Travels With Buddha-10.17— — Bahia de los Angeles, Sea of Cortez, Eastern Baja California, Mexico
“Su cartel ya lo conocen / le llaman La Vecindad / los contrarios por envidia / lo han querido asesinar…..” (narcocorrida from Northern Mexico, used ironically)
I suppose, Buddha says to me, That you can’t blame someone for feeling better after they LEAVE the United States of America. The confusion and contentiousness of the present day has made it an unpleasant place. The land of liars. Home of moral cowards. I feel your pain.
He says this after I tell him how GOOD it feels to be back in Mexico. As we drive south from the border he can’t help but notice the big grin on my face. So I try to explain to him this feeling I’ve always had after I clear the international border. The feeling of Mexico, well it’s just different.
It is easy to just say that it is more relaxed, but also I think that it is also more authentic. There is a warmth and a friendliness to the people of Mexico that you rarely find in the United States. There is also a kind of helplessness of fate, an acceptance of karma, and an avoidance of responsibility bordering on the humorous, that just seems to permeate everything. When I drive south into Mexico I constantly find myself on the verge of laughing.
And shaking you head, Buddha says, I notice you shake your head a lot.
The head shake of disbelief. Like I did when I watched the woman in Mexicali. She was driving a beat up old Nissan truck. She pulled off to the side of the road that ran along Trump’s Wall. She reached over and opened the passenger door to let her dog out. He ran directly to the wall, lifted his leg and pissed on it. Then she drove slowly along the side of the road while the dog ran along the fence. I drove past, but I am sure she kept “running” her dog until he took a good shit as close to the border as he could get.
That’s my Mexico, I tell Buddha, That’s why I love it.
So then we are both smiling the next 526 kilometers all the way towards New Year’s Eve at Bahia de los Angeles. As advertised the scenery is spectacular.
The salt flats of the upper Sea of Cortez are off to the east and a spiny ridge of desert mountains (Sierra Las Tinajas) to the west. A black band of clouds hangs over the mountains, the edge of heavy rain on the west side of the peninsula. It has been a wet winter so far and the desert is covered by a flush of green. The cardon and segura cactus are bulging with extra water, the ocotillo brush have leafed out in tiny triangular light green leaves, and at the upper tip of the tall mono-trunk spiked bojum trees there is a feathering of yellow-gold flowers. Baja in bloom.
The days are short. It is almost sunset when we come out of the mountains through the Val Aqua Amarga on the sinuous road down to Los Angeles. We get a good glimpse of the bay from above, curving inlets and small islets all protected by the long mountain island Isla Angel de la Guarda to the east. There is a scattering of civilization. Houses and shacks that are or once were habitations for the fishing guides and their families. It is the beginning of a long, cold, off-season night.
We have no plan, no reservation. It is almost 6 PM by the time we get down there. Along the crumbling malacon there are a couple of hotels that look closed. There is one store open and a group of young outdoor enthusiasts (you can tell by the surf boards lashed to the top of their Subarus) huddling in the cold wind, trying to decide whereto spend the night. Further along we see a likely restaurant. It is likely because if has a sign with flashing green and red LED lights (from an American COSTCO) that says: OPEN.
We go in and find the place empty of customers. But two women and two men are sitting at a table playing cards. They are The Cook, The Bartender, The Waiter, and The Owner.
“Comida?” I say “Es possible?”
They all get up at once. They are very happy to see us.