While we were in San Diego Mark put us in touch with his friend in Mexico to help us out while we were traveling in the Baja Peninsula. Dan lives in Bahia de Los Angeles (LA Bay), which is on the east coast of the Baja, and he invited us to crash for the night in his cabin by the beachfront on our way south. We've been e-mailing Dan for the last few days as well, and he told us that the Spanish school in La Paz was pretty good, so we're kind of of glad that we're out of Ensenada.
Dan's place by the beach
We left El Rosario pretty late in the day, so the sun was setting fairly fast as we rode Mex-1 southbound and then took a detour eastwards on Mex-12 towards the Gulf of California. The road winds up and over the Sierra de San Borja mountains, and we're barraged by the high winds that the area is known for. It's pitch dark (and only around 5PM) when we arrive at LA Bay, and Dan's place is nothing but a GPS latitude and longitude co-ordinate outside of the town, down an unmarked sandy road that runs parallel to the beach. We had a rule before entering Mexico that we wouldn't ride in the dark - didn't take long to break that rule. We may have to get up a bit earlier now that the sun sets so soon... :(
The full moon is as high and bright over the Sea of Cortez - view from Dan's cabin
Dan and Nancy greeted us with lots of alcohol and fresh fish and we spent the evening getting very lubricated with them. Dan served us some yellowtail sashimi from a catch earlier on in the day, and we were in heaven! We don't eat sushi very much any more these days and it was such a treat. We got a great sense of what brings ex-pats down to LA Bay, living a cost-effective lifestyle and enjoying the simpler things in life - in Dan's case, it's sport fishing and there's no better place in the Baja for it than LA Bay!
Later that night, a well liquored-up Neda passes out in the cabin. Meanwhile, I am enthralled by the view and walk around the area taking lots of pictures. I don't sleep too much as I want to get a picture of the rising sun over the bay.
Pastel colours in paradise
Dan's cabin, rising sun behind me reflected in the window. And the moon is still visible!
Sunrise over the Sea of Cortez
The reason why LA Bay is such a great place for fishing is that it's one of the few safe harbours in the Sea of Cortez that is protected from the high winds and waves by the number of large islands in the bay. Which also makes it a popular place to dock boats in the marina. Dan told us that not all is paradise, as there's a large drug problem in town and a result, rampant property theft from tweakers looking to support their crystal meth habit.
This is something that I've been wary about, as Mexico does have a very bad reputation in the North American media for the drug-related crime and violence. Neda and I have done a lot of research, trying to balance the Canadian and US state-issued travel advisories, the news articles and what other overland travelers have written about their journey through Mexico. We suspect that there's a truth that lies somewhere between sensationalism and Pollyannaism.
GS slowly warming up
Ex-Pat dreams by the beachside. I've been wandering around taking pictures for over an hour and Neda is still asleep
Cacti against the rising sun over the Sea of Cortez
Dan and Nancy hooking us up with restaurants and things to see and do in the Baja Peninsula
We got treated to a great Mexican breakfast by Dan and Nancy
Nancy at the restaurant
Our very kind and generous host, Dan
We've run into so many awesome people on our trip, and meeting Dan and Nancy really gave us some insight into life as ex-pats in Baja!