(October 20 – written by Nancy)
Well, I think we have finally made it to one of the prettiest places in Mexico – at least that we have seen so far. We are at a little place along the Bahia Concepcion (Bay of Conception), a bay off the Sea of Cortez that is surrounded by mountains and where the waters are crystal clear and just the colour blue that you see in pictures.
We had kind of a funny night in our hotel in Mulege – not one we would recommend, that’s for sure. I think the building is some kind of historic place, and while the rooms appear on the surface to be ok, in fact many things do not work. We actually switched rooms initially, as the fridge and the TV in first room we had did not work. Now, we usually don’t watch much TV and we don’t often get a fridge, but the price of this room was okay because it had those two things and it was a bit annoying to get into the room and see that both were inoperable. The room we moved into had a much better fridge that worked (once it was plugged in) and the gal at reception go the TV to work, so we thought we were okay.
After wandering around town a bit we came back to the room and noticed that there was something that looked like sand on one of the beds. On closer inspection it kind of looked like the little seed pods from flowers that had bloomed. There were quite a few on the floor as well, so Dave got one of the guys to come sweep it up. He first thought it was sand as well, but then said, oh, it’s from those little bugs that eat wood… Hmmm, interesting. The ceiling in the room is wood. We couldn’t really see anything, and were hopeful that it was just that that room hadn’t been used in a while and housekeeping standards being what they are here, it just accumulated over time. Well, no, that wasn’t the case. During the night the little bits continue to come down, of course on my side of the bed. This necessitated scooting over far on to Dave’s side, with a few mumble grumbles. That, coupled with a toilet that was about 6 inches from the facing wall, meant we at least had some things to laugh about this morning. It’s a shame, because it could be kind of a neat place if it just had a bit of work done to it to fix some things. At least the ceiling didn’t fall down while we were there, anyway.
We had a short ride today, only a bit over 25 miles, to reach a little beachside spot called Playa Buenaventura. We still left early to take advantage of some of the cooler morning temperatures, and of course to allow Dave sufficient time to take pictures. He actually took 75 pictures today (in 25 miles), so I don’t see how he can complain about not having enough time to stop and take pictures. It was a bit up and down as the road meanders down to the bay and back up to go around another rocky point going out into the bay.
There are several small communities or hamlets along the bay, all very small and still quiet at this time of year. They appear to have homes that serve as vacation homes, and many still looked boarded up for the season. We stopped at one place that advertised a hostel, restaurant and bakery but were told that it was all still closed and wouldn’t open up until November when the tourist season started. We did finally find one little place open where we were able to get some water and since we were pretty early we sat and relaxed in the shade a bit before riding the final 10 miles or so to our destination.
Playa Buenaventura is a collection of houses and buildings and a restaurant that fronts a nice sandy beach on the bay. They allow camping here and I knew from previous cycling blogs and correspondence with the fellow who manages it that they were refurbishing a hotel here and had a couple of rooms available. We were undecided on whether we would camp and wanted to wait and see how things looked, whether there was shade, etc. We were planning to be here for two nights so wanted to be comfortable (okay, I did anyway). Photo overdoes of Conception Bahia follows….
When we arrived we headed for the restaurant and had a cold drink. Nathan, who’s managing the place for his parents, was in Loreto picking up supplies but he had told me that Juan could show us what our options were. Camping looked hot (surprise) but they had one beachfront room available and they made me a deal on it for two nights so that’s where we are. This place is off the grid and is a bit rustic, but it’s comfy. No power at the rooms until the generator comes on in the evening. There is a fan in the room that will come on then, but it’s actually quite comfortable in the shade with the breeze blowing.
We went for a quick swim in the bay – perfect temperature but pretty salty. Apparently there has been a whale shark hanging out in the bay right in front of the place for about a week, and people have even been out swimming with him (her?). We didn’t see anything in our little swim, which is probably better anyway. I wouldn’t mind seeing it from the shore but am probably not game to swim with it.
Our room has a shower so we even got to clean up with kind of warm water – warm enough, anyway. Now we are sitting on the deck relaxing as you are supposed to do at a place like this. Well, Dave is anyway – I think he has fallen asleep already. We brought some food and made our own lunch but will go over to the restaurant for dinner tonight I think. They are supposed to have good food, so I am sure we’ll try a few things over the next day.
Frederik and Seb just arrived as well – I suspect that they’ll be camping at the little cabana just in front of our room. There is a little shower hut where you can pay for a shower so it’s not too bad for the budget-conscious traveller. I guess that should be us, but it’s all relative, you know…
Tomorrow we plan to do nothing strenuous – maybe do a little kayaking (comes with the room) if it’s not too windy, practice Spanish, and read. Then on Sunday we head to Loreto, which is supposed to be a nice little town. Someone described it to us as cosmopolitan – I guess because there are quite a few expats there. We are taking an extended break there – 5 nights – to explore the town, as we are ahead of schedule for reaching La Paz for our immersion Spanish classes. We have four days of riding (3 hard ones of ~70 miles) to reach La Paz from Loreto and are aiming to reach there on 30 October. So, we are getting close to the end of Baja – hard to believe. It will be good to have a break and hopefully learn some Spanish.