The power button. I know, I just broke some journalistic rule about how titles work. Sobeit. There, I broke some more. Anyhow, before I get back to the subject at hand, there was a fucking naked guy in the middle of the highway today. I mean absolutely bare-balls naked. Nothin’ but the blisters on his feet – that’s it. And for some reason, it didn’t seem terribly weird at the moment. It almost was expected.
So….we’ve lived in Mexico for the 1.5 years previous to starting this trip. We’ve actually lived in a fair number of the places that this route will take us through. But, lemme tell ya, this part of Mexico ain’t what we’re used to. This is much more what we see in old spaghetti westerns staring Clint Eastwood and his ilk. I wasn’t prepared for this. The highway in Quintana Roo – that thing is splendid to drive down. Granted, there are quite a few topes (speed bumps) along the way but given that the entirety of the Yucatan peninsula is flat, it’s really not so much of a miracle how easy it is to drive across the Yucatan. That section of highway is also much better funded. Anyhow, last night we boondocked on some rocky beach on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula. Somewhere just a few dozen kilometers north of Guerrero Negro. There was nothing, nada, zilch, zero. At this time of year, that side is chilly or maybe a tiny bit warm or, perhaps you would prefer the word “ideal”. I wouldn’t disagree. The necessity of a hoody just past sunset ain’t so bad. We’re not on that side any more and it’s a bit on the warm side. At this moment, I have an obligation to be in a certain place on a certain date. I’m a couple of weeks out from that date and maybe a day or day and a half drive from this particular place on the map. Cooler temps put me well away. Both geographically (Add another full day of driving) and calendar-wise. Plus, to go back to cooler climes means worse connectivity. I can’t have that.
So…here we are. I am going back to work next Monday (today is Friday). I need a good internet connection to work. Where we are now is surprisingly well connected. The campground wifi is exceptional so far as campground wifi has gone in our experience. It’s also extraordinarily cheap. Seriously – this place is 150 pesos per night. At today’s exchange rate, that’s just over eight dollars. That’s eight dollars for a full hookup. Water, electric, sewer – the whole enchilada if you will. For someone in my position, this is nearly ideal. Except, it’s hot. It’s hot AND our camper has an air-conditioner.
Manuel (the proprietor) had come by earlier to collect tonight’s fee. He was a very interesting gentlemen to have a brief conversation with. When Cate mentioned Chiapas, Manuel responded in-kind (he has experience in Chiapas while in the military, circa 1995). Anyhow, here we are and we’ve paid eight dollars for a full RV hookup and it’s hot.
Our very first RV hookup cost nearly $40 and I was livid. It was also a bit chilly there. But at $40 I didn’t give a fuck about chilly – I wanted to use my $40 worth so I immediately plugged-in and turned on the A/C to maximum. We walked away for several hours. Hell, we went to a county fair. The A/C wouldn’t even turn on anymore it was so cold at that point. Oh well, we filled up their dumpster with enough crap that we got some of our value out of that stop.
But now, tonight, it’s uncomfortably warm. I mean, it’s not intolerable like Vegas was nor it is horrific like Barstow after our first overnight breakdown. The temperature is a bit high though. But I just can’t do it. I just can’t turn on the A/C. Not after having paid less than nine dollars. I just can’t. There’s no reason for me to cool down my sleeping space so much that I need a blanket while at the same time, depriving a fellow-human of comfort. I can’t. Not only would I feel like I were abusing this person’s generosity but I also feel like I would be fucking it up for people who come here in the future.
So back to the naked dude. Really, it didn’t seem so strange at first. I had previously remarked to Cate that this reminded me of the Australian outback. Seeing a person, with much skin exposed, walking down the middle of the highway wouldn’t be strange at all there. Completely naked doesn’t take it much further.
There’s more to it though. For starters, I had absolutely no idea how long the Baja is. I figured a couple of days driving would pretty much cover it. I didn’t do any research. Secondly, the main highway is extraordinarily narrow. The white lines are actually falling off the edges. We’re about as wide as a lane will allow. Passing a semi-truck is fucking terrifying. It’s white-knuckle the whole way. If we put a tire over that white line at 100kph, it’s all over. This is the only place I’ve braked while passing.
So there we are, passing a semi. In the distance I can see a shape of something resembling a human but it can’t be. That makes no sense. It must be some weird shadow cast by one of the lonely trees in this vast wasteland. It is no shadow. Indeed, it’s a human. I’m still buzzing from the adrenaline high given to my near-death experience passing the previous semi. There he was, naked dude. Nothing. Swinging-balls naked and not a thing in his hands. He had nothing. In the absolute middle of nowhere. And we just kept on trukin’.
You know how sometimes 30 seconds seems like 30 hours? Yeah, that. As I recall, Cate broke the 30 hour (or 30 second) silence and this is pretty much what we talked about for the next 2 hours. There was a mention of too much peyote. There was a reference to some author who wrote about getting high in the Mexican desert. There was a motorcyclist who looked to be broken down, but as I slowed; looking for a place to turn around, his headlight appeared on the highway. There was a family, whose minivan protested after carrying the dozen or so of them up a massive hill. They were pulled over with their hood up. We did have ample room to stop and check in on them. They were fine but requested some water to replenish their radiator. I was happy to oblige. But the mental image of the naked man just lingers. What has been seen, can not be unseen I guess.
There’s really no point to this except I’m a bit uncomfortable because of the temperature, but at least it ain’t Vegas (the food’s not as good here).