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Akumal to Belize

Camping at the hostel.

Camping at the hostel.

Saturday morning, we pulled out of Akumal and headed south towards Chetumal, which is the closest city to the Mexico/Belize border crossing.  We stopped for the day in this little town called Bacalar which is the municipal seat and largest city in Bacalar Municipality in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and is about 40 kilometers north of Chetumal.  It’s a cute little town and one I’d recommend coming to visit  before going to the Playa del Carmen area.   The road here was almost just as boring as the roads around the Playa del Carmen area but once we got here to Bacalar we found a cute little hostel that we are camping in for the night for 95 pesos per person.

As we drove into town we were both kinda of surprised to see a couple, walking across the street. He was tall, white, and wearing denim overalls, flannel shirt, and a straw hat with a brim. The woman was wearing a white mesh bonnet, full modest blouse and full pleated skirt.  And they didn’t even look that hot.  As we watched them go by we saw another woman sitting in a horse drawn wagon in front of  a store and the couple got into a second horse drawn wagon and rode away. It was a strange site to see considering where we are and upon some research I found out that there is a local Mennonite community very near here.  Also discovered that Bacalar is another pueblo magico town.

Chutamal boardwalk photo

Chetumal boardwalk photo

Chetumal boardwalk photo looking out over the water.

Chetumal boardwalk photo looking out over the water.

Saturday night we rode into Chetumal the closest city to the border of Belice.  Apparently in Mexico, Belize is spelled Belice. The turn off for the border crossing is about 5km before Chetumal so we just noted where it was and drove on past.  Our goal was to hit a gym tonight but we arrived too late and the gym was closed.  Gyms here in Mexico tend to close early on Saturdays and then don’t reopen until Monday.  Personally I am kinda glad as my abs are sore from the workout Friday in Playa del Carmen but don’t tell Milton.  We ended up getting some ceviche to eat for dinner and then walking along the boardwalk.

Children's playground along the boardwalk.

Children’s playground along the boardwalk.

Sunday morning we woke up early after a semi restful night camping.  Broke down out tent and had the bikes all packed up and ready to roll by 8am.  As we rode we both finally noticed that the sky towards the south looked dark and then the raindrops started.  We decided that we’d find a hotel to stay at and cross over into Belize the next day so we continued on into Chetumal for breakfast.  By the time the weather seemed to clear up. After breakfast we headed off to make copies of some paperwork and as we were riding we rode past a group of bike riders standing on out front of a house so we flipped around and talked with them for a few minutes.  They were on there way to a ride that was a benefit for local children. They gave us some cool t-shirts (thanks guys) and we continued on but they did tell us that the weather would probably be fine for us to cross today.IMG_0550

We had heard such horror stories about long border crossing lines that the idea of standing in the rain was not appealing but neither was standing in lines in the hot sun either but as we arrived at the border there were no lines at all.  The night before I had done a internet search on the Mexico/Belize border crossing and got lots of different info so I finally ended up downloading a ebook I found called Central American Border Crossing Guide by rtwPaul. It was a huge help but some things had changed since he wrote this and I think for the better as it was relatively smooth.   As we pulled up to the building the man told us to pull around to park then return with our papers.  We tried to explain at that time that we did not have my tourist visa but it got confusing so we just did was he asked and parked in between two big white buildings.

When we came back to his little kiosk sized building, which was thankfully  air conditioned room, he first took my passport and then asked for my tourist visa receipt.  Again we explained we didn’t have it and that it was stolen when our bikes were stolen.  We kind of went back and forth for a few minutes trying to get him to understand and then he told us we just needed to pay it again which cost us 25 USD, no biggie and I happily paid it.  Milton gave him his paperwork, he processed it and we were on our way to deal with the bikes which was in the building just across the street to the right of where we had parked.

When we entered this building we finally saw a line of people, but luckily this was not our line.  The line we needed had one couple at the window so we were next in line.  When it became our turn, we explained that we were living the country and needed  our temporary import paperwork processed but that also we didn’t have any for my bike.  She asked us to  bring our bikes around and park in front so she could process the bikes.  We also showed her the official paperwork were received from the Ministrio of Publico in Penjamo and the newspaper articles.  Again she asked us to bring the bikes around.  After we brought them around, she looked at the sticker on the  windshield, matched th VIN number, took some photos, scanned the sticker, and peeled it off.  Next came my bike and she repeated the process.  We went back in, I filled out a short form as to why I didn’t have my paperwork and she said our money would be refunded to our bank account.  YIPPEE!!!!

As we left the building we met a young couple traveling by car down to Panama (I think) we chatted with them for awhile. They were from Australia, or at least he was.  Our Motodawgs sticker made the cut to be put on their car.  IMG_0555

We got back on our bikes, and continued on over a bridge and pulled over to the first white official looking building that we saw but it was empty so we continued on until we came to a roundabout and saw more official looking buildings off to the right so we headed there where we were told to park and go in to get to present our documents to enter the country.  We were also told that we had to go see the agriculture department, which had a office inside, to bring Jackie into the country.

Upon entering they had a tourism desk right inside the door and then just beyond that they had two kiosks each with two desks behind glass partitions. In between the two was a walkway that opened up to large room with an open desk where people declared what they were bringing into the country.

We got into line to show our passport and we were each given a short form to fill out asking all the basic information, who we are, where we were coming from, nationality, where we were going, and our mode of travel.  I fill mine out and got back in line where the border agent, who was black, wanted to know where we were going.  I had written down traveling south thru to Guatemala but he wanted a specific place we would be staying in Belize.  He told us he needed an address to put in his computer so we went back to the tourist desk and quickly found a hostel and wrote that down even through we had no intention really of staying there.  It worked and another border agent, also black, processed our passports, stamped them, and we continued to the next area, agriculture department. Milton made a comment to her that he hadn’t seen so many black people in one place since we left the states and she laughed and said that Belize is the only country in Central America that has a large population Creoles.  This large population is predominantly from the European settles who came to the area back in the 18th and 19th century and brought slaves here to work.

At the Department of Agriculture, the worker asked us if we had filled out the application to bring the dog into the country and we told him that this was the first that we had heard about it and asked him where we could get the forms.  He said the forms could only be gotten online and then after they were reviewed by another agriculture department in another city (Belize City possibly) they were forwarded to him.  He said we could not do it right there and that the process usually took 3-4 years. Oh shit, we asked him now what that we were already there.  At first he didn’t really give us an answer so I was beginning to think there was no solution and we’d have to go back to Mexico but then he said we  since we were already there we could pay a fine for not having the proper paperwork and upon inspection of our papers for Jackie Dawg and a brief physical inspection we could bring her in the country.  When we ask him how much he said 110 belizean or 55 USD. which we happily paid and after about 20 minutes of him doing paperwork and me bringing Jackie in for inspection (or a minute she was sweating the rectal exam but they bypassed that, she got lucky) they signed off on her and gave us paperwork to show if we happened to be stopped. On to the next step, customs to declare our bikes.

Our next step was customs to declare our bikes.  At this department, they reviewed our passports, bike titles, filled out some paperwork, had us read some rules, gave us some paperwork, and then came out to the bikes and searched through a couple bags then signed off us off and sent us to get the bikes sprayed. After the lady left us we did had a younger man who came over to say we needed to pay a 15 USD per bike and at first we weren’t sure if he was scamming us as he approached us at the bikes rather than inside and no one else mentioned this fee to us but he was wearing an official uniform and it was only a total of 30 USD so we paid  it.

When we arrived to get out bikes sprayed we had one car in front of us but they were just finishing up.  We went inside this small building, paid the small fee, and took Jackie off the bike so she wouldn’t get sprayed also and the whole process took less than 10 minutes. From there we only had one more step which was to get insurance.  This took a little longer, probably about 20 minutes, and then we headed south into Belize.

Once in Belize, we noticed a definite change in scenery.  Many of the houses were built of wood and up on sticks. The houses in  Mexico are mostly cement or adobe.  There was lots of grass around the houses and the majority of it was well maintained.  In Mexico there was lots of dirt and cement.  There was very little garbage on the roadways and it was mainly only in the first 10 minutes of entering Belize.  Garbage was common to see on the roadways in Mexico.

Corozal Belize

Corozal Belize

We entered the little coastal town of Corozal where we had lunch.  At once we noticed that people were speaking in English primarily and they definitely had a caribbean influence to the speech.  It was refreshing to hear.  The restaurant we stopped at  was right across from the water and the water was this amazing green color.  People were riding beach style bikes up and down, the pace seemed much slower, and people just didn’t seem in a hurry.  It was a nice change and a change was definitely something we both needed especially after the long straight stretch of road with nothing to see coming thru the Yucatan.

House on road between Orange Walk and Belize City.

House on road between Orange Walk and Belize City.

After Corozal, it was early afternoon, but we decided to head further south and search for a place to stay.  After looking at the map and talking to a local we decided to shoot for the town of Orange Walk where we are now. It took us about 45 minutes to get here , the ride was beautiful as we rode through sugarcane fields beautiful little towns with large green lawns and little wooden houses up on stilts. We were riding away from the coast and many of the houses were still being built up on the stilts so don’t think it is for flooding but can’t think why else they would be doing this.

House on stilts.

House on stilts.

 

Found a little hotel in Orange Walk where we have decided to stay for a couple of days before we head further south.  This little town is cute and has a very sleepy feel to it. Our hotel is clean and nice and they had absolutely no problems with us having Jackie.  We’ve planned to take a boat ride to some local ruins and will take lots of photos to share.  Although we loved Mexico, it’s nice to be a little further along now and officially into Central America.

Bikes right outside our hotel room with cable lock on.

Bikes right outside our hotel room with cable lock on.

Looking out from our hotel.

Looking out from our hotel.

Another view from hotel.

Another view from hotel.

Awesome wheelchair we saw at the orthopedic doctor's office.

Awesome wheelchair we saw at the orthopedic doctor’s office.

Statute of mother breastfeeding on town square. I am sure this would be considered inappropriate by someone back in the states but I love it.  Saw a few large statutes similar to this in Mexico also.

Statute of mother breastfeeding on town square. I am sure this would be considered inappropriate by someone back in the states but I love it. Saw a few large statutes similar to this in Mexico also.

Bike delivery just like in Mexico but haven't seen as many here.

Bike delivery just like in Mexico but haven’t seen as many here.

View across the square.

View across the square.

 

 

Random pictures from our visit to Palenque

Finally got the picture issue fixed so I am going to post some of our more recent photos from our visit to the Palenque Ruins.IMG_0361IMG_0363

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Where are we now? In Yucatan

I have been doing more updating on the Motodawgs Facebook page lately because, for some reason, I have been unable to upload picture to the blog site.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to fix it but I do have a email out to our technical support person in Puyallup and hoping he can help me.  We spent three days in the northwest area of the Yucatan relaxing at the beautiful Flamingos Inn Bed and Breakfast where I got to  enjoy a beautiful ocean view from our balcony.  Early mornings  consisted of yoga and meditation on the balcony, watching dolphins play,  mid-morning swims, walks along the beach, then sun bathing and lounging by the pool in the afternoon.  Rough life, but it sure felt good after spending some long hot, hot days on the bike.

As the weather has gotten warmer we’ve tried to start our traveling days earlier and end them sooner to beat the heat but we are finding that with Jackie Dawg, we sometime have difficulty finding hotels that will take her.  We had a easier time up north and along the west coast of Mexico.  We have debated on sending her back up to Washington as we do worry about her and the heat.  Fortunately, we have wonderful home and family for her to go spend some time with while we continue with our journey if that is what we decide to do.  We definitely are both having mixed feeling about keeping her here with us but having her here is a comfort to both of us so we are as yet undecided but try to stop sooner and for a little longer now to give her time to rest.

After spending three days on the beach in Chuburna, which is about 30 minutes northwest of Merida, we are now in Akumal, Mexico which is about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen.  We have a simple two bedroom apartment/cabin at a place called Camp Akumal which we will call home until Saturday.

Yesterday’s drive getting here was about the more boring drive we’ve had so far.  We decided to take the toll road so we didn’t even get to go through any beautiful small pueblos like we normally do.  Along the ride my speedometer/odometer cable vibrated loose and the inner wire fell out (same thing happened to Milton a while back, so we had been using mine to know when to fuel up) so now we have to go by either looking in the tank or just fill up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

There are not many fuel stops on the toll road and we ended up missing one and I was not paying attention to the miles on my tank (speedometer/odometer cable still attached at this time) and next thing I knew, Milton was on reserve.  We always carry two MSR small bottles of fuel with us so we continued on but then we came to a sign that said the next services were about 150 km away we flipped around and headed back 44 km to get fuel, (my cable came off somewhere along the return).  Milton did end up running out and we had to pull over to put fuel in his bike but I never even had to switch to reserve,, guess I get better milage than him.  After refueling and eating a horrible lunch at the little restaurant, we continued on.  The butterflies were thick but besides looking at the butterflies coming towards us as we rode, the trees and bushes along the side of the road prevented us from seeing much of anything else  We were able to see the dark clouds overhead that were accumulating though.  My one sight that I did see that broke up the monotony of the road was a herd of cows lumbering single file along the overpass.

Eventually we headed slightly southwest toward Playa del Carmen after deciding to skip Cancun entirely, and noticed that across the highway were strung rope ladders with the rope ends running out into the trees.  Took us a few minutes but we finally figured out they had to be crossings for monkeys.  We did get to see one large monkey sleeping in a tree but didn’t see a single monkey using the rope ladder to cross the road.

We made a quick stop in Playa del Carmen for some groceries and as we were pulling out the rain drops started but only briefly but as we rode further they clouds opened up again and we were riding in a tropical downpour.  Luckily it was warm but it was hard to see, the roads got slippery, the thunder loud, but the lightening was beautiful.  Had to do a U-turn a few times in the highway before we finally figured out where we needed to go.   Milton ended up going down due to the slick pavement but was unhurt and after that I rode even slower.  Eventually we found our way safely to Camp Akumal and now we are all tucked in, bikes parked in front of the cabin, with Jackie Dawg sleeping comfortable on the couch.

Back On Two Bikes

Last Monday,  we got a message from our friend, Rene, in Guadalajara saying my bike parts had arrived.  To get the parts, a friend of Rene’s, who lives in San Diego, CA and works in Tijuana, picked up the parts at a bike wrecking yard in Chula Vista, CA, carried them across the border and shipped them via DHL to Rene’s house.  This whole process took just over one month.

On Tuesday morning,  after taking care of some business back in the states via phone calls and the internet,  we were finally able to pull out of San Miguel just before noon which placed us in Guadalajara late Tuesday afternoon.  When we arrived to Rene’s house, where my bike was being stored, we opened up the box of bike parts and noticed that two of the four plastic parts were black, two were blue, and there was no hardware included.

Now I realize that the actual color of the bike is just a cosmetic issue and has no impact on how my bike operates, I still wanted the bike all one color and that color was black.  Luckily, Rene has a friend for just about anything so of course he had a solution for me.  This solution came in the form of his friend, Eric, who has an auto painting business.  After a quick phone call to confirm, we agreed to have the parts to Eric the next day.  In the meantime, we started where we could and Milton got me disassembling a few things and taking off bolts that needed to be removed so we could get to certain parts of the bike.  While I did this, he reassembled the choke housing mechanism. This took us until probably about 8pm and then when Rene’s nephew came by, we offered to pay him to watch Jackie overnight (as the hotels in Guadalajara tend to frown on dogs) and then we went back to the hotel we stayed during our last visit a month ago.

Wednesday, after having breakfast at the mercado by the hotel, we went back to Rene’s house.  We didn’t get there until almost 11am and for the next few hours Milton worked did what he could on the bike, which included reattaching the rear blinkers and some other miscellaneous things.   While he did that, I did some dishes for Rene’s mom.  She had spent the last few days at this hospital with his dad who had surgery and I figured the least I could do was make sure she had a clean kitchen to come home to.  Other things that Milton did to the bike during that time was to remove the old spring out of the bike, run errands for miscellaneous nuts and bolts, and right before lunch we dropped off the parts to be painted.  When we dropped off the parts to be painted we found out Eric was only going to charge us $400 pesos, which was just over $22 US dollars and they’d be ready that next day for pick up.  Can’t beat that price!!

That afternoon, Rene’s father came home from the hospital after a couple day stay for a toe amputation and being the good wound care nurse that I am, I attempted to get a look at his foot.  We had a language barrier but I finally figured out that it was the 2nd toe that was amputated and not the great toe as I had initially thought.  The dressing was intact and the dressing change was not due to happen until the next day, so I made a mental note to check back the next day.  The last thing we did for the day was take the shock and the upgraded spring to a local bike shop to be which was also supposed to be ready the next day.

On Thursday, we continued working on the bike, putting the pieces back together.  While doing this we discovered that we were missing some of the necessary pieces needed to attach our panniers so we went and found a place to fabricate them for us.  Milton continued to put the puzzle pieces together, reconnecting wires, finding the right size bolts, etc.

In the afternoon, I caught the tail end of Rene’s father changing his own dressing and saw how difficult it was for him to do because of the location of the wound on his foot and how extensive the it was. I knew that this was something that he would not be able to do without help and this was a way that I could pay them back for storing my bike along with a good portion of our belongings for the past month.

With the use of google translator we relayed to the family that I was a wound care nurse in the states and I wanted to help them with the dressing change so it would be easier for them.  They were agreeable to my help but since the dressing was already done for the day we left it alone.  They brought me the discharge instructions to review along with all of the medications that he was sent home with and I went to work translating.  I found out that the actual wound care instructions consisted of one line of about 7 words and he was to follow up with the doctor in 2 weeks.

The wound care instructions consisted of wash with soap and water and use a antimicrobial spray cleanser but nothing about how and when to do the dressing change itself.  I quickly did a search for wound care on the internet and found a basic instruction sheet, made a few changes, then used google translate to convert it to Spanish.  We got his nephew to print it out so they would have it to use as a reference guide.  That evening, before we left, I told Rene I’d go to the Farmacia and bring supplies back the next day.  Just as I was getting ready to walk out the door, his mom showed me a topical gel that she said the doctor wanted her to use but they weren’t sure how to use it or how often it was to be applied.  I took a photo of it so I could research it but before leaving, I double checked the discharge sheet to make sure instructions weren’t buried somewhere in the paperwork.  I couldn’t find any mention of it anywhere.

Earlier that same afternoon, Milton had taken his tennis shoes shoes to be repaired at the local shoe repair shop and while there, two stalls down, was a seamstress so he dropped off some bike straps that needed to be repaired also.  After doing this,  he discovered that none of the parts that we were waiting on would be ready until the next day.  We were rather bummed, Milton especially, but with it being out of our control, we decided to go with Rene to the KLRos meeting that night.

The ride through Guadalajara was crazy with it being like a game of follow the leader.  Where Rene went, we went.  When he cut lanes, we cut lanes.  When he drove in the opposite lane to get to the front of the line, so did we.  Stoplights really didn’t mean anything, if it was clear you just went. I also discovered that actual lanes didn’t exist, if a car or bike could fit, then it was a lane.  Sometimes I just closed my eyes cause I didn’t want to see what we were trying to squeeze between, around, or in front of.  I found it was better if I just didn’t look.

We stayed for only part of their club meeting (the social part of it) but we got to meet some really nice guys and check out their KLR bikes.  Most of the bikes there seemed to be mainly city bikes but there was one club member that we met that had  been on a some long distance trips down to South America and up to Alaska and he had what appeared to be a great mounting system attached to the underside of his front fender for his after market lights.  It looked like it might be the perfect solution for us, so far, the lights we had mounted had vibrated apart so we needed a better system.

When we got back to the hotel later that night, I attempted to research the medication but I had little luck.  Most of what came up was in Spanish so I used google translator a lot but I couldn’t find much out except it was indicated for use with things like anal fissures, uterine cervical cancers, ulcers, and then below it would say for external use only with no information on how to apply.   Boy was I getting confused, so I decided to try to figure it out the next day.

On Friday, I picked up supplies at the Farmacia  which was just down the street from the hotel.  But when I arrived back at Rene’s house, I told them that I didn’t want to change the dressing until we figured out how the gel was to be applied. I asked if they could call the doctor and ask him but it sounded like this was not a possibility, not sure why.  Rene did say he had a doctor friend who worked close and we could go ask him.  I told him I wanted to go with him but he had to drive slow and stay off the sidewalks. He laughed ag me but agreed, so off we went.  Unfortunately, his friend was not in so back to the house we went.  As we pulled up to the house, I remembered that one of the doctors that I worked with in Washington was from Argentina and that he might be able to help me.  I sent a quick text to him and within 10 minutes, he responded telling me it was a mild and should be safe to use in the wound.  While I was waiting for his response, I also confirmed it with a fellow wound care nurse so I felt confident with using it now.

Late that morning, I showed the part of the family how to set up a clean field, how to clean the wound and surrounding foot, apply the medication, pack the wound, and apply the secondary dressing.   We also took a photo of the wound so they would have it to compare to later dressing changes and talked about the importance of keeping pressure off of the area.  Thankfully we had someone there to help translate and I asked him to come back for the evening change when we’d also have the daughter there to watch the change.

After I was finished with the dressing change, I ran down to a small local Farmacia a couple blocks from the house to pick up a few other supplies I forgot to pick up earlier. After, I went to another local shop across the street carried household supplies and purchased a small plastic tub to keep all the wound care supplies in.  This would help to keep everything in one place and make it simple so they could just grab the whole box when it was time to do the dressing change and everything would be right there.  It felt really good to be in my element and use some of my nursing skills.

Meanwhile, during this time, Milton continued to work on the bike.  He picked up the metal pieces that we had fabricated to attach my other pannier.  At some point, Milton took a break to deliver some metal pieces to Eric who agreed to weld them together for us so we could make our own mounting system for our lights.  Our painted parts still weren’t quite ready so Eric said he’d deliver them to us later that day.

When the painted parts arrived, Milton put them on but right before it was completely assembled, he noticed that some wires were caught between the dash faceplate and the headlight housing unit so he had to disassemble all of the pieces he had just put on to remove the wires and then reassemble it all over again.  Luckily it went much quicker the second time around.

Later that afternoon, Milton was finally able to ride my bike around the block for a test run.  While he did that, I started to pull out some of our belongings that had been stored in the corner of their house for the past month.  We loaded up some of our belonging and then we both rode over to the hotel.  Before we left, I changed the dressing one more time with their daughter, Lucy, present to watch.  We used an interpreter again who was a huge help in reinforcing my instructions to them.  Before I left for the night I asked them if they felt ready to take over tomorrow with me there to talk them through it if needed.  They said they felt ready.

It felt so good to finally be able to ride my bike and I had a huge smile on my face.   Initially, I found I was still shifting with my heel, as it had become a habit after breaking my foot, but with conscious effort it didn’t take long to break the habit  My front tire felt like it had a slight wobble to it but I couldn’t tell if it was my imagination or not but I did mention it to Milton.  After we got back to the hotel, we both agreed that we could feel a little movement in the front tire.   When we first got the bike back, the thieves had removed the front tire and it must not have been tightened up enough when the tire was put back on.  We’d take care of it first thing in the morning.

Saturday morning, while Milton went over to pick up the mounting bars that Eric had welded for us, I watched Lucy change the dressing and with only a few reminders from me, she did great and I felt she would have no problem.  We picked up the straps, dropped off some others as both our tank bag straps had been cut off.

By late afternoon, everything was loaded up on our bikes and we were ready to travel.  We debated on waiting and leaving in the morning but both of us were anxious to get moving again.  We both found that we had become attached to this wonderful family so saying goodbye was bittersweet but we felt the urge to ride, at least for a couple of hours and we agreed we could get a hotel further down the road.  This time, as we left Guadalajara, we left on two bikes instead of one and with satisfaction that this bump in the road did not stop us from continuing with our dream.

 

San Miguel Art Show

20160401_184008Friday night, just down the street from this place where we ate dinner, I noticed a beautiful mural painted on a wall.  I have been just mesmerized by some of the amazing murals  painted on buildings down here in Mexico so I walked up the block to take a photo. While taking the photos,  I noticed that the gate was partially open where, inside, was an artist painting another mural on one of the inner courtyard walls.  As I walked up to the open gate, he motioned me inside.

His painting was just one of many in the courtyard. 20160402_182819 There were probably about 20 people inside, some painting, some just hanging out, and in one corner a DJ was setting up  equipment.  When I told him I spoke limited Spanish he brought me over and introduced me to this guy Mauricio, who spoke English who told me that they were a group that offered opportunities for people to share and express their art and were getting prepared for a showing that was to happen the next day.  After showing me around the area, he invited me to come back the next day.20160402_184449

One of the things that I find beautiful here in Mexico is that so many people are expressing themselves through their passions and sharing it with their community.  I am sure that things like this exist in areas of the US but it seems like in most areas, we’d rather keep up our appearances rather than open up our heart and soul and let ourselves truly be seen.  It is a risk to allow ourselves to be seen by others and opens us up for vulnerability that can be frightening but I am discovering that it is more frightening to live a life where we allow fear to limit us to what we do, where we go, how we use our voice, and how we share our passions.  Passion allowed to flourish makes the world a much more beautiful place and brings people together.  So do things, go places, use your voice, and share your passion in whatever form it takes.

Here are some photos that we took at the art show:

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The final resting place

Beautiful sunrise in Tenacatita, Jal

Beautiful sunrise in Tenacatita, Jal

When we finally got to the beach just southwest of Aqua Caliente Nueva,  we found the most beautiful perfect beach ever. It was just west of El Rebalsito, a beautiful little farming pueblo that is located along the Tenacatita access road about 3km from Playa Tenacatita. This is the town where we got to experience a Mexican Rodeo which was very exciting.  At Playa Tenacatiti,  we found a small group of locals swimming which was surprising considering how populated other beach were that were not even close to the stunning beauty of this beach. We noticed some huge hotels along the beach and up on the hill but as we got closer we noticed that they were falling apart and appeared abandoned.  There were at least three armed guards sitting towards the entrance of the beach. At first,  I mistakenly thought there were there to protect the local citizens, but I found out later they were there to protect the property on the side of the road opposite of the beach. We found a good place to pull over and rest and then Milton and Dennis went exploring further down the road looking for a good camping site.  After awhile they came back and said that further down the road were some Canadians camping, Chico and MaryAnn, and they gave us some options of good places to camp.  They also told us the story of why this area was filled with abandoned buildings and armed guards. I didn’t take any photos of the guards with automatic weapons because, well, because they were holding automatic weapons.

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In a nutshell, apparently about 5 years ago there were restaurants and hotels along the beach but now they what is left is completely abandoned and the land and what property is left is under dispute.  For a long time, the beach was closed for public assess and guarded by armed guards but recently the beach was reopened for use but no building can be done until the dispute between the locals and the developer who is attempting to develop the area gets resolved.  In the meantime, there are some people from Canada who would come every year and stay for a few months and this was their first year back. If you are interested, do a search on it.  I’d try to explain it more but I don’t want to give out incorrect information.  It is a very interesting, sad story that will make you angry.

After wandering around the beach and looking at it from all angles, Milton finally said that he thinks this is the beach that he was supposed to spread his moms ashes.   I suggested that we check at Barre de Navidad the next day just to be sure but he felt confident that we were at the right place.  We pitched our tent on the beach then headed into town for some of our favorite foods……tacos.  DSC_0156

We found a couple tables set up outside someone house and ate well with the sounds of a birthday fiesta going on just around the corner. DSC_0142

After dinner we went back and slept in our tent with the sound of the waves crashing so loud that I kept waking up convinced that the tide was coming in and going to reach out tent.  The next morning, after waking up to watch the sunrise and discovering we hadn’t been swept out to sea we took a brief morning swim, had breakfast of musuli, Milton’s breakfast specialty while on the road, and then got ready to ride down the coast to Barre de Navidad.  We had to ride through one small stretch of sand to reach the main road and Milton had to coach me through and remind me to stay up on the throttle . Made it with no mishaps, SUCCESS!!!DSC_0378

 

Milton and Dennis with friend they met.

Milton and Dennis with friend they met.

Before we reached  Barre de Navidad, we stopped in the neighboring beach town, the village of San Patricio Melaque, where we bought cold drinks and while Milton and Dennis talked to passersby, I watched an elderly man and a middle aged woman play dominoes.  They didn’t speak any English and since my Spanish is horrible, I couldn’t understand them but the elderly man kept winning and whenever he’d play his last domino he’d turn and look at me and smile. I noticed that he was wearing a piece of plastic tied around his left calf (gator region for my wound care friends) I tried to examine it through the bag and could see some scattered open areas with some areas of yellow slough in the wound bed, scarring to the periwound ( which indicated that at one time the wounds were much larger) and some hemosiderin staining; classic venous ulcer. ( See Trisha, I am trying to stay current on my wound care assessment but I need a ruler to measure, can you bring me some?).  Though the help of a local who helped interpret ( who spoke very limited English), I learned this man had been dealing with these wounds for a long time and sees a local doctor who through charades, I think uses maggot therapy to clean the wounds up, otherwise all he has for dressing coverings was pieces of plastic.  I so wanted to give them some of the Medihoney that I had with me on the bike but I had no way to explain how to use it and don’t think that they would have trusted that I had knowledge of wound care.  I definitely need to learn Spanish so when I come across these opportunities to help people I can.

Some of the wonderful people we met in Barre de Navidad.

Some of the wonderful people we met in Barre de Navidad.

We went in to Barre de Navidad and wandered around for awhile.  It had changed a lot since Milton had last been there but it was still seemed a lot smaller and less populated that Sayulita so I liked it.  We talked to a lot of tourists, I think they were primarily Canadians but some were from the US.  Everyone was interested in our journey and our bikes.  One gentleman, who recently had survived major heart surgery (5 way cardiac bypass  if I remember correctly), came up and gave me 100 pesos.  I thanked him and tried to refuse but he reminded me that 100 pesos is really just enough to buy us all a soda and he wanted to give us something.  I remembered what someone told me before the journey which was to be open and say yes, so I thanked him and said yes.  Felt very strange to take money to be doing something that for me is a choice and one that so many in the world don’t have and never will have but sometimes it’s not so much about me but allowing others to give from their hearts.IMG_0870

This is the bracelet he wears in memory of his surgery date.

This is the bracelet he wears in memory of his surgery date.

We rode back to Tenacatita that afternoon, Dennis and I spent the evening swimming while Milton fished, and then went down and ate dinner with our Canadian friends Milton and Dennis had met the day before.  A couple of cute girls tried to sell us paper fans but I told her I didn’t have any pesos with me.  After some back and forth, I told them I’d bring the pesos to them the next day.  We were told of the Mexican rodeo that was set of the upcoming weekend and would start the next day.  Plenty of food, fun, and exciting bull riding.  Each day of the rodeo is sponsored by a different group with the last day being sponsored by the gringos which means that they parade through the town and then they provide the food and drinks and it’s free to eat for everyone.  We were invited to stay for all three days and participate. Definitely sounded fun but we only stayed through the first day of the rodeo. We did learn that Dennis’ name in Spanish is Deniso  which I like and hopefully it will take hold in Tacoma.

On Saturday, the day after we attended the rodeo, we woke up early and spread Mary’s ashes as we caught the tail end of the sunrise. Definitely was an emotional process for us and we each said a little something as we spread her ashes.  I had a brief moment of thinking of the struggles that Mary and I had over the years which I could have led me to feeling guilt but instead I shared on all the good that she did while she was alive and what I admired and loved about her.  To focus on any other thing would have taken the light off of her and as we spread her ashes all over that beach, our love was spread with it.

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I still believe in the good things coming….

“I believe in the good things coming” is a line taken from a song from Nahko and Medicine for the People and has been our motto for this trip and the good things are still coming in spite of our recent misfortunes. On Friday, we got good news and were able to recover all three motorcycles. Two of them are in good condition with only minor parts removed but the third, has major damage. This is an incredible stroke of luck and due to the hard work of many people. We want to thank all the local people who have helped us, stopped to talk to us on the street with suggestions and encouragement, the police who recovered the bikes, all the motorcycle riders and groups in Mexico who helped by spreading the word and providing encouragement when we were getting discouraged, all our Facebook friends (old and new) who kept posting and sharing.  So many people played a part in this and made such a huge impact by letting the thieves know they would not be able to use our bikes without being noticed. We also want to thank the US Consulate for making calls on our behalf, to Mike in San Miguel for using his contacts to help us, Luis who helped interpret and get things moving faster at the Ministerio Publico and Juan Pablo and his friend who helped get Kathy’s bike out of impound, since it was not rideable, fed us at his restaurant and wouldn’t take any money for it.  Without ALL of your help we would not have gotten any of our bikes back or been able to stay as positive through the process.

So now its time for us to take a deep breath and regroup.  We have two bikes in good shape and one that is basically destroyed but fixable.  At this point we are thinking of taking the bikes back to Guadalajara where there are Kawasaki dealers and a better likelihood of finding used parts as well.  We did end up getting a lot of our riding gear back and some of the camping gear, but we are still missing a lot of important items and since we only packed what we needed we will have to gear up again as well.

As you can see from the pictures below, Kathy’s bike is in need of major work and the money friends and family have donated will be a huge help in having it rebuilt as well as replacing the necessary camping items and riding gear.  These are some hard lessons learned that we will not repeat. My business coach would ask my to “re-engineer the whole situation” and find out what we could have done differently to prevent the situation and boy have I re-engineered this situation many times. These have been many hard lessons learned for me and the rest of us.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.  Our spirits have not been broken and our love and respect for this country and the wonderful people that we’ve met along our journey has not diminished but only grown. Kindness and good people win again.

Much love to all

P.S. Jackie Dawg is a happy, happy camper since her sleeping bag bed was one of the recovered items.

Got most of the plastic parts back but many have been cut through or were just broke off the bike so are they are now unusable.

Got most of the plastic parts back but many have been cut through or were just broke off the bike so are they are now unusable.

Front view of the bike, you can see the broken plastic pieces there that are still attached.

Front view of the bike, you can see the broken plastic pieces there that are still attached.

All controls on the bars were destroyed, and they removed the grip on the left, no idea why other than to do as much damage as possible.

All controls on the bars were destroyed, and they removed the grip on the left, no idea why other than to do as much damage as possible.

Other view

Other view

Full view of bike, only plastic piece they didn't remove was the front fender, probably just didn't have time yet.

Full view of bike, only plastic piece they didn’t remove was the front fender, probably just didn’t have time yet.

Bikes Stolen in Penjamo

We had met so many wonderful people here and had no problems that maybe we got a little too comfortable and weren’t as careful so we didn’t take more stuff off out our bikes like usually. When we pulled in the day before I wasn’t feeling good and went straight to bed with chills, spent all night sick in bed, so I didn’t take anything extra off my bike like I normally would. The next day, I still wasn’t feeling good and Dennis had a migraine so we didn’t travel. After the radio interview a little after 5pm, I finally decided I needed to eat so Milton and I went out, got the camera out of one of the bikes, and went walking. The police have a video showing the bikes being stolen at 5:40pm, still daylight out, but they can’t see the faces in the video. They rode away wearing helmets. What three people just happen to wander around wearing helmets, to me this seemed planned. Lots of things we would do different now but it’s too late now.

Here is my inventory of what I have left: one pair of pants, a couple shirts, two dresses, my socks and underwear, one pair of flip flops, shampoo/conditioner/soap/toothpaste/toothbrush, tank bag (filled with misc crap) one riding boot (the right), my special walking boot for my left (the broken foot), one pair of Klim riding pants, one pair of summer gloves, one helmet. Milton has his riding boots, tennis shoes, two shirts, shorts, pants, helmet, and tank bag. Thankfully, we did take all of our electronic equipment off of the bikes so we have our computer, GoPro, camera, and smart phones.

What’s gone: all of our camping gear is gone, tent, air mattresses, sleeping bag, camping chairs, stove, French press and the coffee that our friend Carlos from Colima gave us (not the coffee, damn those thieves), water purifier, kitchen gear, food. The rest of our riding gear, Milton’s Klim pants and Aerostich jacket and heated liner, my Klim jacket and heated jacket, Klim winter gloves and an extra pair of summer gloves misc flashlights, batteries (Milton laughed at the number of batteries I brought, was I thinking they wouldn’t have batteries down here or something)
Because of Milton’s respiratory issues we had a lot of medications for him (Antibiotics, inhalers, steroid injections for emergency use) all gone. My first aide kit. Since I am a nurse, it was a pretty extensive kit probably some overkill but I could handle just about anything on the road. The last hat that Milton’s mom every knitted for him is gone. That is the one that brings the tears to my eyes.  ( He thought he had lost it right before we left but he actually had packed it away so he wouldn’t lose it, Our friend, Sarah, in Redway gave him a hand knitted hat to replace it right before we left and that one is gone also.)  At least we were able to scatter his mom’s ashes before this all happened otherwise those would be gone also. Oh, and they now have some NA literature and a couple step working guides, maybe they’ll make good use of them and work some steps around taking things that don’t belong to them.

Milton and I worked so hard for this, many times we worked two jobs, we weren’t excessive spenders. When other friends took vacations we stayed home to save our money. We paid cash or didn’t get it. Our riding gear and camping gear were purchased a little at a time over a long period of times. We’d get something every paycheck or so because we don’t do credit cards, looking for sales but buying quality so things would last. Not sure what Dennis has planned, but Milton and I wanted this so bad that we were willing to sell our home in Tacoma that we had just remodeled with our own sweat equity to help pay for this. I loved that house but was willing to give it up to follow this dream. At this point, Milton and I feel there is no turning back as we can’t unring the bell, so forward we go, the only question at this point is how.

Motodawgs: Journey to South America's photo.
Motodawgs: Journey to South America's photo.
Motodawgs: Journey to South America's photo.

 

 

 

On the road: San Blas to Agua Caliente Nueva

Sorry everyone that my updates have slowed down.  We have had very limited WiFi ever since we left San Blas on February 16 but I am finally getting my posts done from some of the other places we visited.

Leaving San Blas

Leaving San Blas

From San Blas we continued on down the coast on Ruta 16 until it connected with Ruta 200, taking it easy and trying to stay on pavement because of my foot.  The drive along the coast was gorgeous but eventually the road took us inland a bit and as we travelled through a couple of small villages we decided to try to find a playa again. In one of the villages, Ixtapa de la Concepcion, Nayarit, we just kept heading west on the roads and lo and behold, before long we were no longer on pavement any longer.  Damn!! Loose gravel roads to begin with but eventually as we got further along the way, we began to hit patches of sand which at this time still caused me to hit my brake instinctively.  Ended up falling twice on this stretch of road and I have to say I am getting damn good at falling.  The learning curve on riding off road is steep for me right now but as Milton keeps reminding me, I will be a really good rider at the end of this journey. We never did reach the playa but on the way back after my last fall, where I had a mini breakdown, Milton made me repeat mantras the entire time.  Things like; I love riding on dirt roads, this is fun, I am a good rider, I look ahead at where I want to go, sand is fun.  Did not fall once on the way back and even had to navigate around some obstacles.  My confidence increased slightly and when we reached Ixtapa de la Concepcion, after buying cold drinks at a little store, we had a wonderful lunch before continuing south.

We stopped at this little store and got drinks right before we ate lunch. This is the store owner and her grandsons.

We stopped at this little store and got drinks right before we ate lunch. This is the store owner and her grandsons.

This is the owner if the little restaurant we ate at. Think he was a little tipsy as he and his friend were trying to get me to stay with them.

This is the owner if the little restaurant we ate at. Think he was a little tipsy as he and his friend were trying to get me to stay with them.

The wife at the restaurant. Very nice family.

The wife at the restaurant. Very nice family.

Us with Louie and Elaine and two of their friends (mother and daughter duo)

Us with Louie and Elaine and two of their friends (mother and daughter duo)

Our destination when we started out that morning was Sayulita.  A good friend of mine raves about Sayulita and so I was sure that it would be a place that I’d like also and we’d stay there for a couple days.   In the early afternoon we pulled into Sayulita and I was completely blown away by the number of tourists everywhere.  Many of the signs were in English and the streets were lined with cafes and the types of stores you’d see in upscale tourist areas. Definitely not for us but we did find a nice beach to swim in for a while.  While we were swimming in the ocean, we, of course, asked these two women near us where they were from and one said Berkley so we told her we were from Humboldt in Northern California.  They said that they were here, at the beach, with some friends from Humboldt.  They asked where exactly in Humboldt and we told them Redway and they said their friends were also from Redway.  Turns out it was a couple that has known Milton since he was a young boy.  We had a great visit with them and I know that Milton really enjoyed talking with someone who could share stories with him about Milton Sr, his father, who passed away a few years back.  After we said our goodbyes we quickly left Sayulita without stopping.

Milton and Elaine, turns out she was one of his teachers in elementary school. Small world.

Milton and Elaine, turns out she was one of his teachers in elementary school. Small world.

From Sayulita we headed towards Puerta Vallerta and it was getting towards early evening by the time we got close.  About 15 kilometers outside of Puerta Vallerta, we saw a Farmacia so we stopped and were able to get some emergency medicine that we can use if Milton has another severe asthma attack and we aren’t near a hospital.  Also, while there we were able to buy a steroid that I can give him in injection form which will buy us some more time.  Hopefully it will never come to that but it makes me feel a lot better just having it. That night we stayed in Bucerias and had the best meal, wish I could remember what it was called. I’ll have to start writing down the names when I find something I really like.

In the morning we went into Puerta Vallerta where Milton discovered that it has grown tremendously since his last visit so we didn’t stop much.  We did stop at the local Walmart hoping they might have WiFi and to buy a coloring book for my Grandson Niko. While there I bought a couple extra children books and Milton bought some little cars that we can give away but never was able to get the coloring book. Oh well, he’d probably color all over my parents wall with it anyways.   While in the parking lot we, of course, got to talk to a lot of people because most people are curious of where we’re from and going to. It’s always fun to see the excitement in people’s faces and sometimes people even tell us they’ve been wanting to do something similar but most people say in a van or RV and not on motorcycles.

Milton and Dennis talking guns with the police.

Milton and Dennis talking guns with the police.

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Couple of tourists we met, think they were from Canada. Very nice couple, we talked for quite a while.

Couple of tourists we met, think they were from Canada. Very nice couple, we talked for quite a while.

Another very nice couple we met, think they are also from Canada.

Another very nice couple we met, think they are also from Canada.

We also stopped so I could FedEx a birthday gift home to my daughter and a book for Niko.  Everything sure takes longer with the language barrier but I have a translator on my phone that helps out some.  In the downtown tourist areas, I did notice that the majority of the buildings were white and not colored with bright colors like in the smaller towns.  Not sure if this is specifically for the tourists but I definitely like more color.  The streets were cobblestone which was fun riding on with all of that traffic and a challenge with the stopping and going because I don’t have much traction on the foot that is wearing the walking boot.  The road south, Ruta 200, out of Puerta Vallerta was again beautiful with expensive houses that were amazing to look at.  Not long, we got far enough away that we began to see little roadside food stands again, which is our favorite place to eat so what did we do, we stopped to eat.

As we drove further south we finally reached an area where many of the palm trees were broken or severely windswept. As we got closer to towns, we noticed piles of bricks and tiles laying on  the ground and houses without walls and roofs. These were the remnants of hurricane Patricia that just hit the area last October.  I talked to a local who said there were no casualties reported that he knew of but the one person did drown after going fishing too early after the storm. I wish I had taken more photos of the area but after a long day’s ride sometimes taking photos is the last thing on my mind.   As we were riding down the long hill we could see the town of Agua Caliente Nueva at the bottom of the hill. We decided to stop there and see exactly where we were on the map, how far we still needed to go to get to Barre de Navidad, and get something cool to drink.  The town was beautiful with colorful buildings exactly how I like it.  We had delicious pina popsicles with huge chunks of pineapple in it.  It tasted so good after a long hot day of riding.  While there we met a couple of local teens who allowed Dennis to take their pictures. IMG_0771

Us with "G", he played a crucially important part of our journey.

Us with “G”, he played a crucially important part of our journey.

As we were finishing, a young man (mid 30’s), pulled up in  a pickup truck and spoke to us with perfect English and a drawl to his voice.  This surprised us, and we discovered he spent many years living in North Carolina.  He told us he goes by “G ” in the states because his name is rather difficult for us gringo’s to say, me including, so I only remember him as “G”.  He told us that we can’t leave this area until we check out the most beautiful beach which is just down the road and paved all the way.  And he said he was just there a couple days ago and there were some campers on the beach so we could camp there.

After leaving him, we found the road we were supposed to turn off on and we drove through groves on palm trees and as we got closer to the coast the damage from Hurricane Patricia became more evident.  No one was left untouched and all around was evidence of the community working together to rebuild.  Now as if our journey hasn’t already consisted of amazing experiences, on my next post find out how “G” was placed in our path for a reason.

 

 

My broken foot and medical care in Mexico

When we woke up that first morning in Santiago, I felt like my foot was healing but after wandering around the market area, my foot was starting to really hurt so we decided to go back to the hotel to get the bike and ride 2 up on Milton’s bike and tour more of the city.  Most of the streets here are a combination of dirt and cobblestone, so I was grateful to be a passenger rather than a rider for awhile.

The neighborhoods here are so amazing.  There is life and activity everywhere.  Cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, bicyclists, all share the road.  They weave in and out, tailgate all the time, and pass each other whenever presented with enough room to get by; there are no horns honking in frustration, no yelling or flipping off the other drivers or any other displays of road rage, just people living their lives.  School children and teens walk by wearing their school uniforms. In the morning before school, I see them helping to sell things before school starts. People sell  fruit out of roadside carts, others wander down the street selling bags of papaya and jicama or just sit on street corners with bags of limes for sale. Everybody works here; works hard, and usually with a smile.  I love that the town is just bustling with energy from early in the morning to late at night. It is a living breathing city filled with intense and vibrant sounds, colors, and smells.  Intense and vibrant, I think those are both accurate words to describe what I’ve seen her in Mexico, an intensity and vibrancy for life that I don’t see very often in the  states.

We rode up one particular narrow cobblestone street and found ourselves on top of the city looking out over everything below us.  At this point, my foot was hurting so bad that the thought crossed my mind that it was not getting better and I needed to get off of it soon. So back to the hotel we went where I elevated it while Milton took some time to visit a local gym.  He said it was very bare bones but they had what was needed to get a good workout in and all for only 25 pesos, which is a little less that 1.50 USD.

By the time he got back, I had already began to search for a  local hospital where I could get an X-ray of my foot but didn’t mention that to Milton until about 6pm.  I knew that the both Milton and Dennis had it in their minds to be leaving the next day and I really didn’t want to slow us down anymore than I already had.  But as they were making plans for where we would go the next day, I finally mentioned that I didn’t think I could go and that I needed to have someone check out my foot.  Next thing I knew one of the employees for the hotel was getting us a taxi and we heading to the hospital.  When we arrived at the hospital, I hobbled into a small waiting room full of people and behind the glass was an empty desk where the receptionist should have been.  There seemed to be no order to any of it, so at this time my confidence in getting good treatment was not high but I figured I would just go along. I mean many people get medical treatment in Mexico so there must be adequate care here somewhere and besides, it was only my foot and as Milton would always say to the kids, “it’s a long ways from your heart”.  Someone finally came to the window and our interpreter told her what my situation was and after some back and forth between them and some heads being shaken no, we were told that she recommended we be seen at one of the local clinics for treatment because it would be too expensive for us otherwise.  According to our interpreter this other place was only a few blocks away.  Luckily we caught a cab because his idea of a few blocks was entirely different from mine.

At the next place,  which was down a dirt road, there was only one young man sitting in the waiting room and again no one at the reception desk.  I was beginning to wonder if this was just how they did things here but it was a really short line this time so I was good with it and then I heard a blood curdling scream off to the right of us.  Milton and I both looked at each other and kind of laughed but inside my head I was running through all types of scenarios that would elicit that type of scream, something imbedded in the body that had to be removed, abscess that had to be drained, limb that had to be amputated without anesthesia.  I had no idea, but the only door that was open in the direction of that god awful scream, was slowly closed after someone realized that we were there.  So we did all that we could do which was sit down to wait.  After just a few minutes a woman came out from behind one of the doors with a slight smile on her face followed by a chunky  little boy about 10 who was wiping tears from his face but looking well otherwise. He had no obvious signs of injury, no bandages on, and all his limbs were intact.  He probably just got a shot.  Whew, no anesthesia free amputation occurred there that night.

Someone followed them out of the room and our interpreter caught him and again relayed our situation to them and again there was more discussion and heads shaking no.  The doctor had already left for the day but there was another clinic just down the street.  Heard that once before but again we left and caught a cab. Down another road, this time a combination of dirt and cobblestone and when we arrived at the next clinic we were given the same story,  the doctor had already left. This clinic did attempt to help me though, they gave  me some pain relieving ointment to put on my foot and told us to return the next morning and the doctor would see us at 9am. We decided to come early to make sure we were the first ones in line.

View of street while waiting for clinic to open.

View of street while waiting for clinic to open.

At 7:30 the next morning we were waiting out in the lobby of the hotel for our interpreter and by 8am we were on our way back to the clinic. We arrived there by 8:15 and still had to wait for them to open at 9am so I sat on the sidewalk and tried to elevate my foot on a tree.

Consultoria Medico in Santiago, Nayarit.

Consultoria Medico in Santiago, Nayarit.

Patiently waiting outside the Consultoria Medico in Santiago, Nayarit.

Patiently waiting outside the Consultoria Medico in Santiago, Nayarit.

A little before 9 someone arrived and opened up a door and then brought out some plastic chairs for us to sit in.  While I was waiting I looked up the words written on the buildings to see what they meant and Milton talked with our interpreter and found out he had two kids 7 and 11 and that they played baseball.  He also had spent a little time living in the states which is where he learned some English.

A little after 9am the doctor arrived. Her name was Dr. Joana Lizeth Guerrero Corderon and she brought me into the room, brushed a little dust off of the examination table and Indicated I get up on the table and swing my left leg up so she could examine my foot.  She was very gentle as she examined my foot. She pointed to some areas and I assumed she was asking about pain so I shook my head yes or no as appropriate.   When her exam was complete we thought she was saying there was no break and I was thinking great, I have to live with this, but she was really saying that she needed an X-ray.  In the meantime, she prescribed some medication for pain, equivalent to naproxen, which we filled next door at the Farmacia and off we went for an X-ray.

My left Foot.

My left Foot.

Again we had to take a cab to go back across town to get the X-ray.  We were the first to arrive, and it looked like they also were just opening up.  As we sat there waiting, the television was on and playing american pop videos, I could finally understand something.  A receptionist/xray technician came in with her little son and as she worked, he ran around and played.  After the X-ray was taken, she showed it to me and sure enough there was a break in my 4th metatarsal on my left foot.  In a way I was relieved to have confirmation that the pain was more than just soft tissue damage but bummed as I didn’t know how this would affect our journey now.  We took the X-ray and headed back to the to clinic and she looked at it and said I needed a splint and to see a specialist who was an hour away in Tepic.  At first I thought she kept saying dermatologic but when I said orthopedic, she said yes and she gave us his card, called, and made the appointment for us that same afternoon at 4pm.  The last time I was referred to an orthopedic specialist in Washington the wait time was over a month out.

Pre placement of splint.

Pre placement of splint.

The doctor preparing the splint.

The doctor preparing the splint.

Splint being applied.

Splint being applied.

Splint applied, new dancing shoe or starting early in my halloween costume.

Splint applied, new dancing shoe or starting early in my halloween costume.

 

After the splint was placed we took a cab back across town to our hotel and waited until time to leave for Tepic. Since our appointment was at 4pm we decided to give ourselves 2 hours to get there so at 2pm we went in search for a cab.  The cab ride to Tepic was an event in itself.  He drove fast, tailgated, and passed in situations that would never happen in the U.S but I sat back and trusted that since he did this all the time, it was no big deal.  We found the orthopedic doctor’s office right on time and the cab driver made sure we got in to where we were going,  The building his office was in was filled with other doctor’s offices and also had a Farmacia.  It was all very professional looking and just like back home, we had to wait a little while for the doctor to see us.

After about 20 minutes of waiting, Dr. Alejandro Avalos Flores, an Orthopedic Traumatologia specialist, met us in the waiting area and escorted us to his office.  He talked to me about my accident and how it happened, where did the bike hit me and other appropriate questions and after he looked at my X-ray, I got the good news that all I needed was either a cast or a walking boot for 6-8 weeks, no surgery needed at all.  I was so relieved.  He even said that he would okay me riding the bike when I felt up to it as long as I got the walking boot.  According to him the boot was rather expensive but it would give me the most freedom.  We quickly decided on the walking boot. Unfortunately, he did not carry the boot in his office but said the store where we could purchase it was close. When Milton asked how far away the store as he would have to walk or get a cab, the doctor said he would take him in his own car and help him pick the boot out and so they left me to  rest in his office, luckily I had brought a book so I was content to wait right there.

Being examined by Dr. Alejandro Avalos Flores.

Being examined by Dr. Alejandro Avalos Flores

After about 20 minutes or so and they were back, boot in hand.  The doctor applied some topical gel to my foot called Artridol, which I am to use twice daily for three weeks, a light ace wrap, then the boot.  He gave us some free tubes of the gel and then wrote me a prescription for Arcoxia to help with the swelling that I would take for 1 pill daily for 14 days.  Come to find out, the medication is not approved in the U.S but it is approved and used in 80 other counties so I am okay with it.  All total, minus the cab rides, for the doctor’s visits, the X-ray, medications, and the boot came to 327.92 USD.  Pretty amazing!! Both doctors were wonderful and for the orthopedic doctor to take the time to drive Milton to pick up the boot, we are both so impressed with him going above and beyond.  I can safely say that without hesitation, I would gladly seek medical care in Mexico if ever needed again.   Fingers crossed that I won’t need it . But considering we often like to take the road less traveled, and that the condition of that road isn’t always the best, I can make no promises!!

Us with Dr. Alejandro Avalos Flores.

Us with Dr. Alejandro Avalos Flores.

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