Dawn’s chorus of birdsong almost drowns out the screaching of airbrakes as the steady flow truck traffic slows for topes on Mexican Route 180 outside the Balneario Trailer Park Quinta Alicia.Welcome to the Emerald Coast, where we are camping underneth the straightest, tallest coconut palms in all of Mexico Near deserted, except for a couple from Mexico City tent camping and a large motorhome from Ontario; oh,yes, also an old trailer rusting in place – perhaps a sun chaser who has never left or staff housing. Greeting upon arrival by Bill, a toothless old gringo who calls this campground home now. Responding to his inquiry, we say that we’re from Shelburne, he barks, “Oh, rich Vermonters.” He used to live in Sharon.
Peeking through the checked openings in the white painted brick fence behind the van, a sweet-faced, elderly woman in a simple house dress rakes leaves. Above the empty swimming pool in the adjoining oceanfront lot, two young men climb 60’ up coconut trees using two ropes (one for a foot and the second around one thigh) looped around the trunk, working quickly up the trunk to the coconuts nested above. These fruits are cut by machette and lowered to the ground on a long rope, soon to be sold along the roadside.
Dave and I take a long sunset walk up the beach. Rolling waves churn up the gray volcanic sand creating a murky, unappealing broth. We are the only ones on the beach; a sharp contrast to the talcum white Caribbean shores at Tulum lined with resort establishments full of North Americans from the USA and Canada, as well as Europeans. This “Forgotten Coast” has a run down feeling. Only 300 miles from Mexico City, its a local vacation spot jammed with Mexican families during holy week and other holidays but otherwise empty except for the occassional RV crowds passing through in spring and fall on their winter exidus to whiter Mexican shores.