Thursday, August 2, 2012

Be Sure to Go on a Weekday

This time of year, if you want to enjoy one of La Paz's most popular (accessible, beautiful, biggest) beaches, you absolutely must go on a weekday. Tecolote Beach is at the tip of the Bay of La Paz as the land starts to curve back around to the East Cape. It is at the end of the "Carretera a Pichilingue" or Highway to Pichilingue that runs east and then north out of the city. 

From the road in.  land in the distance is actually the
off-shore island of Espiritu Santo
 The nice thing about Tecolote is that there are a ton of Palapas for shade, so if someone does crash your solo morning, they have pleeenty of shady areas to choose from and hopefully arrange themselves faaar away from you.

There is beautiful blue water in which to lounge, play or snorkel (although the sandy bottom means not too much fish/coral action).  Peddlers come by with carts occasionally, but they are very few and if you're lucky the donut lady will walk by with her tray of yummy donuts balanced on her head!
Here are some more pics of my morning with M yesterday:
Sombrero is a must.

sandy dog, just the way he likes it

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I haven't been too great at posting these last few weeks and I apologize for it.  I have been finishing my thesis as the very last assignment for my Master's degree and I'm very proud to say the thesis was accepted and I am d-o-n-e with school for EVER! Now what will I do with my days? Hmmm, I can think of about a million things.  I have a visit to the States coming up in just about a week and want to make the most of the rest of the summer here in Baja.  Although, one thing for certain, I will NOT miss this scorching heat!
We are big Batman fans and spent last night reviewing Christopher Nolan's first Batman movie from 2005.  We've seen his second from 2008 lots of times, so we're skipping that.  But tonight we're headed to the Cinemex Platino that opened last year in La Paz to see the new Batman!! We were thrilled when Cinemex opened because well, we love the movies but also it's giving Cinepolis some competition.  For a decade Cinepolis was the only movie theater in town and didn't offer much in the way of discounts, festivals, etc.  But Cinemex's competition has changed that, with 2X1 nights, midnight showings and more.  Platino is like Cinepolis' VIP and I love going to be pampered.  I'll report back tomorrow!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Transito Office

E and I got pulled over for the first time since owning our truck - about 1 year! We had a headlight out, and we knew it.  No "mordida" or bribe asked for by the officer - who was very courteous and polite.  He even answered 2 traffic questions E and I had been arguing over the last few weeks (and I was right, ahem!).
I went to pay the "multa" or fine at the Transito office and had to go alone, since E was working. It wasn't bad at all! I found it on the map, guided myself there. Had to park a few blocks away, that place is busy! Got there 10 minutes before the office opened (thinking it was like the DMV in the States). Walked in, asked where to go at the information desk, walked to the counter, 2nd in line! $125 pesos ($10) later, bam! out the door. and everyone was so nice. I asked the man behind the counter the office hours, since he served me at 8:55am and I thought for sure it opened at 9:00am. When he told me, "Yes senorita, 9:00-3:00pm", I said, "oh but it's just 5 til 9am now" and he smiled and said, "yes but that's ok, senorita. Have a good day." I walked out smiling - love when government actually extends a favor to the public. :)

Cheerful flowers for bureaucracy that works!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Culture Shock

Just when you think you're past culture shock in another country - something happens that reminds you that you truly have A LOT more to learn:
We went camping this past weekend with 2 local families that have acquaintance-like relationships with my boyfriend and his parents.  (Although in Mexico, is anyone just an acquaintance?) We go camping pretty regularly and have our packing and planning down to a science.  We like to go bare minimum in gear, medium on the alcoholic beverages and heavy on the snacks (good excuse to cheat on our diets)!  When we met up with the 2 families on our way out of town, I was shocked to find they had vans FULL of stuff and FULL of people.  I guess we had no idea how many people would be coming on this trip, but as we made our way out to the East Cape, we were a party of 22!

The vans opened up once we got to the sand and out poured the families like clowns from a circus car.  All I could do was laugh.  and E said, "Welcome to the real La Paz!"  That night the families set up a gazebo (though the sun was already down), 3 buffet tables, kitchen-ware, a gasoline-powered overhead lamp (like a workbench-style) which ran on a motor (forget listening to the waves), kitchen chairs and even a television!! They were stocked! and very gracious with their food, as they had told us before we left they were paying for all the food, no discussion. 

I feel like I'm pretty adaptable; certainly moreso after having lived in Mexico for 4 years. I pride myself on not being the "snotty american". But even this took some patience. It wasn't at all what I was used to "camping on the beach". Instead of quiet drinks by the fire, there was ranchero music, the lamp's motor buzzing away, children shrieking playing soccer (with a full size goal by the way) and loud shouting/discussion. In the morning, even though no one had been asleep before 2am, everyone was up with the sun! I admit I felt a little out of place, uncomfortable even. I tried to relax and see that everyone was having fun, relaxing together. And in that I saw the goodness of the 2 families being so close that they could do these things together. No one was bickering or fighting, everyone was genuinely having a good time together. After I realized that I felt the virtue of the Mexican family and how special it can be. And how special I feel to be welcomed into it.

Sunset in Las Cruces

Looking towards the beach, from my twilight desert walk

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What is up with "Ahorita"?

I have to write today about a spanish word that reeeally bugs me: "ahorita".  For those of you that don't speak spanish, it comes from "ahora" meaning now, with an "-ita" ending, which changes any word to mean a smaller version of that word.  Example: Casa = House, but Casita = little house. ok? ok.

But when one uses "ahorita" I've found that it doesn't anyways mean, "in a little bit" or "in a short time" like one would think.  Well, at least not when E uses it.  Consider these common exchanges:

Me: When do you want to paint the new wall?
E: Ahorita.
Me: Oh wow, ok so should we go get paint? Will we have time before my yoga class?
E <looks confused>: No, we're going to do it ahorita.
Me <returning confused look>: So....should exactly?
E: Ahorita is ahorita, Lisa. Like maybe in a few months.

next day

E: Jose (our Mason) called. He'll be over ahorita.
Me: Ok, cool. Let me know and I'll put some clothes on. (Don't judge, it's like 100* now)

Now after Jose leaves
Me: What the hell?? You gave me no notice! You said he'd be coming by ahorita!!
E: Yes, Lisa, well that was ahorita. You never know...
Me <way confused>: How can "you never know"?!?

Grrr.  The flexibility of this word! It morphs from situation to situation.  Just one more delightful quirk of living in Mexico :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Busy Beachin'

Wow! You step away for a few days and BOOM a week has gone by! Been very busy laying on the beach! This past weekend we camped for 2 nights at a beach with no name.  But because it's on the old dirt road from Los Planes to Los Barriles (one that was, you know, originally a horse-riding road) and you must spend about 2 hours go over rocks the size of your tires, curves that spiral upward and cliff-hugging "where-would-the-oncoming-car-go?" type terrain, most people call it "Desviado" Beach - or Detour Beach.

Here are some shots of the drive in:

Climbing the mountain-side. This is Los Planes valley in the background. 
La Paz is back over the mountains in the distance.

1992 Landcruiser. mountain = not an issue.

road continues...

Then it appeared from the cliff road, like a sparkling jewel!!!


Getting there was such a battle, that all we wanted to do was!! Spent 2 days snorkelling, wading, exploring the rocks, sharing company with the pelicans, playing fetch and battling the night winds with the tarp. Made fried chicken quesadillas with the cast iron skillet over a small campfire and slept out under the stars.

My snorkelling partner - I swear he followed me!

Sorry it's blurry. Taken with the GoPro and it gives a "fish-eye" viewpoint,
plus I didn't get the water drops off the lens, oops!

Saw NO other humans the whole time. Some cars passed up high above us on the cliff-road but no one came down, we were alone! Awesome trip! I've seen a part of Baja that not many people have seen. It is amazing to me that in this insane world of technology, communication, societal pressures and agendas that it is possible to completely disconnect and

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garden Update

Well well well, things are moving along much faster on the garden project than I anticipated (you know how everything moves at snail-speed down here?).  We got some cacti and put them in the ground 2 nights ago.  Lots of spines so the dog won't dig near them.  Pain makes an excellent deterrant, haha!  As predicted we got a short, stubby cactus (guess it might be time to learn cactus names, huh?):

And another spiny one about a foot and a half tall:

These are our two existing cacti - they continue to grow!

Mezcal (E just told me the name) was a tiny baby when E brought her home from the desert

Aloe Cactus (I knew that one) with M next to him for comparison. 

As you can see we have LOTS of work left to do.  But with the high sun and heat, outdoor work (and pretty much ALL work) is impossible between 11am and 8pm. We'll see what else we think of! How are your gardens?