(October 5 – written by Dave)
We’ve made it back to the coast. We are on the Pacific, just like we were up in San Diego and LA. We had the little swing inland to cross into Mexico at what was supposed to be a quieter border. We are happy with our choice having seen no evidence of violence or crime. We’ve seen quite a few police cars and army trucks (with solders with guns) but on balance, it seems pretty safe
Before I get too far into today, I should write about dinner last night. Turns out that all of the restaurants walking distance to our hotel were closed for the day. I learned this by talking to three nice hotel worker guys who were hanging out. Only the older one spoke English, and not all that well – so that was fun. They actually discovered the restaurants were closed when the older guy had one of the younger ones drive the neighbourhood on his quad bike.
Having discovered this, the older guy offered to give us a ride to town, and a ride back an hour later. I thought that this was overly kind so I talked them into just one trip, with me picking up take away. Nancy got to hang out while I had a bit of a white knuckle ride the 5k back to town. My driver had good driving skills but our truck had some very misaligned front wheels, meaning we were meandering all over the road, from fog to centreline and back. I bought tacos for Nancy and I, plus our helpful crew. The total bill was something like $7 dollars – and the tacos were quite tasty. Just when I thought I was going to have to dig out our camping stove and heat some noodles…
We had a bit of short day today, so we got to sleep in a little – nice. After oatmeal in the room, we were on the road about 9AM. The road remained wide but traffic picked up a bit from yesterday. We were riding back to the coast and the big smoke of Ensenada. We had a bit of riding through olive orchards and vineyards before finally cresting the hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Our nice shoulder disappeared when one lane each way became two lanes each way. And turning south on Highway 1, traffic picked up even more. Still, everyone gave us space and we didn’t feel too threatened.
We spotted a few more interesting road signs today – had no idea on these until we looked them up tonight.
We stopped at the sea a couple times for photos and of course, we snapped some shots of the Ensenada sign. I’m not sure if every town in Mexico has these big letter signs but we’ve now seen two of them in two days.
We stopped at tourist information on the way into town and got the word on what was on. We ended up eating lunch just around the corner, near the fish market, at another one of the ubiquitous taco stands. Naturally we both had fish tacos. We are a little nervous about putting too much in the way of fresh veg or salsa on them but they are delicious regardless. We ordered a couple each to start and even ordered more after eating them. We may have to eat these a lot but honestly, it will not be an issue – yum.
We killed a little time at a Starbucks (yes, that’s right, they have Starbucks here!), then we made our way out to another hardware store. Turns out that our new immersion heater is just a little big to fit inside a Nalgene bottle so we wanted to buy the next size down. We found the shop with ease and they had the “chico” (small) heater. We splashed out another $3 USD this time. We’ll figure out where to donate the larger $5 USD heater in the coming days.
Our final stop of the day was “the mall”. We got a little messed up on directions but found it eventually. We stopped at Office Depot (it’s the same as the US), Wal-Mart (it’s the same as the US) and then road past Home Depot (yes, you guessed it – same as the US). You’d hardly know that we were in Mexico if it not for our inability to understand much of the background conversation. It won’t be long however, Spanish seems so much easier than Dutch, French and Japanese – all languages we’ve studied before. Who knows, by Argentina, maybe this will be a Spanish only blog.
We eventually made our way to our Warmshowers host for the night. We are staying with Thomas and Carmen, though Carmen is away currently. They have three kids, a couple cats and a dog. The parents are from Mexico but the kids were all born in the USA – of course, everyone but us is bi-lingual. For dinner we hit yet another highly recommended taqueria – good thing we like tacos (we do)!
We are hanging out here tomorrow. We have a few rest days up our sleeves between here and La Paz so we’ll hang out, drink coffee, read some Spanish and maybe, just maybe, eat a few more tacos.