My Favorite Mountain Town in Mexico

There are two kinds of traveler in the world and only two kinds: the kind who go to inland Mexico, and the kind who don’t. The kind who DO go to inland Mexico one can’t say enough good things about. They’re generally intrepid explorers, kind, compassionate people who’ve spent very little time in prison. They’re the kind of people who help people because they like helping people, not because they want something in return. They generally read a lot and have high IQ’s. They do fun activities like skateboard and play the piano. They have grander aspirations than just living the rat race, working 9-9, living on a prayer.

Etc, etc.

Then you have the other kind of traveler. “Um, like, I don’t DO inland Mexico.” My friend’s mom actually said these very words to me, about 15 years ago. She actually used the word “do.” She actually used the word “Mexico.” She actually used the word “inland.” She actually ended her sentence with a period in the form of the briefest of pauses, a tiny breath of air, a moment that stood suspended in time…

And I was like —

And she was like —

And they were like —

And we were all like —

Mexico.

But that was 15 years ago. It’s not like I still think about that. It’s not like I mention it from time to time in blog posts. It’s not like I sit up at night with a little voodoo doll of my friend’s mom, pretending to parade her on backroads from Guadalajara to Tlapujahua, forcing her to take in the amazing highland culture, forcing her to sit by the shores of Lago Zirahuen whilst church bells ring in the distance and the searing sound of a fresh tortilla placed on a comal can be heard. It’s not like I resent her saying this. It’s not like I have some big chip on my shoulder regarding people who only go to super touristy places and never dare to venture off the beaten path. It’s not like I’m sitting on a sailboat right now, wearing mesh basketball shorts and drinking tea from a Starbucks cup I got three days ago, counting the minutes till Chelsea play and I can watch Our Lord and Savior Christian Pulisic slice and dice defenders from Brighton en route to a opening matchday victory. It’s not like I haven’t showered today. It’s not like a don’t have a beautiful drawing of a kingfisher in my boat, expertly framed, that totally livens up the room.

In other words, it’s not like I care.

Except I totally, deeply care. In fact, this might be one of the only things I care about.

ANWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s talk about San Sebastian del Oeste, Jalisco’s premier destination nestled in the Sierra Madre Occidental, a mist-enshrouded gem of a pueblo.

Barold and I got there after a harrowing drive on backroads from San Blas that involved hotsprings and a frightening deluge which turned the arroyos into rivers and threatened to carry our little Nissan March off into the fray. Luckily, though, we made it to the main highway that goes from Puerto Vallarta to San Sebastian, gaining thousands of feet of elevation in a matter of minutes. Because here’s the thing about San Sebastian del Oeste: It’s fucking high. But it’s also quite fucking close to Puerto Vallarta. You can get there in less than two hours.

We stayed at a place called Hotel Mansion Real, which was kind of a huge mistake. It cost about $113 dollars. The room smelled musty. The banisters in the courtyard had saran wrap on them, because Mexicans have weird ideas about sanitation and COVID. And the weirdest thing: There was a sitting room connected to the bathroom where you could look out over the mountains. Why was the sitting room in the bathroom?????? Literally the only thing we wanted the room for was to be able to gaze out over the mountains, but you don’t want a toilet next to you when you’re doing that.

Luckily, there was a terrace where we could smoke cigs. Not that we were doing that. We were drinking celery juice.

The coup de grace of the whole trip was going to a restaurant I’d always wanted to go to ever since going to SS del O two years ago: Jardin Nebulosa. The reason I hadn’t gone last time I was there was because it was apparently fancy and nice and I didn’t want to go to a place like that on my own. But this time I was with Barold, so of course we went, and of course we went all out. Aka got appetizers. Aka got multiple drinks. Aka didn’t think about the price. Aka we were the only ones dining there and it was a gorgeous night as the afternoon turned to dusk and the dusk turned to night and the little lamps in the garden became illuminated and our server gave us expert attention and was good-natured and cheery and conversed at length with us about life in San Sebastian and life in general.

We started with a spread of fresh tortilla chips covered in various kinds of insects, chapulines (grasshoppers) and some kind of larvae. Then we had lamb carnitas. Then we had dessert, texturas de maiz for me and some kind of fruit cream thing for Barry. The food was delicious and the best part? When I got home and checked my bank statement — after going all out — I’d only spent 27 dollars. Que viva Mexico, carbones (sic).

Anyway, go to San Sebastian del Oeste, or rather don’t go there because you don’t do inland Mexico. Don’t stay at Hotel Mansion Real, but rather stay at Hotel del Puente if you want something budget or Boutique Villa Nogal or Galeritas if you want something high class. But don’t stay at Masion Real. Definitely eat at Jardin Nebulosa. Definitely spend most of your time at Cafe Fortin, on the plaza, a quaint AF cafe that has great coffee drinks and cheaper fare. Definitely go to the coffee finca. Definitely don’t hike up to Cerro La Bufadora unless you like hiking god hiking is the worst fucking activity in the world it’s only cool if you’re going bouldering mother of Mary.

But like, yeah.

Go to San Sebastian del Oeste.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to sitting on my boat. How is it still four hours till Chelsea play???? What’s for breakfast, salmon with eggs? Am I having salmon with eggs for breakfast???? Am I millionaire?

The answer is yes.

– Wetz

 

 

Hella Sardines | R2V4 #18

Hella sardines.

I did something deviant yesterday. I bought a ticket to…..MEXICO????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? ARE YOU GOING TO MEXICO, BRO???? YOU’RE NOT GOING TO MEXICO….

But yes, I’m going to Mexico. On August 15th. A day before my birthday. For 11 days. And everyone’s invited. Slash no one’s invited. Slash Barold might come but that’s about it. There’s a good chance I’ll be alone on my 37th birthday, though I hope I’m not ACTUALLY alone, i.e. I meet people in San Pancho, where I hope to stay.

You’re not God, dude…

Now, before everyone starts going insane and shaming me for traveling during a pandemic, at least do your research.

A couple points:

1) Alaska Airlines is taking HELLA precautions to make sure flying is safe. With their HEPA filters their air quality is comparable to what’s found in hospitals. Masks are, obviously, mandatory. You must sign a health agreement before flying. The list goes on.

2) I’m not going to Puerto Vallarta to club, guys (well, I’m not really going to Puerto Vallarta anyway but the surrounding areas). I’m not going to stand in enclosed spaces around a bunch of other people. In fact, other than in my hotel room, I don’t plan on ever being inside, ever. And I’m not going to be around a bunch of people because I don’t KNOW a bunch of people there. I know less than I do here. So I’ll mostly be on my own. Surfing, on my own, and driving around. Which is actually kinda sad. And kinda awesome.

3) I plan on getting tested when I get back. If It’s free, I’m going to do everything I can to get tested when I get back so I can put those around me at ease. And I will definitely not hang around my parents until I either a) get the results of the test or b) a suitable amount of time has passed.

Why on earth am I justifying myself to you?

Maybe I’ll delete that. Or maybe I’ll just leave it.

I’m doing a bit of the quote unquote INTERMITTENT FASTING today, aka I ate my last food at 10pm last night which means today I’m not allowed to eat till 2pm. I bought HELLA SARDINES yesterday when I was at Safeway, aka hella smoked fish and shellfish, aka smoked baby clams, smoked scallops, LIGHTLY smoked sardines, and smoked oysters. They were all on clearance for some reason, which I patently don’t understand considering 98% of people go to Safeway to buy little tins of smoked seafood.

I MIGHT climb tomorrow, because I’m probably not climbing on Thursday, and Friday Dan and I leave on our backpacking trip to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Who knows. I gotta say, I am a bit hungry right now. Two and a half hours till I can eat. What am I gonna have. Chipotle? Hella sardines? A salad from Evergreens? I mean, I gotta have something KINDA healthy. Like, I can’t break my fast with pizza. Not that that’s even THAT unhealthy. But I mean the whole reason I’m doing this is to get healthier. Get leaner. Improve healing. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

OK, I think that’s everything. There’s almost literally nothing I could tell you that would be novel. Update on the state of my fingers: They’re doing fucking great. Update on my shoulder: Slow going but slowly healing. Update on the state of my mind: Fasting is fucking awesome.

 

What Happened? (#14)

There is a time and a place for going to the little fishing hamlet of Westport, Washington. The time is almost never. But today was one of the days in which it was appropriate to go. The waves looked to be wondrous, and they were. A friend and I had one of the best surf sessions we’d had in awhile. I felt like a taller, less capable version of Kelly Slater. The waves were consistent and the wind was offshore. The traffic was light going through Tacoma and Olympia, which almost never happens. If I were religious I would say that the gods (plural) were smiling at us from their perches up on high. But I am not religious. I believe in Chopin Nocturnes and saying goodnight to the stars every night.

But that is neither here nor there.

What is here (and there)? I’m not quite sure. I’m going to Mexico on Saturday, and I’m excited about that. The flight leaves at 5am from Seattle which means we have to be to the airport around 3am, which means I’m basically not sleeping Friday night. Which is fine, because it means I’ll probably sleep more on the plane. I have aisle seats all the way there. At least on the first flight to LAX, home to Shake Shack, a company I have stock in which has been tanking recently.

Our AirBnb the first two nights in Mexico is spectacular.

Excuse the ghetto-ass embed above. But I wanted to show you how incredible this place looks. It doesn’t cost $273 a night.

Also excuse this paltry blog post today. I’m exhausted. After surfing I went to my friend’s house and drank coffee, and coffee is pretty much a life ruiner for me. It picks me up for a few moments, and then drops me like a sack of yams. Which basically meant that as I was driving back from Westport I began to slip into a state of malaise. As we were going by Sea-Tac I was ready to open the door, shove myself out, and roll. But I stayed strong. And now I’m at my friend’s house desperately blogging and getting ready to eat pozole.

The universe provides.

Speaking of the universe providing, I wonder if it will provide me with a massage in the next couple days. I desperately need one ( see: it would be a welcome luxury) and have always thought that when you really need something, the universe provides it. Like the time I went to Chile with $300 bucks and got a job at a bed ‘n’ breakfast and then at an Italian restaurant. Or the time I needed to get the metal out of my wrist and the surgeon walked into the triage room and said, “So, we’re taking all the metal out today?”

You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. I feel miles apart from you today. What happened?

-W