Slowing down at Stoner’s Surf Camp

We spent the week in a wifi-free zone on the beach of San Blas, an hour outside of Tepic. The highways we’ve taken in Mexico go through each and every little village, town, and city with unpainted speed bumps that pop up out of nowhere to either slow you down or knock out your front end. There were several surprise speed bumps on our way in. When we reached San Blas, we found Playa Azul, which is a stretch of beach 1.7 miles long marked at either end by a wall of rocks. We stayed at Stoner’s Surf Camp. Now I know what you’re thinking, but Stoner is just the founder’s last name.San Blas Blog (3)

The camp offered a shared kitchen, showers, and bathrooms. The door to the shower was built with tree byproducts comprised of many see-through slits in it so even if you laid a towel over the door, you had to step back far enough that someone with a high vantage point could peak in. I don’t think it was a coincidence one of the two men that ran the place always entered their hut next to the showers when I went to take one. The kitchen was equipped with a gas stove and had many dishes and several pots and pans, but lacked running water and soap. We both got sick the first time we used it before we realized what they offered guests to wash dishes (an old rotten rag). Luckily we had kitchen supplies.

The room had a fan that kept us cooled, or at least dried us, although the front cover had been removed and threatenedd to chop The Guy’s head off any time he forgot to keep his head low. The room had two extra electrical outlets and a mosquito net over the bed. At night, the workers would burn coconuts to ward off the mosquitoes.

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Our cabana is in the middle, with the tall ladder.
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The inside of our room.
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The fan that almost chopped The Guy’s head off
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Our daily view looking out

This week’s focus was about slowing the pace. We would go into their town center to buy groceries although it was difficult to locate since they didn’t have an actual grocery store. Each little shop was host to a few vegetables, some canned goods, eggs, and bread that was disbursed by the bakery at the beginning of each week. It was a treasure hunt to obtain all the supplies necessary for our sandwiches. Their mayonnaise tasted odd to me, but each countries’ palates differ.

The center had an abundance of hotels and convenience stores. Hotels don’t mean the same thing in a small town like San Blas as it does elsewhere. Two extra rooms in someone’s house allows them to paint “hotel” on the side of their building and become a business. At one point, San Blas hoped to become the next big tourist destination. They had aspirations promising profits and tourism like that of Mazatlan. Outside of the city lie abandoned pools and hotels, the remnants of some pour soul’s dashed dreams. San Blas had and lost their moment to the sandflies and mosquitos, which were too much for tourists. The Guy was actually allergic to the sandflies, causing the bites on his ankles to blister. The hotels that are left look abandoned or have converted into restaurants to make ends meet.

Even so, it was a beautiful and relaxing destination. We used our boogie boards in the ocean, jogged along the beach, swung in hammocks, had long meals, and relaxed on the balcony of our beach house. I reread the post-apocalyptic book Oryx and Crake, wrote, and generally just lazed around.

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This was very necessary in prolonging the coolness of my beverage

But it wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies (although we did see a very large swarm of hundreds of dragon flies one morning). One night, we were struck with a thunder storm that grew to be so loud it broke the sound barrier. I don’t really know what that means, but it’s what The Guy mumbled in his sleep when the thunder cracked so hard I thought our little beach hut might get struck by lightning. The lightning lit up the sky all night. It was kind of exciting, but not as exciting after the third time it occurred.

Besides the weather, it was also my monthly hormonal week. PMS affects me in the extreme. Anxiety, depression, bloating, irritability, mood swings, cramps, cloudy mind, insomnia; I’m the lucky one that gets it all, and he’s the lucky winner that gets to deal with me.

You learn a person intimately when you’re traveling because of the sheer amount of time spent together and stressful moments under novel circumstances. One of my friends expressed concern about the amount of time we’d be spending together. This is not a problem for The Guy, since he wants to be around me all the time. All. The. Time. Bless his heart, he really genuinely wants me around for everything. Any time he sees or experiences anything novel, he wants to tell me about it right away. In addition, he generally has a very high word quota for the day. He’ll talk out loud to himself if there are no willing ears nearby and can even turn an inanimate object into a friendly companion. I’ve witnessed this multiple times when he doesn’t know I’m listening. As for me? I could not utter a single word all day and feel perfectly fine about it. Talking gets exhausting unless it’s about very specific topics and I value silence so I can hear myself think.

When I’m hormonal, these endearing traits about him become an irritating nuisance. We commonly fight about my inability to listen to what I feel are long winded chats. He wants only to be around me and all I want is to be left alone. I get extra sensitive to his blunt demeanor and I don’t appreciate his tone of voice. He thinks I’m suddenly picking a lot of fights and acting crazy. To be fair, hormones can make a person completely “crazy,” or at least very different. Look up bipolar disorder or depression (in my case, I think it’s PMDD).

One day, we were sitting at a restaurant in the town center using their wifi so I could post about Mazatlan. When I finished, I asked him to proofread the post because I was boring even myself and couldn’t stand to read it one more time. He read half of it, pushed the laptop back toward me, and said, “To be honest, I just don’t like your writing so I’m probably not the best judge. I mean, everyone else seems to love it since I keep hearing it from all angles, but I just don’t.”

This didn’t turn into a big fight, not even a minor argument, because I was still in my anxiety/depression stage. But you’d better believe it added fumes for the fire that would explode later during the  irritable stage. He genuinely doesn’t have even an ounce of malice when he says such things, but he also genuinely doesn’t see how it’s something you shouldn’t say to a hormonal person. Therein lies the center of our bickering. I know I can always count on him to be honest but in my sensitive state, I took it as proof that he was mean and socially inept. I’m not any nicer for reaching those conclusions. We’re all hypocrites.

It’s times like those when I have to remember people show love differently. For example, when we are sleeping on these small, flimsy beds, he’ll reach over and make sure I don’t fall off the bed in the middle of the night because I frequently change positions. And he always gives me the option to shower first, especially if we are truly sticky and uncomfortable. In addition, he doesn’t live on a budget but the day that I named the budget with an amount, he was upset over a lady that overcharged us solely because it’s something important to me. Albeit only by $2, it is the sentiment that matters. Love hides in the small actions. On top of all this, he hasn’t smoked a cigarette since we left the border because he promised me he would quit! Overall, we did alright, even very well if we are being optimistic.

First hormonal traveling road bump: passed. Furthermore, the overarching theme of the week, slowing our minds, was also achieved. I thoroughly enjoyed doing very little and the quiet, laid back, and predictable days in San Blas assisted immeasurably.

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