After two nights in Puerto Vallarta, we packed our bags and arrived in front of the big Walmart, where the local buses collect passengers. (Local buses do not use the bus station. A PV city bus will take you to Walmart; then you wait for the Compostella buses for points north.) We needed the Compostela bus to Lo de Marcos, 1 1/2 hours north in the state of Nayarit. Plenty of buses go to the popular surf town of Sayulita, but only a few go as far as Lo de Marcos and points north. Our wait was over an hour, with the station conductor explaining, “the bus will be here at 11:40, “mas o menos; horas mexicanas….” The vendors set up their food stations and carts, and the patrons settled on benches. With everyone joking and laughing, it reminded me of the Group W bench in Arlo Guthrie’s song, “Alice’s Restaurant.” I pulled out my knitting and enjoyed the throng.
We boarded the bus about 15 minutes later than scheduled and after several stops in PV and Buserias, the bus was packed. True to stereotype, the ride was humid, hot, bumpy, and noisy with many stops as it wound its way on the narrow coastal highway northward. Finally at Sayulita, the bus nearly emptied, and air began to flow through the open windows. 30 minutes later, we were back in Lo de Marcos, where we had spent some idyllic weeks in ’14 & ’15. After dropping luggage at our inn, we changed clothes and walked to the beach. It was as if we had never left; we were welcomed by many local expats who remembered us from winters past. Without making a phone call, we were reconnected to the community with plans for the next 3 days.