Friday, March 18, 2016

Baja Magic

It's sweet to be back to where the desert meets the sea.

View from Baja Zen's yoga studio, just down the road.
We took four days to drive from San Diego to our casita at Cerritos Beach. Day One we stopped in Rosarito Beach to visit our friend Tony, who happened to be hanging out to surf.
The roads were in much better shape than the last time we drove south in 2014, just a few months after Hurricane Odile. The improved roads and our familiarity with the drive made it fun and relaxing.

First Baja mission, Loreto.
Every day in the car we practiced our Mandarin by CD. Yes, Mandarin, not Spanish. We know enough Spanish to get us around Mexico for the four months we'll be here (and it improves each day). But Mandarin is a totally different animal. We are committed to learning key phrases before we go to China in the fall.
Making tortillas.
After almost a year away, we arrived at our casita March 1. That night as we climbed into bed, lulled by crickets and waves,  it was quite a contrast to our first arrival here when we had to sleep in a barren house on a leaky air mattress. Our place was set up just as we'd left it, except the garden had grown.

Immediately we were swept up into a world of awesomeness, including babysitting our neighbor's dog (who is so cute it almost hurts to look at him)...
...doing tai chi and yoga, walking with my sister (who lives here year round) and her dogs on this beach...
Playa San Pedrito
 ...eating the fantastic food available here...
Chicken mole: Dave's happy place.
Best fresas ever.

Amazing (and cheap) oranges and ruby grapefruits abound.
...and going to hear David Raitt (Bonnie Raitt's brother) play great bluesy rock at the Hacienda... dance our patooties off.
Boogying with our friend and yoga teacher, Paul.
Before we knew the date we were returning to Mexico, we'd rented out our place for three days in March. We didn't want to cancel on the couple--so after being here a week, we took off for La Paz, an hour drive east. We stayed in a B&B near downtown, whose best feature was this garden...

...where every morning we ate breakfast and watched the birds before heading to the beach.

The first day at Playa Balandra, we happened to run into people we knew--two awesome Canadian couples we'd met a few days before in our resort's Jacuzzi! They were vacationing in the casita just across from ours.
I mean, really? They are staying next door for a week
and happen to be at the same beach as us
an hour away at the same moment? What are the chances?
You know how sometimes you feel a connection to people you barely know? That's how I felt about them, so it was a blast to rendezvous unexpectedly.
At Balandra, we found a small reef near the famous "Mushroom Rock," where we snorkeled and viewed colorful creatures. The next day we enjoyed Playa Tecolote, the beach where a year ago Dave took the picture that graces the cover of my memoir.
Tecolote 2016.
Last year, most of the beach restaurants were closed due to hurricane damage. What a difference a year makes.
Playa Pichilingus
Last time we spent just a day in La Paz. This time, we enjoyed the malecón at sunset: families strolling, kids playing, and vendors selling everything from food to balloons as people rolled by on skates and bikes.

Malecón means a walkway by a lake or ocean.
 We wandered around the streets and into markets.

Of course there was eating involved....
Claro Fish Jr., our fav.
Back at home, a note was waiting for me from the woman who'd rented our place. She found my memoir on the bookshelf and wrote, "By the 10th page, I know I was meant to find it. It feels like the book I've been searching for my whole adult life." She went on to say that she feels connected to me, even though we've never met, and that she is now inspired to do what she's always dreamed of doing: write.

She took a copy of the book (I had two on the shelf) and left money to pay for it, saying she'd mail it back to me if that wasn't okay. I was flooded with gratitude and goosebumps. Maybe this is too grandiose, but it made me feel like I'm fulfilling my life's purpose.

The next day, Sally--one of the Canadian women we'd serendipitously run into--came to talk to me about writing and life. She believes we were meant to cross paths. I feel the same. When they left later that morning, I was a little sad. The nomadic life involves a lot of hellos and goodbyes. (Thank goodness for being able to stay connected through Facebook.)

As though the universe was conspiring cheer me on, later that day I found out that Call It Wonder was named one of three finalists in the Bisexual Book Awards.

All of this has happened in just two weeks. I'm going to chalk it up to Baja magic.