Before we leave Campeche and move on to the next city on our Mexico trip, we need to backtrack just a bit to share an interesting bit of Mexican culture that we knew nothing about but witnessed up close and personal during our travels.
As we were on the bus from Merida to Campeche, we started noticing both individual and groups of cyclists along the shoulders of the road. Some of them carried flags, posters, lights, and lots of other gear. We had no idea what this was all about at the time, but knew it had to be something other than random chance.
They were riding in pretty poor conditions in some places, like in this construction zone as we approached the city, which was hilly and had gravely shoulders and large vehicles passing by. Gotta give them lots of credit for this difficult journey!
As we took our walk in Campeche after checking into the hotel, we continued to see more of these groups of men on bikes as well as some in trucks.
And on the long walk to the ADO bus station the next day, we continued seeing more of them, riding in the midst of very busy city traffic. The mystery deepened.
Some of these guys had huge burdens -- I don't know how they managed to ride their bikes with these loads.
When we finally had a chance to do a little research online, we discovered that December 12 marks La Virgen de Guadalupe
(Our lady of Guadalupe, i.e., the Virgin Mary)
fiesta. This date is widely celebrated throughout Mexico's predominantly Catholic community. Many of the faithful make pilgrimages to Mexico City, where the Basílica of Guadalupe
is kept; while others travel, primarily by bicycle, to other churches throughout Mexico for the celebration. According to this site
almost everywhere there is an altar to the Virgin Mary, a celebration occurs on December 12, which is "one of the most important dates on the Mexican calendar." The photos above were taken on December 10 and 11th as the faithful headed to Campeche's churches for the celebration.
Here are two of the beautiful churches we saw in Campeche. I suspect that the second one, the large cathedral, was where the pilgrims were headed for the fiesta.
Perhaps the flags were up for the upcoming festival?
Same cathedral dramatically lit at night
Another fact we gleaned from our internet research is that firecrackers mark the night of the celebration. Little did we know how much that would affect us later. (Stay tuned!)
Merida, in the Yucatan state of Mexico, has an awful lot to recommend it: the beautiful architecture, the great restaurants, the cultural activities, and the many parks being among its attractions. And in the winter, the weather is absolutely beautiful. However, one of the Merida traditions we were most excited about was the Bici-Ruta
or bicycle route. This occurs every Sunday morning, when a long stretch of streets, including the Paseo de Montejo
, are closed off to motor vehicle traffic, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to take over and cruise up and down more easily. We were absolutely delighted that our visit would allow us to participate in this fun event since we had a full Sunday in the city.
We rented two cruiser bikes right on the Paseo (between Calle
45 and 47) and joined the other cyclists on the street. The hourly cost was just $40 MX (approximately $3.20 US) for the two bikes -- a deal.
Bike Rental place on Paseo de Montejo
I tried out a lot of bikes before finding one I felt comfortable on.
Weeeeeh! This pink one was the one.
There were some really interesting human-powered vehicles among the more conventional bicycles.
Fun family bike, but difficult for the person doing all the work!
There were several other spots set up along the route to rent bicycles.
They were playing loud music on speakers near this tent -- I guess the set-up was for an event later.
Near the north end of the route was El Monumento a la Bandera, the Monument to the Flag.
Monument to the Flag
Barry looking happy with his red bike
He made me pose at the monument too. Looking at these photos now, I can't get over how blue the sky was! It was a perfect day for a bike ride.
Going round the huge Christmas tree
Barry and Santa
Although in most of the photos it appears that there weren't many others on the routes, at times we ran into real bottlenecks of meandering cyclists, children on tiny bikes, dog walkers, and people who had obviously not ridden a bike since their own childhood, so we did have to pay attention and stay on our toes. There were also several places with traffic circles and motor vehicle crossings, so we'd have to stop and leave in a bunch. Still, it was great fun, and our hats are off to the many volunteers who direct traffic and help out on this event. It is all the more impressive when you consider that that they do this every single week, year-round. In the US, something like this would happen once a year at best. You have to love a city that holds cyclists and pedestrians in high enough regard to make this a weekly event.
Merida, we ♥ you!
Please stay tuned for more from this fine city.
On our second and last full day in Tulum, we decided to rent cruiser bikes in town and ride to the beach. At first we thought we might be disappointed as the rental place requires that you leave a photo ID with them, and all I had was my passport, which I would not leave anywhere. I had not bothered to bring my North Carolina driver's license along on the trip as I had no plans to drive. Fortunately, Barry had his, and although he was reluctant to leave it, he ended up doing so so that our day's plans wouldn't be dashed. Yay Barry!
Once suited up with our new steeds, we rode on the back roads over to the bike path that runs over to the beach. It is flat and nicely paved so a nice easy ride.
Before we knew it, we were at the intersection with the beach road and hung a right to continue alongside the beach and the resorts along the coastline. We passed the excellent restaurant where we'd eaten lunch the day before, Puro Corazon, and were soon rewarded with some stunning views. Here is where we stopped to take photos.
And here's why we stopped. Can you blame us?
As we rode south, glimpses of the beach became few and far between as fenced resorts lined the shore, along with lots and lots of tropical foliage. It was very lush and green, and the foliage and trees provided occasional shade on a very sunny, warm day.
Time for a water break...
We finally made it down as far as we could go on the road. At the very end is a Biosphere/park that looked quite interesting. Maybe on our next visit we'll check it out, but today we decided to give it a pass as we hadn't brought binoculars for birding and were more into pedaling off some calories.
Barry ventured inside just a short ways to snap this photo looking towards the road we'd just biked down.
Here's Barry on his red bike. He's always smiling on a bicycle!
Time to turn around and head back the way we came....
Back in Tulum, we had to ride through construction rubble on the access roads adjacent to the main highway through town. Looks like they had just laid some new drainage and were having to replace the cobblestones.
We both declared that these bikes were less comfortable than our cruiser bikes back home on Ambergris Caye, which we've customized with different saddles and handlebars. We would not be hanging onto these bikes until 7 pm, the deadline for returning them to the shop, as our bodies couldn't take too much more. But we still had a blast, and Barry calculated that we rode about 16 miles -- not bad!
We went ahead and turned them back in upon our return to town. Time for lunch!
Stay tuned for Tulum food Part 2 and more photos from the town itself....
This morning we decided to point our bikes southward. We usually ride north simply because it means avoiding all the bumpy cobblestone streets in town that make me wish I had never sold my full-suspension mountain bike in the US, but it gets boring always going the same way. And going south proved to be an excellent choice.
We were up early and got on the road around 7:30 am, if not a bit earlier (I always forget to look at my watch since I'm on island time!) This may be the earliest we've ever ridden through town, and it was dead. I mean, there is never this little traffic! Most businesses open as usual on Sunday, but not until 8 am or later. And September is the slowest month of the year for tourism, so some businesses are taking the month off to spruce up and to give employees some time off. We loved it.
When is Middle Street ever this quiet? (By the way, I had no idea Barry was snapping all these photos during our ride, although it did cross my mind to wonder why he was staying behind me the entire time!)
And this usually bustling intersection around the Tropic Air terminal -- dead, dead, dead!
Once you get south of town, it's always quiet, and today was no exception. The unpaved road was in the best shape we've ever seen it as the low spots had been recently filled, just as they have north of the bridge for a couple of miles. Hopefully they can stand up to the October rain. It does rain buckets every October, right? (I keep hoping last year was a rare exception.)
Unpaved road ahead
Field of egrets
Once we got as far south as we could go (finally stopped by puddles across the road that hadn't been filled), we turned around and headed back. For the first time, we finally stopped in and explored the Marco Gonzalez Maya site
, which I'll cover in the future, since it is deserving of a full post.
After quite a long detour at the site (which we loved), we continued riding back north into a stiff northeastern breeze. We had only a homemade oatmeal bar to sustain us to this point, and we were starved, so a breakfast in town was in our plans. Much to our surprise, even the perennially popular Estel's was closed (remember, it's slow season), and as a result, the Cuban place on Front Street I'd wanted to try was packed. So, we continued north, running on fumes, and stopped in at Ak'Bol, just down the beach from our condo. It's always one of our favorites.
Ak'Bol yoga palapa over the sea (right)
Deciding on our reward
Barry got his usual breakfast burrito, and although the coconut pancakes (the BEST!) tempted me, I saved some dinero and got the less pricey veggie-egg stuffed fry jack. I figure they're equally fattening, but this was definitely brunch as it was 11 am by this point, so at least I wouldn't be eating another meal before dinner time.
Barry's breakfast burrito with fresh salsa
My stuffed fry jack with fresh salsa
By the time we finished eating and hopped back on our trusty steeds for the short ride up the beach to our condo, the wind had kicked up even more, and there was actually the slightest bit of a chill in it (I kid you not!) It looked like it was about to pour. Although we did get a few drops of rain just after arriving home, the vast majority of the storm stayed out to sea. September has been quite dry and sunny so far, considering it is the rainy season. Not that we're complaining, but it was lovely to have a slight cool-off, as it's been very hot since we got back from our trip to the US on August 30.
Threatening sky when we got home
Stay tuned for our Marco Gonzalez tour, coming soon!
When we arose to bright sunshine the next morning, we were able to see Beaches and Dreams
, where we had arrived in darkness the night before, in a whole new light. It is a perfectly charming place on the beach, set far enough from neighboring homes and resorts to be private, and with tropical foliage all around, including a large mango tree we could see out our bathroom window.
Our room on the right
Beaches & Dreams rooms (left) and restaurant with Tony & Angela's home above (right)
The palapa at end of the dock was one of our favorite places to hang out in the evenings
Angela made us a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, English muffins, and a huge plate of fruit. The big breakfasts here were a really nice treat and stoked us for long days of hiking and other activities.
Our plan was to go to Mayflower Bocawina National Park
today for hiking and birdwatching, so Tony called us a taxi. I have to give credit to Sharon Hiebing's Wealthships blog for alerting me to the existence of this park; I'd never even heard of it until this month, but after reading her description of hiking the super strenuous Antelope Falls
, I knew it was a place Barry and I simply couldn't miss, and our entire trip to Hopkins evolved from the desire to visit this park. Yes, you could say we are a bit masochistic to even think about doing such a hike in the summer in the tropics, but hey, that's just how we roll!
Our driver, Kaleem, would drop us at the park in the morning and pick us up in the afternoon for a cost of $70 US. Traveling by taxi in Belize is not inexpensive, but the rates are understandable as gas prices are high, and once you get off the paved highway, side roads are typically unpaved, rocky, steep in places, and slow-going. The roads really do a number on the suspensions of the vehicles -- mostly older vehicles -- in Belize. Kaleem would have to travel from our inn, about two miles south of Hopkins Village (unpaved), then the bad four-mile road to and from Hopkins, then the Southern Highway for four more miles, followed by a 4.5-mile unpaved access road to and from the park. Twice. Definitely not a job I would want.
The views along the access road to the park were gorgeous, as was the day. What rainy season?!
Access road to Mayflower Bocawina National Park
Our taxi, an older Rav 4
Barry ready to hike
We decided to start out by doing an easier hike to Bocawina Falls to warm up before we attacked the strenuous Antelope Falls trail. Most of this hike was along an unpaved road and was quite sunny, so we were soon dripping wet with sweat. We saw no other people after passing the zip-line area along the way. I'd love to try zip-lining one day, but today was all about hiking and birding.
We saved money by not hiring a guide to take us through the park -- we prefer to hike and bird-watch independently anyway, so we don't feel like we're holding anyone up when we stop numerous times to check out and photograph various birds. Entry fee to the park was only $10 BZD ($5 US) each.
Barry happened to look down and notice this tiny thumb-sized turtle along the path. How cute is he?
Finally we got to the end of the "road" and continued on a more typical trail through the jungle and up to the falls. It was absolutely gorgeous and nice to have some more shade, though the humidity was intense.
"But what about the birds?", perhaps you are asking. As we often do, we took so many photos we'll save the bird photos from our trip for a bonus blog post at the end to avoid making the daily entries even longer than they already are. I will say that we did indeed see some great new and exotic birds for our life lists in the park, so stay tuned.
The falls themselves were really pretty, and the temperature may have even gone down a degree or two right by them. It was nice having them all to ourselves.
From the falls, the trail continued up, up, up to the upper falls area. We couldn't resist going just a bit higher through the lush jungle.
There wasn't too much of a view from the "upper falls", but there were additional trails that branched off to the Peck Falls and Big Drop Falls. These trails didn't look like they'd seen much use lately, and we knew we'd run out of time to see Antelope Falls if we continued on, so we backtracked down the way we'd come.
Exotic flora along the trail back
Bananas growing wild
When we got back to our starting point, we realized that we probably had not left enough time to complete the Antelope Falls hike. We had asked Kaleem to pick us up at 2 pm, giving us five hours in the park, but time really flies when we're birding as we stop often to peer through our binoculars and take multiple photos, so our bird-watching hikes are not nearly as quick as regular hiking. It was 12:20 already, so we needed to turn around after about 50 minutes of hiking to be able to get back at 2 pm. We took off at a quick clip, unsure if we'd make it to the top of the falls or not. It was only two miles to the top, but we knew that it would be very steep and slow-going.
First we crossed the Mayflower Bridge.
I guess the trail used to be called "Tind's Trail", per this sign.
The trail was absolutely gorgeous. It started out easy to moderate, but didn't waste much time in getting fairly strenuous. Still, we had no idea what was soon to come.
First we got to the stairs. There were ropes along the banks to assist, but we didn't use the ropes on the stairs. We thought we were in good enough shape that we wouldn't need ropes at all. Haha! No, we may not have needed them on the stairs, but once we hit the roots and rocks and even steeper terrain on the upper half of the falls, we definitely needed the ropes. Some of the rocks were slippery, and it was difficult enough even with ropes. We were just hoping they wouldn't break.
Stairs with ropes to right
Okay, I give in -- time to use the rope!
View of falls mid-way up
Time for a brief rest!
Since we haven't been able to do much hill training on the flat island of Ambergris Caye, our hearts were really pounding, and I started feeling a little woozy from all this climbing in the heat and humidity. We've done some really tough things over the years, like century bike rides (100 miles) and hiking rim to the river and back in a day at the Grand Canyon
, but this was actually a more strenuous effort, probably in part because we were just not well-trained for it. And they don't seem to understand the concept of switchbacks when building trails in Belize; they pretty much go straight up the mountain. I'm sure it couldn't have anything
to do with the fact that we're a few years older now!
I wish you could see how soaking wet with sweat I was here!
I think I know how Tarzan must have felt!
Finally, we realized we weren't going to be able to make it all the way to the top. It was a combination of not having enough time and being absolutely wiped out from the heat, humidity, and climbing. We could look up and see the top about 10 minutes away, but we just didn't have the energy to go for it at that moment. What a disappointment! We will definitely have to return and try again, perhaps on a slightly cooler day, and we'll do this trail FIRST next time, while we're still fresh. Sharon's blog says there's a lovely pool to swim in at the top, so I'll pack my swimsuit next time too!
As it turned out, going down was faster than going up, though my progressive glasses were making it a little weird since I kept looking through the reading part at the bottom and slightly misjudging distance, but we made it with no mishaps.
Coming back down
Whew -- back on flat land
Since the trail down went faster than anticipated, we made it back to the visitor's center before Kaleem arrived to pick us up, so we got to look around a bit. There were some ornamental peppers growing and some unexcavated Maya mounds nearby. There was also a sign to a so-called "Bird Trail" we would have loved to have checked out. Wish we'd had a few more minutes to walk around more, but Kaleem arrived right on time.
Hate that we missed this!
Maya Temple mound (unexcavated)
After we arrived back at the inn, Barry decided to head out in one of the kayaks (complimentary). I was too worn out from our day, so I just watched and took photos after a quick dip in the ocean to cool off.
This was more my speed at this point
After cooling off, we realized we needed to find a grocery store for a few small items, so we grabbed a couple of the complimentary bikes to ride into the village. After my little dip in the ocean, I had more energy than I expected.
Bikes at Beaches & Dreams
Riding past resorts
We stopped at this little store for a few things, which we had to stuff in our pockets on the way home after the bag broke.
When we got back to the inn, it was finally time to relax. I sat out in the palapa over the water and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset to the west.
The lovely Tapas dinner we enjoyed at the Barracuda Bar and Grill onsite as a fundraiser for the Hopkins Humane Society
will have to wait for a later blog post. It deserves a bit of space as Tony's food was lovely, and we took plenty of photos.
Today we read on Facebook about the Isla Bonita school first-ever "lighted golf cart Christmas caroling parade" happening tonight in San Pedro Town. It sounded promising, and since we'd had to skip the official San Pedro Christmas parade over the weekend since it was raining (hard), we decided it would be fun to give this one a try and to see some of the Christmas decorations in town at the same time, since we don't get to town in the evenings too often.
The parade was advertised to start at 5 pm, so we hustled to get everything together to ride our bikes into town after Paisley's afternoon playtime on the beach. Barry wanted to try riding our bikes instead of taking the water taxi back, as we've always done when we've been in town after dark in the past. We would take our headlamps for riding back in the dark. When we tried them out, mine wouldn't light; it appeared the batteries were dead. When I removed them, I noticed some corrosion on one of them; must have been the salty, humid air here. I should never have left the batteries in the headlamp when I wasn't using it -- my bad. So we'd need to make an extra stop in town for more Triple-A batteries before heading home.
We had a nice ride into town along the beach and bought a four-pack of batteries at Caye Supplies, a fine variety store in town. After many purchases there when we first moved here and needed quite a few basic household items, we heard from our friend Robert recently that we could be getting a 5% local discount, so starting today, I asked for it (we'd bought a few items there earlier today on our grocery ride also) and got it. Sure do wish I'd known this before as we could have saved a little money early on. Better late than never, I guess!
After picking up the batteries, we started cruising around town looking for the parade. No sign of it. However, parades and other events are known to start a bit behind schedule in Belize, so we didn't worry. Barry snapped a few photos of holiday lights in town while we waited around.
San Pedro Town Council building
Official San Pedro Christmas tree in Central Park
Replacing the batteries in my headlamp
Festive holiday decor
By this time it was getting dark, and we continued riding around the main streets of town a couple more times to make sure we hadn't missed the parade. Unfortunately, we saw no signs of it, and we didn't know where the school was or where the parade was supposed to start. The nice picture on Facebook simply said it would be on the streets of San Pedro starting at 5pm. All we can figure is that it started south, and we didn't ride south of the old football field. Or the start was delayed more than an hour.
We were disappointed, but didn't want to wait around too much longer since we figured we might never find it, and we were getting hungry, so we decided to head back. Part of the purpose of the trip was to test out our headlamps and riding home from town after dark, so we could at least accomplish that.
It was plenty light in town with street lights, so we didn't need the headlamps until we crossed the bridge. At that point, we put on our headlamps to continue the rest of the journey back to our condo, another two miles or so.
Just north of the bridge - the last street light
Barry took off pretty quickly, but when I started riding, I immediately realized I couldn't see anything. It was like riding completely blind, on a road full of potholes like moguls and puddles as well, where sight is an extremely important sense to have in order to dodge 'em! I started clicking my headlamp and ended up putting it into a low-beam mode, which provided even less light, and I couldn't get it back to full power. Yikes! Barry, in the meantime, had completely disappeared up ahead somewhere. Hmmm, tonight was not going so well.
I turned around and walked my bike back a short distance to the Paradise Theater, where there was enough light to see what I was doing. I twiddled with the headlamp until I got the high power restored. About that time, Barry rolled up. He had finally realized I wasn't with him and come back looking for me, thank goodness. We played around with the angle of my headlamp and realized that I had had it angled completely wrong to see the road (duh!) Once I angled it properly, I could see great! Whew...I had a momentary panic when I thought I was going to have to ride back completely blind -- and mostly on the beach path (which can be very narrow in places), no less. That would not have worked at all!
The ride back now that I could see was actually a lot of fun. I rode behind Barry so had the benefit of his light as well. It was definitely a little more challenging than riding in the light of day, but we had no problems and made it back just fine. We did hear a lot of barking dogs along the way, so I guess dogs don't like small moving lights in the night. Fortunately, they were all behind fences.
I'll be interested to find out if this parade actually did occur and where we went wrong! Maybe next year....
Regular readers of this blog will remember that I broke two spokes earlier in the week
and had to get them replaced. However, I knew I really needed to bite the bullet and replace all the spokes in my front wheel with stainless steel ones, as many were looking pretty rusted. The spokes on the rear wheel were not nearly so bad, so that one could wait. So today we purchased a full complement of thirty-six thick stainless steel spokes at Castillo's and took them to El Guapo for Henry to rebuild the entire front wheel for me. He did a great job, but it was quite a long wait. Barry went ahead and took all our groceries back home in his bike baskets, then doubled back around to meet me and watch Henry finish the job. Henry insisted on giving Barry a lesson on spoke lacing; it's more involved than I realized! Truing the wheel took much longer than lacing the spokes, but finally the job was done, and my front wheel should hold up for a long time now.
It had gotten quite late by this time, well past our usual lunchtime, so I suggested that we stop at the Funky Monkey Bar & Grill
for lunch on the way back. This proved to be a good choice as it was a perfect day to sit outside and enjoy the breezes. In sharp contrast to yesterday's gray off-and-on rain, today's bright blue skies were a real pick-me-up, and the temperature in the 70s couldn't have been nicer. There was a decent crowd at the restaurant, including Hugo and Victoria of Aji, along with their little dog Lulu. The owner, Dale, was there, of course, and we met friendly bartender Javier. We split a yummy pizza with ham and green peppers that really hit the spot, and enjoyed a couple of drinks (Belikin Sorrel Stout for me, the holiday brew). It was fun to do something unplanned, like stopping for lunch at a place we'd been meaning to try.
These pictures suffered a bit from a smudge on my camera lens...my apologies.
The Funky Monkey. Check out that blue sky!
Barry's drink perfectly matches his hat!
Nice view from the bar out to the sea
Hugo and Victoria with Lulu about to ride shotgun
"Ping" is the sound I've always read that a bike spoke makes when it breaks. I'd never broken a spoke before. It's something that typically happens to heavier riders, usually on the rear wheel, and I'm a lightweight, so I've been lucky. This didn't sound like a "ping".
It happened when I was wheeling my beach cruiser bicycle from the sidewalk area in front of the Greenhouse grocery store in town onto the road, and I heard what sounded like a metallic crack. It was loud and sounded like more than a "ping". I thought I had slammed my front crankset hard onto the edge of the curb somehow, just not paying attention. A quick look didn't reveal anything obviously broken, so I got on and started riding, with Barry riding behind me.
Hmmmm...what was that "whoosh-whoosh" sound? The bike was riding fine, but something was obviously very wrong. The sound was there even when I stopped pedaling, so that eliminated the crankset as the problem. It was something in the front wheel, but what? Tire wasn't flat. The hub? Then I thought about spokes. I stopped the bike, and Barry and I looked. Of course he saw it first. Yep, a broken spoke. Even though my bike is aluminum, the spokes are apparently just garden-variety steel, not of the stainless variety like Barry's are, and in this harsh marine environment, it had simply rusted through.
I was able to ride the bike far enough to make it to one of the local bike repair shops, but the sound seemed to get louder, and I could see that my front wheel was beginning to wobble as I pedaled along. When we got to the shop and I stopped, we could see that two spokes were actually broken, both on the same side of the wheel. No wonder it was wobbling! I was thankful that this happened today in town and not yesterday when we were riding way up north in Grand Belizean Estates. There are no bike shops, nor much of anything else, up that way.
Fortunately, the friendly bike shop guy had just what we needed and was able to do the repair right away. He commented that our bikes were very nice and we should always lock them up wherever we go. (We do, or one of us stands guard.) Soon after he started working on it, it started raining. It had been beautiful and sunny when we left for town, so we didn't anticipate this sudden shower, but we were able to duck under the tin roof of a no-longer-open local eating hole very close to the shop.
The repair and two spokes cost me $10 BZD ($5 US). Actually, he charged me only $8 BZD, but I gave him $10 for fixing it in the rain and so quickly. Sure beats the cost of a car repair in the US!
El Guapo = "The Handsome One" working on my bike
Staying out of the rain
In addition to the Boca del Rio bridge being closed to vehicular traffic (but not bikes or pedestrians) for another day for construction, we ran into this traffic stop just south of the airport while riding around doing our daily grocery shopping, They don't seem to make bikes stop, fortunately, so we just went around.
This guy had another good idea: just avoid the roads completely! He was riding in a unique stand-up canoe, powered by a pole (the water is very shallow) and a small sail.
The nightly commute outside our windows
On Ambergris Caye, beach bikes are a common mode of transportation for locals, and riding along the beach serves as the "road" to and from town to jobs in resorts and at construction sites for many local men, and a few women. There is an unpaved road north of the bridge to San Pedro Town, but during rainy season, where potholes and puddles can grow into ponds, riding a bike on the beach is easier, drier, and generally more pleasant. We do it too.
Since there is quite a bit of bike traffic passing by, and because we live in a first-floor condominium right on the beach, we get a lot of locals offering us various wares for sale as they ride by. It's not something I particularly enjoy, since we really don't have an interest in most of it, and we have a budget to stick to as well. If we bought from everyone, we couldn't afford to live here! But I always feel bad telling someone no, since I know a lot of these folks are subsisting on just a small salary or day-wage, and a good number are unemployed, more now during low season than will be later during high season (Thanksgiving through Easter).
Here are the offers we have gotten since we've been here:
- Jewelry made from shark's teeth
- Wooden bowls and various other wood carvings. Dolphins are particularly popular.
- Guatamalan embroidered cloth/wall hangings
- Coconut water, which the guy had not yet picked the coconuts for, and it was getting dark. When I turned him down for that, he offered to let us pay him to take a photo with him. Hmmmm.
- Some sort of art pieces made from bull horns
- And the latest, "some good buds" (wink wink).
The only thing we've bought from one of these passing vendors so far is a hardwood cutting board. We already had one cutting board, but decided that a second would be nice for cutting fruit on, so it doesn't pick up the taste of onion or garlic from the main board.
We would have preferred a condo on a higher floor to avoid all these offers, but there were no other one bedroom condos available. Just one of the little compromises we had to make to live where we do; and so far, it's worth it. I wish we'd get more vendors selling consumables, like fresh fish, fruit, or freshly baked bread. Maybe someday!