfast walk down to the south end of the beach, and observed that all the palapas remained full. Oh well, now that we were set up, and have some experience in managing the sun and wind, we don’t need no stinkin’ palapa! We decided to stay another day and night before moving on to the next beach.
We had read that people can stay supplied on these beaches by vendors who come by regularly with various products or food. Rett had been lamenting the fact that “beach blanket” was not part of our gear list, so when a blanket vendor rolled by, she ran him down to see what he was asking for his blankets. MX$1200 (~US$60) was his price! Rett reported that they were very nice blankets, but told him she only had MX$300 to spend. He rummaged around and found one he was willing to part with for MX$500, but Rett stayed firm at MX$300 and so came back empty handed. But a few minutes later, the vendor turns around and comes by us with his car, saying that he has one he’ll sell for MX$400. Nope, MX$300 is all we have to spend. So a couple more minutes of rummaging in his trunk, and he comes up with one that he’ll let go for MX$300 (~US$15). It has a bit of a stain, but who cares, we’re going to get it dirty anyway. What a masterful bit of negotiation by Rett, getting exactly what she wanted (it’s even her favorite color!) at 25% of the original price! With the key being that she basically let the vendor do all the work of negotiating himself downward. An economic win-win!
In the meantime, I had converted our “bedroom” back to daytime mode, by taking down the inner tent, and leaving the rainfly up again for shade. Now we were able to lay down the perfectly-sized blanket over the nylon footprint, making a much more-comfortable living-room for us on the beach! We had a nice boiled-egg breakfast, and Rett was really happy with the little can of syrupy condensed-milk product we had picked up in Mulege to try as a coffee creamer.
The next vendor was hawking kayaks, and since we’ve been really hoping to get some kayak experience, we leaped at (oops, poor negotiating position!) an all-day rental of a tandem kayak for MX$500 (~US$25). We quickly got in, and did some practice maneuvers that showed we still remembered some stuff from our one-and-only kayak experience 9 years ago on the Chicago River. We did a short tour around the bay, able to see the sand less than a paddle’s-length below the clear water for most of the trip, but it gave us some good confidence.
Upon our return to shore, it was so nice then to have a comfortable blanket to lounge on in the sun/shade, already worth its cost! We eventually lazed ourselves into a refreshing cucumber-and-hummus-and-tortilla lunch (with more cold beers from Ana’s!), and then headed back out on a longer expedition. This time we kayaked around the point that defines the end of Playa Santispac, and made it as far as the purple house at the south end of the community of Posada, part of an exploration to see if we wanted to move on to there as our next stop. It all felt much more privately-owned, so we just turned back without landing, but were happy that we got a couple solid miles of paddling in without our arms falling off.
Then it was back to the “house” for more beach-relaxation, which involved both of us watching an ant colony excavating a cave in the sand and neatly piling the grains into a small mountain outside the cave-mouth. That’s a level of do-nothing that I haven’t felt in six months on the road, and I found it genuinely engrossing! I wasn’t sure how long we’d be able to last in a spot with no bike-riding and no Internet, but the first 24 hours has passed extremely quickly.
Unfortunately Rett got caught by one of the guy-lines holding down the rainfly (all of them horrible trip-hazards), and the rope sliced down her bare ankle, and worse, cut a shallow skin-pocket near the ball of her foot that then collected sand that needed to be fished out. But at least we had our first-aid kit on-hand, and a comfortable blanket to do some minor surgery.
After cooking up a Mexican-style dinner with beans-in-a-bag, we took one more sunset turn on the kayak, just floating up and back along the beach, taking a look at our neighbors’ setups, watching a fleet of new neighbors arrive en masse (including one who had no idea how to back up their trailer), and then returning to our stretch of the neighborhood.
Because socially, that’s how the days on this linear beach have felt: like we’re living in a friendly city neighborhood. While the setting couldn’t be more different than the block we lived on in Chicago’s Edison Park, the feeling was oddly similar. We felt like we already “knew” our neighbors at least three “houses” down in either direction, whether they were months-long residents or one-or-two-nighters like ourselves. Everyone had their own space, but also everyone would walk the “sidewalk” (beach) in front of the “houses” (RVs), and stop for a moment to chat if they saw someone sitting out on their “front porch” (with us getting the usual extra attention due to our lack-of-RV). While the beach has severed us a bit from the local culture, I have to admit that some of that friendly-feeling is helped by the fact that nearly everyone spoke English, with a heavy representation of Canadians. Though one difference is that “rent” in this neighborhood is only MX$200 (~US$10) a night!
We played with the bioluminescent algae again, and fell asleep looking at an equal or greater number of glowing spots in the night sky.