–by G.K. Sydney (photos and column)
Well, you’ve got it right. We are not on snowy, rainy Vancouver Island, but instead in oh so sunny Baja, Mexico. Yep, the Christmas trip was over, we rested for two days, jumped on a plane and here we are. We don’t fool around, oh no. And is it nice? It’s fabuloussssssssss!
Okay. Enough gloating. Instead, I’m going to try to describe this scene although it‘s so surreal that won’t be easy. And that’s because the place we’re in, the town of Loreto, Baja, California, makes for quite the story. So get a drink (a margarita would be appropriate, but tea will do), settle down and enjoy. Come along with me, amigos, on this fantastical journey.
I call it that because it really is quite unusual. This is not a resort; it’s a little town similar to Sooke. And while many attractions for tourists are available, there’s also a whole lot of immersion to experience and the authenticity of another culture is everywhere. And it’s fabulously interesting.
For instance, I tried to go to a Zumba class. The teacher was not very sure of her English, so she called over a little girl of about six years old. This little sprite proceeded to speak extremely rapid Spanish to the teacher, then turned to me and, without hesitation, spoke to me in perfect English. “Zumba classes are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 pm and Saturday at 7.” And with that she ran away, leaving me with an open mouth and not even enough time to say gracias.
And then there’s the drivers. Everyone, and I mean almost everyone, will stop for you anywhere. We gringos are pretty dumb about crossing the cobblestone roads around here, but it doesn’t matter because, wherever you are, you get waved on with a certain hand gesture that says, “Go ahead, cross in front of my car, I don’t mind, just do it!”. And when you look up to smile or wave your thanks, the whole family is leaning out of the windows, smiling and waving at you. Lovely.
Of course, we (I) have to, at this point, say a word about the margaritas. With 140 restaurants in this town (so say the tourist brochures), we have been eating and drinking ourselves into a pit of iniquity (or is that a den? Not sure, but I know it’s bad). And the margaritas are on the menu in nearly every one of those places, so what can you do? It’s sad, I know, but I’m only human. So check it out and see what I mean:
My lord, who could resist? Not exactly wasting away, Jimmy, but gettin’ close.
And then there’s the spa treatments. Another thing that is irresistible. Four hands, anyone?
Well, if all this isn’t enough, there’s also the adventures we’ve been having. All unexpected, all practically indescribable. But I’m going to try to tell about them, so read on.
The other day, an enormous, gigantic yacht appeared just out in the Loreto harbour. It stayed around for a few days without much fanfare. But on the third day, the excitement began. Just as we were hanging around the pier in the sun, police vehicles started showing up. That was a sign of something right there because this is such a peaceful safe little town. Before we knew it, the harbour was cordoned off, limousines and SUVs showed up and a crowd started to form. Well, it seemed that the monster boat belonged to no other than Steven Spielberg and his guests who were coming into the town were Michelle and Barack Obama. All very cool and the best part is that, right at the moment they landed at the dock, we were there! Adventure, yes! Excitement, for sure! All this in our little town on the edge of the Sea of Cortez. Who knew?
And then there’s THE restaurant. I still can’t believe this is true.
Jim and I like to walk and hike. So we’ve been combining those two things by walking miles and miles down the rocky beaches. This is all fine until the sun really climbs, the sand never stops and the town seems to be a million miles behind you. Well, twice we tried to get to the point, that is, the point that seemed to be calling to us to explore but that is located way, way at the end of the beach. One day we tried it and just couldn’t keep going. Another day we tried again, going a bit further and again, in the heat and among big rocks on the beach, gave up. But last week, we rented a car and took the back road. Whoa, another adventure coming up.
It seems that, unknown to us, that road just went on and on and on. Nothing but sand and scrub brush for miles. And miles. As the road grew more and more narrow and more and more sand-filled, Jim kept saying, “I’m turning around. I will be turning around at the very next opportunity”. But the opportunity never came, the road just got more narrow and the sun was beating down like a mad lunatic. Oh boy, what have we done? Where are we going? Where is that damn point?
Just as we were about to make a desperation move and try a turn in the cactus-filled scrub brush, our salvation appeared.
Lord love a duck (as mom would have said). A house! In the middle of nowhere, right here in the desert!
As we slowly, slowly moved forward and parked (what, there’s other cars here?), we got an even bigger surprise. As we very cautiously got out and started to move toward the building, we glanced down in the sand and this is what we saw:
Whaaaat? How can this be possible? Well, it turns out it was. These Mexican people are so resourceful, so incredibly cool that it seems that out here, in the middle of nowhere, was a huge, gorgeous castle-like house and on one side of that house was …..yes…..a restaurant. And not just a little shack for a restaurant. Oh no. A fancy place with t-shirts for sale, modern couches for lounging inside and out, absolutely great food and a view to end all views. As we walked towards the building, to cries of Welcome! Welcome! we stepped into a lovely paradise. And all at the far end of the beach away from the rest of the world. Instant friendly service, lots of gringos sitting around enjoying lunch and an amazing view of the ocean. Wow. Just wow.
Anyway, so far, adventures like this haven’t stopped. I’m running out of room here, but stay tuned for more soon. In the meantime, Jimmy Buffett is waiting around the next corner and we’re once again heading for Margaritaville.
See you there?
Previously on The Lens:
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: The Thrills Just Keep on Comin’
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Wasting Away in Margaritaville
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Our Cups Runneth Over
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Confessions of a Packing Freak
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: The next new thing is Yoga
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: A Touch of Special
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: I. Will. Do. This.
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Never too late
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Close encounter with bear, saved by a driving hero
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Cross Country Crazy
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Lord love a duck!
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Get on the Bus, Gus. Make a New Plan, Stan.
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: And a Warm Welcome to Everyone (or…?)
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Into the Mystic
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: This is how I row
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Take care when you tinkle; or, before you bare, look for bear
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: True Confessions of a Self-Proclaimed Acrophobiac
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: There’s no place like home!
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: The eagle has landed
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Finding fitness that fits
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: When you don’t know where you’re going till you get there
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: A Fairy in the Forest
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Small Town, Big Hearts
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” Dr. Seuss
- Introducing a new column to SPN: “Through the Lens of a Newcomer”