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This is the 4th part of our little mini-series of La Paz.

Before, we covered:

P1250386Finding La Paz
Food!
Some Tales of Great Adventures & Tiny Happenings

and now here is the final post with the older photos and the older stories.

The Beaches of La Paz

La Paz is situated right by a beach, and there are beaches stretching out all along the coast above and below the city. There are beautiful islands to kayak to close by, including the famous Espiritu Santos, where you could also camp.

We took a boat tour to Espiritu Santos and the bay. It was one of those tour companies that is located right on the Malecon – I forget which – I forgot how much it cost too. But it was a lot of fun.

me and micah
me and micah

I definitely recommend it, if you are in the area. Just walk around, talk to the boat operators, see what they are offering, etc. Ours was to the island, a stop for snorkeling/swimming with the sea lions

DSCF5926checking out all those fish

DSCF5927and thrilling our 2-year old to smithereens

P1250579we stopped at an island beach for lunch

P1250671lunch!

– just kidding 🙂

P1250653no, really, I think it was sandwiches of some sort. Not thrilling, just filling.

Then we went around famous things like this weird rock

P1250657and these majestic arches.

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It was truly lovely and worth paying for.DSCF5916

If you have access to a kayak though, I’d think that would be best – you could go at your own pace and really linger at the spots you would like to.

The Beaches of La Paz

We walked to a beach that was a couple of miles away – on the road to Pichilingue – pretty much every day.

DSCF5583It was a great beach for what it is: close to a city. January being in the dead of Mexican winter, the only people there were us, a few other tourists and Mexicans all bundled up in their woolens and fur boots, sitting there shivering.

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We got a fair amount of flak for having our kids so semi-clothed,

FRIO!!!!! MUY FRIO!!!!

those abuelas would exclaim, trying desperately to cover our kids, cluck-clucking at us for our horrible parenting. We thought they were really sweet to care so much. We also thought it would be hilarious if we went back to the Bay Area and pounced on some Mexican family carrying their little one in one of those furry thick blankets and we’d be all,

IT’S TOO HOT!!! HOT!!!!!

While throwing the blanket off of their baby, fanning them desperately and such. That’d be soooo funny, wouldn’t it?! 

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Anyway. Back to the beaches.

So we were hanging out on the beach every day, enjoying our walks to and from the beach along the Malecon. It was such relaxing living, really easy, fun. We also lost around 10 lbs each.

the family, la paz, 2010All that lard totally works out with all the walking.

There was a big huge playground along the way that we would stop to play at from time to time

IMG_1105The set up was like this:

a playground next to a BAR.

So the parents would be hanging out in the bar right there while watching their kids.

IMG_1108 IMG_1097-1a playground next to a BAR. I mean, can you even IMAGINE that in the US?!

It’d be the most popular thing, ever, wouldn’t it?! There, go ahead and run with that idea now. You are welcome 🙂

Anyway, we liked it because it was chock full of super cool slides and kids. We also liked it because it was on the way to the beach and close to Moyeyo’s, that place of delicious sea-goodness.

IMG_1686-1We never drove in La Paz. We walked everywhere. We walked to all of the beaches in walking distance, we walked the whole of the Malecon, back and forth. We walked to get food, walked for our ice-cream, walked to have our laundry done, walked absolutely everywhere.

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The Pension California (- Hotel California) made a great base for all that

IMG_1770It had a great location – close to the Malecon but also close to shops and shopping

hotel california courtyard, la pazIt was cheap – under $20/day – and we cooked at least two meals there a day right there, as you can see Mikey doing in the picture. Open air kitchens rock.

The stairs there led to the roof and the kids loved that

IMG_1644-1 IMG_1643-1 IMG_1641-2It kept us pretty busy.

IMG_0071Another thing that was great about the Hotel was that they always gave us LOTS of beds. The place was originally a convent, you see, so some of the older rooms have like, 4 or 5 beds. Those were what we were given, for the price of a double.

moxie, hotel california, la paz moxie, la pazWe liked having a bed each.

IMG_0913-1We liked having the TV too. I absolutely love watching soap operas in other countries.

***

This wraps up the older La Paz mini series. I won’t be writing a mini-series with the new stuff – but I will give you updates on everything: the beach, Moyeyo’s, Hotel California, La Fuente – everything that we really loved about La Paz will be covered in the newer posts coming up next week.

If you have any questions/comments, will you holla in the comments so that everyone can benefit? Thanks.

****

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I don’t know if you were waiting for the last little installment of my major photo-dump that’s kind of majestically called a ‘La Paz Series’ – but if you were, I’m sorry! Things got busy around here.

So, let’s see. Where were we? Right. We had the post that was about finding La Paz for the first time (in a nutshell, it’s courtesy of the Great Puke Fest of 2011), then there was the post on Food, so I think now we are on Great Adventures and Tiny Happenings. All of this is really building to the post that I’ll have up and out shortly on La Paz 2014, which will compare a lot of these older posts to what’s going on now in that grand little city.

Here’s some tales of Great Adventures and Tiny Happenings

On our first trip to La Paz we were walking around the town square and we happened upon a girl who was also visiting La Paz who was the same age as Micah.

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They became the jelly to peanut butter, mac to cheese, butter to toast: in other words, inseparable.

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Their adorability blew us away of course.

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Just like their conversations.

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Sometimes we all got a sense that if these two were to meet in 30, 40 years, not a lot might change – they’d sit there and quietly look out on life together with a comment or three between them.

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That first time in La Paz, we spent a lot of time with that little girl, her mom and her auntie.

We also spent a lot of time walking up and down the Malecon. Not just that trip; all trips.

The Malecon (- Boardwalk)  in La Paz

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The Malecon felt like the heart of La Paz. So, so many things going on.

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So many people to watch, rides to ride

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P1250469Faces to smile upon, yards to be ran.

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Boats to watch, pelicans to talk to

IMG_9969

DSCF5540Pelicans really crack us up.

All of these Mexican families would come out and rent bicycles and ride ecstatically around. Locals would do their exercise on the Malecon after dark, when it was cooler, and tourists of the North American stripe seemed to linger longer than anyone in the establishments for food/drink. Especially drink.

la paz malecon

One of the things we really liked was that La Paz is a holiday town for Mexicans. We met many people from mainland Mexico who were on vacation – same as we were – and we liked that it wasn’t about just a vacation spot for foreigners like “Cabo Wabo” seems to be.

Aside from the Malecon, we had a lot of fun walking around La Paz.

P1250503

For those early trips when we only had two kids (hahaha), it was pretty easy: Moxie in the Ergo and Micah in the BOB stroller for the most part, but sometimes we’d have both kids in the stroller – Moxie in the back and Micah sitting up front.

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The ramps and stairs there are a cruel joke: a ramp up leading to a steep flight of stairs down. We made out okay because of the BOB stroller but I sure would hate to be a wheelchair user in that town – or most of Mexico as I have seen it, because they don’t have the equivalent of the Section 503 at all.

It’s like someone is standing there, licks their finger and puts it in the wind and that’s going to determine the ramp/access situation in any given block.

IMG_1754

Yeah.

Graffiti/Murals in La Paz

I *hella heart* gorgeous graffiti and murals. They make my heart kind of explode with excitement and happiness inside.

La Paz had some good murals and interesting graf from place to place –

IMG_1745 IMG_1742 DSCF5507Their pictures of Jesus tended to be really vivid

IMG_0079-1People here don’t like to forget that he SUFFERED.

I also enjoyed the details in things: the wall art

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Succulents all over the place

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My own head

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Micah in his hat

IMG_1621-1Clearly, I’m going off on tangent now!

More Art

We went to the Museum by the town square more than once, it was a nice place to spend time and it was free. Very small. But worth going to for the history of La Paz and the region. We also went to the main church in the square and that was lovely, very majestic and powerful in the way that big old churches tend to be.

We loved walking around and looking at people’s houses and gardens. Getting a sense of the day to day flavour of spaces

P1240826 IMG_9983-1I didn’t take a ton of photos because that seemed rude. IMG_1559-1Just a few. Here and there.

Coming up: Beaches of La Paz and other incidentals.

*****

More Info:

 

We’ll be back soon with the rest of the La Paz Mini Series, harking back to our first trip there and continuing through to 2014. But while I edit the older photos, here’s this, a photo essay. Probably my favorite little string of photos I’ve ever taken. Circa 2012, in the Hotel California in La Paz.

I hope you like them too.

****

with a little moxie stairway to heaven with a little moxie stairway to heaven with a little moxie stairway to heaven with a little moxie stairway to heaven with a little moxie stairway to heaven with a little moxie stairway to heaven with a little moxie stairway to heaven****

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I was telling you the story of how we fell in love with La Paz, wasn’t I? I gotten you past our Great Bus PukeFest of 2011, which was the decisive factor in nixing the lets-bus-around-Mexico idea. I left you at the Pension California (- which we call “Hotel California”) and we were tucking in, getting comfortable.

Okay, so this post has to be about FOOD, cuz we are awfully predictable like that. No way could we love a place without there being some GOOD FOOD going on, right?

me and mikey, la pazAnd this is the thing: Mikey and I both cook. When we pay attention to food, we are paying attention to what we can buy, ready-made and what’s available for us to make something with. No one wants to eat out all the time and no one wants to cook all the time either, right? A place to love has to have the fixin’s for both.

La Paz has that.

Their markets were amazing – and I think I’ll cover buying food in another post since it’s such a gigantically fun subject. So this is just going to be about eating out.

Mikey and I both cook (but I admit he’s way better than I am now, thanks to that jump start I gave him by being pregnant for  3 years). We both love good food, we are really picky eaters in the sense that we rarely eat anything that isn’t well prepared.

And we are not rich, nor have we ever been yet. We just know how to cook and we know how to find good, cheap food.

 Good, cheap food in La Paz

La Paz has a ton of fine restaurants and obviously really delicious morsels for sale in plush environments. Andrew Zimmern even featured a place there! But we just don’t have the budget for those places. We saw them, sized them up but didn’t try them out because we didn’t feel like using a month’s food budget for one meal.

What we did do was walk around, explore many, many streets, ask local people for spots for good-eats and we tried out what was advised.

That’s how we came by Moyeyo’s – this super cool little restaurant with a sand floor, bones from aquatic creatures hanging from the ceiling and a fat, sweet menu that we could afford to get to know.

moyeyo's

Oh my God, we loved that place.

IMG_9935 IMG_9950

Divine fish tacos, baked clams, sea goodness of every variety.

IMG_1676-1And no bill we ran up there ever went much past $20 – even when we went nuts and ordered table-covering feasts (and drinks).

IMG_1671-1one happy mansupreme.

swear to god, that's not what it looks like

We loved Moyeyo’s – we even got to know the staff, we tuned into the drama that went on and felt like part of the family. It was kind of awesome.

P1250811 P1250805 IMG_9939

Moyeyo’s was not typical though – I am pretty sure it was the only restaurant around the Malecon that we could be comfortable ordering with abandon, due to our slim wallets. But it’s not just the money piece – it’s also the quality – it was really good food.

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So other than Moyeyo’s, we ate a lot of street food – “chocolate clams”

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Baked clams too

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Big huge street hamburgers. And hot dogs

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Mexican baked potato!

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everything but the bathwater…

We ate a lot of street food.

This is a great thing because you can see how clean the stand is – you are looking right at the kitchen after all – you pay a fraction of the restaurant price, the food is usually outstanding, and you get to hang out with interesting people you’d likely never meet elsewhere.

IMG_1177-1IMG_1176-1

Win-win.

***

La Fuente Ice Cream

la fuente ice cream

If you ever go to La Paz (and you happen to like ice cream), this is an absolute must. It’s handmade ice-cream of the Mexican variety with absurdly delightful non-American flavours. I’m talking… blackberry cheese with REAL CHEESE in it. Stuff that’s like, ‘whoah! Are you KIDDING?’ only they aren’t and you are terribly glad it’s for real because this is some insane deliciousness.

blackberry con queso

Sorry for all my crappy, blurred photos. Next time we go there, I’ll be bringing the dslr and TRIPOD, baby!

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I think it was La Fuente that made an ice cream addict out of Moxie. Or else the girl just knows a good thing when she tastes it.

IMG_1706-1***

I know a lot of parents are extra-cautious about food in foreign countries with their little ones, and I get it. Sort of. I mean, I know we have to keep our eyes open and our heads on our shoulders. But it’s good to remember that kids adapt faster than adults – your little one is actually less likely to get some nasty worm thing than YOU are.

Food is also one of the most integral parts of a culture – I know Mikey and I want our kids tasting and exploring their ways around places unknown, respecting and appreciating differences. We want them to grow up curious and open minded towards the cuisine of others. Getting out there and asking people what’s good to eat in their town is one way we do it – street food is another. Still another – and one of the best ways to the soul of a culture is eating at the home and table of a family.

We are not there yet, but boy, do we ever hope to be!

PS

This post is a mix of photos over a few years – hence the short haired-Micah in one photo and long in the other 🙂

 

Our love affair with La Paz began as a great many love affairs seem to:  unexpectedly.

We had arrived in the Los Cabos airport on December 30, 2010, happily planning on checking out the Cabos – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

squeeeeeeee!! baby Moxie liked flying
squeeeeeeee!! baby Moxie liked flying

We thought we’d spend time in both towns before heading north to cross over to the mainland of Mexico by Ferry from La Paz, bus around the Mexican mainland before heading back and catching our return flight back to San Francisco at the end of January.

Plans are sure fun, aren’t they?! And it sort of feels like making them is simply begging the gods to mess with ’em, doesn’t it?!

So, Cabo San Lucas! As Mikey said (and I have to put this in bold), “if it happened to slip into the Sea of Cortez, we woudn’t miss it” – cuz it held all of the appeal of a bland, rich, all-white, gated golf community for us, one that swapped out with a frat house at night.

San Jose del Cabo was better – we met some really nice people there.

in san jose

We loved this little place we are so predictable : eating in san jose where we ate, we enjoyed walking around and the interaction we had with the local folk.

Oh, and the election posters all over the place cracked us up

election 2010 bajaThe tourist stuff there was toned down but it was still very much present and  annoying to us, so we cut our planned stay there short and walked on over to the bus centre, booked us a few tickets and boarded the bus to get out of there.

The buses in Mexico are like the buses in Peru – that is, they are decked and tricked out. They are bastions of comfort that only increases in luxury with the amount you pay. But even at our economy level, it’s a pretty sweet ride. Like I said, we were planning on taking the bus through our entire trip– up to La Paz, crossing from there by Ferry to the Mexican mainland and then once on the Mexican mainland, we were planning to bus our way as far as possible along the coast.

So there we were, settling in on the bus, the kids on our laps, enjoying the ride.

pre-puke

The beauty of the desert, the mesas, cacti, the winding roads.

Those winding roads.

moxie in the ergo on the bus
moxie in the ergo on the bus

 Those winding roads.

 Those winding roads….started messing with Micah after a while and his food started… unwinding and before we knew it, he was puking his head off.

And that set off this chain reaction of puking in the bus – the guy across from us started puking and the people behind us were puking and it was just like some really bad B movie, only it was real and we were living (and smelling) it and our poor little boy was the star.

We couldn’t arrive in La Paz fast enough and when we did, we practically got out and kissed the ground.

micah, so tired

Our grand plans for traveling around the mainland of Mexico were tossed because there was no way we could travel with the bus being our main source of transportation. Not after that PukeFest.

micah
poor kid

So we were in La Paz, in the bus station in the main part of the “downtown” area. It feels weird writing that, because I got the sense that the heart of the “downtown” is the boardwalk area that hugs the beaches, the Malecon. From the Malecon, it’s like restaurants, shops, bars, hotels cascade out until they’ve reached the outer areas, far from the ocean. The majority of the locals live away from the Malecon, but the Malecon isn’t some Waikiki-esque tourististic trap – there are far more Mexicans hanging out here than foreigners.

So there we were – in the bus station right across from the Malecon in La Paz.

Mikey had wanted to stay in this place he saw in Lonely Planet called the Yeneka Inn, so he stopped in and asked at a coffee shop where the Yeneka Inn was. The girl didn’t know. He dug up the address. She didn’t know. He pointed out that it was the SAME STREET we were on. She still didn’t know. So he gave up, we all walked outside and down the way a bit and whaddya know. There it was.

We stayed there for a couple of nights. We loved it, it was like some laid back love child of Burning Man and Sedona. Crazy, funky “found art” all over the place, weird, wild shit and then deeply groovy Native American and Mexican art. The kind of place where boots hanging on trees is just normal.

boots hanging from tree at yneca inn

There was even a Ford Model T in the courtyard! Free Tequila shots at night too.

the courtyard in the yneca

The owner was chillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, like supremely relaxed – this big alpha guy who liked hanging out and talking to people, sharing space and art and a good time. You know the type. You have probably met him before too, and you also probably liked him.

fun stuff all over the place

But while there, we happened upon the California Pension just down the street.

hotel california, la paz

The California Pension, or “Hotel California” as we liked calling it, was easily half the price of the Yneca Inn, and you could cook your own meals there in their large courtyard kitchen. Score and bonus score. We had to switch.

by the kitchen in hotel california, la paz

We thought it would make an awesome jump-off spot for walking around La Paz and exploring the area.

So we settled in, unbuckled our belts and started to make ourselves comfortable.

hotel california la paz

More Info:

Aguila Bus Line: this is the line we took from Los Cabos to La Paz. It’s a very popular company, they have buses going everywhere for a reasonable price.

Yucca Inn: We stayed there in San Jose del Cabo. It’s clean, comfortable, good wifi and hot showers. Right in the older area, you can walk most anywhere. Access: it’s been a while but I remember it as being inaccessible on account of the few stairs down to some rooms and stairs up to others.

Yeneka Inn: crazy fun hotel in La Paz. Access: Rooms on the first floor are accessible, rooms on the second are not. You might want to check about door width because I remember some of the doors as being really narrow.

Pension  California: “Hotel California” – economical, spartan hostel smack-dab in an awesome location – close to the stores, markets, the Malecon downtown, the bus center, everywhere. Access: it’s accessible! There are some stupid door things you have to step/roll over with some rooms or with some bathrooms, but if you have a portable mini ramp it should be okay.

** note: I’m not an expert on access – so I definitely advise you to double check on anything you read here – contact the hotels/hostels from the sites directly to be sure **

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