Mexico! The very word conjures up exuberant, joyful people, mariachi bands, hot tamales and colours, lots of colours everywhere. I have not been disappointed. On my rollercoaster trip of a lifetime I find myself living in Ensenada, Baja California, a fairly large coastal city with a population of a little more than half a million. I will be here for about a month or so.
I decided to rent a suite, as locating an RV park online was a bit difficult. There are several in the area, but the cost is quite a bit more than the apartment rental. And, as I don’t speak the language, or know the laws, I don’t want to boondock. The apartment is centrally located and I can walk to just about everywhere I need to go, the bank, grocery store, museums and the beach. My landlady is a lovely lady, so helpful and sweet. I am so thoroughly impressed with the kindness of the people I have met. Despite the language barrier, I have had strangers help me in parking my beast of a vehicle, encourage me to take their pictures, warn me that my backpack is unzipped, and I am constantly greeted with smiles on the streets. I was even given leave to walk in the carnival parade to get better pictures.
I do realize that there are bad apples around, as in all countries, and I don’t go out at night. But I feel very safe here. I am not in the tourist area and I prefer that, with the exception of the language. Although, if I want to learn, I am better off where I am. I don’t think there is any insulation in the walls of the house. It is so incredibly noisy, day and night, but I am adapting. (This from a mom who had to put earplugs in her ears to sleep in a house full of children, who were actually very quiet.) All through the night, dogs bark, trucks roar by, shaking the foundation of the house, sirens blare, and music can be heard into the wee hours. The house overlooks a scaffold manufacturing business in the back, so all day long there is banging and clanging. There is no zoning here, so factories are side by side with private dwellings. A few times a day a water delivery truck driver makes his way along the avenue, honking to alert folks of his presence. And I can hear the cruise ships in the harbour, sounding their horns. This is the flavour of Mexico. And I embrace it.
What has been a struggle is spending so much time alone. But this is also part of the reason I am where I am. I began this journey with the intent of finding my place in life since the death of my husband, in addition to starting a travel writing and photography career. I need to be alone to be able to learn and practice and work. I never imagined I would end up alone at this point in my life, but here I am. I do enjoy spending time by myself, just not all the time. I spent so many years raising all of my children that I used to crave solitude. Now I have all I could possibly want, and more. But life is a battle, it is not for the weak, we all have our burdens to bear, and this is mine.
I took in the celebration of 100 years of Carnaval en Ensenada. It was so delightful to see everyone dancing, young and old, and all enjoying themselves. I haven’t eaten too much street food because most of the tacos have either fish or meat in them and I don’t know what a lot of the food is. You can’t beat the fresh churros, though! I’ll survive with tomato and avocado sandwiches and fruit.
I went to check out La Bufadora today. (I was going to go yesterday, but my RV was blocked in the driveway and I didn’t know who owned the truck blocking me in.) It is definitely a tourist trap, but I don’t have a problem with the street vendors. What a spectacular view from the look out point above La Bufadora towards the south west! The drive out there was lovely, too. There were lots of well ordered farms and greenhouses all along the highway, and beautiful homes on the peninsula. La Bufadora is the second largest of the three marine geysers in the world. “Bufar” means “to snort”. The geyser shot quite high, I was just having trouble with my timing.
On the way back, I took a wrong turn and wound up in the swanky part of Ensenada. There are definitely some very well to do Mexicans. The architecture of some of the homes is stunning. I then discovered the beach. Once again, I was in my element. And I found a sand dollar. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t alive.) I’ve been looking for one for quite a while. There was an abundance of them on the beach.
Nerah is not quite as happy here as she was at the RV park in San Diego. She has to stay in most of the time, though I do let her explore on the deck. I have seen a few cats wandering around, and have heard a cat fight, but once again, I don’t know the laws here. I can’t find anything online about allowing your cat to roam, and I’m not keen on her straying too far. We are on a busy street, next to a major thoroughfare, so she will have to put up with hanging out at the apartment for now.
I have booked a whale watching tour for next week. Apparently the gray whales spend three months of the year, January to March, breeding in the lagoons and bays around the Baja California Peninsula. I am pretty excited about that excursion. Beyond that, I’m not quite sure where I will go. I’m thinking of driving to San Felipe, on the Sea of Cortez, for a few days and then maybe explore farther south.