Balmy Baja California...or Mexico Lite?
Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
36Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
From the air you get a good idea of how big this mega-city really is. It is not, like Hong Kong or Tokyo, one of these small areas of land where people are crammed in, literally on top of each other in high rise hutches, but more of a never-ending series small towns, with its 24 million inhabitants housed in low rise buildings that just seem to go on and on forever.
By contrast, arriving in Baja California Sur is a totally different experience. After miles of barren desert and rocky mountain landscape you finally see the runway at Los Cabos International Airport, like an X marking the spot in the middle of nowhere. On arrival we go straight to the Thrifty car rental desk to be told by a friendly but very serious man that we should go outside of the terminal building and look for another Thrifty person in a Thrifty T shirt. Under no circumstances are we to talk to anyone else, any other car rental person, or any other friendly-looking person at all as they will definitely force us at gunpoint to buy a timeshare in the spring-break Tex-Mex Gringolandia hell that is Cabo San Lucas.
Terrified, we walk nervously through the crowds of potential kidnappers, eyes fixed straight ahead, like two Clarice Starlings walking along death row, determined to ignore the psychopaths and murderers that line the route to the final meeting with destiny in the shape of Hannibal Lecter.
Left with no choice we accept our fate and our nice, shiny white VW Jetta and after checking to
I keep quiet. Colin remains remarkably calm. Bumper-less and dust-covered 4 x 4s hurtle past, their drivers squinting through shattered windscreens as we pootle along, desperate to avoid an insurance claim. Huge articulated trucks thunder over the uneven ground throwing dirt and stones everywhere, and still we pootle patiently along, feeling very small in our once white, and hopefully still scratch-free Jetta.
We have quickly fallen into a gentle routine here at Casa Bentley. Up after sunrise, cup of tea,
In a bid to get back on budget we have “Self-catered” most evenings, with salad and potatoes forming a major part of our diet, apart from our first night, when we were too tired to cook for ourselves. With every intention of finding a cheap local eatery and close to death from dehydration by the time we had walked the three blocks into the village centre, we had to go straight into the first air conditioned building we could find, which happened to be the rather upmarket restaurant of the “Hotel California” (which claims to be the eponymous one, a claim vehemently denied by those in the know), where a one course meal with water (sparkling) set us back an entire day’s budget.
It was in Shut up Frank’s that we make the acquaintance of a Canadian ex-cowboy called Panama who loves us because “I’m a Campbell, and I have the old country right here *indicates his heart*, and my mom is English and looks just like the old queen Mom”. He is jolly and gentle and charming and says “WOW” with big wide eyes when you tell him something new, often something that you think everyone knows already. He has Eight dogs and four cats, a chicken (that he hatched himself on top of his stove after its mother died) called “Peep” cos that’s the sound he made when I helped him peck his way out of his shell, peep-peep, peep-peep”, and a huge bull called Ferdinand, that he insists is as gentle as a baby. He keeps inviting us to come and ride Ferdinand, as it would make a great photo. Hmmmm… so far we have managed to resist. He also has a Mexican wife who lives on the “mainland” (That’s what Mexicans on the Baja California Peninsula call the main part of Mexico, East of the Sea of Cortes), while he lives here in Todos Santos, which suits him just fine.
We are totally chilled here. So much so that we have failed utterly to see any of the surrounding contryside, and have not even been to the beach. Tomorrow we leave to return to Los Angeles for a week in beautiful Laguna Beach. So right now we are going to try to see the beach at Los Cerritos, about 8 miles away as it is supposed to be wild and beautiful. So until Laguna, Hasta luego!