KITE, SUN, ROCK, FUN AND WORK
Our last year passed with lots of emotions, like for everyone. We experienced our first lock down somewhere so remote that when you would be asked “if you go to an island what would you take?” it is that place that you would imagine. Alone, howler monkeys, fresh cool water, fresh vegetables from nearby Mennonites, birds, our neighbour was a Tucan, coconut trees and bananas and we fell asleep and woke up to the voice of the jungle (read more about our stay in Belize in "Trapped in Paradise"). From this fantasy place in Belize we headed to our families. We had not really experienced the "New life under lock down" until we arrived back in Europe. We spent a long time living with our families. It was long enough that we were not guests anymore.
Our soul arrived too (this is a story by Berna’s father. He thinks that we need to wait for our soul sometimes during our travels. Our body is going but our soul always lags behind). That way everything was more intense and different compared to our previous visits. We were on the road for the last 7 years. Of course we visited our families and friends but this time was different. We didn't know how to live without moving, at the same place for so long. We chose to live like that 7 years ago and made it our life style. Berna was 29 years old when she chose Rouletout as her home. Rouletout was the first home for Mutlu, he doesn’t know what to do when his home is not moving. We realised that after a few months actually we didn't know neither. Posh doesn’t count yet, she is happy when we are all together. It was nice and different being with family this time. It was so nice to eat again as we were used to many years before travelling. We had the chance to live with Berna’s family near Datça where we were almost neighbours. It was an amazingly nice feeling that when ever we visited them, Berna’s mother was preparing a taste Berna had missed. Her father was helping with everything as he used to when she was a child. Berna cried when we left Datça but her soul couldn’t stay any longer at the same place …
Contrary to our expectations the flight from Frankfurt was packed and anything else but a pleasant experience. But Cancun welcomed us with its usual sunshine and friendly faces and the apartment we had rented halfway towards Puerto Morelos was nice and quiet. Covid restrictions seemed to be non-existent in Mexico, only the occasional face mask reminded us of the virus, and then the huge billboard signs saying in Spanish “A smile is more contagious than a virus”.
The transition from our birth places to Mexico was smooth because we had stayed so long in Mexico before that it was our second home. Avocados, tortillas, different kind of bananas were our other home’s foods, the streets and shops were all familiar and we knew our way around.
Next task on the list was the bus-ride to Uman near Merida where Rouletout was waiting for us in Javier’s garden. Rouletout had guests while we were away, a tlacuache (a marsupial and thus a relative of the kangaroo) built his den in the engine compartment and inside one or the other mushroom decided to grow next to some mould. You could feel it, Rouletout was angry to be left alone, something we had expected. But Güclü - our motorbike - was so impressive. Two kicks and it was up and running, indeed two very different characters.
Ulf spent a good day together with Javier to change oils, filters and a few spare parts we had brought from Europe and soon Rouletout was back on the road to Cancun. The heat and humidity of Yucatan took its toll on some parts, mostly plastics, but Rouletout behaved nicely.
We also enjoyed the social activities. Turkey was completely locked down, we couldn’t enjoy Turkish food because of this. Berna found the “Cirque du soleil” near Cancun and as she was always amazed with this art and a second birthday present was due we went. We found ourselves enjoying mezcal and eating delicious food while watching the show. Being outside, joining some activities made us feel good. After another day of cleaning and organising we were ready to move south, to Mahahual to meet with Fredy and Quetza but Rouletout stroke with revenge.
Berna’s face started to swell and showed plenty of red spots - one of the detergents we used to clean Rouletout didn’t become her well. Meeting old friends made us forget the emptiness we felt after leaving our families. We enjoyed food and shared nice moments together. We were definitely ready for Mexico thanks to Fredy and his high energy. We also realised that we were ready to spend more time kiting but soon it was clear that it was time to buy our own gear to really make progress. As this is best done in Cancun, we changed plans and went back to Isla Blanca and our well known kite school Ikarus that already hosted us the year before. The planned short stay ended up lasting 2 months :-).
We heard so many stories about learning to kite at the camp. How they failed, accidents and fun stories. Everybody was so honest and explained their adventures. We love the climbing community, how we are as climbers, the love for nature and rock in every shape and form… These feelings form your character, so most climbers have similar characteristics, however different they are. This time we felt these similarities with kite surfers, too. They are close to a climber’s soul but a slightly “older version” of it. More enjoying life, less pain but still full of adventure. We joined them with our stories. Berna has done the walk of shame back to the beach many times. It was hard to to go left 🥴. Ulf provided more topics for entertainment, from a badly closed harness and the loss of the kite which had to be collected from some palm trees to a partially fractured rib from a shallow water crash. We met "Franky boy” - an Isla Blanca institution who was always there to help and motivate us when we failed. We also toured Isla Blanca with our bikes together (Frank just bought one) but ended up at a cartel place where we got badly chased…
We tested loads of equipment and rode and rode and rode. Seeing and feeling the progress was really gratifying so we finally ended up with our own equipment.
Rouletout also required some attention as we had lost our exhaust pipe near Mahahual and we also decided to give it a new layer of paint. We “rented” some land near Ikarus and had the painters coming out to Isla Blanca to do their work while we were riding. Wilbert and Don Rafael worked for two weeks or so and soon Rouletout looked like new.
Happy with our kite skills we decided to move on to El Cuyo, a small village on the northern coast of Yucatan and popular kite destination for the later season in Mexico. Having found a perfect spot to stay on the beach it was time to kite again. The challenges were slightly different than on Isla Blanca. First the waves and second, don’t loose your board when you are far out! It took a while to handle that and then gain the confidence to do some primitive tricks. We are sure everybody still remembers Berna’s screams of joy when riding upwind along the beach. We also made new friends, most notably Markus who kindly enough shared his Core 15 with Ulf for the days with weaker wind and the three of us enjoyed the riding in the waves, cold Modelos and the kitschy sunsets.
Weeks passed and a further move west was due, this time to Sisal, another kite spot to the north west of Merida. Contrary to Isla Blanca and El Cuyo we were almost the sole kiters in Sisal and we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of the small village. The winds typically started in the afternoon but were a bit more unpredictable than in El Cuyo (sometimes also way more gusty and stronger), also due to the fact that the season slowly ended. Anyways, it was about time to leave the heat of the lowlands and head towards Chiapas and or first love, climbing.
After one more stop at Javier’s place we took the road via Campeche and up into the highlands of Chiapas and to San Cristobal where we took our usual place, for the third time and met up again with our second family in Mexico, Martin and Sofia. Martin had developed a new climbing area so there was plenty of stuff to climb and he was eager to show us the climbing of Copoya high above Tuxla.
We also met and climbed with Lucho and team from Chile, and one morning, we were really happy to see Emma & Wade’s car at the climbing spot. We had met years before in Potrero Chico and Guadalcazar. For us this meant great stories, vegan food, and late nights. Rouletout received a new shower (which made us escape to a hotel for 2 nights to avoid the smell of fresh polyester), got rained on by the infamous afternoon showers of San Cris more than once, had our teeth fixed and enjoyed the great food of Chiapas. Almost ready to move on, Rouletout played another trick on us and resisted all efforts to start. This time it was easier, the starter relais needed some love and with the help of Javier we found one. As usual these things take time and added a few weeks to our stay in the Bermuda triangle of San Cris.
One day while we were playing backgammon a couple showed up around our car. First we worried that they are coming next to us with their tent and with many people but a few minutes later a “second Rouletout” called Whaly showed up. Linda and Sandro from Switzerland had just arrived with their truck in Mexico and together we spent great times together in Arcotete. The many stories around the bonfires made us even more excited to continue our travels and ultimately, it was time to move on. Hurricane season further south slowly came to an end, so did our permits for Mexico and so we headed towards the border of Guatemala, but this time with the clear intention to cross it :-). As always, more about it in our next blog entry.