MEXICO: ZIPOLITE BEACH – DON’T ROCK MY HAMMOCK, DUDE

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THE ROUTES TO ZIPOLITE AS PAINTED ON THE DOOR OF A BEACH BAR.

2nd September: It’s 10 o’clock in the morning when the two youngsters trudge down the wooden steps from their beach-side cabin at Cabana La Havana. They pause at the bottom to huddle over a reefer the size of a Cuban cigar. When the guy lights it he tips back his head and a cloud of marijuana carries on the sea breeze. I watch their progress as they chug up the beach like a couple of small locomotives, heading in the direction of Playa del Amor, a bay where the nudists are said to hang out. What a great place this is, the kind of place, if you ever felt the need, where you could nab yourself a bunch of weird tattoos, grow a thick beard, smoke a joint or three, drink a lot of beer, sleep way too much and, in a very short time, gently slip off the radar. Most of the hippie-types here are so laid back they can’t even rock their own hammock. You certainly don’t see many of them in the surf. Maybe that’s because the riptides here are so deadly: I can confirm that the retreating waves almost suck your legs off. Each time I venture into the sea I feel akin to an ant being hunted by a high-powered vacuum cleaner. Through the cycle of night and  day the ocean’s breathing fills your ears: it is constant but not restless. The sound smothers most other noises. By late morning the cooling wind gains strength and the waves barrel and break, charging up the beach like a herd of wild horses. In recent years this place has experienced some violent attacks and a couple of murders but, frankly, it’s hard to fathom how they have the energy. It’s quiet now, the end of the season has arrived. Two naked men wander along the shoreline, their swimming shorts and sandals in their hands. There’s a restaurant next door to La Havana selling excellent burgers and equally magnificent chips, though in truth you don’t have to rise from your beach chair in order to fill your belly. At all times of the day the ladies pad the beach with their woven baskets full of goodies: tamales and humitas, pain au chocolat and custard doughnuts, biscuits and muffins. One evening we hear a whistle and see a small steam engine being pushed up the beach: we buy a plateful of his steamed plantain. In the late afternoon, when the heat recedes, an impromptu game of football breaks out. Surfers paddle bravely into the rollers, only to be propelled from the tumbling pipes likes peas popping from the pod. A girl with long hair and the tattoo of a salamander creeping up her left shoulder juggles coloured balls. The wind has died: the sheets on the drying line hang limp. As dusk creeps in from the east, one by one the twinkling lights illuminate the bars, their customers leaving dark footprints in the sand. The two youngsters return from a full day at Playa del Amor. They’re sharing a large bottle of beer. The guy lets the girl go first and together they clamber up the steps of their beach-side cabin. They close the door behind them. The end of another day.

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AN OCEAN VIEW: OUR CAMPING SPOT AT CABANA LA HAVANA.
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THE STREETS OF ZIPOLITE.
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THE NUDE.
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PLAYA DEL AMOR.
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WHAT MORE CAN YOU NEED?
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MURAL NO.1: THE NAKED GIRL.
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SURFERS BRAVING THE WAVES.
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TYPICAL ZIPOLITE ACCOMMODATION.
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MURAL NO.2: THE NAKED SUNSET.
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STRANGELY, SHAMBHALA ALLOWS NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS TO CROSS THE THRESHOLD.
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ONE OF THE TOPLESS TREES OF ZIPOLITE.
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THE COASTGUARD DOING HIS ROUNDS.
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STORM RISING.
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DOG DAYS.
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THE SIDE OF A BEACH BAR. WHAT ARE THESE GUYS ON?
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A BEACH-SIDE CABIN AT LA HAVANA.
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A VODKA BOTTLE AS FLOWER HOLDER: VERY APPROPRIATE.
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(?)
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LA HABANA’S WACKY CABINS.
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ANOTHER CURIOUS PAINT JOB AT LA HAVANA.
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