Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A magical, mystery tour Baja-style

Is there anything better than sharing the things you love with the people you love? I’m thinking not, and I’m guessing you probably are, too.
A perfect example is the recent visit of my brother, Richard, and his beautiful wife, Belinda. For such a long time we thought no one would ever visit us. The cost of airline tickets has skyrocketed and these days, who has the time? But I finally persuaded my newly-married brother to bring his bride to Loreto, and, boy, did we have a blast!
Richard and Belinda on the Malecon in Loreto
I’ve always known my outdoors-loving, back-packing brother would go crazy over Baja. Like me, he has an affinity for the desert after living for so many years in New Mexico. And like me, he likes the wide open spaces more than people-populated places. I knew it would be a match made in heaven. And it was.

Thank goodness Belinda is such a good sport. She’s a city girl through and through, but she’s naturally outgoing and friendly and she very gamely put up with the inconveniences that routinely confront visitors, like less than sanitary banos (in some cases, downright disgusting) and hotels that aren’t up to U.S. standards. She was a real trouper and we love her for it.

It was a long and frustrating trip for them from Orlando to Miami to Mexico City and finally La Paz, where we met them at the airport (surprisingly small for such a large city) after midnight. Our first night was spent at a nice little place off the Malecon, which was billed on Trip Advisor as very quiet and probably would’ve been if the Baja 1000 wasn’t finishing up in La Paz that night. We were serenaded by the sounds of revving engines well into the wee hours, but that didn’t diminish my excitement the following morning as we did a little a sight-seeing and then headed to Loreto.

View from Loreto Bay and Punta Nopolo
Although it’s a long and boring trip from La Paz to Loreto, there’s a terrific payoff when you finally arrive at Loreto Bay. It's such a beautiful place and such an unexpected sight after traveling through miles and miles of scrub, cactus and desert. It's a beautiful oasis with the incredible Sierra de la Gigante mountain range on one side and the crystal waters of the Sea of Cortez on the other.
Agua Viva, Loreto Bay
It was a whirlwind of activity from that point on and the highlight of their visit for me – and I think for them – was the time we spent on Poco Loco. We saw huge pods of bottle nose dolphins that leapt and cavorted and surfed through our wake on both trips, sting rays flying out of the water and even a small whale (a young fin whale, we think). That was a real surprise and an amazing end to a wonderful day that included snorkeling at Honeymoon Cove and anchoring in the bay at Villa del Palmar where we took the dinghy in for a fabulous lunch.
A prime spot at Honeymoon Cove
A day of leaping dolphins
We also had an unexpected detour to Isla Montserrat on our second Poco Loco outing, but that side trip is worth it's own post, so look for it here or on http://www.sueslifeinbalance.com/ sometime in the near future.
Yellowstone Beach, Isla Montserrat
And speaking of food (my favorite subject), we ate the most awesome meals and drank the most delicious margaritas during their week-long stay. In other words, we had a great time.  Another highlight was going to a Los Beach Dogs gig at Bajaja Bar & Grill, where George, Rich and Steve put on another great show. Sadly, this was Bajaja's end of the season grand finale, so we'll all have to wait until Fall for more of those great hamburgers and french fries and more of the Los Beach Dogs, too.

What's not to love?!
But the very best part of their visit was that George and I got to know and love Belinda and I got to spend time with my little brother and share in his excitement and wonder of this incredible place. It’s an awesome thing to see the place you love through someone else’s eyes. 

It was hard to see them go but the good news is they’re building a pool at their home in Orlando and Belinda works for Disney! You can’t beat that combo, so we’re hoping to visit them next year. In the meantime, we’ll continue to beg our family and friends in the States to come visit us. It really is a joy to share this wonderful place with those we hold near and dear and we can’t wait to do more of it.