Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Road To Aticama, Part 8, Setting Up Camp

I was across Matanchen Bay from Aticama in the village of Santa Cruz. A beautiful little village perched on a small hillock mostly above the ocean with, at that time, perhaps 800 people. The beach is rocky with no sand to speak of and was noted only for its seasonal surfing that attracted mostly hippy surfers. The point was directly across from where we were parked and several of those hippy surfers had taken residence, putting together a little unimproved campground for travelers along the Gringo Trail. This seemed like a good place to start so I wandered over there to see what was up. A skinny white guy about 9 feet tall with a long rough beard greeted me with a pleasant hello. We talked a while and he said that he had landed here years before and saw no reason to leave. Before long the day was in full swing and children popped out of everywhere at once it seemed. Several looked just like him - whiter and with reddish hair. I don't remember what the camping rates were but we struck up a deal for a week and soon I had Jezabel parked comfortably under a slanted palm tree near the waters blue, blue edge, her crimson red paint contrasting with the green of the jungle. In those days life was more simple and, looking back at it, our setup must have seemed really primitive - the microbus became a two story tropical hut with a bamboo platform I had constructed on top, bug netting creating roof and walls of an airy bedroom. Downstairs inside was the den and storage area opening outside to a great living room we constructed in no time consisting of log chairs, campfire pit and crude sofa. Enclosed with old ropes and planks to 'mark our turf' and decorated with sea shells, pages torn from magazines pasted to odd vertical surfaces, colorful clothing hung here and there. Before long the campground owner (I forget his name) arrived with some woven grass mats for flooring, wheelbarrow of dried coconut husks, a toilet seat nailed to a funky box, a shovel and a 55 gallon well rusted barrel. We all took turns digging a hole in a soft sandy area about 15 feet or so from our space until it was deep enough to sink the barrel into the ground and plopped the toilet box on top. Next he returned with a small well used tank sitting on top of 4 posts and sat it over the new crapper. It had a hose dangling down that had a small valve on it for our shower and flusher. I switched on a cassett tape of some favorite Mozart. We made our first coconut fire while the water tank filled and the smell and the surreal vision of our new dwelling became part of my history. In no time at all we were set up with all the basic comforts known to man!

Looking around that morning we saw a world in motion and it looked to me like an impressionistic painting come to life. We were the only people camped there and it stayed that way for our whole month long stay.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a pretty cool set up. You wouldn't have any pictures, would you? I did some diving trips in the '70s to Mexico but I don't remember taking any pics, and if we did, they were prints that are long lost. We didn't realize the importance of those memories on film at the time.
    Again, thanks for the story. It is a beautiful saga.