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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Chilly Today, Hot Tamale!

Well, we’re bored now. It’s been raining and too windy and cold to take those morning walks on the beach. We tried going out yesterday during a break in the showers but were quickly driven back indoors by the chill and the stiff ocean breeze. Poor Winston is stir crazy, cooped up in the apartment here with only the occasional potty break outside.

Yes, we were too cold in February when we came down on our reconnoiter trip to Rosarito but we took that as a late winter storm affecting the otherwise balmy weather touted by Baja promos. But here we are in mid-May and it’s still inclement. So we’ll be heading south by the end of this week, cutting short our planned six week stay here. Live and learn.

We have managed a few interesting outings. Last week we headed up to the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja’s famed wine country, where we had learned a twice-weekly organic market could be found. Set up quite simply on tables in the yard of the woman farmer, it was a bounty of good food.  We were impressed! At the time we still expected to stay here awhile so we stocked up on organic lettuce, arugula (imagine!), gorgeous tomatoes, red onion, a beautiful local cheese, hand-made tortillas, yummy strawberry jam, a big loaf of bread and some free-range meat. Quite a haul. There was much more we wanted but fortunately resisted. Now, of course, I’m madly cooking to try and use it up before we hit the road.






The wine country itself left us a little unimpressed as it seemed to be acres of vineyards, many of them poorly tended with weeds growing between the plants, all connected by dusty rough dirt roads. One oddity was that many of the vineyards did not run a training wire between the plants as they do in the U.S. but rather just allowed the grape plants to grow as bushes. I suppose it works fine for them as we did buy a bottle of local wine yesterday that was quite tasty.

Our other fun outing came through an invite from our Airbnb hostess Molly to join her and friends for some live music down the road at the La Mision Hotel. By then we were reconsidering our plan to stay here awhile and almost turned her down but we did eventually agree to go. Boy, were we glad we did! 

Not only was the food very good – I enjoyed a Filet of Sole with Cilantro Cream sauce… Delicious! – but the music proved to be fantastic. Alex DePue and Miguel DeHoyos were just awesome. Alex has a whimsical style but puts on a virtuoso performance on his violin, adding occasional playful bounces with his bow while flamboyantly tossing his lengthy hair and Miguel demonstrating incredible guitar strumming alongside. Together they were just amazing. One special moment was when Miguel introduced his father who was sitting just behind us, saying this was the man who had taught him to play guitar. He certainly did a great job of it. Sadly, I had to leave after only one set because of neck pain. I miss my chiropractor! I’ll insert one of the short videos I made but check them out on YouTube sometime for a musical treat.

We did meet some interesting people during the evening, suggesting that there is a lively expat community here. Apparently our hostess Molly is something of an informal mayor, having lived here some 18 years. She seemed to know everyone. But once again the composition of the audience felt segregated to us, being composed mostly of Gringos with the Mexicans working to serve dinners.

Another problem with this area is its distance from basic services. We have to drive some 20 miles north into Rosarito to find a bank where we can get cash from an ATM without worrying that the machine might eat our card, which did happen once to Layne in Costa Rica. At least at a bank one can go inside and ask them to retrieve the card.

Waiting at the border
With a hasty trip on Sunday across the border and back into Mexico to get our Visitor Permit, known as an FMM, we are now legal to be here for the next six months. It's just as well we don't care for this area; the wait at the border even at 7:45 on a Sunday morning was over an hour. From Baja Sur, we'll be able to fly in and out from Cabo San Lucas. 


So on Friday we’ll start the long drive south, a harrowing prospect after we get beyond Ensenada. Apparently the road is narrow and must be shared with big rigs taking up the road with no shoulder to speak of and often just a cliff! We plan to only drive in the daytime, go slow and be extra careful. Wish us luck! This may be when we appreciate FrankinFord!

Copyright 2017 Kat Sunlove

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