Southern Hospitality on the Mexican Peninsula: Baja Day 1

My adventures began with a call from Natalie when Peter and I were 45 minutes into our drive to my shuttle at Copper Mountain: “Do you have your passport?”

Uhhhhhhhh………..No?

The beauty of living in a small town like Buena Vista, Co, is that you can call the bank where your passport is kept in a safe and ask them to open before hours so you can retrieve it– and they willingly oblige.

Well, nix the shuttle. Missed it. Peter takes me to DIA with plenty of time to spare. We listen to this American life on the way there and the weather is sublime: clear skies and a healthy smothering of snow over the 11,000 ft’ish section of elevation through the mountains. Yes, this is May in the Colorado mountains.

My flights are delightfully uneventful. I make small talk with Mary, the woman sitting next to me on her way to Santa Barbara, Ca for wine tasting with friends and read a book for my spiritual exploration class. I even manage to make my connection to Los Cabos, Mex., in Phoenix in the 7 minute window they gave me to change planes. As a reward, I get a row all to myself and stretch out and take naps between filling out my customs and immigration declarations.

Upon landing (a toasty 89 degrees outside– “Why am I wearing Carhartts?”) I get through customs in a snap and am greeted my Bryan almost immediately and become enveloped in the embrace of the energetic, blonde Louisianan before being shuffled off to her beat-up ’91 something (all cars in Baja must be imported which is incredibly pricey and so to have even a ugly clunky for a ride is a’OK by just about everyone’s standards. Plus the roads are “rough” and beat-up everything that sets tire on it)

On the way home, we stop at a Mexican grocery store (and why was I so surprised it was like almost any American grocery store?) and Bryan asks me to pick out all that I want for breakfasts and lunches since I will be cooking two out of three of my meals in my casita in Todos Santos.

Homecoming is sweet as I see Todos Santos materialize in the distance, Cerritos Beach, where I learned to surf in December, coming into view in its serene, blue glory. Sergio greets us when we pull up and they situate me in my casita and assist me in stocking my fridge. (PS, I may never live in such a beautiful home ever again. I’m on a cliff over looking a beach and the infinite Pacific beyond. The style of my casita is heavily folk-Mexican influenced with woven carpets, rich azure and orange painted walls and an intricately thatched roof that covers my bedroom)

After being settled, Sergio turns over the bike I’ll be using to get around for the next three weeks and hands me a box with my helmet. A rat’s nest is coiled like a ball of tangled twine inside. (“You are lucky they didn’t start eating it yet,” Sergio says as he upends the helmet and dumps the nest into a trashcan) I make a mental note to pick off the rat remains before I consider putting it on my head.

We soon head off to dinner, their treat, at the Hotel California, and Sergio explains to me in the car where I will need to watch out for dogs when I ride into town to teach English:

“There, at that corner– there are two. And right here there are a few more. This is like dog alley.”

“When will they stop chasing me?” I venture.

“Well. They have different territories. Some are bigger than others. You have two options,” Sergio holds up one finger. “You can get off your bike and walk with the bike between you and the dog, or,” He holds up the other finger. “Or you can spray them with the pepper spray.”

“Well, I don’t think I want to do that.”

“It’d work!” He says laughing. Meanwhile, I envision daring escapes from savage currs, snarling at my heels. Me, biking like the south wind, throwing mangy mutts off my back left and right. All in a days work.

We have dinner, smoked marlin and brie quesadillas to share and I, pesto fusilli con pavo y feta with a frosty carbonated limonada on the side and we discuss life, their business, my year at school, our plans for my stay in Todos Santos, Sergio joking with the servers whenever they come around. So far, he’s known almost everyone we’ve passed in Todos Sabtosm it’s seemed. Our evening is filled with much laughter and story telling and when I offer to pay, Sergio says,”Ok; manaña.” Translated roughly, No. And Bryan says simply, “Tonight you are our guest; tomorrow you’re family.” Sergio laughs, “Then you can do the dishes and sweep the porch!”

Hey, I think to myself, sounds just like Link. Everyday.

We return to their property right outside of town. With “goodnights!” and mutual declarations of gratitude, I return to my casita, watch pale green geckos scurry up the walls and hide behind the cushions on my breakfast nook, listen to the waves crashing on the beach and let myself become flooded with all that I have to be grateful for.

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One thought on “Southern Hospitality on the Mexican Peninsula: Baja Day 1

  1. My bike riding around the neighborhood will not be the same until you return to San Rafael. I’ll be looking out for dogs, a sympathetic reaction to your ride!

    d

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