Starting from Yelapa and going only on recommendations , we found ourselves hiking / hitchhiking from the costal getaway over a small mountain pass to a neighboring town to the east. We were told to find Benny at the store - the only store in the small dirt road town, and he would have a place for us to stay. After a very awkward conversation explaining that someone he knew had sent us, we dropped off our packs at his place and were toured around town by his son and brother. We went from "raicilla factory" to "raicilla factory" - the factories actually being a few slightly intoxicated men distilling large amounts of fermented agave under crude shelter.
The first cup of the Mexican moonshine, warm from the still, will try and kick your knees out from underneath. Smokey. Strong. But after that, you're all set. We purchased a milk jug full of the stiff drink and shared it and beers in front of Benny's store as evening fell into night. I watched the ladies gamble at a table underneath a bare lightbulb while the boys help syphon gas into a truck for its return trip to Yelapa. I laughed at jokes I didn't fully understand and smiled in complete honesty while I munched on chili covered berries the kids had picked earlier in the day.
We returned to Benny's house with his kids (Erik and his sister), and brother and wife. We watched TV, drank coffee they had roasted behind the house, and went to sleep.
It is the warmest memory I have of traveling in Mexico and a good reminder that those memories are out there waiting to be had.
From there, we made our way to Tehuamixtle. Our cabbie stopped to show us the sights... More "raicilla factories" (and beers), his old house along the way where his dad still lived and has been collecting cattle skulls since he was a kid. He took us on a little hike to show us where he wanted to build a house one day, and bought us more beers. He told us who to talk to about getting molta, and how the community had banded together to stop a kidnapper from escaping the area. Once we got to Tehuamixtle, we bought him more beers and ate fresh fish at which point he decided we were his only fare for the day. He was heading back to his fathers place to take a nap.
From Tehuamixtle, we walked to a neighboring town, or I guess it was just a beach... Maito. There we watched an English caretaker dig up turtle eggs that they had transported there earlier. Every day they would ride up and down the hugely long beach and try and prevent people and animals from stealing the turtle eggs. Every egg in the nest he dug up was unhatched and he expected the nest to be a wash. There was, however, one little guy with the will to live. We set him on his way and watched him navigate down the beach to the water. Wave after wave washing him back up onto the beach. The unintentional surfer. After a few tries and much determination he got his timing and set out on his next adventure.
Our walk back to Tehuamixtle was in the dark. I started noticing little lights off in the distance. Confusing at first, but then I realized I was witnessing something I'd always wanted to. It was the first time I'd ever seen fireflies. Their little glows appearing and disappearing in the warm Mexican night. Magic.
Mexico has always had such incredible hospitality. From the guy who chased after me carrying my backpack full of photo gear I'd left in his restaurant (margaritas!) to the couple that gave us a free, and several hour long, taxi up into the mountain town of San Sebastian, everyone has been nothing short of friendly. Every time I visit Mexico I think it will be the last for some time. After all, there is so much of the world to explore... but, there is always something calling me back.