Week two in our own little match made in heaven has flown over our heads as stupidly as the first, possibly even topping the infamous great sleeping week of 2016, which packed seven days of bed, baths and beyond into what felt like no more than 12 hours of non stop fun. However, this time round, we did a whole lot more adventuring, socialising and exploration, and we even managed to do a bit of physically strenuous sporting activity, which I found very strange in a country I strongly believe was put on this earth to function purely as a chill zone, possibly specifically for me and my fellow wise chillers. Nevertheless, Los Tres Amigos have certainly been back at their intrepid best, and wreaking the usual havoc as we go.
The first few days of the trip was spent on an impromptu trip to the east side of the Baja California cape, and when I say impromptu, I mean we decided to set off on the wilderness adventure a matter of hours before we were packed and ready to set off. This was thanks to the brilliant influence of a certain Mr Alec Quevedo, who was determined to lead us into the realms of the Mexican surfer life, and boy was he doing a good job. Our mode of transport for one was so far beyond cool I couldn’t help but look at my life and wonder what the hell was going wrong, but there was no time to feel sorry for ourselves with the strict surf time limit we had set ourselves, so we made quick work of packing the ‘beast’ (a HUGE pimped out V8 ford truck with an equally as huge camper plonked on the back) fired up the monster of an engine, and cruised off into the distance with Alec at the helm of the cruise liner.
The journey couldn’t have started any better, with the tank pulling over for some insane quick pre-road trip tacos that were like a pic-n-mix of ingredients and condonments, and so we resumed chugging along the highway in the highest of spirits. However, to Alec’s surprise, but not really ours as we’re quite used to things going wrong and everything being extremely frustrating and annoying, something went pretty wrong, which we became fairly aware of pretty much as soon as one of the tires completely exploded, causing the whole multiple tonne truck to violently shake and vibrate like a big vehicle really shouldn’t, and me to wake up in a state of bewilderment as to why I had just figuratively wet myself. This caused quite a long delay whilst Alec tried to replace the wheel with a spare that didn’t fit and another that was so much smaller than the other three that it managed to remind me of me and the rest of my old rowing team, so El spent the time eagerly watching, I paced up and down the road praying the next truck coming wasn’t being driven by a drunk that might charge straight into us, and Benj enjoyed his time searching for the remains of the battered tyre. We also had to make a detour to get one of the spare tyres fixed and onto the truck, but soon we were back on track, meaning the next mission could begin, which entailed experiencing and surviving the very North American extreme shopping style. This involved navigating around the maze of things we didn’t need, and searching out the stuff we did we great difficulty and precision, and after mastering the low key supermarkets of Chile, this came as quite a shock to the system, but we did well, and we were soon back on the road, stocked up with the essentials to a surf trip, including beers and a few less important things.
As we plunged into the cactus filled Mexican desert, losing signal as we went, we began too feel more and more isolated and trapped in the wilderness, something I think we have all missed so much since the days of Los Baguales and the lone wolf Lucho, and after a hour or so spent trundling along the coastal dirt track, we were parked up on the beach of Nine Palms, with only a handful of other likeminded Americans near us, creating the most perfect of settings for our first taste of a Mexican/American style adventure.
The second day of our east cape expedition was a long and glorious one, starting bright and early in a beautiful morning of sunshine and waves, and after a regrettable night spent regretting that I didn’t bring a fucking pillow! I was soon pass the disappointment and resulting severe fatigue, and by ten o’clock we were all marching down the beach and towards more impending doom at the hands of a board and an infinite amount of waves. To our extremely pleasant surprise, the water was significantly warming than up near Todos Santos, and to add to my alarming self-confidence, it was practically a gentle cruise out into the depths of the water where, according to the large bunch of surfers that had collected, was where we should wait to catch the scary waves. I waited for a while, occasionally trying to paddle like a maniac to try and catch a wave, but I mostly tried to avoid the crashing waves in order to save myself from the dreaded washing machine. I took a light smashing, Benj probably did too, and I’m not sure about El, but soon we had had enough, and one by one we crawled back to the beach and withdrew ourselves from the water in a manner so horrically similar to three cripples. As it turned out, El had suffered the most from our first outing, as he had been unlucky enough to stand on a sea urchin, empailing his foot as he did so. This retired El for the afternoon whilst we all had ago at removing the splinters, and this took up most of the day whilst the tide was out.
The highlight of my day, despite being a slight disaster, was my little attempt at a session of fishing, which classically was a case of third time lucky. My first try at flinging out the line ended pretty badly, not only because my little fishy on the end of the string failed to reach the water, but also due to the fact I was soon returning back to camp to seek some advice on how to undo the horrific chaos of line I had somehow managed to muster up. Benj and his professional knotting skills soon had me back on the shore though, and I finally had the lure into the water waiting for those hungry fishies. It only took the time for four of five waves smashing into me until my second inevetable crisis emerged, and this time it was my ‘fish’ that had decided to swim away into the great ocean, meaning not only had I lost one of Alec’s lures, I had also officially caught minus 1 fish. I wandered back to base with my head in my hands, but I’m sometimes not one to give up, so I headed back out for one last fling of the line, and to the worlds surprise I completely blew the odds out of the water, meaning I could stride proudly back to the beast with my head held high, boasting a fully equipped fishing rod still in my hand. No fish of course, but I would call that a successful fishing trip.
The afternoon wasn’t the most spectacular of times, with a lot of time wasting necessary to get us through, but after some painful sunbathing, shocking football skills, solo mate session, a few beers, and one large trench, we were ready to hit the waves once more, with Alec leading the line to show us youths how its done. I didn’t last particular long though, and after I had failed at fishing once more by getting the line caught time after time after time (yes, three times) we were all back at the truck in time for a Spanish/Mexican dinner, and a palapa fire display.
The last day of the most credible camping one can partake in was mainly spent making our way back to civilisation, but there was time for one last surf session before we left, which I managed to completely waste by unwittingly sitting way to far out from the beach in the comfort of no waves, but after I strayed back into the danger zone and just about managed to catch a few waves, we went back to camp and packed up. This meant all that was left to do was enjoy the journey back with no punctures and stock up on cheap goods from the gigantic stores in town. It was a long road back, but we made it bag to the comfort of our beds and some tacos in four solid pieces, ending the adventure on a high.
Only a few precious hours passed by before we embarked on our next adventure, as the next day played host to what was supposed to be a relaxing day bobbing up and down on the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean whilst enjoying some easy fishing in the sunshine. I probably don’t even need to tell you that this wasn’t how the days activity panned out. With Benj sensibly deciding he was still to fatigued to tackle the huge breaking waves that we were stood nervoulsy watching, me and El psyched ourselves up and charged into the water like two action men fuelled by some lethal adrenaline and a desire to avoid being crushed by Mother Nature. Surpsingly we made it out extremely wet but still in the boat, and so we set off on a fishing tour of the nearby cliff edges and coves. We ultimately failed in the latest instalment of our continued mission to catch some fish, but just surviving the ordeal of being pushed around and soaked by waves that completely buried us in blue was an achievement in itself. However, we still had to negirtiate the most difuclt part of sea kayaking in these parts, which is getting back to shore with no or very little salty water in ones eyes and mouth, and a kayak that hasn’t snapped in half. As we approached the beach slowly, meticulously planning our escape and praying to the sea gods for just a fraction of mercy, we watched one of the local fishing boats make the manoeuvre look like child’s play, but of course they had a motor to do the hard work for them, but we had to survive on Eliot as the engine and my little arms acting as a temporary burst of nitrous. Nevertheless, we chose our time after an absolutely monster of a wave, which if we had tried to take, I would probably telling this story in a slightly different way, but luckily we waited it out and set off as fast as we could before a wave, riding it like surfers as we went, causing a temporary buzz of extreme enjoyment, soon to be demolished by the next wave which decided to break right on top of us as I leap out of the boat too early to try and pull us in. As I desperate tried to grow a few inches so I could stand up, dragging the boat back as I did so, El saved the day and managed to get to shore and pull the boat and me to safety, meriting a standing ovation from the entertained Mexican crowds.
The day didn’t end there though, as our evening was filled by watching around 20 baby turtles being released into the sea by a charity run by a boy no older than 12, whilst several eager tourists watched on and asked the poor lad some horrificly difficult questions. Despite the painfully touristy environment, watching those little animals desperately trying to crawl to the safety of the water, but being wiped out by waves in a similar way to be when I get sent sprawling time and time again, was a fantastic experience of something only a handful of english people have probably ever seen (it was all Americans).
The last few days of the week were a little more hazy than the first, but I know for certain they were a very fun and youthful few days, to put it politely. The antics started on the 11th, when we were invited to a minor shindig and BBQ at one of Alec’s friends houses who perfectly had two young stepdaughters of a similar age, and a travelling house guest from Spain who was pretty much just a cooler version of me. The food was incredible, and not just because we have become accustomed to eating our ‘make-shift’ (shit) cooking, it was genuinely the best BBQ I have ever been lucky enough to consume, with organic meats cooked in homemade marinades to absolute perfection, and whole onions smoked until even I liked them. The food was only just bettered by the large array of Tequila on offer, but after a few drinking games, including a new one brought to the table by Aron (Alec’s friend) that involved cutting open a can of beer and firing it all down your throat, we were all pretty out of it, and went to bed feeling slightly worse for wear. Of course, the morning after was ten times worse, emphasised by the days activity we had planned with our new friends that meant we had to walk around the art galleries of Todos Santos and trying to look interested and alive as we did so. The first few were fairly enjoyable, but after walking to a gallery that was really not within walking distance, and meandering through an abstract gallery with paintings on show called ‘the gold tree of life 2’, and ‘the twisted juniper under a full moon’, wehad all had enough of being mature for one day, and took some beers up to a fantastic yoga platform that looked out onto the whole of the town and its surrounding beaches, just in time for sunset. After a horrific Chile eating competition, followed by a cucumber eating competition and a crying competition, we were soon back on the sandy beaches, a location that is just perfect to go and chill out in, drinking some cold ones with friends, and watching the waves crash on by under the moonlight. It certainly beats the traditional British culture of heading to the nearest kids park to socialise in, and finished the week off in some seriously mellow style.
There’s a few contenders for shoutout for last week, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t chose between a few, so they can all have it. First up is Alec’s beast, which I cam honestly say would have to be THE coolest vehicle one can have all over the world, maybe barring a space ship or a Tardis, and it is so worthy of the name that it just demands respect from anyone that sees it. I feel quite lucky to have been part of an adventuring squad with that thing. Secondly, Aron and his family have to get some recognition for their perfect hospitality, perfect levels of alcohol, and perfect amount of perfect food, as for all of us to say that BBQ tops any others we’ve had, and we’ve had a lot, is some feat, and to be honest, I would even pout it up there with Panchi’s assado all those months ago which successfully changed my outlook on food forever. And lastly, I want to show my respect for the beer of Mexico, which has been absolutely essential throughout this week, and fairplay, for that price in Britain, you would leave the supermarket with a single can of Sainsbury’s one percent lager, and yet the drink here is just spectacular, meaning we can buy all the bottles we want without feeling guilty and without burning a great big hole in our wallets, helping to already create some fantastic memories of this place. Respect to them all.