Good Waves, Bad Cops

Hola real world! Itʻs been awhile since weʻve had Wi-Fi (about a month to be more precise) and a lot has happened in the blackout. To start, youʻve decided to elect an angry orange for president, making it very awkward to be an American in Mexico at the moment. Last night, a grouchy intoxicated man berated Paul about how Trump was a racist asshole. Paul was stuck listening to this guy for a quarter of an hour before he managed to shrug him off. Thanks a lot USA.

A good bit has happened on this side of Trumpʻs future wall as well. We have surfed our way though most of Mexico and have been hassled by cops, met a roadblock of drunk men brandishing guns, and got a dog. His name is Molé but youʻll meet him later. Now for a bit of a recap of the past month. Iʻll be posting daily until we get caught up. A quick note though: as the Wi-Fi is absolutely horrid just about everywhere we go, I wonʻt be able to post many pictures. Iʻll edit these posts with more pictures when we find a stronger signal. 

We spent a week in Abreojos. Every day went like this: At sunrise, weʻd wake up and surf. Mid-morning weʻd have breakfast, usually eggs, potatoes, tomatoes and tortillas with plenty of hot sauce. Weʻd hide from the sun during the heat of the day, just reading or practicing our Spanish with Rosetta Stone. By late afternoon those strong onshore winds would usually back off and we would be back in the water for another surf. Then dinner, bed, and repeat the next day.

Without Internet access, we had no way of knowing what the waves would be like the next day. We just had to wake up and look. Occasionally someone would go into town to use the Internet and bring back a report, but not often. It was from one of these civilization missions that we heard the first rumblings of a big south set to hit the coast in about a week.

We made some pretty cool friends while camping in Abreojos. Rolf, Patina, and their dog Nera were camped out next to us and we got to surf and share a couple fires with them over the week. They had been doing a similar trip to ours but had already been doing it for a year. They had started in LA, gone south, worked their way back up to Canada, and were now on their second southern stint. As we had only been going for a little over a week, it was reassuring to meet people who had done it and loved it. Definitely check them out on Instagram if you get a chance @Neras_Adventure.

Soon, we got the itch to keep moving, so the next day we packed up the van and set off. Our next stop was Bahia Concepcion, on the Sea of Cortez. We spent a night on a deserted beach under a small palapa. This was really just a rest stop on our way to La Paz, Bajaʻs port city. From La Paz we would hop a ferry to Mazatlan on mainland Mexico. The night in Bahia Concepcion was hot, muggy, and tough to sleep. Up to now our nights were pleasantly chilly.

The next dayʻs long drive to La Paz was filled with yellow butterflies. They were everywhere, fluttering en masse. It was pretty at first but when we started murdering mass quantities of them in our windshield, it became sad and a little gross.

Although we had started driving at around 9 am, we didnʻt get to La Paz until late afternoon. We discovered upon arrival that the ticket office for the ferry had already closed so we decided to get a room in a hostel for the night and try in the morning. We were driving through a narrow street in the city, on a hunt for the hostel, when the police officers whistled us down. We pulled over and they told us we were going to get a ticket because we didn’t stop for pedestrians. There were no people anywhere. It was complete bullshit. We knew it and they knew it.

They asked for Paul’s driver’s license. Then they said heʻd get it back without a ticket if we gave them $200. Dollars not pesos. Paul said no, just take us to the police station where weʻll pay our ticket and get a receipt. They seemed concerned at Paulʻs refusal. If we paid for the ticket at the police station they wouldnʻt get their cut. They suddenly lowered their ask to $500 pesos. We slipped them each a twenty dollar bill and suddenly we were all best friends. They handed Paulʻs license back and were smiling and joking with us as they let us go. I hope they enjoyed the bars that night. I realize getting hustled by the police is part of the game here in Mexico, but it still sucked. Unfortunately that was just the start of our toughest night yet on this trip.

The hostel we were trying to stay at was booked up and the others didnʻt have adequate parking. With hostels failing us and it growing dark, we decided to camp at a beach not far from town. We arrived as the sun was setting. The beach was beautiful: a crescent of white sand framed by green and brown cliffs. We swam for a bit and hung out on the beach.  There were a number of people still there and we wanted to wait till they left before setting up camp.

What we didnʻt know was that the beach was infested with sand fleas. They began biting us while we waited on the beach and did not let up when we retreated to the van. We tried to sleep but the van was hot and the fleas were terrible and constant. A couple of bites are not bad, but hundreds over an entire restless night after an equally long and frustrating day was miserable. I didn’t sleep at all that night. Eventually we just went back out to the beach, spread out a couple of towels, and read our books. It felt as though the fleas bit the same inside the van as on the beach and at least there was a bit of a cool breeze. I canʻt remember the last time I wished for the sun to rise, sleep or no.

The next day was long but much happier. We bought our ferry tickets bright and early and got the heck out of the city. It was a Thursday and the ferry was on a Sunday, so we had a couple of days to kill. We certainly weren’t spending it in La Paz.

Instead we drove south along the eastern Baja coast. The road from La Paz snaked through beautiful green valleys with small towns and old churches. Eventually the green was replaced by the yellow and browns of desert. The road turned to gravel and eventually to sand as we neared the East Cape. It was dry and sparsely populated. But here’s the best part: the further south we went, the bigger the waves got. This was that fabled big south swell we had heard rumors of while staying in Abreojos. Every corner we turned was another right point peeling off and no one in sight. We kept driving till we couldnʻt stand staring at empty peak after peak. We just picked one and stayed there for the night.

We spent Friday morning at our peak but by mid afternoon we were on the road again, rounding the East Cape and arriving at San Jose del Cabo. We spent two nights in a hostel called the Yuca Inn and it felt like heaven. Up to that night, we had been rough camping. That means no bathrooms, no showers, nothing. No bathrooms were all right; youʻve got all of nature for that business. But a warm freshwater shower is a different story. We had been salty and grimy for almost two weeks; a hot shower felt like the ultimate luxury.

San Jose del Cabo is a great city: less touristy than Cabo San Lucas, its sister city farther west, with more character and an earlier bedtime. We spent our days cruising though narrow streets flanked by art galleries and tequila shops. We walked by La Mision de San Jose del Cabo Anuiti, the townʻs church, and caught a snippet of Catholic mass. It was a relaxing way to end our stay in Baja. 

Want to see more? Check out our video of this leg of our trip here!