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Old 02-06-2007, 09:10 PM   #91
DRS Canada
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Hey Ged. The chase guy for Trail Boss is Tim and you're right he works his ass off. I was impressed by the professional approach of the Trail Boss experience, these guys put in the effort to allow their guests a worry free trip and by the fact that the 2 groups we met are both return customers, well that speaks volumes.
The buggy group was another tour which looked pretty cool, I was snapping photos @ sunrise and met one of the guys on the tour. He was stoked and could not impress upon me enough that these things are "the real deal". They look like fun but I can only imagine the price of that ticket !
BOLA and "Costa del Sol" brought some real interesting people and sights to the forefront of the trip. Bill Nichols and Greg (40 yrs old) were funny as they played me like a banjo regarding the Husaberg. As you had mentioned there was a glow permeating my existence and as they pumped me for Husaberg info (not really) I responded enthusiastically and basically tried to convert them prior to them showing us the inside of the alien spacecraft. Lotsa laughs after that and a good meal with great company. By the way the spacecraft contained an 06 FE 550 and an 05 FE450. So much for little green men ...
Keep up the great work Yoda, I look installment to your next forward ...
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:03 AM   #92
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Darren,

Thanks for the update .....between the two of us we should piece this together....

The ride to San Francisquito was one we were saving for the last part of our trip....but not for any particular reason.....it just worked out that way...

We respectfully inspected the Danger Ditch....



Riding in Baja offers such a range of opportunities, one can develop a large list of places to explore .... and sometimes you can knock most of them off.

This ride was planned to be a vacation that included lots of riding, some kick-back days, and some "let's see what happens" days....

Something happens for me when I am there that is difficult to articulate well, but goes something like this: The expectations that develop with research and planning (one of my favourite parts of any trip) seem to run the show at first.....and a bit of a frenetic pace is la sopa del dia for a while....reason starts to set in and the original plan starts to adapt to reality and what's in front of me.....sharing the trip with Darren was a pleasure as he is very easy going and has a refreshing point of view....and this was the first time I had travelled with a friend for that period of time....and we got along remarkably well.....so being in the Baja was exactly where I wanted to be and I had a chance to share the experience with someone who had never been there before.....I could offer some tips or ideas based on my previous experiences there and that seemed to work well enough of the time....so, in a sense, I was having much of the trip in the way I envisioned it....and watched as the "itinerary" took its dips and doodles....

I had built San Francisquito up quite a bit as it has been a special place for me a few times.....it was out in the middle of almost nowhere....it was not full of tourists....it was a beautiful setting, and it took some effort to get there....and it was in an area with lots of riding variety available....

South of Bola, the road is rough with washboard and some rocks of the smaller sort....but also had, as much of Baja does, a parallel road that tended to be smoother and more fun to ride....so not long after Pastrana's nemesis, we followed the old Race route for a handful of miles weaving in and out of bermed corners and deeper sand, passing some stone buildings along the way...

('05 pic):



This section of terrain is the Valle las Flores, and earns its name, especially when some rain has blessed the valley...

('05 pic):




Darren and I were keeping our eyes open for a renowned trail known by some as "The Green Door Trail" which heads due south of this road at about km. 30 south of Bola....we found it (no pic) and thought we might ride it on the return.


Now here is another thing about riding in Baja for me.....I have some ride ideas planned and will bypass them as I am "destination-bound" and some of these side trips remain undone....there seems to be a ride momentum at times that gets in the way of dinking around and/or even stopping long enough to snap a few pics...and that is why some of the best photo-ops go undone....its about riding sometimes and....sometimes about the pics...

Darren and I promised each other numerous times that we would set up parts of days to focus on doing some cool ride pics....you know....the ones where the wide angle shot catches the Other Guy blazing past or catching air or crashing.....or whatever.....you have seen how we captured this ride through these pics....there are 1000 times more pics NOT taken than have been kept on disc....so it is an interesting dance....trying to be in the moment....and trying to capture it....it is a bit of a lesson in attachment, letting go, appreciating the moment, BEING there....and fighting the urge to have the coolest ADV ride story or pics for the folks back home....


So I have come to accept that "Ya can't do it all".....

Sometimes the drudgery of the ride (Yes, sometimes it is not fun: you're tired, worried about flats or gas or daylight disappearing....) erodes the clarity of opportunities presented ...but not taken....mixed feelings float around....as might stomach woes, thirst, sore knees, hangovers, cactus slivers, and a host of other conditions which turn paradise into a dusty rough road that you wish would just end.....and when it does, you wish it had not sometimes....

It gets confusing when you are there long enough to be aware of this ebb and flow of consciousness....not fully understanding quite all what is happening, yet responding to it in ways that determine the next hour, the next day, or the next whatever...

A guy in Dust to Glory says it well when he suggests that Baja sets up a love-hate relationship....and when its all over and the dust settles....you can't wait to get back....

As I said....we didn't take the Green Door Trail...

but here is what we DID do.....we rode to San Francisquito

Looking back to Bola about 1/2 hour from town...




Passing the Green Door Trail turnoff, we sped eastwards through the Llano la Laguna, a low flat plain that leads to the rise of land overlooking Bahia San Raphael....

This pic is from part of that rise and is looking westwards from whence we came...






...and from the same spot, the Sea of Cortez is visible at the distant Boca Grande (Big Mouth)....






and the road continues to curve upwards and then southwards...



The road winds around, up and down, and if you stop long enough to look around, you can catch another view of where you just were....somewhere in the Valle San Raphael....








I was happy to get off the rougher road and approach the sandy-road junction where there is usually a military checkpoint....



I stopped to look around for a moment, saw no soldiers, waited for Darren, and a few minutes later he pulled up....we nodded and I ripped off, excited to be so close and on such a soft carpet ride....90-100 kph smooths that road out a bit....

Within a few minutes, some dust coming from the east gave birth to the buggies Darren had photographed the day before in Bola...so he did more of the same here as I raced ahead for a while...



Every time I met up with one, I would hold up my left hand with and indicated that "One" was yet to come, hoping they appreciated the signal and wasn't suggesting they were #1 ...and Darren later reported that each buggy driver returned the signal to him with diminishing digital indications as each approaching buggy lowered the count...



Before we got into the last section of curves leading towards San Fran, I found a primo spot for a pullover....for a smoke and some pics, Ya know...
the sand was pleasantly hard-packed and there was not a lot of chollo cactus nerds laying about....



And as I was busy rolling a smoke out of the wind, Darren heard an approaching vehicle and caught sight of the military Hummer going by....the soldiers oblivious to the terrorists lurking nearby...



and just like that....they were gone....



And once again, we had the desert all to ourselves..













We took the long way into San Fran via the airstrip and found the place to be suitably free of other gringos...







A cerveza or two christened Darren's virginal arrival and all was good...







We picked our accomodations....



Darren getting first choice as I had that call at Costa del Sol in BOLA....






I spread out my stuff, trying to make it look like home....



Before noticing a blond waiting for me on the door mat....(poor pic, sorry)




We settled into a sunny afternoon and grokked San Francisquito...and made a few friends...

Heathcliff approaching La Cantina...



And a sweet girl with no name...




And the day was in its golden hour....



We shared the glow....
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:54 AM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoged




Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

Snakes, spiders, ticks, all pale in comparison, in my mind, to these little f'ers. Never been stung by one but I understand it is quite unpleasant.
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Old 02-07-2007, 09:24 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by svwayne
Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

Snakes, spiders, ticks, all pale in comparison, in my mind, to these little f'ers. Never been stung by one but I understand it is quite unpleasant.
SV,

I have been fortunate enough to always see the little buggers before I get stung....I have heard folks say that the small ones are as bad or worse a sting as the larger ones....I have only seen the smaller blonde ones in Baja and mainland Mexico, but have seen reddish ones 4-5" long in Costa Rica....

My Baja experience, especially camping, is to shake my clothing well before putting it on, turn my boots upside down and smack 'em, as do the same for helmet and gloves....

Scorpions seem to also like to hide out in just the place one might look for firewood , so I give wood and cactus innards a kick before picking up stuff for a campfire...

Some surfers near Los Cerritos once were passing the doldrums by overturning rocks near the beach, finding scorpions, and embalming them in fiberglass resin "pucks" formed in the bottom of Tecate cans.....performance art
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Old 02-07-2007, 09:35 PM   #95
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Ged, how was San Franscisquito this year? Seems to be degrading at a steady pace. Last time I was there the beer chest (dog coffin) was out of ice

Food was still decent and the folks are always friendly.
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:07 PM   #96
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Ged, how was San Franscisquito this year? Seems to be degrading at a steady pace. Last time I was there the beer chest (dog coffin) was out of ice

Food was still decent and the folks are always friendly.
Gassie,

I gettin' there ...it is a bit haggard and they had no fish when we were there....that part of the report is next

Ged
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Old 02-08-2007, 12:11 AM   #97
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As Gaspipe wondered....how IS San Francisquito these days???



iIt seems to have new "managers" every time I have been there....since first time in 2002....this year, it seemed to be in good hands....and the two young women cooking were good at it and were pleasant, although we didn't spend too much time in La Cocina...




When we arrived, the manager, the two women and a few family members were in the kitchen ....we indicated we planned on staying and they cleaned up the cabins (can't really call them palapas, I don't think) and made the beds.

Now, the beds are mostly large cots which are surprisingly comfortable and have sheets and blankets that were adequate. The temperature had begun to drop and i was prepared for a cold night....so with a 200 weight fleece and climbing tights (my camp pyjamas), I was warm and had a good sleep....Darren got the bed with a mattress and I didn't hear him complain....

The southern bano had running water....VERY basic shower and toilet facility, so don't expect much....




But it means you don't need to squat behind a cactus....




The cabin interiors are as usual, as well, and each cabin has a different bed/cot set-up...each being able to accomodate 3-4 folks...and each rented for $20....Darren and I took one cabin each....two sharing would cost $25....



The windows and doors consist of heavy vinyl sheets/tarps which are adequate....





....there are enough nails and hooks that you can hang your crap off the floor and let them air out....

The floors are cement....the walls are wood....the roof is corrugated metal with palapa palm frond on top....for that aesthetic....





Darren and I lazed around the afternoon we arrived....watched the seagulls while we sipped cervezas by the cantina....



Darren attempted to establish rapport with a gull that was brave enough to approach the kitchen/dining area by offering his hat.....apparently an Albertan tradition having something to do with submissive behaviour in that animal kingdom...





...and a compromise was established, with his hat indicating the DMZ...




And after a while, we moved down to our cabins ...






....and enjoyed the warmth of the late afternoon sun ....dismantling souvenir Baja 1000 marker signs.....with the company of our quiet friend...





Requiring more refreshments, we returned to the Cantina and had a chance to review the interior decorating....seasonal as it was...












Now.....you have to appreciate the sense of humour displayed...as this is a fishing paradise....




and also appreciate the hard-core off-roader contingent that pulls through on two and four wheels....



...and the Al Perrett Gang whose stickers were ubiquitous...





But the antics of some gringo drunks made us just go..."Huh??"








While other images made abit more sense...









And just in case you needed to get your bearings and location figured out...




The afternoon was wearing down.....our friend was finally finding something to eat....




and supper, sad to say was machaca as they didn't have any fish

But the machaca burritos were muy grande y muy sabrosa...and we were too busy eating to take any pics.....
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:54 AM   #98
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it looks like a great ride,very different to oz
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:04 PM   #99
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So there we were....stuffed after a simple but great dinner of machaca burritos....

Machaca is shredded beef, and often is shredded DRY beef....when Darren first ordered it in San Bartolo, we were both impressed with how it was prepared: tender "pulled" beef (ie. shredded, not ground beef) which was sauteed with peppers and onions, with a touch of seasoning....all to be rolled up in tacos (maize o harina)...when we tried it in a place in Loreto, the beef was like shredded shoe leather and was barely edible....and here, in San Fran, it was simply tender shredded beef....

As the sun went to sleep at about 5 or 6 pm (depending on which time zone we considered....knowing that San Fran sits on the time zone line), we followed suit shortly thereafter....

I checked my bed for scorpions, found none, and settled into a good sleep...

When I awoke, the sun had not yet peeked over the horizon. Knowing that most Baja sunrises are worthy of getting up for, I rolled off the cot and put another fleece on, grabbed my camera,




......and poked my head out the tarped doorway....

THE DAY BROKE GREY AND DULL......a suitable end to the nearing end of our month-long journey....it was ending as it began.....sort of...

OUR FIRST OVERCAST DAY IN A MONTH>>>>>



And as my eyes opened a bit more to take it all in, the information they began to gather synchronized with the barely audible tapping sounds and the kinesthetic reality of moisture doing a small and gentle jig on my head....

IT WAS RAINING.



Now, being the intrepid international adventure traveller who is not deterred by climatic issues...., I muttered something that even I did not hear and proceeded to walk around and evaluate the storm potential.

Chris Steward (remember the Trail Boss Gang ?) had indicated a few days earlier that his wife, Nancy, had informed him over the sat phone that a front was moving in with a big bit of bad weather....

And so here it was....dirt riders tend to rationalize...."It'll keep the dust down...".

Off in the distance I could hear an outboard motor and was reminded of the early morning starts that scatterd pangas delivering fishermen to their favourite spots....



The fisherman were heading north beyond the point...towards a light rain...



So, the other early morning risers were practicing their rituals.... a little clean-up....



.....a little warm-up...




.....and a bit of visiting before looking for something dead to eat....




My early morning tour was guided by a quiet but attentive local girl...



Her choice of jewellry was a tasteful understatement....even simpler than a single strand of pearls....and perhaps a bit more functional or practical for the occasion and location...




She led the way...checking out the details as she went...




....sometimes not being sure of which part of her domain to share first...





...she decided to point out the remnants of a cabin which, with the help of termites, had been blown away in the September '06 tropical storm Juan...












A pan of the locale indicated that I was the only person up and about...

No heavy traffic at the airport...



Or evidence of the rest of the locals...







....the kitchen was not open, so the coffee hit would have to wait...



And while my guide had her ups and downs...




And what appeared a bit desolate...




....showed signs of previous residents....


.... lazing around...









And while some might say nothing was happening here....








there was some evidence that some other life forms were stirring...




Darren glumly announced that his camera battery was dead, and this put another gray cloud over his head...

But once the cocina was cooking, huevos con machaca put a glint in his eye....





We decided to return to Bahia de los Angeles later that day....the ride to El Barril and area would have to wait for another trip....

We needed gas, but the woman in the kitchen indicated that the jefe was gone to Vizcaino to pick some up and would be a few more hours before he returned.... We discussed our options and decided to head towards El Barril, a fish camp, and see if we could buy some gas there. We figured that if they had some...we were in luck...as we would have seen that area after all and would have enough gas to get back to Bola...and if not, we would return to San Fran and by that time, the jefe would be back with gas.


We packed and saddled up...about 8 kms down the road we encountered the jefe with a truck full of gas barrels...spoke briefly to confirm the nature of their contents, and returned to San Fran for a fill up...

This was the best "Before and After" test as to how a full 25 liters of gas compared to 6 liters in the monster tank....as I could ride the same piece of terrain within a short period of time....



The outcome???? A full tank sure makes a difference in the deep sand and whooped parts of the double track..



Its good to have the gas....on the hard-pack stuff, it is not really an issue....in the soft and whooped stuff. it sure makes for some harder work riding....

The ride back to Bola was industrial...











A short side trip into San Raphael did not produce much other than a brief visit with the resident...a handful of years ago I had been led to believe that food and beer was available here....maybe so....but that would have been a handful of years ago...






The beach to the north would be fun some other time...




Bahia de Los Angeles was a welcomed sight...



And after a debrief at Victorias, we decided dinner at Guillermo's was in order...















And after a bit....



.....the focus became altered ...
























Some apres dinner T-shirt shopping.....

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Old 02-10-2007, 01:49 PM   #100
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Cheers Ged!! You sure know how to enjoy life Thank you for the updated pics and reports. Those sprockets should be framed and hung on a wall!!
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:04 PM   #101
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Cheers Ged!! You sure know how to enjoy life Thank you for the updated pics and reports. Those sprockets should be framed and hung on a wall!!
GB,

Uhhhhh....they were on the wall....framing is a complicated process...somethings get framed....some things do the framing....


one at Coco's was framing...well....you can see...

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Old 02-12-2007, 01:40 PM   #102
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Hey Ged,
Quit mixing Martinies and finish the story!!!!

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Old 02-13-2007, 02:25 AM   #103
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Corky,
Thanks for the interest and encouragement

I have been high-centered the past day or two trying to figure out how to hook up a wireless router for my new laptop....as a Luddite, this is quite a task....finally got it figured out....

This story has been hot off the press from my desktop system....a system that I have some success with...but you will have to wait another day or so as dinner tomorrow night with the fellow who had to cancel due to career advancement opportunity will delay the next instalment...

Coming up soon.......stories about kidnapping cactus....




breakfast on a cold bloody morning...




and more happy guys on the trail....

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Old 02-15-2007, 12:50 AM   #104
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Okay, so there we were...back in Bahia de los Angeles and getting ready to head back home. We had passed on a few of the routes that I had hoped to cover and we had acknowldeged that that was just how it was....not enough days to do it all.

Some days we rode hard and covered some variety of terrain, while other days we sat around and relaxed...maybe took an easy ride....maybe did a few chore....

It is a bit weird how a person can get up at sunrise, have a great set of plans for the day, and somehow accomplish a fraction of the agenda by happy hour....maybe Baja has one of those intergalactic black hole things happening.

We had packed the truck the evening before we departed...




By this time, Darren and I had developed a fairly quick load/unload routine...we each had two large duffel bags...one riding gear and the other clothing , etc. gear.....a cooler and kitchen box, and camping gear bags....

We never did get around to camping on a beach...., but I did use my crappy polyester $25 sleeping bag when the weather got cooler a few times...

Part of my plan for the day was to get a few cactus cuttings for my collection back home....I try to get a few different kinds each time I am in desert country... they won't survive the winters here, but i keep them in pots and move them outside in the spring and inside in the fall.

Kamloops area has its own cactus as it is just north of the northernmost tip of the sonoran desert...and has sage and pine hills with small squat cactus...





We stopped between Bola and the highway for some different type of chollo than I had yet... and plunked a few cuttings in the empty water cooler thermos....



We then we motored up to Catavina where we planned on having breakfast at Rancho Santa Inez. I had never been to RSI despite having camped just north of the village on one trip and at La Pinta on another, and thinking that Catavina would be a totally cool area to explore for a day or two. The day was quite cool and the sky was infected with gloomy clouds....




The weather varied during that 1-2 hour drive....some drizzle, some real rain, and some drops in temperature that reminded us of our northen direction...





We found the turn-off into Rancho Santa Inez and drove only a few minutes before it presented itself....I had heard that it offered camping, a few rooms, and that they prepared meals...



Hoping that their food was better than their spelling, we drove up and had a look around....

It appeared somehow abit more established than what I had imagined, so it was interesting to compare fact with fantasy.......



When we got out of the truck we were a bit surprised with how cold it was getting.....we didn't see any people for the first five minutes....




but there was this one big cock....









The kitchen and dining room area was to be found behind an array of stickers....






and we had the place to ourselves.....we could have the best seat in the house and admire the decor from a variety of angles....




Some ADV Rider left his low-emissions ride here for posterity...(Darren Vader lurking below)






When breakfast arrived, I was impressed....the best looking huevos revueltos in 4 weeks and one more pancake than usual....




The tablesetting was first class as well....




Darren's guts were acting up again so he didn't enjoy the food as much as I did....

We settled la quenta and returned to the expressway north ....before long I needed to stop for another type of cactus cutting....the type that Darren crashed into on the Mulege-San Juanico ride....these are the spines that lodged themselves in Darren's toolbelt water bottles that crash....thus protecting him from a rather painful experience....





In scalping about 4" off one of these babies, I managed to get about 6 slivers....and didn't get all of them out until about a week later...they festered for 3 days despite antibiotic cream and then settled down...

The drive to Ensenada was relatively uneventful.....we found a room downtown without much searching.....



The downtown area was moderately busy but the main tourist strip wasn't....




at least not until the cruise ship puked out its load....



But that's another story....
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:20 PM   #105
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Ensenada is a place you have to pass through to get south, unless you are coming south from Mexicali...or are hardcoring it outback.

It has a busy and expansive feel to it....and the touristy area is fairly concentrated close to the harbour.





I encouraged Darren to see the adventure-value in a stay-over and he seemed to go along with that idea. We arrived about 3:00 on a Friday afternoon and stayed for 2 sleeps....both nights the lights went out in the motel....well, not All the power...the bathroom lights stayed on but all other power sources in the room were dead...

I was low-key Friday evening and stayed around the motel...Darren was more mobile and went out to a few local disco/bars....Saturday morning he was fairly frayed around the edges



The weather was settling into the grey and wet theme...I walked around quite a bit that day, doing some last-minute gift-buying for my sweetie and the three year-old grandson (T-shirts seemed to work for the kid).

The tour of the Zona Tourista provided some interesting images for our cameras....




The yahoos from the cruise ship clogged the streets like plaque on an artery....at about 11:00 am this club was LOUD and folks were pumping the air, dancing like they had seen it done on a bad movie about discos/clubs, and folks looked like they were trying to get into a mood at that time of day that you can only get into after 5 hours in a club when it is dark outside...they were working it way too hard...




While hoofing around, I saw these bikes lined up in a department store....don't know the details, but likely Chinese or Korean...




While Ensenada has a few nice gift shops on that tourist drag, there is a quality of attitude that speaks for itself...











Now, it is important to NOT stereotype Mexicans...



because the street hustlers just want to get your attention.


But stereotyping cruise ship flotsam is okay....







"Hey....Titty bar, amigo !", seemed to be aimed at the men walking down the street....while I overheard one mariachi band guy walking into a restaurant planning on hustling a table....saying something about "cingar" and "las gringas"....hhmmmm, no idea what his attitude was



The wrestling mask stuff for kids was tempting...but I passed...






Darren and I were doing our own tour for part of the time and he encouraged me to walk the few blocks to the waterfont...

Race Ready.....



But the harbour was nearby....



And Darren remarked on the fishmarket...



A very creative display of prawns...shows some sense of pride in the product...








And because I am not a fisher guy, I can't identify these...



and certainly don't know what this beegeezuz fish is






Just past the fishmarket and along the water front....




a pretty pelican...



a curious seal....




....and then some enticing places to eat the freshest seafood...




And just past the food stalls seemed to bea bit of a mariachi stroll...



And the candy-barrow caught my eye...









And back towards town, some folks were just hanging around...



While others were hard at it....




When scouting out a place to eat, this place caught our eye...as it recognized our cognitive capacities....




I was hoping for some quality food so we checked it out. Inside, it had a few tables and a limited menu....burgers and sandwiches....as well as soup....I hoped the soup was part of the "Fresh Food" concept, and asked what that selection was.....the few she named seemed appealing.....until she replied that they were Campbell's soup and not homemade....so much for Fresh Food....


So I led Darren to a spot I had noticed earlier....

Darren approaching a great pork taco joint a few blocks east of the motel..



Despite the rain, folks were cheek to jowl elbowing for their place in line.

One of the great things about the cultural differences is that you can eat at a place like this by ordering a few tacos, stand around or sit to enjoy them, get a drink, come back for more if you like and then settle you account when you are done....no hassles, generally polite service, and an air of relaxed trust sometimes difficult to find north of that border ....

And their signs have a bit more heART going for them than the arches or a guy with a ball for a head.........




So, tacos saved the day again....
__________________
Ged Schwartz
Kamloops , BC


Baja '05 , Baja 06/07 , Baja 08/09 , BC Alpine Single Track




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