Día de Muertos (Mexico 2017)

Part 1: Feeling like Death

Things took a turn for the worse a day or so after my first surf lesson with Sayulita Surf Camps, not because of anything they did though.

I’d had a great morning’s surf at La Lancha near Punta de Mita with Carlos (owner of Sayulita Surf Camps) and had even enjoyed private tuition since there hadn’t been any other folks in the lesson that day.  Don’t get me wrong, I surfed like absolute rubbish and barely managed to stand up on any waves, but I did make a massive discovery in our post-surf analysis…this whole time I’d been trying to pop-up from a regular press-up body position with my hands located near my shoulders; apparently that’s completely wrong.  My hands should be located between my hips and my lower ribs before I pop-up, thus getting more of my body out of the way to whip my legs into the surf position.  Well, that should change everything when I next go for a surf I thought…shame I haven’t been surfing since then.

48 hours after the Sunday morning surf and I was feeling like the back end of a rhino; headache, nausea and flu-like symptoms followed by a bloody itchy rash of tiny red dots all over my chest, arms and lower legs a day later.  Sleeping 12 hours on these nights and waking up still feeling tired started to get me worried, so obviously I did the most sensible thing possible; typed my symptoms into Google…(p.s. that is probably the worst thing to do).

To cut a long story short, I went from thinking I’d been stung by microscopic jellyfish larvae to having zika virus to Guillain-Barre syndrome and back again all in the space of 3 days.  Those were 3 bloody horrible days I can tell you, the exhaustion combined with constant tingling in my hands and feet freaked me right out.  A friend of mine also had a similar rash so off we popped to the Punta de Mita medical centre; thankfully the doctor reassured me that the tingling was most likely dehydration and that I should get on the electrolyte drinks.  She also said my symptoms were much more likely caused by the jellyfish larvae as opposed to zika virus but to rest for the next 3-5 days and stay out of the sun.

Hence why I haven’t been back in the ocean for over a week; and just when I’d made a surfing breakthrough dammit!

Part 2: Room with a View

The whole dark episode seems to be behind me now thankfully.  I think moving rooms at the Sayulita Suites has also helped shift my perspective and put a more positive spin on things as I regain my strength.  Now that Sayulita is ramping into the busy season we’ve had a bit of a re-shuffle and I’m pretty happy with the result, just check out the new pad (gracias Nixs!):

Open air living

View from my bed

I just spent my first night here and was up and ready to face the day before 8am!  It’s basically like sleeping on a rooftop so the whole space is full of light at around 6:30am, meaning you’re awoken naturally and can’t help but be up and about once you see the view.

Part 3: Día de Muertos

November 1st and 2nd are national holidays here in Mexico, Día de Muertos is a 48-hour period for remembering loved ones who are no longer with us and celebrating their lives, no matter when they passed on.  Families build temporary shrines to their loved ones either at home or in a public space and decorate them with pictures, mementos and offerings of that person’s favourite food and drink.


Sayulita town plaza

Centre of Sayulita town plaza


Intricate artwork made from coloured wood shavings and flowers


Shrine to those who passed during the Mexican earthquakes of 2017


Shrine in the main plaza for a lady called Maria (1936-2017)


Shrine just off the main plaza


Shrine artwork made from coloured rice and dried beans

Despite the name ‘Day of the Dead’ and its negative connotations in a western cultural context I’d say that the atmosphere on the day is generally quite a festive one, the whole point being to celebrate the lives of the dead and not to mourn them.  There are obviously sombre undertones however, especially when you wander down the street of the ‘Angelitos’ (Little Angels), decorated with balloon animals and dotted with photographs of the babies and children who passed well before their time.

Shrine outside an artisan store on the main street (they do seem a little more sinister at night)


Great attention to detail with the dog barking at a candle


General shrine to surfers/skaters

Part 4: Random Photos

This guy is just too friendly-looking not to include


Sith Lord dog tries to crush my head using The Force

‘Chubbs’ wants more attention


Tune in next week to see if I finally make it back out on the surfboard!

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