Also, if you're ever in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, check out the Cafe' Superior and say hello to my friend Thomas Burris
Starting on Saturday, October 05, 2002, 5:49:48 PM
I was almost to Los Mochis as the sun was setting on the Mexico sky. I had just crossed into Sinola, Mexico and pulled over to watch the sun go down on the horizon.
By the time I made it to Los Mochis is was dark. I had stopped to ask a police officer how to get to the ferry from there. He didn't speak any English but I showed him on the map and communicated so that he understood. Then he made some stupid gesture with his hand in a circular motion and mumbled the word "aeropuerte", which means airport. Of course, at the time I couldn't understand what he was saying. Then the circling motion with his hand and arm really made no sense at all. I really didn't see how I was going to go up and over and around the back of his head like that so I just thanked him and went on my way. I drove up the road for a bit and saw a sign that read, "El Fuerte" which sounded similar to what the officer said. I took it and started heading on a highway going northwest. Well I knew that this wasn't the direction to the water so I turned back and headed back into downtown Los Mochis. Once there I saw a sign that showed a picture of a boat and said, "ferry" right beside the sign that said, "aeropuerte" and a picture of an airplane. Then ther was the other big sign that displayed, "Topolobampo" which was a small town at the water, right there where the ferries dock.
I made my way to where the ferries where and they all looked closed for the night. The road had stopped at a security gate that I assumed was for something completely different. Another place, that looked like the right place, was all locked up and there was nobody there. I pulled up to a sign there and tried to decipher the writing. I then realized that I didn't know Spanish at all. I was totally lost here.
Now here's my thing. I thought I could handle this Mexico trip because I am already fluent in four different languages. I mean, how hard could Spanish be? After all, I can speak American, Australian, British, and not even knowing it until this trip, had discovered that I can also speak fluent Canadian. So I didn't think that there'd be a problem with Spanish. After all, its so close to the U.S., surely it wouldn't be a problem. I guess I was mistaken, just a little.
So then I drove back into Topolobampo to see if I could get something to eat and maybe a place to stay. I found one of the little restaurants on the side of the road and learned what a Torta was. It was quite delicious. A strange kind of breaded bun, slightly grilled with shredded beef and cheese in it. I made some very small communication with the lady behind the counter and what I believe was her daughter and granddaughter there at one of the tables. They were interested to se if I enjoyed my Torta and seemed pleased when I did and then tipped her ten pesos. I drove around the little community there that seemed to be partying quite heavily. Not wanting to leave any of my things exposed I decided to go back to the ferry and see if I could possibly find somebody to talk to or find out more information. I certainly didn't want to miss the next ferry, if, and when there was one.
I drove back to the ferry and to the end of the road where there was the guarded gate. I had earlier assumed that that was something else until I saw a taxi drive up, a man opened the gate and they went on through. I drove up and briefly talked to the man who assured me that was the gate to the ferry. I thought I might have really messed up and might have missed the ferry by not knowing where to go. He let me in and I drove on around the corner and up to the office. A nice younger gentleman there greeted me and with minimal English, told me that the ferry was now full and they were taking no more passengers. I felt so stupid that I had missed the ferry until, after more communication, I found out that it was only a passenger ferry and that the other ferry was the one down the road that was closed. He told me that it didn't leave until 9:00 PM the next evening.
I drove on back to Topolobampo and got a room at the hotel there. It was a very nice place with a swimming pool and restaurant and bar. The restaurant and bar was closed but I did go to the pool to take a swim. I met some really nice young people that lived in Los Mochis and were spending the day there. They didn't speak English but we all seemed to communicate pretty well using related and equivalent words and silly body language can really get the message across. After talking for a bit one of the girls told me that her parents had a nice restaurant in Los Mochis and invited me to go there the next day. I accepted since the ferry wasn't leaving until 9:00 that next evening. Besides, I'm not about to pass up a free lunch. She gave me a phone number to call her and I went back to my room.
I Got up the next morning and immediately went to the get tickets for the ferry. I found out that I had to be there ready to load up at 5:00 PM so I rushed into Los Mochis. I made my way into town and couldn't figure out how to use the pay phones. None of the phones would take any money so I would have had to get a phone card somewhere. I couldn't seem to find anybody to help so I decided to give up on the whole lunch deal and just grab something else instead.
While driving through the city I had pulled up to a light behind a small pick-up. A very small girl was sitting in the back. She had the cutest little smile so I waved at her. I thought she might have been a little shy at first becaue there was a pause. Then she reached out her hand as far as she could reach and spread open her fingers to wave back at me. I followed along to the next light where I reached into my bag behind me and pulled out a small, stuffed, purple bunny. I tossed it into the back of the pick-up where it landed right on her right shoulder. It started her for a moment until she saw what it was and she got the largest smile I had ever seen. I could see her hugging the bunny and could read her lips as she said, "Gracias" over and over again. I pulled out the camera at the next light and got this picture. The moment really sent a warm feeling all over me and it made my whole day
After getting something to eat I found a local park and hung out for a bit. I saw this guy and his kids playing in the park and gave the kids a few of the little stuffed toys as well.
I thought some of the restaurant chains were pretty funny. Like this one, translated, "Chicken Boy".
With a little bit more time left over before I had to be at the ferry I went exploring. Here, looking towards the power plant in Topolobampo and a sugar cane field not far away.
Here in these images below you can see part of Topolobampo in the hill and some of the fishing boats on the water.
Pelicans are all over the place down there and are some incredible creatures. I never really thought much about them and assumed that they were somewhat clumsy animals until I spent some time observing them. I will talk more, later about one that I spent some time with in Cabos San Lucas. The other birds are some wonderful birds of prey that was perched atop an antenna at the top of the ferry office. I will have to do some research to gather the names of this species that seem to be fairly common down there.
Another shot of Topolobampo from the backside of the hill, waiting for the ferry to start loading. I met a really nice American couple there, also waiting for the ferry. It was really nice to b able to speak to somebody again. Tony and Sandy Fox were a retired couple from Wisconsin and were down enjoying the Baja. Tony had a couple of kayaks and enjoyed the area down there. They had been down there many times before and told me a lot of useful information about the Baja Peninsula..
Then as I waited for the ferry to begin loading I pulled out my guitar, sat down and started playing. I waited and waited. They eventually started loading the ferry and it seemed to take a very long time. Definitely much longer than any of he other ferries I had been on before, they were working extra hard to use up every possible inch of space. It wasn't my turn yet so I waited...........
And I waited...........
And I waited..............
Eventually they got to me as I was the third from the last to load. Being a motorcycle I guess they wanted me up front and could actually put the thing just about anywhere. They tied everything down and closed the hatch and we were on our way. I stayed out on the deck for a while talking to Tony who brought out his GPS. It was pretty neat seeing how fast we were moving and calculating how long it might take us to get there and how far we had to go. After a while, after we were really out on the water, Tony handed me a neat air mattress to lay on and went into their camper. Most of the passengers were truckers and they quickly found their own corners to sleep in. Scattered all over the boat were these guys, finding any isolated corner they could to get some rest. Many of them crowded into the small video room where there was a John Travolta movie playing with Spanish subtitles. Most of the others found spots in and under some covering. I looked for a more interesting place for myself and found a nice spot right along side a railing, totally open to the stars and the night sky and laid down my sleeping bag for a nice sleep. I fell asleep under the stars with the peaceful rocking motion of the boat. I saw several shooting stars and made several wishes before I finally dozed off to sleep.
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