Friday, May 18, 2007

And I Start South...

A ticket is bought and a bus boarded and I head south into the baja peninsula of Mexico.

With a black fart and grinding of gears, I leave behind the cultural clash world of filthy Tijuana and head further south into the real Baja California. Stopping off in EnseƱada, and Guerrero Negro along the way. Both quaint little beach towns - nothing special, just typical coastal villages - like Rosarito. Crowded with tourists and old folks and locals selling curious from roadside stands. I stare at the vast desert scenery, which is covered with the huge cacti - they really are an amazing sight. I strike up a conversation with a young Mexican sitting across from me - Alfredo; skinny with glasses and a little moustache - wonderful smile and great personality. He relates that he is going down to Cabo San Lucas to work for his cousin - we while away the time talking of things, eating chips and sipping sangria. After a very long bus journey, I finally arrive to my destination, Santa Rosalia.

Santa Rosalia is an unusual small desert town, built out of wood by a French company who operated a copper mine nearby. The beautiful French-style buildings have been re-modeled, the streets are paved and clean and the town boasts gardens and parks. Touring the town you feel the sensation of being in another space and time. You can see wooden houses with balconies and porches, the Municipal Palace, the French Hotel Frances, the Mahatma Gandhi Public Library , the Municipal DIF, the Morelos Garden where you can find one of the locomotives shipped over from Europe in 1886, as well as the ruins of the old smelting foundry. The architecture is French influenced - I half expected to see the locals wearing berets and white and black stripped shirts and the town even has a patisserie selling great baguettes. Alfredo and I eat - he never having a baguette before.

I continue on, stopping at the pleasant town of Loreto - palm shacks and Indian adobe and stucco, yellows blues, and reds, the population are quite the friendly folk - I buy a silver bracelet before finally arriving in La Paz. A nice but as yet, not touristy town in the south of Baja California. Spanish style hotels rest on the white beach under that harsh Mexican blue sky.

Alfredo invites me so I decide to head to the popular resort town of Cabo St Lucas with him, where I am sure to find some lively bars to celebrate in style - and with a guide, yet.

The first thing I saw was the famous Arch made by the rocks with a little beach in the middle (later found out one side is lovers beach, and the other divorce beach...didn't find the nude nor gay one.) and about twenty sport fishing boats, all leaving for the day. The water traffic is absolutely hectic around here, there are jet skis, kayaks, sport fishing, yachts all coming and going from the marina. A popular destination so it's a real party town created for tourists, so much so that at the edge of town there's just desert. I gave myself two days so had plenty of opportunity to join the party, went to Cabo Wabo, El Squidro, Zoo Bar - it has to be the smallest bar in the world (There are only 4 bar stools!) My memory gets a bit hazy after that - mojitos - mojitos - mojitos!!
Nikki Beach (where Alfredo was to be employed.) is a very chic resort, there are about 8 of them in the world; in places like St. Topez and St. Barths and when we were there they had a DJ and a band and also a playboy party - Alfredo liked that, checking out the Playboy Bunnies as I eyed all the guys in swim trunks. The indigenous population is well toned and treat you very well. Alfredo took his shirt off to go swimming and damn! I am a sucker for a six pack on a brown stomach! Had the best day, drinking mojitos in the sun and dancing on the catwalk with the locals.
Said goodbye to Alfredo - to remember him, he gave me his white conch necklace and I gave him my silver ring an Indian made for me in Tucson - and took a taxi back to La Paz. I rented a bungalow at the Hacienda del Sol - sat at the marina eyeing the boats lazily adrift as the Sea of Cortez smashed against the rocks - a peacful and beautiful mood flows over you. Ate some good fish tacos, wrote and planned for the continuation of my trip.

Next, I need to find a boat, to take me over to the main land and onward to Mazatlan!!