Catalina in Baja, Mexico: Mad Max Land

This is a replay of our month-long trip to Mexico earlier this year (which was the inspiration for our current  plans to leave for the Pan American Highway as soon as we can).

This expanded entry was originally posted in a simpler form on 1-3-12 on my now-retired travel blog. I left you here, in which we had pulled over to respond to calls from nature… and had a blast frolicking around in the cacti. Amazing prickly things, those.

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We drove forever down parched roads, lonely looking areas. We pulled into the Catalina area as the sun was reaching a spot in the sky that whispered rather loudly, “if you want to camp, you’d better set up now.”

 

My One True Darling pulled in the local shop, went inside to buy a coke and ask where such a spot might be. A ragged, sun-weathered man, “The Grizzle”, wandered after him and I had visions of a scene from Mad Max. Or something. They wandered out together, my Love passed The Grizzle a cigarette then came back into the truck. Said The Grizzle was from Northern California, had been wandering around Baja for over 20 years now. Ah. So that’s what happens…

We followed the directions the shop had given us for a place we could camp, wandered into a space with ground packed hard, dense. Most likely a lovely space to camp, if you had stakes made of some unbendable, unbreakable substance that could slide through granite.

We, unfortunately, didn’t have that. With dusk approaching, we made the swift decision to just rent a room instead.

See those baskets hanging? Want a closer look?

Tires! How ingenious!

This was an odd little place. Mom and Pop, Mexican, smothered in ‘quirk”. Overpriced for Mexico, but really, they could charge whatever they wanted as their only competition was a fancy hotel across the way that charged Overpriced for America.

Small uber-pink room of questionable cleanliness and maybe even integrity. Single fluorescent light. A black hole of darkness at night, as we were to find.

Bright sunshine outside, lilting warm breeze and a delightful dog. Our kids were happy playing. We were happy watching.

The “quirk” that the place was smothered in? Part of it was plain country-Mexican, part of it was plain Mexican, part of it was sheer interesting artistry. Maybe all of those things are one, in the end? I don’t know. I’m new at this, travel in the Baja.

This, I especially loved. Reminded me of the handwashing I did in my own childhood in Fiji.

Tortilla holder made in the USA. We thought eating dinner there would be a smart call because of the Mom and Pop Mexican factor. Mom was cooking. I guess we just assumed that Mom would be a good cook. She wasn’t.

We walked around after we ate. The desolate quality to the place was both appealing and slightly disconcerting. Especially when Mom and Pop took off in their ancient Suburu. We wondered if they were going to a better place to eat, flush with the cash we’d bathed them in.

Yep, that was their taillights, twinkling in the darkened night air.

They had left us all alone in their Mad Max Land.

We went inside, studied the map of Baja.

Micah and I worked on our own map we were creating of our trip.

Moxie read some more.

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None of us slept well.

We were all happy to wake up, after a fitful night, tossing, turning and imagining things that go BUMP in the dark.

Made our coffee. Mom and Pop were back, we could boil water. THANK GOD.

Let the kids run around a little while we packed up

And Moxie had to say good bye to her new friend.

We were all happy to get into the Beast and leave.

Hit the road that was calling us.

Little Man wants a skateboard now.

 

 

 

 

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
This is a really fantastic idea and tutorial - book mark it! https://t.co/DRNLLzzQpi - 8 hours ago
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