Monday, October 09, 2006

Getting into vacation mode

Getting connected back to the world is always a challenge when you’re out and about. On the plus side, my XM radio is working like a charm. On the medium side, my Blackberry seems to be able to get mail, but only when wafts of the local network ply their way through our concrete block apartmento. This being a mitigated upside because My Lovely Wife continues to remind me that I am not here to stay connected. The down side – calling out on a cell phone. Now I’ve just come back from the other side of the world, and calling home from China was no big challenge. Turn on the phone and dial. Here, not so. There is a magic code and last night we didn’t have it. Each attempt was met with three frustrating beeps and an admonition that “este numero no existan.” Hmm.

The morning rolled around and we went out separate ways. She to go and discover the magic phone code, me to ride my mountain bike around the estuary. The code turned to be 00, the ride turned out to be a death trip. Well, I didn’t actually die, but I wanted to.

A couple of years ago, some enterprising person decided to cut a road that greatly shortened the trip from San Carlos to Guaymas. They pretty much paved the traditional route the family used to take on their annual trek from Pilar (our condominios) to Miramar, little beach place around the point. Used to be a 4 hour haul across sand and rocks. Now it’s a 15 minute drive. What used to be desert is almost certainly about to become houses.

On the plus side, it’s created a nice ride for me, a 15 mile round trip with some decent hills and nice vistas. Nice if you like riding in 90 degree heat and 95% humidity. Always one for a personal challenge, I went off.

The first thing that happened as I headed out of the place and down the main road was a close encounter with a full beer can thrown by some guys in the back of a pick-up truck. This was a surprise, because Mexicans have always impressed me as being courteous towards cyclists. I guess though that workers drinking beer at 8 o’clock in the morning are the same the world over. Oh well.

The ride itself was pretty average; I passed a young man collecting aluminum cans along the road who turned out to be an Anglo. That was a bit of a surprise, and it set my mind in motion as to whether he would try and kill me on the return trip. Something about his lack of a shirt and the fact that he was pulling off his shoes and throwing them on the ground didn’t set well with me. No more beer cans, just big hills, the final one almost causing me to cough up my lungs before I realized I was riding in the big ring and a really hard gear. I’ve been riding single speed so much this summer that I forgot the bike I was on had gears. Duh!

Crested the final hill and coasted down into Bacochibampo Bay. Tular lagoon was devoid of birds, we being in the middle of a period of very high tides. My Chongming Island birdless vibe seemed to be continuing.

Heading back I offered an “hola” to some young men working along the road who mumbled something like “dimwit”, by translation skills not being that good at 10 MPH. Climbed the killer hill, this time using gears and saving my lungs, although the bolillo with peanut butter I had for breakfast was threatening a return trip. I unzipped my jersey in hope that I could catch a bit of cooling, but the humidity said “no way.”

Cruising along, I passed the shirtless Anglo and did the calculations necessary to avoid being captured should he make a move on me. He just waved and I did the same. Stopped by the old road to the mountain bike track, the sign now peeling paint but now festooned with a “Livestrong” sticker. Heading home I passed a local rider and we exchanged waves.

I got back, walked straight to the ocean and dove in, minus my shoes but still in full cycling togs. The only person on the beach so adorned. The cigar smokers sat and stared, inscrutably.

We headed out to find some wireless connectivity to check in with home (connections being okay, when She wants to.) There are several in town and we decided to try to cute coffee shop. We ordered a cold coffee drink and sat down only to discover that my laptop would not connect to their network. So we decided to use their computers (30 pesos for ½ hour) which sadly turned out to be Macs. Once I figured out how to actually use it, we played with gmail and read about those pesky North Koreans and their sub-kiloton explosion. I guess nothing has changed during our short absence.

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