A brief surfing interlude

With winds and waves back to normal, we decided to head back to Cerritos for some more surfing. We were slowly improving at this, the only downside being the aforementioned car park camping. This was clearly a problem for one of the people staying in the hotel opposite. A glance at their website promises beautiful sea views, with an onsite bar and a spacious infinity pool. Reality gives a regular hotel room with insulation so thin that it is apparent exactly what the people above you are doing at any given time. The sea view is somewhat obstructed by a half built concrete building, now fallen into disrepair. Large cracks have appeared down its sides and rusting metal concrete rods protruding from it at various angles, it sits squarely between you and that lovely sea view. There is indeed a pleasant rooftop bar, although it doesn’t currently have any bathroom facilities as it’s undergoing renovation, the infinity pool is there too but you can nearly touch both sides by stretching out your arms. It therefore seemed that one of the residents was not to happy about us having this experience for free when he had to pay for it. 

We were packing the van away early one morning in order to go and check the post office before it shut at 9am. The small guy came over to me as I packed the surfboards away, “You can’t camp here, it’s illegal.” He told me.

“That’s news to me,” I responded, knowing that it is definitely not illegal.

He gave me a condescending little smile. “No it isn’t, you know better than that. Otherwise they’d be loads of campers here.” 

I was about to point out that nearly all the people we know who were in campers had all gone home due to that pandemic thing and that frequently there are a lot of campers here, but he was already walking away. “The police will be coming!” He shouted over his shoulder. Fine, let them come, we’ve seen them plenty of times already. 

The day did not improve when we arrived in the post office. The Correos de Mexico is a small building down a back street in the town, with the unhelpful opening hours of 7am to 9am. On the 11th of June, my parents had dispatched me a belated birthday present. The only problem was that they had used the English postal system, as supposed to a courier to do it. This is fine in England, but it means that when it arrives in Mexico it gets handed to the Mexican postal system which isn’t really used. The reasons for which were becoming apparent. Now in mid-August, the parcel was still in transit and had been for three weeks. The tracking did sporadically update, normally at two week intervals but hadn’t done for a while. In a similar situation to me, Kiki had read a bit about other people’s experiences and it seemed that sometimes the parcel arrived even though it said it hadn’t. This makes sense when you see the office. As far as we could deduct, three months later we were on the last stage of the delivery process.

The office didn’t have much in the way of modern technology, the filing system consisted of the floor and a computer was not a luxury that it possessed. I explained that I was waiting for a parcel from England and asked if any had arrived. The guy shrugged and half heartedly picked up a few parcels from the various piles near him. No, there was nothing, he said. I asked him to check again, as it’s been ‘in transit’ in for three weeks. Reluctantly, he now wrote down my name and tracking number and headed into another room with more piles of floor post. Having a slightly longer search this time he still returned empty handed. Come back on Friday I was told. No idea why after three months of waiting he thought this Friday was a solid bet, but I guess it doesn’t do any harm. I wasn’t convinced that the parcel wasn’t there all along, buried in the back somewhere. Maybe if I turned up a few more times and annoyed him enough, he’d start looking properly. We headed back to Cerritos. 

Later on Lee filled up our garrafon from the tap at the bottom of the steps, and the guy from the hotel appeared again, complaining. We shouldn’t do that, we shouldn’t be here. We had “outstayed our welcome”, apparently. The lights from our campers were disturbing him at night and the locals weren’t happy with us. So our little LED lights through the drawn curtains were apparently too much. As for the locals, we got many a cheery wave and the odd person come over for a chat. Never once anything that looked like annoyance. As a traveller, I would always leave, or not camp at a place where there are signs telling me not too, reviews telling me not too or the owner telling me not too. However, here, this is not the case. It’s not the hotel owner telling us to leave just a guest and the car park is public property anyway, it’s just some spoilt American tourist who’s used to getting his own way. We ignored him. 

We had, we think, met the hotel owner earlier. He wasn’t happy that Lee was sitting on his steps, and he wasn’t happy that we might be using his Wifi, even though the way we know the password is from drinking in the bar previously. Not wanting to piss off the owner however, we decided that we would go up to the bar and have a couple of drinks. If we spent a bit of money in his bar, he was probably less likely to mind that we were there. We had checked previously if the bar was open, but it was mid refurbishment. Now however we could see lights and umbrellas so, that evening, we headed up. Still with a little way to go, the bathroom was non-existent and we could only sit at some tables as the others had varnish still drying, it was at least open. We ordered a few beers and enjoyed the view, concrete lump and all.

The waiter came around regularly, we were his only customers after all, “Tequila?” He asked. We looked at each other, well why not. Just one. The tequila arrived and turned out to be a double and rather expensive, still it’s nice to treat yourself every now an again. 

A little while later he appeared again, “Una mas?” Sure, it was nice tequila after all. This continued while the sun set over the sea and night fell. At one point we were allowed to go and use the bathroom in one of the hotel rooms, giving us a little insight into Ken’s existence. The room was nice enough, but nothing special. After another tequila, he asked us if we had far to go. We said we were camping in our cars at the bottom of the steps, no need to worry about drink driving there. We asked if we were allowed to camp there and he said it was no problem. Just don’t park right in the hotel parking which we weren’t. We told him we were checking because one of the guests was complaining. The bartender nodded, “He’s short?” He asked. “Brown skin like mine, no hair?” 

Yes, we agreed that was about right. “Ah, don’t mind Ken,” he said. “You’re fine.” Ken clearly had a reputation.

While we were reassured, as we drunkenly wandered down the steps after many tequilas, I’m not sure Ken was going to let it go. Back the cars, Hanno cooked up some excellent dirty drunk food featuring a lot of eggs and bread and frying and we continued our drinking a little while longer, no doubt distressing Ken in the process. 

The following day was the only day we didn’t surf, us all feeling a little worse for wear. We managed a few more days before the police came again. This time though, they seemed to be more monitoring the beach rather than clearly it. They parked up in the car park and we kept an eye on them. This was the point Ken went over, he was talking to the officers and pointing at us. Clearly telling them he wanted us gone. He walked back past us a little while later looking annoyed. The police left shortly after, nodding to us as they went, without coming anywhere near us. So much for being illegal, we were pretty smug and I’m sure Ken was very unhappy. Why he had taken such a personal disliking to us I’m not quite sure, weren’t doing any harm.

Obviously not one to let things go, the next day some locals pulled into the car park. Clearly they knew each other, Ken gestured for them to park up on both sides of us and handed them some beers. This looked like the next step of his plan, keep us awake with a Mexican party so we left. In reality, the car park cleared out by 11pm and we had a pretty normal night. It was becoming apparent that his views were not the same as the locals after all. But, there he was there again a day later talking to one of the builders on the campsite. Angry finger gesturing at us and the builder on the phone talking to someone. I’ve no idea what he was trying to do now but it didn’t matter. The weather had taken a turn for the worst and the surf was a bit beyond us. With miserable weather and no surf, staying on the car park had no appeal, we decided to leave for somewhere different.

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