Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas From Todos Santos

Lying in bed in the early morning hours I heard music from several houses over drifting through the open window. It was punctuated occasionally by an inebriated voice wailing in tandem. It wasn’t so loud as to be annoying, but I was glad that we didn’t live any closer. As the clock struck 3, right on cue, a gallo (rooster) joined the vocalist, tentatively at first, then robustly as he began to warm up to his daily chore. It actually seemed to trigger some distant memory within the singer (of sleep maybe?) and finally the music died at 4:30 a.m. It was the Saturday before Christmas and everyone was now officially off work and school for the next 2 weeks. I thought I had noticed a very festive air on all the faces the day before as I went about town. There were parties galore all through the day and night – and even, evidently, into the predawn hours.

The weather station had called for rain, high winds and cold weather and throughout the day a smattering of droplets had fallen. It was just enough to make the accumulated dust on the cars become really obvious, but certainly not enough to make the Friday night diners at the outdoor pizza restaurant (Los Mangos Pizzeria) go sit under the eaves of the porch. Well, not most of us anyway. The fact that we had put on long pants and a jacket to dine al fresco could have signaled a cooling trend, I will admit. Most days the windows still stay wide open and shorts with tee shirts are the average daily uniform of the majority of the populace.

Christmas is very festive here in Todos Santos, as it is in many parts of the world, but it feels more intimate. I always thought that a posada was a tradition here in Mexico (it being a Christmas walk through town with lighted candles to honor the famous search for shelter in Bethlehem) however in looking for such a procession I had come up woefully short. A longtime resident told me that nowadays posada means ‘party’ for the most part. And there are lots and lots of those around each evening. Many businesses have had posadas for their trabajadores and customers alike. Some welcome the whole town. The posada was on my definite list of things-I-want-to-experience-here so I was very sorry to learn, too late, that there was a traditional  posada last night. Tonight one of the local expat hangouts will be hosting another one. This I will not miss, even if it most likely will be different than ‘traditional’. But they said to bring a candle, dress warmly and be ready to sing carols and indulge in special treats, so major de nada!

Noches Beunas, or poinsettias as they are called in the US, are offered at a few nurseries, though they don’t seem to be as much a staple here, more a treat than must-have. Houses adorned with lights are more low key with no attempts to out-do one another. Roadside stalls selling all kinds of things have sprung up, from fruits and vegetables to handmade gifts. It is definitely Christmas, though without the glitz and hype.

Last weekend there was live music at La Esquina, our favorite coffee house. Pura Vida played a mixture of Reggae, Latin, Salsa and exceptional dance music. We had 3 young surfing buddies of Robert’s stop by unexpectedly (our 1st guests at the house!) so they joined us, along with many neighbors, friends and a good portion of the town it seemed, to get our boogie down. No one waited to hit the dance floor. From the 1st song it was packed, from age 80 to the single digits. Even some dogs joined the throng. I love watching people dance, but even more I love to do it. Each person letting him/herself express in whatever way feels good, how wonderful! Yes, there are those who definitely groove to the beat on a more synchronistic level, but still everyone was swaying, moving, enjoying. And after all, that is the whole purpose, utter pleasure.

Everyone seems to be celebrating in one way or another. The other day we walked to the beach and watched a whale, just 200 yards off shore, as it breached and spy hopped over and over in what seemed to be absolute delight. It made it almost impossible to watch the gorgeous sunset that was happening simultaneously.

copyright Page Hodel
Not having our longtime friends and family around us right now we are forced out of our old routines. We’re meeting new friends and making new traditions. We’ll be hosting the 1st dinner party at our new house on Christmas day with some of our neighbors. Nothing traditional on the menu, except the tamales that Angelica is bringing. And some champagne perhaps…..

I want to wish everyone a beautiful holiday season, no matter how you enjoy it, or what you call it. This time of year is so precious, with all the merriment, the winter solstice, religious and non-religious celebrations alike. Let us open our hearts and accept the wonderful diversity of each one! Let us tenderly embrace our own choices while honoring those of others. And above all let us remember that we are ALL of the same family – the Human Race, the Universe and beyond.

Much love to you and yours~

Friday, December 13, 2013

10,000 Angels, Once Again

A couple of years ago during a particularly difficult period the Universe told me that 10,000 angels were surrounding me in support. And they’re still here. I swear it. We just returned from a short trip up to Los Estados Unidos and all along the way angels appeared exactly when most needed. It was a shining example of people’s kindness and added a sense of wonderment to my soul that makes me shake my head in utter amazement.

It began a week ago – Dec 5th to be exact. We had reservations to fly to San Diego. So after packing all the cold weather clothes we could find and leaving a gate key with a new friend who offered to check on the place every day, we loaded the trusty little Toyota truck and began the hour journey to the La Paz airport. Something in the back of my head said to allow extra time to get there and I heeded that voice – thank goodness!

Not far from Todos Santos the truck began to sputter and miss. ‘Bad gas?’ we thought and then just as we entered the outskirts of La Paz, at a major intersection, the truck died, just died; no possibility of it turning over. The policeman who was directing traffic gathered some trabajadores (workers) and they helped push us to the side of the road. For the first time ever, Robert looked at me and blankly said, ‘I have no idea what to do.’ Here we were in a city we don’t really know and trying to catch a flight. My stomach lurched and inside I called for help. ‘Ok, if ever there was a time we need it, Angels, it’s now!’

Little by little men started to stop by our truck to see if they could assist us, each one shaking or tapping an engine part – all mystified. It was obvious that we needed a tow and a place to leave the truck, but where? And how? Parked in front of us was a big boom truck whose driver suddenly appeared so Robert asked him for a tow. The policeman suggested that we might be able to park at the police station around the corner, if the comendante said it was ok. Thankfully the truck driver had a tow rope so while the trabajadores stopped all traffic on the busy highway, and the policeman directed us, our tow angel crossed all 4 lanes in a U turn, then reversed his direction to get us the remaining 8 blocks to the police station.

Noticing a couple of taxis across the street I fetched one while the truck driver went into the station to explain our predicament to the comendante. Unfortunately he was nowhere to be found and no one else dared to give us permission. By this point the taxi driver had joined us and as none of us was exactly sure how to proceed I called once again for some help. Right then a female police officer approached us and seeing our plight (and the angst on our faces) told us that if we didn’t mind parking out further in the dirt lot and understood that they could not be responsible for the safety of our vehicle, it’d probably be ok to park there. What a relief! We looked around at this point to tip and thank the truck driver, but he and his massive rig had disappeared….

Victor Sanchez’s taxi is a Ford Gran Marquis, of which he is very proud ‘muy lujos!’ (very luxurious).  An older gentleman with an infectious smile and graceful demeanor, he told us that even though the airport was very far he would get us there on time. The twisting turning route he took through the city was one that only a local could know.  We pulled up to the curb with more than enough time to spare and he handed us his card saying to be sure and call him when we returned so that he could pick us up and help us get the Toyota fixed. He also promised to check on it every day as it now resided close to his taxi stand.  Taking his hand in mine I told him, ‘Usted es mi angel!’ (You are my angel!) He melted. And with that we walked into the airport shaken but with plenty of time to calm down and enjoy a coffee.

It was dark by the time we arrived at the garage where our Honda is parked. We were so happy to be there! We threw our bags into the trunk and jumped in ready to roll.

Dead battery…..

Even though it had been plugged into a maintainer, it was dead dead dead so Robert went searching the neighborhood for a jump. An unknown neighbor offered and soon we took off to drive and charge it before we went on errands. However, later, upon exiting Trader Joes it wouldn’t start. Two guys jump out of their vehicle and help push start it. More angels! We drove for 20 miles to really charge it before we ended up at ‘home’. Exhausted and cold, we settled into our new digs to get a good night’s sleep.

The next morning the batter was dead again, but since our mechanic’s shop was located very close by he came to jump us and fix it all up. We had no choice but to slow down and relax that morning.

While we had a wonderful time in SD and we got to see so many friends and family, everything was overlaid with a concern for the truck parked in a lot somewhere in La Paz. We were not even quite sure we knew exactly where it was. A couple of wonderful mechanics discussed the whole breakdown with Robert and they both were pretty sure that it was an alternator issue, so Robert bought one and packed it in his suitcase. Please angels, let the truck be there when we return, with all parts still attached and radio too!

We called Victor before flying out from Tijuana. Of course he remembered; we could expect him to be there. As we exited the La Paz airport we searched for Victor with his prized Gran Marquis, to no avail, so we settled in to wait – maybe traffic had held him up. Then out of a line of cars we hear his voice, ‘Lupita, Roberto, aqui!’ He sprinted up to us wearing shorts, sandals and a baseball cap- not what one expects of a Mexican gentleman. He pointed to a little old sedan that he had borrowed from his daughter – this was our chariot. Legally he cannot pick anyone up from the airport – only those with a special license can do that, so he came incognito. He had gone stealth; both driving and looking like a tourist.

First he drove us to his home to both introduce us to his wife and to change vehicles. (‘Mi casa es su casa’ he declared.) He had worked out a plan of attack. Unhooking the battery from his daughter’s car he put it in the trunk of his taxi. This was to be installed in the Toyota, just to get it to the mechanic who could then install the new alternator. With that we drove off to retrieve the truck.

It was completely intact, even the police were mildly surprised.

Installing the battery was more like a game of musical chairs than mechanical science. His daughter’s battery didn’t fit in our truck because the terminals were on the wrong side, so Victor removed his taxi battery and installed it in the truck. He then installed our dead battery in his taxi and when Robert questioned how he would then start the taxi, he winked and told Robert to get in the car and turn the ignition. Laying his daughter’s battery on its side and holding its terminals to the truck battery terminals, it jumped them and roared to life. This way he explained our truck battery would be charging in his taxi while we drove across town to Martin the mechanic. We crossed town through traffic, over bumpy dirt roads ending up back in his barrio where Martin and his son immediately began to install the new alternator and restore all the correct batteries to their rightful vehicles.

Meanwhile, since Victor had taken his daughter’s car for the day we had to go pick her up from work and take her home. Thanking her for her part in all this, we then returned to find that our truck was finished. We could be on our way.

Standing in front of the truck I mentioned to Victor that many angels had come through for us. He made light of it, but just then I looked down and on the ground and right at my feet, in the dirt, was a little angel charm. I bent over and pocketed the little gem, knowing that it was meant just for me.

So little was asked for in return for such huge services, we would hear nothing of it and gave generously even though no amount could possibly express our gratitude. We didn’t expect to be able to drive home to Todos Santos that same day. Surely we would have to spend the night in La Paz, we thought, and then find a mechanic, and heaven knows what else, but no. We made it home just as the sun was sending its last little slivers of light into the darkening sky.

With no food in the house we decided to stop at a local restaurant and get some dinner. Purchasing a beer for Robert and a margarita for me, the cashier gave us each a second one on the house, because we looked like we could use it she said, and ‘because you’re nice’.

So we are home and we’re all the richer for it! What an adventure! What a multitude of gifts! And we now have ‘family’ in La Paz. I know people all the world over are good and kind.

And 10,000 angels? Well, there just might be more.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Neigborhood

There’s something about the early morning hours that call me to get up and tune in to the quiet stillness. For years now I have awakened in the wee hours (la madrugada) and padded out to my chair to meditate, write or pray, whatever feels best. So of course I would create just such a place in our new Todos Santos home. It was in those silent hours that I stood by the large picture window gazing out across the barren expanse of dirt that is currently the backyard, when something caught my eye. Just 30 feet or so from the house, a large black thing lumped on the ground. What in the world?!

Exiting the back door I cautiously approached said mound which seemed to be a rough 8 foot circle that sat about 4 feet tall. It wasn’t until I was about 10 feet away that it moved ever so slightly and exhaled in a contented huff. It was a big black cow. With a healthy set of horns. Sleeping in my yard. Of course I extended the invitation to enjoy the yard as l was not about to try and move her. Secretly thrilled and delighted at the absurdity of it all I wondered if Robert would believe me in the morning, but by then she had left hefty ‘calling card’, so the proof was plain as day. Oh look, our first load of manure for the coming garden!

She showed up again later the next day, along with a friend, and they stood at the small opening in the side fence staring wistfully at the expanse of dirt. Her owner (I suppose) came and retrieved them in the afternoon. He looked only slightly sheepish. Generally when we see them now they are out in the brush of the adjoining lots munching away. However I did see her walking determinedly up the middle of the street yesterday. And today as she sauntered along the road she bellowed deeply every few steps. I am sure she must live nearby somewhere.

There are 3 local horses that have the same freedom. I’ve heard that their owner just lets them wander so that they can forage for themselves and he doesn’t have to feed them. We cross paths quite often. One morning I noticed that during the night they had been in the yard. Hoof prints covered the property. They must have been checking us out thoroughly.

And then there’s the old paunchy Beagle that stops by occasionally – Sidd, his name tag reads. Though where he lives is a mystery to us. He likes to mosey over, see what we’re up to and get some attention.

This is just a part of the neighborhood where we have begun to settle in. I am continually surprised and delighted by it.
Our road, Calle Los Mangos
Mexico is truly another country. The juxtapositions are endless. For instance a huge multi-million dollar house is being built at the end of the road – “the Italian’s house”. It is stunningly modern with a view to die for and landscaping that won’t quit. There have to be 20 trabajdores (workers) there every day. They have been building this house for well over a year, probably 2, and they still have 6 months to go on the inside alone. We love to pass by on our way to the beach and peek in the gate. (I really want to see that house.) I wonder if the wandering livestock have been inside?

Our first week here while driving to Cabo on errands we encountered a traffic jam. A big rig had had difficulty on the uphill part of the 3 mile dirt road detour and was blocking the lanes. With cars becoming backed up in both directions some resourceful road workers jumped out of their trucks across the way, grabbed shovels and while one cheerfully began to direct traffic, waving his arms in huge circles, the other created a new pathway around the stranded truck. Problem solved. We waved and honked in appreciation as we finally got moving ahead. You just learn to go with the flow, no matter how long it takes.

By the time we got to Cabo and were half way down the l-o-n-g list of thing to accomplish we found ourselves at Home Depot. For an hour, at least, we searched and searched for the listed items. The Latin mind organizes differently than that of the average American. How in the world do they do inventory? I’ve yet to find a store that makes any sense to me, but there must be some method to the madness because they are all that way. As any homeowner knows, Home Depot can be overwhelming anyway! Add in another language and the fact that the workers can’t find things either, but they do guess a lot, and you have one mind numbing experience. Paint – check, garden hose – check, screws- check, trash cans- check, work gloves – check. After an infinity we were starving and decided to bail on the rest of the list in favor of stopping by Costco on the way home for pizza. (Read fast and easy) At least we had the leather work gloves so the big wall building project could begin! The next day I noticed Robert struggling with his gloves. What??? The package contained 2 gloves, both left handed……Sigh…

I now have so much more appreciation for anyone who has moved. We were in San Diego for so long that I think I had forgotten what it takes to pick up and go. Well, I remember now. It’s an adventure that I wouldn’t miss, yet none the less it has its moments. I think the language difference plays a part in that. We’re still taking our weekly Spanish lesson with Serena and we love it, but until I can think like a Mexican, it still confuses me often. I am in awe of those who move to places where the alphabet isn’t even the same and you can’t even begin to guess what the signs mean….

The whales have arrived! Walking down the road to the beach, I get excited thinking about what I might see. The other day I saw 28 breaches (yes I counted!), 12 spy hops and a couple of tail slaps – all about a mile off shore! I have almost stopped getting excited about seeing their spouts, but not quite yet.

Every evening at a couple of designated shelters just-hatched baby turtles are released to begin their lives at sea. The Turtle Project collects the eggs from the nests and then tends to them until they hatch. Besides the regular predator risks, beach use can injure the eggs, crushing them unknowingly. Additionally, once hatched, the babies can’t navigate from the nest to the water through rough sand that has been churned up by feet and tire tracks. Anyone can join the sunset release to cheer the hatchlings on as they scurry down the carefully chosen smooth sand toward the water. It is an amazing sight. Crowds gather – especially on weekends. Grownups and children alike snap pictures, take movies, moan when the incoming water misses the exhausted little creatures by just inches and applaud when one is finally swept away by the waves.

Quite a neighborhood we’ve joined! Our days are filled with miracle after miracle, wonder upon wonder. We love it.

What a gift this life is!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Welcome to Todos Santos

Each morning begins with the sound of chickens – roosters actually. One begins to herald the sun sometime around 3:30 or so and soon several chime in creating a call that travels the neighborhood like a game of Ollie-Ollie-All-In-Free. I have to smile even if it awakens me. It reminds me of Kauai. A few days ago I opened my front door just before dawn to the sound of an owl greeting me, Good morning!

Dawn is a precious time here in Todos Santos. Most people like to watch the sunset each day, but I prefer the sunrise. There is something so fresh, so filled with potential, so earthy about it. It’s a delight to awaken in the dark and lie in bed looking out the window at the star-filled sky. Slipping out of the sheets and into a light shift, I pad out to the living room while opening windows and doors to let in the cool air. With a cup of tea and a lit candle the new day is honored with quiet reflection, until the sun begins its ascent into the clear blue sky and everything heats up. The doves begin to coo and the geckos give their farewell chatter just as the line of tall fan palms at the back of the property turn from dark silhouettes, to golden orange, to brilliant green. So far it has not failed to amaze me. I cherish each moment as a gift from the Universe; wow another day, a new adventure.

That’s not to say that this move has been stress-free. As much as I often try and pretend otherwise, that wouldn’t be honest. Every so often I have to stop, and admit that fear of change does show up, a new country, a new language, new friends, new, new new. Sure we’ve been in Abreojos on and off for a couple of years, but this feels more real. This isn’t a beach house where we can be isolated from the populace if we choose. It’s got a day to day life that just isn’t there in Abre.  Or maybe it’s just that I am choosing that here.

Then there’s the whole house to get settled and stocked, register with the power companies, a phone/internet line to get installed, Mexican bank account to open, shopping to be done and all this in another language. (Keep opening Jill. Keep letting it all in, don’t shut down, just go with the flow.) Our Spanish is improving every day, and when it comes to construction or work related conversations Robert is getting pretty darn efficient! And I seem to have hit a point where, even if I am butchering the language, I’ll try anyway. For so long I really tried to speak it only correctly, but I see that it held me back and I approached it with fear. Something shifted for me this past summer, I began to let my mind go and let my heart speak. And you know what? It works!

Leaving Abreojos our caravan of 2 trucks and a trailer spent 3 days getting down here, though it’s only a 10 ½ hour drive. But between a flat on the trailer the 1st day (everything was fine and numerous people stopped to offer assistance) and then a long delay south of Loreto as the highway was closed due to an accident, we just decided not to push. When we pulled up to our new home there was a bottle of French champagne and mineral water in the cold fridge with 2 crystal glasses, courtesy of our wonderful real estate agent, Alvaro Colindres.  I love French champagne…..

Amidst boxes and disarray we polished off the bottle that evening, after walking to the beach for sunset. After all, we couldn’t find the stopper for the bottle and heaven forbid it go bad!! Within 2 days or so everything was pretty cleared up – except the extra bedroom/catchall. Then we went to Cabo for supplies and began the whole process again. We’ll be going back and forth quite a bit to start, I can tell. Thank goodness for Costco!

But we’re here. We’re going for it. Things arise that flummox me and make me anxious, but if I stop and allow it, breath and let the emotions flow, I know the answers will come, somehow.  The people in Todos Santos have been more than welcoming. From neighbors, to shopkeepers, to baristas everyone has offered assistance and we are so grateful.

photo by Alvaro Colindres
This beautiful adobe home is fast endearing itself to our hearts. It cools us in the heat of the day, and warms us during the evening chill. It asks nothing of us but our authenticity, our participation in making it and the surrounding soon-to be-garden a space of love and peace.   I think we’re going to get along very very well.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Getting TIme to Leave!

I awoke this a.m. to a light fog drifting in and out of the bay here in Abreojos. One minute the distant point is visible, the next gone. Light wisps separate the houses along the beach. It is achingly stunning in its own way and so different than usual.

We’re getting ready to leave this week, headed to Todos Santos to move into our new home. Friday is the scheduled departure date – provided that we actually can go into the town’s municipal office and pay our 2014 taxes. They offer a substantial discount for those willing to pay in advance and Nov 1st is when they begin taking your money – but only between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Short office hours apply. If we can actually get it done, if they really are open that day, we’ll pay, finish packing and head south.

The plan is to drive to Bahia Conception on the Sea of Cortez, almost ½ of the 10 hour drive to TS, spend the night at a gorgeous campground at the water’s edge, and then finish the drive on Sat. There have been workers sprucing up our casa in TS readying it for our arrival. And I am very excited!

We’ll be bringing down a trailer full of furniture, kitchen stuff, clothes and more. Both trucks will be packed to the gills. We won’t be moving fast. But this is not the first time in the last few years that we’ve moved; each time gets a little less traumatic. Still there are mixed feelings to be sure. This summer on the beach in Abreojos has been wonderful, one of my favorites ever. The opportunity to look out the window, across the garden to the ever changing water, flocks of birds, dolphins lazily swimming past or hunting in just a few feet of water right in front of the house, well, it takes my breath away every time.

 Still, I am excited to be a part of a new community, especially one as magical as Todos Santos, with its wonderful culture, artist community, fresh foods, great restaurants, interesting people, new places to explore, and a new home and garden to play with. Never having started a garden from the bare ground up, it’ll be a wonderful challenge and exciting canvas for us both! I keep dreaming of the outcome – someplace that feels nurturing, lush, and magical, has lots of fruits and vegetables and tons of flowers growing, secluded alcoves where you can paint or enjoy the bird song with a cup of tea, places for hidden trysts, and a wonderful patio for dining and entertaining. But first we’ll be working on getting a garage built, and a bodega (storage house). All the plans have to include a guest house and a big bright airy art studio with the adjoining workshop, of course.  We are situated right next door to a mango orchard with massive green leafy trees that shield us from salt spray, noise and neighbors and when fruiting offer an unlimited supply of fresh juicy mangos. Our friend Paisley, who adores mangos, would be in heaven there in June! And I’ll be brushing up on my mango chutney recipe.

Todos Santos hosts many activities throughout the season (Nov- March). We’ll both be participating in a plein aire painting workshop this coming Feb. Tango classes were offered last year; we’re hoping that they are available again this year! La Paz, an easy 50 minute drive from TS, has a great cooking school with day long courses concentrating on authentic Mexican fare. The menus sound beyond delectable. And of course, I have already alerted La Palapa Society that I will be returning this year to assist in the volunteer program. Our charming Spanish teacher, Serena, who we worked with last spring to get us back on track with our language skills, has since been hired to head La Palapa and I will get to work alongside her – or at least under her charge. She is so full of life and fun! We’re both just hoping that this new, and exciting position for her, doesn’t curtail our Spanish lessons…..

It’s funny how the mind wants so badly to hang onto what is known, what feels comfortable, even though the possibilities ahead are endless! It’s been a great summer here at the beach house in Abre. We’ve gotten so much done on the house here. The garden has new stacked stone walls, the bathroom has been painted and towel racks created and hung, the whole exterior has been painted a cheery orange to set off the turquoise and aqua doors. All in all it is looking quite charming. And now it’s about time to close it up for the year and move forward to something new. Wow, the gifts of Love keep on giving and giving!

So we’ll finish packing this week, load up, walk the beach as much as possible, then close up the house until next summer. When the time comes to drive out the road I’ll be ready. But until then I will soak up every morsel of this beauty, every vista of blue-green water, each soar of the pelicans, the call of the osprey, the crash of the surf, the smiles of my friends here, and I will let my heart say a prayer of gratitude for each one.

Then I will get in my vehicle and head out, singing loudly to the music on the stereo, ready to go to new adventures!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Todos Santos

When we came down here to Todos Santos in April, it was with the intent that we explore a new place, maybe look around, and see what is available. We rented Casa Fuente for 1 month and then moved over to Casa Rivera for the other 2. Both are very near the water and have great views.

I wanted to find a place where I felt comfortable, but also I wanted to explore and expose myself ever deeper to the language of Mexico. So right away we signed up for Spanish lessons. We meet every Friday at one of the local coffee houses and spend 1 ½ hours with Serena, who is charming, sweet, makes us laugh and is a very good instructor.

I contacted La Palapa Society http://palapasociety.org/ and offered my services in whatever way might be helpful.  For 6 weeks I  volunteered every Tuesday afternoon from 3-5 assisting teaching kids age 5-7 how to speak English.  I even taught some art classes – all in Spanish- quite the intimidating, yet thrilling feat I must admit!

We’ve explored and walked the streets and beaches. We’ve tried many of the fun, funky and lovely restaurants – though certainly not all of them! We’ve taken the 1 hour drive to La Paz, gotten our temporary resident cards, explored that city somewhat and gone the other way to Cabo San Lucas to visit visiting cousins and check out the shopping.  We’ve done quite a bit, and still had lots of time for personal growth and exploration.

And what I have found is that as I open myself up to everything, as I let go of old patterning that just feels so ridged and caustic, I connect even further and faster with everything around me. It’s been an amazing 3 months for me in a place that for some reason has allowed me to face a lot of things in my life that I was hesitant or just plain resistant to facing. For some reason I finally allowed myself to truly stop and look. To say that it has been a time a great change might just be a massive understatement!

And we are in escrow on a house here in Todos Santos.

Everyone who knows this town had told me before I came that I would love it, I guess they were right. We looked and looked at everything - lots, houses, in town, out of town, way out of town, and found the place that seems to fit just right. Funny, it’s a brand spankin’ new home, has tons of charm and is called Casa Antigua. I laugh at the irony of it. But that most likely will change when we begin to meld with it.

Made of adobe, it has an earthiness that we find charming, though as yet there is no landscaping

(and I do mean none!) so the pictures feel a little abrupt with no plants to soften the edges.  We are directly adjacent to a mango orchard, and the picking is unreal. There is beautiful tile in the kitchen and baths, wonderful light, a boveda in the great room and best of all – plenty of room for a guest house, garage, workshop and studio to be added to the property as we choose.

We sign the escrow papers tomorrow and we’ve been by the property gazillions of times visualizing the space, the gardens, the everything. Here is the link to the realtor’s page: http://www.ricardoamigo.com/Properties-CasaAntigua.asp, wish I could say it does it justice….

So we’re on to a new chapter in our lives! As it stands it looks like most of the time we’ll be here, except  maybe Aug, Sept and Oct when Abreojos is at its finest and here is fiercely hot and humid. Robert will most likely be up in Abre even more than me as the surfing there is his dream. And I’ll have someplace more suited to me here. J

Just wanted to let you know what’s up as I have been amazingly derelict in that department. We’ll be back in SD mid Aug for a quick visit. Hope to see many of you then!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Baja Update 4-12-13

It’s always been a dream of mine to sit in the bathtub, soaking luxuriously, while enjoying the
setting sun, or the ocean, or just an expansive view. Perhaps with a glass of wine, or a cup of tea. Well, here we are in Todos Santos in the 1st of 2 houses that we have rented for a total of 3 months, and I can do just that. The realization slowly crept up on me the other evening that indeed, I have my tub! I have since decided that to really appreciate this whole experience, I had better try it out in all parts of the day. I think the star gazing will be wonderful! :)

We left San Diego in late March and headed to Abreojos (Abre to the locals) for what was to be a short 6 day stop. The idea was to break up the long drive to Todos Santos and do a few more updates on the building projects that Robert always has going. Driving down Baja is spectacular, other-worldly even and I realized that I enjoy long drives. My sister questions my sanity on this point, I know, but if the drive is scenic I revel in the beauty of Nature and I have yet to be disappointed in all my trips up and down the peninsula. Early morning fog clung to the sides of the mountains as we left El Rosario and headed into the heart of the desert, over the spine, and south to Baja Sur. Rays from the rising sun set the mist aglow and it felt utterly magical.
Driving the Spine at sunrise

San Diego to Abre takes about 13 hours and we usually break it into 2 days. Each evening’s stop is well planned and appreciated as the road can be demanding in its need for attention. But the Mexican government has been very busy improving its condition and it really isn’t that bad – just don’t drive at night…..

Projects on the casita and the national Mexican holiday of Semana Santa (the 2 weeks sandwiching Easter) extended our stay in Abre but the new bathroom is now looking very upscale and is that much closer to being finished! YEAH!!

As we headed south toward the Sea of Cortez on Monday the 8th we both breathed a sigh of relief. Abreojos is so very windy this time of year – to say nothing of deserted. With both of us driving separate vehicles it gave me long pause for reflection and dreaming. What exactly do I want to create while in Todos Santos? What am I looking for and how do I want to go about exploring this part of the world? There are times in my life when I know exactly what I want and times when I just have to be OK with not being exactly sure, but willing to let go and explore it all to find out. And it can change day to day.

Bahia Concepcion
The trip from Abre to Todos Santos is about 12 hours so the choice was made to break it up and spend the night on the Gulf side half way down. Santispak Beach, south of Mulege, hosted our little
Camping for the night at Santispak Beach

caravan for the night and we dreamed sweet dreams listening to the soft lapping of the wavelets on Bahia Concepcion. Pulling out in the morning and driving down the winding road as it hugged the cliffs overlooking the bay with its white sand beaches I marveled at the dolphin pods that were cavorting everywhere. By late in the afternoon when we pulled into Todos Santos we were quite ready for settling down in our ‘new home’.  The realtor escorted us to Casa Fuente at the far north end of T.S. (El Otro Lado, it’s called) and welcomed us here.

The house is beautiful with an ocean view and only 1 house between us and the water. We’ve plenty of room to spread ourselves out and there is even the most perfect room for my studio! Robert is checking out the nearby surf point even as I write this, just ¼ mile up the road. We’re looking forward to exploring the area, getting to know the community, and improving on our Spanish.

I look forward to days and nights of creativity, and of course, long soaks in that awesome bathtub. :)