At the end of this week, I feel I have a tremendously great deal of pride and honour filling my small but noble heart, and despite what you may think due to my bold opening line and my frequent and annoying over exaggeration of almost every little thing that comes out of my mouth, or in this case, keyboard after a few drinks, it has absolutely nothing to do with the few beers that have made there way into my bloodstream. In fact, I am actually being rather serious when I say I’m really pleased that Los Tres Amigos have had a very Mexican week, made even more of a spectacular achievement seeing as despite what the nickname I have forced upon the group, we are three pretty white english guys that, at the end of the day, are tourists, even if we, along with every single other young backpacker around the world, like to call ourselves travellers. There is one major difference between us and the usually overweight men in beige three quarter length shorts and ridiculous shades (I’m stereotyping) and the almost always blonde women with stupidly annoying hats and ridiculous shades (I’m not stereotyping), we have no money, which without meaning to sound insulting and out of door, makes us a whole lot more Mexican than the rest. Nevertheless, we well and truly bossed out another week.
The week got off to a slow start, with the only real item of interest on the list (I genuinely have a list on my phone of all the shit we get up too due to our busy schedules and my dodgy memory) being the inaugural Mexican Open tennis tournament at the truly incredible tennis courts overlooking the ocean, featuring the most tired and overheated players ever to set foot onto a court and some of the most entertainingly terrible playing one can be capable of producing. We enjoyed ourselves though, and if you’re a fellow sporting failure, you’ll also be all too familiar with the saying ‘it’s the taking part that counts’. Bullshit.
Dia dos was a whole new level of heat and sweat and fatigue, but with a whole more to shout about. The first action of the day required some walking, not a great deal in comparison to our Chilean experience of hiking, and not even that much more than a stroll around the Cotswolds, but under the intense strain of the sun and in a constant state of relaxation and laziness, the short walk gave us a good enough challenge to merit a long afternoon of nothing. However, the effort was certainly worth it for the fantastic spectacle provided by approximately a fuck load of crabs. The walk took us up and over the cliffs and down to an old loading dock at the side of a beautiful cove, but upon arriving to the fishing spot and then wandering off along the cliff face for some exploration, I soon discovered this was no normal geographical formation that I was about to slip over on, but actually the home of a scarily large family of creepy crabs. To my overwhelming surprise, and maybe yours depending on how well you know me, I managed to overcome my fear of anything that has the capability to move but does not have a smiley face and continue on my quest around the cliff. I even managed to navigate my way around the slippery algae and powerful waves that both covered the rocks, all with no major accidents or moments of severe pain. This meant I could now waltz along the rocks with ease to a lookout point that was a little bit more interesting than the fishing spot, so intresting in fact that I spent a good ten minutes failing to take a timer photo with my phone and some rocks, so in the end I had to settle for a selfie. It was only as I started heading back though that I noticed something in the corner of my eye that reminded of a haunting sound that I strongly recognised from not that long ago; ten minutes in fact. Yep, you guessed it, more crabs, but not just more, oh no, this was no family, this was a fucking army. They scurried along that bolder like it was WW3; regimented, disciplined and intimadating. Thankfully they opted not to initiate a blitz on me or attempt to invade my personal space, but I was quickly out of there and back into the safety of our home territory. Mission accomplished.
We arrived home a short while later, but despite the inevetable discomfort that began take control of our bodies, we were dragged back out for a Voltron fuelled dinner. This didn’t sound too bad though, as the original plan was a nice meal, although it was fish, with Aron and another member of Alec’s crew named Stuntman and his girlfriend Stuntwoman. In fact, the fish was actually really nice, and the restaurant was chilled out and the night was just nicely relaxed to suit our weary soles. So ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ I hear you ask, well… alcoholic beverage, one word, two syllables, sounds like death. Wow, you’re good. Yep, it was Mezcal. If you did’t manage to guess my little game, then you lost, but don’t worry I didn’t know either, and remember, it’s the taking part that counts; not! Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Mezcal is another Mexican spirit that is very similar to Tequila but due to some differences in the way its made or some shit that the waiter explained in spanish, is called something else and tastes completely different. It is also much stronger at a handsome 50 %. It was even described as having euphoric effects on drinkers, which sounded kind of fun, but me and the guys were certainly only feeling one kind of intoxicated! This marked the end of a normal and suitably short evening, as after sinking a few more beers and discussing the history, politics and drug intake of Ireland, we headed off to the Chill and Grill where our coffins lay in waiting with some live music in the background. The music was actually decent, enough to wake me up to an almost functional level, although the lack of crowd made for an embarrassing sceneario after a few more cervezas had passed through me, due to my uncontrollable volume and insistence on giving the reggae band the applause and cheers they deserved. It was only after a few more of the Todos Santos American population had joined our table, and I had partaken in my compulsory drunk conversation with the almost stranger that was sat next to me (this time it was about music – very interesting guy actually) that the powers that be decided it was time to go home. Of course, this meant one more round, but mercifully it was eventually time to head home via one of the few late night taco suppliers and get tucked up in bed.
The third day of la semana took us over to the other nearby city of La Paz, which was a trip so Mexican that we felt we needed to bring our very own Mexican along with us, and seeing as El Chapo was a bit preoccupied, we ‘settled’ for the slightly less Mexican but much nicer Lena, and after picking her up and grabbing a much needed oversized juice, we were motoring out of town to the sound of Danza Kuduro blasting from the speaker. It was another long journey along another long road, but my queue of road trip tunes kept the squadron rolling on and towards the sacred beaches of the east coast. The only minor scare of the journey came at a police/army/scary people with huge guns checkpoint, an intimidating experience for us innocent Cotswolds lads, but although I went into my usual nervous state of guilt and panic, Lena was on hand to put our minds, bodies and excretory systems by calmly announcing that we were just the kind of people to get pulled over as we were three foreign guys with one Mexican girl, but by the time this had sunk in and begun to send us all into a frenzy of terror, we were passed the blockade and back into the grateful arms of the open road. Of course, no Mexican road trip would be complete without a cooler full of Tecate lights, so we stocked up on beer at the most common shop for the locals, Oxxo, and were quickly heading into rich mans country, full of huge yachts and helicopters, and then burst out the other side to reveal a spectacular beach and the home of the Baja Californian.
It really was a really pretty beach, with beautiful white sand enclosing a large pool of crystal clear water that completed the exotic and picturesque setting that surrounded us. It was just a shame there was also hundreds of holidaying nationals fighting for space on the beach, leaving us with the stressful mission of locating a quiet enough area to be able to be bearable but yet not so far that a large amount of distance had to be covered and therefore use a lot of precious effort. In classic ‘’us’ fashion though, this didn’t quite go to plan, as the route we selected to guide us to a more peaceful part of this haven required the four of us, all of our stuff, and the cooler around the cliffs and into the water. This was slightly trickier than anticapated, probably because I was stupid enough to wear my flip flops and cared more about the precious cargo I was holding than the state of my feet, and to make things that much morse, the water wasn’t anywhere as near as warm as we had thought and got so excited about. Nevertheless, we set up camp and were quickly paddling around in the water like we had never passed the age of ten. We didn’t last particularly long though, and soon we were heading back to the chaos in search of a new spot, and miraculously we found a spare palapa shelter to hide under, and we even got tacos brought to our doorstep. We were living the life.
We filled the rest of the afternoon in classic Mexican style, listening to music that was competing against everyone else’s speakers within a 20 metre radius, drinking our beers and eating our tacos, and then after a bit of snorkelling, and some sushi in town, we made the journey back to Todos Santos, making it back just in time to make ourselves look alive again and then go back out to the reggae party we had got ourselves into thanks to the mother and daughter that were staying in Alec’s hotel, Phoebe (daughter) and Noy. The party was called the 4.29 party, and if that wasn’t enough to give us a clue of what we were about to walk into, the girl at the entrance that failed to notice me and Benj were even standing there, started to tell us a little bit more about the massive stoner fest that we had arrived at. We were enthusiastic though, especially after the first drunk and high partier we met took a bit of shining to us all and began buying round after round of margeritas, and therefore the entrance fee of 50 pesos was quickly payed off, but to be honest, it would have been well worth the money anyway. The reggae band playing were awesome, the surfing wipeout videos playing in the background were even better, and the quality of drunk dancing topped it all off. However, the night did start to deteriorate temporarily, as after the chilled out reggae band had sadly finished, they were replaced by a very loud, very serious and very irritating rap group that took it in turns to shout at us all until we decided to call it a night. Don’t worry though, we soon had the night saved by some extremely late night tacos at the Mexican version of KFC, and then headed to our much needed pillows.
The last main event of our Mexican fiesta could only come from one place; a place so far and remote that only a handful of english people have ever stepped foot on it, it’s just a shame the Americans have discovered it in their thousands. Yep, we were back at Nine Palms, which didn’t feel like the most Mexican activity we could have done, but this trip was a little different; this trip was a day strike! This involved getting up far too early, prepping the truck with all we would need to withstand the scorching heat, and then waiting for our two new companions from the night before to emerge so they could tail the trundling Toyota. A quick stop for some take away goat tacos, a choice we later regretted more for the inconvenience of eating than the hideous amount of grease and fat that was shining bright on the food, and we were off onto the long open road and nearing La Comer. Me and Benj decided to do the noble thing and guide Phoebe and Noy around the hell hole that called itself a supermarket, but in truth, this was a strategic tactic from myself to hide the fact that I needed to buy yet another pair of sunglasses. With that complete, and the girls ready for their impressively unprepared few nights at the beach, we were back on the dirt road and back where we belonged. It was the usual procedure upon arrival, unpack the track, protect the boards, protect ourselves and then relax, but sadly our methods for shade hadn’t worked out quite as well as last time, leaving me with the very unenviable task of making a den, FOR SOMEONE ELSE! Nevertheless, we soon had a decent set up, I had broken my new sunglasses, and we were all chillaxing by the truck, Mexican style (With a tecate light and a great big truck).
After a while, the inevitable talk of getting into the water began to arise, but despite the horrible condition of the waves, Phoebe somehow managed to drag us all in anyway with the lure of swimming. Swimming? In the sea? It was unheard of for us gents. However, we were no cop-outs, and when a young lady asks one to do something, one tends to just get on and do it. Despite our scepticism, it was actually pretty fun, as due the absence of boards, when a big huge wave comes crashing down on you, very little happens, although during the first few sets I was still feeling like I had a board under my arm and was going to face oblivion very quickly, but I got to used to it. We were all pretty knackered eventually and rode in some waves towards the beach, but it was only then that the three of us amigos re-discovered our early youth with a game of ‘fucking around with waves’, a game that involves body surfing, wave jumping and a lot of sand in your trunks, and a game that really needs a better name. The sensation of flying through the sky as a crashing wave chucks you onto the beach is comparable to nothing, and the feeling of having a big lump of sand somewhere in your trunks that you just can’t possibly find is indescribable, but I would highly recommend getting active and taking part. Not in England of course, you need to go somewhere with warm water and waves, probably Mexico. The afternoon was spent catching some rays once again with Benj, whilst the others attempted to catch some waves in amongst the usual chaos, which was really entertaining courtesy of El on his top form cutting up those waves, and of course a beer to make things that much better. After that, we waved Bon voyage to our travel buddies and headed back to Todos Santos to sleep off the last few days.
That was pretty much all of the week’s Mexican offerings, and barring the night we watched the incredible film that is Shawshank redemption, I have very little more to say about the week, other than it was a proper Baja week and a bloody brilliant one. This leaves me with only one more thing to say before I can finally go to bed, and that of course is the shoutout, which I think can only be fitting if I give it to a Mexican, and who better than the drunk, stoned and mental dude at the reggae party. He bought us drinks, politely offered us weed, bought us more drinks, tried to dance with us, bought us more drinks, tried to drive home, let Benj drive him home, and then apparently taught a surfing lesson the next day. There’s no doubt I will remember him for the rest of my life. What a guy.