The kindness of strangers

17 Oct

We promised to ourselves that the blog couldn’t solely become a platform for showing off about stuff. But there are certain pinch-yourself moments you just can’t not mention. Take the other day. I got up for a pee as the sun was rising and there were dolphins leaping about in the fiery red bay in front of the van. I rubbed my eyes and they were still there.

Sunrise, Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California

Sunrise, Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California

A couple of days later I was standing in the water, gazing at the stingrays around my feet, when a dolphin leapt out of the water about 30ft in front of me. I kept asking J: “Did you SEE that dolphin?” (he had, he confirmed repeatedly), because I started to wonder if I was just making it all up in my head. Nope, it’s really happening.

We’ve spent much of the last week camping on beaches, and while it is still obvious that Baja’s tourism numbers have plummeted, we have encountered a few more people than we did in the initial few days.

Our fellow campers have proved to be kind and generous. Perhaps we look like malnourished mature students (not likely after six weeks of eating gargantuan portions of steaks and ribs in the US), because many of them have been moved to giving us food parcels when they leave.

Bob and Gail from Twentynine Palms, in California, kindly handed over a sack of potatoes and garlic the night before they headed back to the US, following five months on the road. They took off early the next morning and when we woke up we found a bag containing two fat juicy steaks on our table outside. So if you are ever, by chance, reading this blog Bob and Gail, muchas gracias. We fried them up with some eggs for breakfast and they were bloody lovely.

We had to fib about the veggies we were carrying when we crossed the military checkpoint at the ‘border’ between Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur. So seriously do they take this state divide that a symbolic puff of disinfectant is deposited on the underside of your vehicle as you cross.

Playa La Gringa, Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California

Not a bad wee camping pitch, Playa La Gringa, Bahia de Los Angeles

We ended the week with a wedding anniversary treat – a couple of days in the beautiful desert oasis town of San Ignacio. We lounged in the square by the church, then had a late lunch and a couple or three cheeky beers. It was an intimate affair. Just me, J, and most of the village’s old boozers, who had gathered at the other end of the terrace. They were all set for a raucous afternoon – a little mound of salt, a pile of limes and enough tequila to sink a few marriages.

Part two of the splurge was two nights in a hotel. Aaah! Although we haven’t hankered after it half as much as we thought we might, it was lovely to have a bed big enough for two people, running hot water and constant electricity with which to charge our many appliances.

We have power sockets in the van but have to be careful, when we’re not on the move much, not to leech the engine or auxiliary battery of power. We discovered this to our cost this week when we, er, leeched the engine battery of power during a couple of static days on the beach. Got all packed up to leave on the morning of our departure. Ran through the checklist – propane off, check; nothing leaking, tick; pop-top locked, brilliant. Start engine. Click-click-click-click. Bollocks.

But the kindness of strangers was evident again when a lovely Canadian man with a huge truck came to the rescue. Luckily he knew how to work our jump leads. And now we do too.

Click here for pics of Baja California Norte

PD, Mulege, Baja California, Mexico

Days: 13
Miles: 874.5
Current average number of tortillas consumed per day: 572 (approx)

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4 Responses to “The kindness of strangers”

  1. Derek Jolly October 18, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    Hi Folks,
    Happy Anniversary (slightly belatedly). We’ve been away for the weekend at Gordon and Noleen’s then Evelyn’s. Think I saw a seagull splashing into the oily Forth at Port Seton – it probably was a beautiful sunrise but it was somewhat obscured by the torrential rain and very low, black, cloud. I didn’t venture out to paddle in the sea – apart from the recent radiation scare at Dalgety Bay it’s bloody freezing outside. We do still have a dolphin painted on our bathroom wall though!!
    Oh and we had a lovely McCurdie’s steak pie at Evelyn’s yesterday…
    🙂

    • jeremyandpaula October 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      It’s like we are living parallel lives. Spooky! 🙂

      • Derek Jolly October 19, 2011 at 5:42 am #

        … we also had a huge nitric oxide leak from a tanker at the landfill site in Dunfermline yesterday – 9 guys were taken to hospital. Ah idyllic Fife. More toxic waste than you could shake a stick at – and they wonder why the child cancer rate is through the roof…
        Bugger it – I’m selling the house and moving to latin America too!!
        See you as soon as the housing market warms up…
        🙂

  2. John Chapman October 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi guys, I couldn’t sleep – it’s 3.00 am in Brussels – and I’ve just staggered downstairs and read that bit of your blog. It sounds fantastic, as do the ‘strangers’. Lyn and I have often talked of getting a VW camper van and just disappearing for a while. Will try to follow you a bit more closely; any tips about camper vans would be mucho appreciated.

    Cheers

    John.

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