Wednesday, December 30, 2009

28 Dec 09 - It Rained in the Baja today!

This is a classic example of Mexican wiring ingenuity. We're plugged in to this!

Note the bird's nest has electric heating built right in! Also note the CSA approved black electrical tape marrets.

Here's proof that JD does know how to do laundry! There's no dials to worry about with this method and the solar drier works better than an electric tumbler.

We told you Susie was gun shy about having other people do her laundry. Our little tub serves as the washing machine and this tub is to rinse.

Susie started her day by taking in a Yoga class at the Round House which doubles as Yoga studio/restaurant/musician jamming hot spot, etc. Judging by the muscle aches and pains the next day she should have been doing this more consistently. After JD lugged his inflatable boat down to the beach with his newly installed wheels he spent a few hours catching 5 Sierra fish. It took him longer to filet the fish than it did to catch them. Wheels on the boat - good idea - mental note - need bigger wheels and assistant to help launch next time. JD's back not happy the next day.

Today dawned bright and sunny like all the other days down here. So you can imagine our shock when it started raining by 11 am. Not just a sprinkle but heavy rain like back in Revelstoke that carried on for at least 3 to 4 hours. Even some of the vados (dips or depressions) on the roadway were filled with water. This rain storm was indeed a freak experience. In 11 years of coming down here one of our friends has never seen it rain like this at this time of year. We didn't let this deter us though as we're veterans to rain. So we went off exploring to Los Barriles to see if we could scout out a new camp spot. We found a lovely one right on the beach. However we didn't care much for the full-hook up price of $25 US/night. So we'll stay put here in La Ventana for $9/night for a while yet.

Yesterday we said farewell to our campground neighbours, a lovely young couple with 3 energetic children that Skeena loved to be around - small children, dropped food - you get the idea. Georgia their youngest was quite comical with tromping around in all of her family's shoes. It was just too quiet come morning with them gone.

You'll have to excuse the intermitent blogs. The intermitent internet is the culpret. We'll probably talk at you next year. Until then have a fantastic New Years and toast us on the beach listening to the hoot of the resident owls, wind russling through the palm trees and the waves lapping gently on the shore.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in the Baja

Didn't I tell you every fish in the Baja had teeth!

We spotted a great white shark!

Sipping tea Christmas morning.

Traditional Christmas morning tarantula.

Mexican grader. Future RCFC cost saving measure.

JD started off Christmas morn with what may become the newest tradition - snorkeling on Christmas day. It was all fun and games until he swam through a big ball of puffer fish and jelly fish. Thankfully he only recieved 3 small hits from the jelly fish. Let me assure you Neil that no jelly fish were harmed. After snorkeling we went exploring the beach at lighthouse point. Everyone would be envious of how large our shell collection is getting. Skeena still does not understand why we won't let her have a collection of dead stuff too like the 3 carcasses of needle fish. Her new favourite phrase she's added to her vocabulary is, "Want to go to the beach?" This phrase ranks right up near the top with, "Want some banana?"

Because everyone else down here is in the same situation as us - away from family and friends & old traditions - we draw together forging new friendships and establishing new Baja traditions for the Christmas season. We are so thankful to be welcomed by the new friends here. A lot of these people have been coming here for years and didn't hesitate to welcome us into their fold. Caroling on the beach while the waves gently rolled in on Christmas Eve was a truly unique experience. Luscious pot luck dinners which included the traditional turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce plus numerous other delectable dishes were enjoyed by all. Susie discovered a new pie recipe that will definitely become tradition for Christmas on the B aja - Margarita Pie. Who knew you could put Tequila in a pie and make it taste so good! And Yvonne it is 'dead easy'! I'll share when we get home.

Thank God for the internet with Skype and MSN video which made it bearable to be away from our loved ones. We felt like we were on an episode of the cartoon show "The Jetson's". It makes all the difference when you can see those you love when you're talking to them. All in all it was a stretch to get into the Christmas spirit with no snow, no skiing, and no frigid temperatures...but we're not complaining. We hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as ours was.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fishing in the Baja with new found friends

The catch of the day! My first ever ocean caught fish!

Jodi and her dad, Susie's trusty instructors.

Trust your captain and we did - Jim Kidd!

The feathered peanut gallery patiently waiting for their scraps.

Jim instructing JD on the fine art of fillet while Mike ties the boat down.

Both of us have been fortunate to be able to go out fishing with our new friends. This fishing is somewhat different than the gentle past time of casting a fly that JD is used to on the rivers of BC. It involves ripping around willy nilly at a speed just short of water skiing dragging a plastic thingy designed to look like a squid on drugs. Various colours are used to try and entice the fish to strike. The quid thingy skips along just above and under the surface and the takes can be quite explosive depending on the size and type of the fish. The conquered species these 2 outings was mostly Sierra which happens to be an awesome eating fish both fresh and smoked. Everything in the ocean has teeth which JD found out the hard way when a little baby halibut tried to nip his finger off.

On the Sea of Cortez you have to plan on an early start, 7 am or earlier, and be off the water by 11 am or 12 at the latest as the wind comes up and will blow you right off the water. This is when the demon kites blossom in the air and become the favoured sport of the afternoon. Susie's catch proved to be the largest Sierra caught between the 2 days we've been out so far. It is a sweet victory as it's her first ocean catch ever. JD finally got the wheels on his Zodiac so we'll be spending more time on the water although one can only eat so much fish or stuff so much in the freezer. Thankfully there are enough people around to share it with. There are some really cool beaches that we can now access with the boat for shell hunting and fishing.
As it is already Christmas Eve we conclude this missive with Merry Christmas wishes to everyone. May this season bring you love, joy, grace and peace. May it also be a time when you reflect on your lives and be thankful for the bountiful blessings you have. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night until we resume our irregularly scheduled programming.

Monday, December 21, 2009

JD's Guide to the world wide web

Looking for the signal!

Maybe I'll just enjoy my margarita!

Hard at work on the Sea of Cortez.

As you've probably noticed we have intermittent wifi. We thought an explanation is in order as to how the intertubes work in the Baja. First of all you go to the restaurant across the road from the campground. They send for the woman next door at the market, makes sense so far? She comes and ignores you for a while. After a sufficient period of time she gets on your computer and does some voodoo Mexican thing and goes away again. About this time you get hungry and order breakfast. You can see where this is going eh Bob? Magically tea and breakfast appear about the same time as the intertubes lady - remember her - who asks for some Pesos. That the intertubes is more expensive than breakfast is not lost on you. After you pay the lady she informs you that the wifi isn't actually working and seems genuinely surprised when you do connect with the web. So if the solar flares are just right and no one unplugs the black box duhicky we have the internet sometimes as strange as it seems sitting on the beach in Mexico.

20 Dec 09 - Laundry days on the Baja

JD ran to the store for a couple of things. Yes he remembered the milk and the eggs. And yes that is a plastic bag of 6 eggs. You can buy only one of that's all you need.

Susie was running out of clean pantys and seemed adverse to going comando. So, on the recomendations of a trusworthy source we decided to try a freindly Mexican ladies Lavenderia (home laundry). For the second time in our married life (29 years on the 22nd of Dec), has Susie ever entrusted anyone with her laundry. So we dropped the laundry off on Tues morn and in our best Spanish pantomime and the Mexican ladies best English pantomime agreed to pick up the laundry manana (tomorrow). This being Tuesday and manana being Wednesday we headed back to the lavenderia all bright eyed and full of hope on Wed at 4. The business apparently has fairly short hours, but there is hope as we can see our laundry hanging out back just this side of the chicken coop but high enough that the dogs can't quite reach it. This is the last time we were to see our clothes for several days. Thus begins a seemingly endless number of trips to find the lady that is in possesion of Susie's underware. With all hope lost and thoughts of visiting La Ventana's second hand stores to buy our clothing back we finally tracked down the mysterious disappearing laundry lady. Eureca! Clothes for a few more days. Next we will try to get our bedding washed. We may have to share Skeena's sleeping bag for a few nights. As much as she detests it Susie has taken to washin clothes by hand.

Friday, December 18, 2009

17 Dec 09 Skeena does the Baja

Being a Baja dog is even better than being a northern BC dog!

I love the beach! I love the beach! I love the beach!

Exploring on the rocks is kinda cool too!

Everthing is okay as long as I get my lap time. The beach chair isn't quite the same as the lazy boy back home but it'll do in a pinch.

And what about my diet you ask. I've been trying all kinds of really interesting foods. I really like crab meat too!

I love you dad!

Dad and I are contemplating base jumping. That's a long ways down!

Someone asked mom how I let them know that I need to stop to do the bathroom thing, do I whine? No way! I'm a retriever. I'm too dignified to whine. It's all in the facial expressions. Mom's really good at reading my eyebrows.

I still have my winter coat in this picture. So pardon me if I look a little plump. I've long since shed that extra coat. With temperatures averaging 26 C I don't need any extra warmth.

In case you have been wondering how I'm enjoying the trip i thought I'd give you the dogs eye view. I haven't cared much for all the driving I've had to do. It was miles and miles of miles and miles of boredom with the odd break for me to check out some really cool places for dogs. You wouldn't believe all the nifty smells everywhere.
I really like exploring in Moab. I didn't even have to have my nails clipped there because running on all the rock filed them down. Let me tell you dogs don't like manicures. For the most part I got to go on most of the adventures except for the anal National Parks people don't like my species.
Mexico is so full of different smells and sound. I can only understand about 200 words of English and now they expect me to learn Spanish. It's so easy to meet these hot blooded Spanish hounds. Of course the universal dog greeting is practised here too. I wish they would at least cool their jets until we've had a few dates.
The beaches are to die for and loaded with all kinds of dead things. I don't understand how a rotting fish carcas can be such a turn off to mom & dad. I'd like to collect them all. After all they collect shells. I'm a little afraid of the waves landing on the beach. However this morning I conquered my fear to go rescue dad when he was snorkelling. I could have sworn he needed my help.

16 Dec 09 Supply run to La Paz

This is a Mexican furniture mover. At least this one had the load tied down.
Monica Terry & Leif

So we had to make a supply run to La Paz - 45 min away from La Ventana. No problem we know how to get there and back now. Plus JD needed a break from the demon kite. We drove in and around the city like a couple of Mexican pro driving instructors. It's amazing how many streets we've already been on trying to find our way out on previous ventures to that fine city. We looked up our neighbours from the campground who live in La Paz and had a lovely tea session on their roof top palapa that overlooks the Bahia La Paz. Then we picked up the much needed supplies and beat it out of there before it got any hotter.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

15 Dec 09 Kite boarding lessons with JD

Shore bird coffee kletch.
Another crowded beach.
You can tell by the fact that this guy is above water that this is not JD

Justin the instructor does know what he's doing.

Proof that the demon kite exists!

Here's JD about to enter the salt water hydraulic flush of doom.

At 51 it is an unusual feeling to be a rooky at something again. The up side to being a 51 year old male is that once you reach 50 it is okay to take lessons. The rule states in the 'mans handbook' that no lessons shall be taken in anything before the age of 50. At 51 it's okay. In fact when Susie & I were lost in La Paz the other day I even consented to stopping and asking for directions. Fortunately for me we couldn't find anyone that spoke English. So that man's hand book rule has yet to be breached.

How do you describe kite boarding? Well it is a cool as all get out to watch someone that knows what they're doing - fluid, graceful, plenty of flight time. It really is as nifty as it looks on the television. The reality of learning the sport is not quite the same fluid, graceful, plenty of flight time spectre that you see. This is a very foreign environment from anything I've ever done before. The only thing fluid about learning is the sea water being hyper charged down your nose from being drug through the water like a water skier who forgot to let go of the rope. There is absolutely nothing graceful about being drug across the beach by a great big kite that you could only dream about as a kid. I remember thinking as a boy if only I had a bigger kite it would go higher and when it crashed it would come down across 2 or 3 power lines instead of the usual 1 powerline which doesn't seem to cause much carnage. And I'm sure I'll get plenty of flight time just as soon as that asshole kite quits dragging me head first through the water like a German U boat about to dive.

The kite boarding instructor is one of those cool kids who has his act together and has the patience of a saint. He assures me that I'm right on track with my progress. A little white lie I am sure. Anyway, we'll keep you posted on the progress with the demon kite and my manhood.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

13 Dec 09 - Once we were lost but now found

La Paz is a city of over 200,000. With little signage if any getting lost is a real threat.
This is what lost looks like in the middle of the Baja desert.

Watching the windsurfers and kite boarders @ La Ventana is like watching an elaborate dance.

And of course JD & I are always checking out the real estate wherever we are.

Doesn't JD strike a handsome figure in his wet suite? His instructor looked like his long lost son.

And this is what we came here for! Need we say more?

Working our way south from Mulege it was extremely difficult to drive right by Bahia Concepcion. It is a truly spectacular area and reminded us of places in Europe we visited so many years ago. Time will have to be spent there on our way north. Loreto was also a beautiful spot we may have to revisit. Thankfully found a pleasant RV park in Cuidad Constitucion where Skeena met yet another hot blooded Spaniard Lab that thought she was oh so pretty. This community is the gateway to the Bahia Magdelena where numerous whales can be found during mating season. The drive from here to La Paz lived up to the descriptions of it being one of the most boring parts of the Trans-peninsular highway except for the select parts of it that were the narrowest road we have encountered yet. No further damage was INCURRED though - we hope. Got lost within La Paz trying to find the lesser road to La Ventana. Finally found that road, went merrily on our way but got lost again. Have we mentioned the complete lack of signage in Mexico? When we were on the highway that literally ended in the middle of no-where we were forced to turn the trailer around on a single track switch-back. Have we mentioned how long and cumbersome our rig is?

When we finally hit the right road dark was descending rapidly. The Cardinal Sin of driving in Mexico had now been broken. We drove after dark. Define dark. Dark like the inside of a cow dark or that pinky purple color like the sky gets just before you can not see the cow in front of you. All in all it was another adventure to chalk up and we are safe and sound in La Ventana.
Friday morning JD wasted no time in arranging his kite boarding lessons which consists of 3 - 2 hour sessions aimed at giving you a taste of what the sport is all about. The instructor is a very patient man. JD does not make a good student. He's supposed to fly one solo tomorrow - hhmmm we'll have to see.

Another bonus for us today is that we connected with some fellow Revelstokians, Jodi & Mike Bennedict. It was great to connect and have a tour of their new home here. We will definitely share some more laughs and maybe a beer or margarita or 2 as well as some fishing adventures.
The community campground we're in sits right on the beach. It comes with flush toilets and cold and colder running showers. There's no power but fresh drinking water is delivered to your campsite as well as the catch of the day. We had golf ball sized scallops fresh today and have a promise of prawns next Tuesday. Oh yes and we have just discovered the free wifi tonight. All of this for the staggering sum of $ 8 a day. Seeing as we've found our version of paradise for the moment we've decided to stay for a while.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 Dec 09 Pacific to Cortez

And when it says the pavement will end It surely does!

Yes Skeena this is a fish you've never seen before but just as tasty as the northern kind.

Spending a few days at Campo Rene on the Pacific coast was just what we needed to realize why we came here. Walking on the endless silky sandy beach with bare feet is a sensation not to be missed. As you can see from the pictures we had to beat off the crowds - NOT. Estero el Coyote is just north of Laguna San Ignacio and is a safe haven for a variety of fish of which JD made it unsafe. Apparently large grouper are a little much for an 8 wt fly rod. Thankfully the one he hooked dove into the mangroves and broke off. He wasn't sure how he would have landed it anyway. After getting lost in the desert trying to find Estero La Bocana we decided we'd continue our southern journey. The devestation caused by Hurricane Jimica (sp) is very apparent between Santa Rosalita and especially in Mulege. Any low lying areas were smacked with a wall of water, now gone but the silty residue will take a while to digout from under. Continuing south we're not sure where we'll be tonight but will update when we can access wifi again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Exploring San Ignacio

Lost track of the day we're on with the adventure - does it really matter? Have spent the last couple of days with cousins Terry and Gary at their San Ignacio B & B. Wifi enabled yurts complete with dune buggy. Does it get any better? They have developed a beautiful oasis here and we've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. Spending the little bit of time in San Ignacio that we have makes us realize how lovely it would be to live here full time. Yesterday was too sweet - sitting in the sun sipping margaritas and munching on shrimp cocktails getting to know some new friends. We hope to catch up with Terry and Gary at Campo Rene tomorrow and try some fishing on the Pacific near Abrejho (sp). JD is saying, "WHAHOO! This is what I came here for!" Hey Bob I still haven't got a fishing license. Want to volunteer to help me? One of our pictures today is of Susie and cousin Terry. We will be incommunicado for a few days while we explore the coast. Don't panic! We'll be back!