Well our first month has pasted ever so quickly here in La Mision. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had the time to set down and write this blog or ponder all that I have seen and done. That’s the good news, so busy meeting new friends and seeing new things; everyday is like a vacation and seems to pass quickly. Just the way retirement is suppose to be….how cool is that. I’m so lucky not to be facing a cold winter, but enjoying this very mild cool nights and warm days. The one thing that just doesn’t seem right, once we went off daylight savings the sunsets at 5:00, which means that if you go out to dinner like we did last night it is driving in the dark….much harder to see the potholes in the road. Last night we had dinner at the La Fonda Hotel; this is a famous landmark place, built in 1962. It is a very short drive down the road from us. The La Fonda sets on a bluff overlooking the ocean with an old tile patio where tables half-hidden behind dense potted palms and flowering magenta bougainvillea are shaded with thatch umbrellas for cozy dining, the evening menu written on a very long chalk board that the waiter sets by your table along with a tall candle to shed light on it. Then he sets other tall candles on your cloth covered table as well. The candle holders we found very amusing, that are like so many things around here, very inventive. A long tapered white candle put in a wine bottle then a clear plastic drinking glass cut at the bottom so it could slip over the candle and rest on the lip of the wine bottle…thus making a candle holder that a laminates the flame. The lighting all around is from the candle holders making it very warm and inviting ambience. As we focus our eyes in the dim candle light we realize the music is being performed by a musician with his guitar and fine voice. He is performing the Spanish Oldies from the sixties, this is what my friend said about the music when I ask her. Looking around the patio I see it is filled with expats all speaking English to each other. There was the retired group who looked like they may have been drinking quite a few margaritas since happy hour and then the biker couple all black leather; we parked next to their motorcycle and right across from us very large group who seem to be celebrating something. I enjoyed the mix of language and culture as the stars came out, and the breeze off the ocean cooled the night air, so I wrapped myself in serape blanket that had been placed on the back of my wicker chair and the streaming hot food was set in front of me, Ah, welcome to Baja.
What’s a challenge or the “bad” here of course is my in ability to speak Spanish, next comes driving with the way the locals drive cutting in and out were there isn’t space to do so, then there is the potholes that all roads seem to have, even the paid road. Finally, I guess on that list how odd it is to go through Mexican Army check points all the time, which you have to do to go to either of our local cities north or south, Rosarito or Ensenada. They always just wave us through, they mostly check any kind of truck and when we were at the Ensenada one time, they pulled the car in front of us over it was a group of young Americans with surf boards and long hair. The soldiers started totally go through their vehicle as we were waved on. I have always thought it would be fun to photograph these young soldiers with automatic rifles hung on their shoulders, but know it may not be a good idea. Their weapons are almost bigger than they are…for me it reminds me of some kind of silly cartoon, but I do know it is very much for real.
As they say, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” I am coming to see more beauty around me than I first noticed. Of course, the beach and magnificence sunsets are still at the top of my list…have been right from the start by now it is the smaller things that I am noticing….the giant flower starting to bloom on the cactus in front of the house… the child riding by on their horse…the mountains around us and then of course all the wonderful, generous people we are meeting and the gentle energy that you can feel all around you. There is something very magical about being here that is hard to write about or explain, yet be here awhile and you can feel it.