Archive for the ‘Travel Art’ Category

Becoming Surf Bums in Puerto Escondido

I already talked a little about the drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido and how terrible the road conditions were, but aside from the flat tire we managed to reach the hot and humid beach town of Puerto Escondido with some daylight left to figure out where we wanted to stay. One tool that helped us along towards Puerto Escondido was our newly discovered GPS capabilities on our smart phones. Gary at the hostel in Oaxaca told us you could cache the google map to places you want to go and use the satellite GPS to get road maps. How come we didn’t figure this out earlier? We thought our phones would only be able to access Google Maps with either Wifi or 3G. Well anyway we feel pretty dumb for not figuring this out sooner, but it came in very handy on our way to Puerto Escondido :)

After 6 hours or so of driving through those treacherous windy roads, we finally saw the ocean peek out in the horizon. We had originally thought of staying at a hostel right near Playa Carrizalillo which was the beach novice surfers frequent (perfect for us,) however the hostel seemed dead and just didn’t feel right so we headed back to the car to consult the book in search of another place to stay. It just so happened a familiar face wandered up the beach road near the hostel and it was our friend Christopher the Swiss whom we had briefly met in Mexico City, Oaxaca, and then now in Puerto Escondido! He mentioned he was staying at a hostel near Playa Zicatela (which was a beach for experienced surfers.) So we hopped back in the car to drive along the main boulevard near Playa Zicatela in search of a hostel with some camping.

We drove along and spotted Hostel Mondala which said they had camping so we stopped in front and peeked in to check on some prices. It wasn’t the same hostel Christopher had mentioned, but it was a hostel Gary had mentioned was really cool. They had a few shady and private spots to camp and it was only $30 pesos per person per night (that’s about $4.50 USD a night!) They told us to pay when we left as we weren’t sure how many days we wanted to stay. So we set up camp got settled, and started making friends with the others staying at the hostel. They had 5 hammocks lined up in the center of the hostel where most of the other travelers would congregate and lounge around drinking and smoking nearly every night. We had so much fun meeting new friends and hanging out at the hostel when we got there we forgot to eat dinner! The people who worked (Shout out to Michelle, Lily, and Jose!) there were very friendly and hung out with everyone as well. We were really starting to like this hostel :)

One of the first things we did was take the car to a shop to get a new tire for the car. When we got to a what looked like a reputable place, we took another look at the three remaining tires on the car and they all looked pretty rough. We decided to get a new set of shoes for the little Honda which took a good chunk of change out of our travel funds, we would probably end up getting all new tires eventually with the condition they were in. We did get a deal at the shop though which helped a bit and instead of paying for four new tires, we got one free! Then we decided to get the car washed and finally rid it of it’s finger dust writing we received from our parking pals in Cuernavaca. I really wish I had a before and after picture, I totally forgot our car was green until we got it washed!

The next day we decided to go down to Playa Carrizalillo to do some surfing. We made friends with some Aussies at the hostel and one of them tagged along with us to the beach that day, his name is Eddie. So the three of us headed down to the beach to hang out and catch some waves and have a swim. I rented a long board and hit the waves right away. Eddie and Steve stuck around on the beach having some drinks and going for a swim here and there. I spent a good 1-2 hours out in the water desperately trying to catch a wave, but the waves that day were few and far between and they tended to flatten out without breaking. It was tough to catch some waves, but I still had a blast out there. When I was done and got back on the beach I could immediately tell that I got a little fried from the sun even though I put plenty of sun screen on beforehand. So we had a few more drinks and then headed back to the hostel.

When we got back Steve and I asked the folks who worked there if it would be ok to do some painting on the blank walls they had around the hostel. They said as long as it was good they were fine with it, haha. I immediatly got an idea in my head to paint a giant vibrant rainbow mandala on one of the walls. What I ended up doing the following day was deciding against more surfing as my backside was sufficiently burnt, but instead painting a small colorful mock up mandala on some paper to show the guys at the hostel before painting it as a mural on the wall. Luckily everyone there loved it and couldn’t wait to see it on the wall. I was told that I wouldn’t be paid for the painting and I was totally fine with that, I was just feeling really creative and wanted to contribute some visual eye candy at this lovely spot in Mexico. By now we were REALLY starting to love this little beach town and the locals so much. The following day I began penciling out the mandala on the wall just between the two sinks and mirrors by the bathrooms.

It took me the better part of the first day, about 6 hours, to paint about 3/4 of the entire mural. It was so tranquil just hanging out among such great people, listening to some music in the background, and painting such vibrant colors on such a large scale. I had a blast. Doing some painting there at the hostel also gave my sun burn some time to heal up a bit before I could go out surfing again.

The following day I spent the morning finishing up the mural. It was really fun seeing the reactions of the others staying at the hostel while I was working on it and I imagine it was fun for them to see something like that become tangible in such a short time. The language barrier at the hostel didn’t seem to come into play while people sporadically stopped by to see how I was doing with the painting. There were a group of 5 Argentinian surfer dudes staying in a tent near us who didn’t speak any English and it was very difficult for us, and even the Mexicans staying there to understand the thick Argentinian accent these guys carried. It didn’t seem to get in the way when they stopped by to show their appreciation.

After I finished the mural Steve, Eddie, and I decided to hit the beach again for some more surfing and swimming. Before we left I went and bought a rash guard to protect my already burned back from more exposure and made sure to reapply sun screen multiple times throughout our stay there at Playa Carrizalillo. That Mexican sun can be a harsh mistress. We got there and I rented a long board and hit the waves. The waves were MUCH bigger today and there were lots of people surfing and body boarding. It was a little difficult to find a spot in the tiny cove to catch some waves without getting in someones way. I was out there for a good hour or so before coming in and then Steve gave it a go for a while. I then hit the waves once more after him and FINALLY caught a good wave. I had sort of half caught some waves earlier and was determined to get at least one that day and boy was it worth it! I rewarded myself with a nice cold beer on the beach after that :) We also did some snorkeling and saw lots of fish under the water near some rock formations and did plenty of swimming before heading back to the hostel to swing in the hammocks.

Here are some pics of Steve and I hitting the waves :)

We ended up staying in Puerto Escondido for about a week. We absolutely LOVED being super beach bums there and living on the cheap. There was a small tienda nearby that always had fresh fruit for sale which we ate for breakfast every day. Some mornings we treated ourselves to a granola, banana, and soy milk smoothie and some (I call them) Mexican eggs benedict at a local restaurant that quickly became our favorite place to eat. We went surfing whenever we wanted at Playa Carrizalillo and swam in the crystal clear blue waters and drank beer and smoked while swinging in hammocks with some of the most laid back and awesome company we could have asked for. We really did not want to leave at all. Unfortunately, we had an itinerary to follow to meet Steve’s mom in Belize a month from now so we had to get back on the road. It was sad to leave, we hugged and kissed everyone goodbye and said Hasta Luego to Puerto Escondido holding back the tears and headed off toward San Cristobal de las Casas to continue our adventure. I would not be surprised at all if we decided to return to Puerto Escondido on our way back and stick around bumming it on the cheap for as long as possible before heading back to the states :)


Starting A Cool Art Project While Traveling

We met this really chill awesome surfer dude in Loreto a while back and he gave us a lot of really great traveling tips and had a lot of wonderful stories to share about his own adventures.  One of the things he mentioned to us was that he had a friend who was traveling around in his van and he ended up painting a map on his car as he went along of the places he had visited around the world.  So when he found out we were both artists he encouraged us to do something similar.

While we were in La Paz, we ran a few errands and found a local store that had some acrylic paints for sale.  I bought some standard colors and a few brushes so I could start our own artistic car project!  I decided to paint little illustrations of places we had been and have them go all around the car.  A few days later I got some down time to do some painting in the evening and did a little test.  I painted the Country image (Mexico) first and left it there to try and decided to let the car get some more miles on it before I kept painting in case the paint came off really easy or wasn’t going to work.  So far, the paint is holding up nicely and I am going to continue to paint along the car as we go along!  Here is the first image I painted.  I’ll have a small area devoted to each country like this as we go.  The next one will be Guatamala!

I still need to add the little accent mark on the “e.” When I was painting it, I couldn’t remember which letter had it so I had to wait until we had internet again, herp.

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