Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Happenings after the Holiday Season

Mtns. on the way to San Felipe

Last  week, Alma and I had our first big road trip in Baja. We crossed the mtns. to the other side of the Baja peninsula to see the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez).  Driving the 200 miles on Mex Hwy 3 from Ensenada to San Felipe is a challenging road of twists and turns through mtns. and across desert landscapes. The sky was partly cloudy adding to the dramatic views of the high mtn. pecks. There are a couple of little towns far off the road, but if you stick to the road there is nothing much in the way of services. We did find one restroom stop, but no food a long the way, we wished we had packed a few snacks. The boulder covered mountains are awesome with cacti and other vegetation growing all around. Then there was an inspiring view  as we came around this one curve looking out to a valley of farm lands just being planted and some of the fields were dusted with green shoots. I wished I could take a photo, but no place to stop. On down the mtn and across the valley we went and soon we came to a military checkpoint near where Hwy 3 meets the gulf shore Hwy 5. We had already been through 2 other checkpoints so I guess they are still in abundance around here. San Felipe is a sleepy little town at the top edge of the gulf. We stayed at a beach hotel in a clean but, very modest room. We enjoyed a great view from our little balcony, checking out the local shops and have a yummy fresh seafood meal. There was a bus load of retires from Arizona filling the hotel and enjoying the town. We enjoyed our cats with some of them. The drive home we found that it had snowed in the night so got to see a little snow on cacti and rocks. That is enough winter wonderland for me. 

Then saturday it was off for a little food shopping and lunch in Rosarito beach. There is a pretty good Chinese Restaurant that we enjoy eating at…they serve really large portions so we get an extra meal or two out of it. Sunday we went to “Not Church”, Church. This is the monthly gathering of ex-pats at a lovely home with a view of the waves crashing just beyond their cliff side patio, there was a nice warm fire in the fire place and many greetings from new friends. There was about 50 people, a few children,  delightful music and thoughtful stories. We always come away feeling inspired by the event , then about 20 of us invaded the local hotel restaurant near by….it was s true Mexican dining experience with very slow service giving us plenty of time to chat with old friends and make new some new ones. We meet a few more of our neighbors on “the hill”. Monday it was off to the monthly women’s creative arts group. We talked about what we wanted in the new year and made a little wall hanging to remind us.  What fun!
Tuesday Dad and I went to the states, which is always a delight to be in San Diego, now that I know my way around it is much more fun to do the shopping. Okay, just have to say something about the border crossing. We drove over to Tecate which adds about 20 mins. to the drive to the border and is always a much shorter wait time than Tijuana. So, you drive down this road to the eastern edge of town and then turn and there is a one way street along the border fence bring you back into town, this has the Mexican Army doing traffic control. Well I turn on the street and no cars lined up…I continue over the crest of the hill and see down to the border crossing and there are no cars! I drive on down and the soldier who is busy text messaging on his cell doesn’t even look up, but waves me on ( would have love a pic of that!)....I enter the control lane and there is just one car pulling out of the booth and I drive up to the booth show our passports and we are on our way!!!!  We still have the extra 30 mins. to drive in the Calif. mtns to get back to the main highway and San Diego…..but oh, so worth it! It felt like a kind of victory to just get across the border.

Yesterday, it was sharing some silliness, hugs and art with the local children. I love seeing their creativity and even though we can’t have much conversation we still connect with each other. They children are such a gift to me. They are so willing to just jump in there and try. They were very excited with gifts of new hand knitted caps and slippers. Plus we all enjoyed the home made chocolate chip cookies that the ladies bought along with the knitted gifts. After the morning of art we went off to enjoy a long, long lunch at our favorite local hotel and restaurant perched on the cliff overlooking the Pacific. The sunshine was warm so we could eat on the patio where we were treated to some gray whale sightings. Road trips, art, friends, yummy food, sunshine, whales, beach walks, Ah I love being retired.
Drive to San Felipe

Lighthouse in San Felipe

Me at the beach front in San felipe

Across the street from the beach in San Felipe

Art Project
All smiles with new hand knitted hat a blanket

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