It's exciting coming into a new country like Mexico, where services and languages are not handed to you on platters, but you know deep down you can get along. We arrived via the Mexicali border crossing and headed south toward San Felipe. This is on the eastern side of Baja, where the Sea of Cortez finally ends and gives way to salt flats and the marshlands. We were saddened by the dead dogs along the road, the Mexicans don't pick up the bloated carcasses, and later in the week we saw a dog that had just been hit stumbling along the road. I wanted to stop, but Jack's words rang out "Don't get involved." We meet Jack a little later at the Cowpaddy.
That evening was calm and clear as we rolled in to San Felipe. Having Tito allowed us to eschew hotels so as the sun was setting we found a car park near the beach. Supper was delicious and we finished with a shower and bottle of champagne seeing as it was Christmas Eve for the believers. We woke at day break and stocked up on provisions for the journey south.
|He said he had met Richard "in the war, or something" and he is a Canadian citizen from Vernon who was deported from canada to the US but ran straight to Mexico and married a young woman who's family was in the Mexican mafia.
Puertecitos is about 40 km south of San Felipe along a jarring road that is was once paved and is now washed out. We opted to take the easy way out and rented a palapa (palm shade structure) in a more organized beach-side camping area called Playa Escondida. It offered toilets, and showers, though it was still fairly rustic. Johnny the caretaker, from San Jose, was affable and generous and welcomed meeting young people who cared about the land and didn't roll up in a huge RV or bring loud mini bikes. It was nice to relax with a seaside view and surrounded by the Sierra Santa Isabel Mountains.
The area is known for the natural hot springs near the sea that are built up just enough to be organized and somewhat safe but retain their natural feel. The tide comes in and dilutes the hot water with cold, so you can only soak when the tide is out. We hiked a few thousand feet up to a spectacular view of the sea. It was not without hazards, namely snakes (sorry jamie), and falling rocks. Of course M was stoic through it all, whereas I was edgy and "naggy" as M put it. You can see her in the photos sitting on top of the mountain taking a time-out from my nagging.
Back to camp safe and sound we needed to reprovision and failing to find ice at the store in Puertecitos proper, headed out of town to see if ice was available at that place we pasted on the way in. Pulling in to the Cowpaddy, M says "Oh, it's only a bar." "Only a bar!?" It was perfect, about 4pm, sun starting to set, and the Cowpaddy hopping. Within a minute we had met Jack, the crazy expat who immediately announced to us that he wasn't an alcoholic, he was a drunk, and there was a difference. Later I tried to make a joke that Jack could proselytize his new theory during tomorrow's 8:30 am yoga session, but I lost the crowd on "proselytize" and the joke fell flat.
Richard owns the place and he's the wise sage of the area. Several times it was suggested he could be mayor, which he didn't deny. His place was build well, coming from his years as a contractor. His wife, the yoga instructor, was beautiful and cared for the local animals when not trekking for days in the high dessert region. The bar was full of life and characters, either touristas, local Mexican, or expats who were escaping something, either the law or the mother-in-law. We were enjoying Jack's diatribe about the drunk vs alcoholic theorem and the way the rich bright setting sun made his ears glow red. Suddenly, behind us, we heard an enormous cackle and turned to see a small man laughing so hard that his tattered Cavs hat fell off. So funny was the moment that he proceeded to stomp on his hat. That made us peel with laughter. Moments later Alan came over and took a shine to me (a few little man) and was in hysterics that menyui knew where the Blueberry Mountains were in British Columbia. His story was sketchy and came out awkward. He said he had met Richard "in the war, or something" and he is a Canadian citizen from Vernon who was deported from canada to the US but ran straight to Mexico and married a young woman who's family was in the Mexican mafia. Good stuff, here. Colorful, crazy, drunk -- This was my idea of a great day!
On the short ride back to camp, with the sun in full set and with a glowing beer buzz a jackrabbit crossed us front of Tito at full speed. And I mean full Serengeti speed. "Holy shit, did you see that?" "Wow, that thing's moving." Then immediately to our right a coyote pulled up short to avoid being hit by the truck. The rabbit, running from the law, used our truck as a pick!
We finished the evening with homemade fresh fish tacos. A great day. Top fiver. Later, on another hike with Johnny, he said we spoiled the coyote's dinner, but we like to think we saved the rabbit for one more day.