The 2002 Baja Sur Cerveza Challenge
El Bueno, El Hambre,& El Sed
San Jose Del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos, La Paz, Loreto, Mulege, Santa Roasalia, Los Barriles, Santiago, Todos Santos. -
Overall trip rating 10++
After eleven mucho calor days, 1600 miles of driving,(Zo) and over sixcases of cerveza my traveling companions and I returned to Cabo San Lucas for our flight home. And, yes, on a dark deserted highway we found The Hotel California.
El Lobo (The Good), Jacobo/El Hambre (The Hungry) and Zo/El Sed (Thirsty-for Pacificos) were ready for the comforts of home. We had slept on the beach, stayed in cock roach infested hotels, driven miles of dusty back roads, were attacked by insects in the Laguna Sierras, scorched by El Sol, harassed by Federales and received the "Big Bite" from police in La Paz.
But, we just loved it. Every minuto, including the gringo populated Cabo
The California Baja is where the bright blue waters flirt with the harsh desert coast. The Sierra Laguna Mountain range splits Baja Sur. These "sky islands" are rich in biodiversity and accessible from the East or West.
Our journey did not consist of all adventure activities and wasting away in margaritaville. Jacobo (Hambre) led us through museos, galleries, and Catolica iglesias (Catholic churches) at every pueblo and ciudad that we stopped. Yes, he got his cultural depth from the Lobo of all seasons. Or, perhaps his madre.
In Santa Rosalia we visited a church designed by same Senor Eiffel that was responsible for a little tower in Paris.
-Kayaking to vqrious islands in the Sea Of Cortez from Eco Mundo camp near Mulege.
-The comida (food) particularly Restaraunte, MI Casa in Cabo San Lucas. (Highly recommended)
-Colonial Loreto and the Istituto Nacional De Antropologia & Historia.
-Climbing (fourth class) and Hiking in the desert near Eco Mundo with our new amigos, Carlos from Ensenada and Eco (the wonder dog) from Eco Mundo. Sighting two grizzly foxes.
- Hiking to Cascada Sol de Mayo outside of Santiago. Swimming in the deep pools.
- Walking on the endless beaches on the Pacific and Sea of Cortez.
-The rustic zoo in Santiago that had a Bengal Tiger as a guest.
-Scoring great souvenirs, including "Dan" the monkey man, a large Mayan monkey carving. Donde Esta Dan? (Shapiro)
"Welcome to the Hotel California"
-We toured the Hotel California in Todos Santos. The Hotel and souveneir shop claim that it was here, that several of the Eagles Rock Group hung out in the late 60s. The hotel's owners stated that the writer (Glen Frey or Don Felder)of the famous song (one of 5 number 1 hits for the Eagles) has publically stated that some of them stayed there. Don Henly has publically stated that he has never been there.
It is a classic hotel built in 1928 with interesting rooms and architecture. It has not been open for four years. There are dozens of old, dusty suitcases left and stored in one room that has never been opened. A Canadian couple recently purchased it and plan to reopen in Noviembre.
Eco Mundo-(written by Zo-Sed)
Our longest stay was 3 days/nights at Eco Mundo, which is just south of the town of Mulege. Mulege is worth checking out for its old mission which affords a view of a sea of palm trees and 'undeveloped' river walk. Accommodations consisted of hammocks under Palapas (huts with dirt floors covered with palm fronds) situated on the beach 5 feet from the water. The typical day consisted of El Lobo (ahem, El Bueno) getting up with the sun and making his usual morning noises - MMMMMMMMMMM! LORRRRRRRENZO! JAAAAAAAAKE! in an attempt to motivate the unmotivated into a morning hikes up one of the surrounding 'hills'. The motivated were usually joined by the always motivated Carlos (programmer from Vera Cruz/Ensenada/Tijuana) and Eco the resident and possibly most fearless land/water dog in Baja.
We were blown away one morning when we spotted Eco swimming towards an island that we had kayaked to. She had swam close to 5 kilometers. When she arrived, she laid on one of the kayaks, sending a clear message that she wanted a ride back. Jacobo managed to paddle back with her on board without capsizing.
Hikes were followed by a dip in el mar proceeded by a breakfast, prepared by Fabi the caretaker, of huevos con ham (or veggies or chorizo or...) with a side of frijoles, and beer for the still motivated (or smoothie for those think sculpted stomach muscles mean something).
The rest of the day would be spent napping, swimming, hanging out with Eco, Carlos, Tamra from San Diego who came to Baja to find some solitude and found the perfect place for it, and the adventurous Christina and Marta from Spain who provided the spark for profound worldly discussions and plenty of laughs while enjoying cervezas in the dark.
Deep Sea Fishing
We spent a couple of days in Los Barriles. There was a sports fishing tournament in progress and in the afternoon we watched a number of large El Dorados and Blue Marlin "trophies" brought in, weighed and recorded by bonita bikini clad gringo senoritas to add a little spice to the event. We had considered doing some deep sea fishing but decided that seeing these magnificent creatures alive while snorkeling or diving was a better choice for us. Commercial fishing by foreign fleets had seriously depleted the Sea of Cortez but recent Mexican regulatory coastal laws have assisted in restoration. I doubt if sports fishing has had much of an environmental impact.
All of the tourney participants had the same profile, shaped by years of sedentary activity while consuming gallons of Bud and mashed potatoes. We simply had not trained hard enough to participate this year. El Hambre and El Sed are on track for next year's tourney.
Sol De Mayo (written by Zo)
While checking out the zoo and Divo Jacob Iglesia in Santiago, we stopped at a hotel to try to get info on the Sierra Lagunas and were recommended a hike to a 30 foot waterfall with a swimming hole. We took the trusty rental car down the dirt road and hiked down to the picturesque waterfall cascading down to a refreshing and very welcomed swimming hole. This fresh water diversion rivaled our salt water/beach activities.
Men Behaving Badly
-EL Sed for having a beer at 8:36 A.M. on the airplane
-El Lobo for getting caught smuggling El Sed beer from the First Class section
-Jacobo for saying "Tengo Hambre (I am hungry) 97 times on this trip.
-El Sed and El Hambre for screaming "Get em off me" in the Sierra Lagunas while swatting away thousands of flies, knats and mosquitos.
-El Sed for bringing insecto repellent that not only didn't work, it actually attracted malaria carrying mosquitos. What was the DEET content of that product El Sed?
-Pequeno Pr*@K Fedarale that got into El Lobo's face and asked if he had been smoking Mary Juana.
-Grande Pr*@K La Paz policeman whom forgot his ticket book at the estacion and told us that if we were in a hurry could just pay him the 720 pesos for not slowing down somewhere?
-El Hambre for the numerous images of a gringo running off into the desert with papel de banos, loudly moaning-MY ESTOMAGO!! MY ESTOMAGO!!
-El Hambre and El Sed for spending a good portion of the day in the hotel room at La Playita, laying on their beds drinking beer and watching Mexican horror films starring killer alligators and sharks. El Lobo kept appealing to the chicos to get up and do something. Anything!! No se!
-El Lobo for singing "La Cucharacha" whenever he was in the banos
-ALL for producing room clearing odors at least once.
So, did we stop at THE Hotel California, or is the Hotel California a state of mind? Either way, we were there.
Because in the Baja, "you can check out if like, but you can never leave."