As if we didn’t have still have an apartment to find with only a few days left before I was to be leaving, we decided to go to Yelapa for a day. Yelapa is a very special place. On the southern end of the bay, Yelapa can only be reached by boat. It’s a small town right on the edge of the jungle, with a small (during the dry season anyway) river running through, and with a couple of waterfalls to visit. One is in the city, and isn’t so impressive (again, dry season). The other is about two miles out of town, up the main river. It takes about an hour to hike out there. When I came to Yelapa the first time, this is where I set up my camp. Just past the waterfall, in the jungle, far from where people usually come. I camped for two weeks and only saw two or three people going by the whole time. I was excited to go there again, and to take the girls there.
The morning we were to leave for Yelapa, I wasn’t feeling so well. I figured I’d be fine, but I felt a bit queasy and didn’t feel like eating. It took forever to get ourselves together and out of the house. We didn’t actually leave the hotel until after 11. We took a taxi through Puerto Vallarta to Los Muertos, where the water taxis for Yelapa dock.
When we boarded the water taxi, I asked to sit on the end of the row, in case I got sick. Whatever was going on with me was weird, because I didn’t really feel sick, but my stomach was definitely unhappy about something.
The ride across the bay passed quickly, and the fresh breeze actually did me some good. I was feeling better when we arrived, though I still wasn’t hungry. I drank lots of water and we walked up the beach. Yelapa, at least from the beach, hasn’t changed much at all. I hoped I would be able to find some of the people I knew from when I stayed here before, but time was short. The last taxi back to the city would leave at 6, and it was already noon.
The girls, as you may know, are obsessed with horses, and ask to ride them all the time. I had told them that we could ride horses out to the waterfall, which had them all giddy with glee. When we spoke with someone about doing this, I was disappointed to learn that the cost of horse rental had gone way up. When I lived in Yelapa, you could rent a horse for five bucks. Now they wanted twenty.
I should mention, probably, that our account was almost completely empty by this point. We had only one night left in our present hotel, and I got hasty trying to find us something else the day before, booking the last affordable place I could find on the web. Then Laura came in and said she wanted a bnb, not a hotel. Fortunately, the hotel had free cancellations, but when I canceled, I got a notice that it might take up to seven days for the money to be refunded. I had booked for a week, so this was over five hundred dollars that was not going to be available to us until that money came back.
When we found and booked a hostel, that too took a big chunk of money, as soon as we booked it. It left our account balance at $27. I checked my wallet, finding about two hundred bucks, which would have been fine to get us through a few days if we were eating from our own kitchen and just hanging out. But going to Yelapa and playing the tourist game….that’s really expensive, and we can go through two hundred bucks in one day, easily.
So, renting four or five horses at twenty bucks a pop wasn’t going to happen. We spent almost fifty bucks just getting out to Yelapaand we would still have to eat a few times as well. I had a friend back home who was hanging onto some money for me, and he agreed to deposit some for me, but this was a Sunday, so he couldn’t do that until the next day. If ever there’s a time to practice conservation of money, it’s in such a situation.
But I couldn’t cancel the horse riding all together, because that was the only thing the girls had been looking forward to. So I told the guy I wanted to rent two horses. Laura and I could walk, and the big girls could take turns riding with Lila. They were okay with this, but once we got on the trail, the discovered that the guide was going to keep the horses tethered together, which the girls hate. It’s a narrow trail with nowhere else to ride, but they simply can’t stand the idea of not being completely in control of their horse, free to ride wherever they want. Funny, huh?
Eva put up quite a fight. At one point we asked her to surrender her horse if she was just going to complain about it, and when she got off, she refused to walk with us. I was going to let her do her thing, but the guide went back for her and insisted she come along. He offered to take her on his horse, but there wasn't much room.
Laura ended up carrying Lila on her back, embarrassed by the huge drama that this had become. Towards the end of the hike, I wasn’t feeling so well. At one point I took Lila from Laura, and then we had to go up a good sized hill. By the top if it, I was out of breath and feeling nauseated. I had to pass her back off, and at one point I accepted a ride on Gaia’s horse, sitting on its haunches behind the saddle.
When we finally arrived at the waterfall, I knew my stomach was not going to leave me any peace. Right when I got down to the water, I felt it turn over. I ran to the bushes and surrendered to being sick, vomiting pure water a couple of times. Thank goodness I hadn’t eaten. I felt better after that, and I managed to enjoy a nice swim after I’d washed up.
The waterfall area had changed drastically. I didn’t even recognize it. During the rainy season, the river is a torrent, and tons of big rocks get moved around by the force of the water. Well they must have had one heck of a flood in the last nine years, because the cliff over which the waterfall once tumbled was completely gone, and the river had even changed course a little. The spot was totally different, and actually not as awesome as it used to be, in my opinion. Still, it was clean, cold water, and we all had a good time.
By the way, Eva managed to turn her attitude around. She actually walked for a good stretch of the way, so I could have a horse, and she was completely cooperative when we came up with varying arrangements for who would ride where. We all rode the horses back, doubling up. Unfortunately, I was not over being sick, and I had to stop on the way back in to empty my stomach of water once again. By this time I was feeling quite dehydrated, but drinking made my stomach feel sloshy and I didn’t want to put too much in there.
When we returned to the beach, I settled into a lounger chair and took a nap. Laura brought me a big coconut with a straw in it, which was the perfect thing to hydrate me without upsetting my stomach further. I ended up sleeping on the beach for the remainder of our time in Yelapa, much to my dismay when I woke and realized what time it was. The girls had food, but when I found them at the end of their meal, I still had zero appetite.
I was not able to spend very much time going around and asking after the people I wanted to see again, but I did learn that Marcos was still around. I made one pass up the beach to find him, but by then it was the end of the day and he wasn’t there. I heard from one guy I asked that my friend Earth (they call her Tierra in Spanish) had died. This was very sad news. I had been worrying that she might have died, as she was older and not in great health when I was living there, nine years before. But I really hoped that she might still be alive so I could see her again and thank her for all that she did for me. It wasn’t to be, however.
We took the last water taxi back to the city, and it was dark by the time we got to the hotel. The day’s adventure was something of a bust, but we still had a good time, overall. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to leave for the States without finding the girls a place to live. It was looking like there wouldn’t be anything affordable available until April, and so for two more weeks, they were just going to have to do vacation rentals by the week.
I wish I could have stayed longer, but the only way to get any decent amount of money back in our account was for me to come to Oregon to personally interface between our counter-economic resources and the cartel controlled financial system. We didn’t run out of money that day, but we had plans to head back up to the north end of the bay the next day, to stay out at Ian and Kris’ place. I did the math, and we had just enough money in cash to get out there and back, by bus. I hoped that my friend would have a small amount of money deposited in our account by the end of that next day, but if he didn’t, we’d be totally out of money.
Right on that edge. It was fine though. Laura has gotten pretty used to living this way, and she trusts me to make sure we have what we need, or to pull us through it if we have to go without. I am lucky to have such a flexible and fearless woman. I’m reminded of a meme that states “if your woman isn’t a revolutionary, then she will talk you into being a slave.” So here’s to my love, and her willingness to sacrifice security for liberty!