Travel Journal

Los Angeles - Baja California (Mexico) - December 21 - 23

(Monday 7 January 2008) by Karin
Left early afternoon but soon got stuck in traffic :-(. Plenty time to look around. Crossed the border into Mexico early in the evening. Busy, busy, busy. Let's hope not everyone goes where we are going. Signs directed us through Tijuana to Ensenada. The main road skirts the border for a couple of miles before turning down to the coast. What a contrast between the views on the left and the right. A view of Southern California to the right and a depressing view of Tijuana with all its poverty to the left. We headed down the toll road running along the coast to Ensenada. Ensenada is the peninsula's leading port and its third largest city. Spent our first night there before continuing our road trip the next morning. I eat my first "taco's and beans" and we stop at the first panaderia for sweet breads. We will take pictures of all the panaderia we encounter.
Went off the road to a beautiful spot along the coast. Climbed down some cliffs for a first encounter with the sea. Impressions of space, stillness, freedom and excitement *_* *_*. Climbed back up to persuade Laila to come out of "Landy" and down with me. I love the ocean.
We kept driving South and in El Rosario the highway left the coast and wandered into the mountainous heart of the peninsula. It crosses the valley and climbs into a region of low, deeply eroded hills. Here we get a first glimpse of the strange and unusual 'cirio tree'. Apart from a small colony of cirios on the Mexican mainland they grow only between El Rosario on the north to a hilly area just north of Guerrero Negro on the South. It is a round stubby plant that grows to what looks like a tall, thin, thorny-stubbed upside-down carrot. Some grow to almost 60 feet, straight and tall like telephone poles. Others bend and loop in bizarre contortions.
Stopped for the night in Nuevo San Rosario to continue the next morning for our first stop in Guerrero Negro. Guerrero Negro is one of the world's leading producers of industrial salt: Seawater released into hundreds of evaporation ponds south of town is soon burnt off by the fierce sun.
Scenery keeps changing; ocean, mountains, cactus; sometimes the desert is barren with just a few tall cacti and thorny bushes, but it is always magnificient. Beauty every where. I just try to take it all in.
Stopped at the mission in San Ignacio. The mission was founded in 1728 but the temple was not finished until probably 1786. Walked around for a while and before exciting the town stopped near some date trees to pick some. Yummie.
After driving highway 1 for miles and miles through barren desert we arrived in Santa Rosalia, an old mining town where a French company created not only one of the world's major copper-producing mines but also a company town with a French flavor. It's most famous building is the church of Santa Barbara, one of three designed and built by Alexandre Gustav Eiffel, destined for missions in Africa; when the deal fell through, one of the revolutionary prefabricated structures went on display at the 1889 Paris World Expo, where it was seen and purchased by an El Boleo director, then shipped and reassembled in Santa Rosalia. The old French bakery where we stopped is known throughout the peninsula for its pastries and 'pan dulces'. The machinery for the El Boleo Bakery has been brought over from France in the 1880's, and much of it is still operational.
El Requeson beach, our beach, was reached soon after. A beautiful, sheltered, sandy beach. Set up tents, field kitchen and dining room. Cleaned up our beach as whatever virtues Mexicans possess, being fastedious about their trash is not one of them. A short 'discovery walk' (at least for me as Harald and Laila have been here several times) before the cook, Harald, prepares us some dinner. It gets dark early so we eat under the full moon B-).
Another moment to savor.


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