Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For...


Sitting back in La Paz after a very interesting day, and the whole damn building started shaking.  I had to go outside because I thought the Earthquake would toss Blondie on her backside, and she has been through too much this week.  Sure enough,  there was an earthquake in northern Baja.  It was the heaviest that I have ever been in, and it is a strange feeling when the whole platform that you are on starts shifting very noticeably.

Well, the TV news people say that the quakc was 78 kilometers north of  La Paz, out in the Sea of Cortez.  Since the original quake, I have felt one after shock.  Again, pretty weird for a guy who is supposed to be overdue for the big one off the coast of Vancouver Island.   The latest information on the La Paz quake is found here.

I started the day by packing up completely, and heading out on a small adventure to the south.  I was interested in seeing what Cabo San Lucas was about, and also the seeing the most southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.

I figured that I would find a room somewhere along the route, and be back in La Paz for the ferry to the Mainland on Thursday.  I need to find out where to get tickets, and also hit the bank again.  This is the route that I planned out:

View Driving directions to La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico in a larger map

The ride was interesting enough, and it is quite noticeable that the roads in Baja California South are in better shape, and in many cases (MEX 19 and MEX 1) are often doubled.  I stopped in Todos Santos for some tacos and Gatorade.  It is a nice little town and I could spend time in a place such as this.  The ride from Todos Santos south to Cabo was interesting in that the open Pacific was right beside the hiway, and the beach that I could see seemed to be magnificent, with deep and tall rollers coming up the beach.  The only problem that  I saw, was that there did not seem to be much access to the beach, and frequently there was someone's castle built on the rim of the beach, with the corresponding signs keeping the rank and file out.  The closer to Cabo, the more elaborate and fancy the castles seemed to get.

I spent about an hour riding around Cabo.  Saw my first hooker, at least I am assuming the poor girl would not normally be decked out like she was in the middle of the day.  I think I am making this point in defense of Mexico, and the perceptions by some that hookers are on every corner and that somehow the daily life of her people is nothing but tequila and sex.  Somehow, the image of Tijuana has transferred to many Norte Americano mindsets, and people really don't have a clue about what is happening outside of their windows, let alone city or country...  Part of my point, there is an discussion on Mexican TV as I write, and they are talking about 60% of the inmates in Mexican prisons are there because of drug related crimes.  I am not going to get on my Marc Emery soapbox, but I wonder how close to this figure our  own prisoner rate is, as well as our Southern Neighbours who initiated the war on Drugs... I digress...

Cabo is exactly what i expected: lots of touristas wandering around looking at trinkets and baubles.  I had thought about getting Blondie a sticker, but I really started questioning my motives, and while I
guess I will never have a Hard Rock Cafe, Cabo San Lucas T shirt, I at least did wander around and satisfy my curiosity about the place. A bit further east, in Los Cabos, I stopped for a Macdonald's burger, just to keep my digesting system remembering that it has to deal with processed food occasionally.  I also wanted to see if I was back online regarding my stomach and bowels.

I witnessed a situation in the Macdonalds which, to me, makes my role as a traveller much harder, and certainly makes me wonder where some people's heads are attached to their assholes... This gringo guy with a gorgeous Thai girlfriend (although her 38D's were obivously plastic and ruined the look) stands at the Macdonalds' counter with an American 20 dollar bill, and does not try to interact with the young Macdonalds' seniorita in any way.  She is telling him that they don't take the dollars, and that they don't have any change for that much money.  The arrogant dude, sunglasses and tats, just stands there and gives this kid the WTF attitude and shoves the bill in her face.

 No communication, no acknowledgement that he was too lazy to go to the cash exchange around the corner and simply posturing and demanding that the money be taken.  A jerk.  I caught her eye and gave her the "don't let this asshole ruin your day look", and she smiled.  Jerks like this are all over the place, thinking that they can arrive in somebody elses' country and simply overpower the culture with their own demands.  Yes, I know that my relatives did a good job of imposing their values on the  folks living in Canada, and I suppose that in one way, we have not learned much from those initial mistakes, either.

It was time to hit the road, I had seen enough of the southern tip of Baja: it was too much for me, and there was little there that appealed to me in the sense that I could view the life and people without a huge amount of cynicism.  I went by the marina, and even tho the charter boats were up in the 35 foot class, there were still far too many boats sitting at the dock......

I headed north, towards La Paz.  I took Mexico 1 north.  As I was moving north, I noticed that the skies were darkening, and perhaps that storm that I had been warned about two days ago, was forming.  Sure  enough, it began to sprinkle.  I stopped and put on my jacket, without the rain liner, thinking that this quick sprinkle was welcome, after two or more weeks of heat.  Little did I know what the next three hours and 200 kilometers would bring...

Obviously, the photos don't make the point that I was in the front of a huge rain storm which gathered wind and water the closer I moved to La Paz.  I passed through a couple of villages, and was completely prepared to take a room, but there was not any available.  I was soaked right through, and I guess the good news was that it was fairly warm.

  For all the guys, I wish that I could capture the Mexican news that is one now, with the weather girl telling me that what I was in front of was Hurricane  Miriam and that we are expecting 140 km winds.  Good god how do they allow those dresses on public TV?  It sure makes Mark McDrigga pretty tame.

Well, at least I know what I was in, and why when I arrived in La Paz the whole south end of town was flooded.  Blondie ended up riding through rivers that were flowing across the street. I found out that my Sidi Gortex Rainboots do not deal with raging torrents at all.  I was very happy with Blondie that she stayed up, and I did not have any time to think about things, as I was in the midst of heavy traffic, and some vehicles were stalling and getting caught in the cross currents.  I chose my lines in the vados, and gave Blondie a good twist to get her through.  I am very happy with how Blondie handled the floods and unintended water-crossings.

The plan for the next two days is to make arrangements to take the ferry to the mainland and to wait out any more earthquakes or hurricanes.