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January 2011
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March 2011

February 2011

Whales, Margaritas and Dirt Roads

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The largest animal migration in the world...

One of the main reasons to go to Baja in January is to witness the epic whale migration.  For real - just the most insane thing ever.  Right now is right about the time when the mama whales give birth to their babies and they spend time flip-flopping around the San Ignacio lagoon, teaching these newly born pre-historic beasts how to swim, breathe, live on their own (they weigh 3 tons when born). 

I camped out right on the beach at a very remote spot about 2 hours down a dirt road from the date tree filled village of San Ignacio (best date pie ever).   Here's how it's done.  Basically, you make a reservation with the eco-outfitter in town for a tent spot (or a cabin spot).  You then drive down the ROUGH road not seeing a soul for almost 2 hours, swilling sake the whole way.  You pop up a tent once on the beach and then join the other folks who dared pop down that way for dinner in the cozy dining room.  Fish or meat, only.  And hard-core, heavy duty margaritas.  Where they get ice, lord knows.  But, they have lots of it.  After a mega-buzz hits, take a shower in the no-lights, but crazy clean shower hut and hit the hay.  The next morning you wake up at the crack, slam some eggs and tortillas and roll out to see mega whales, their babies and chirping dolphins. They come up super close to the boats and want to be petted. Can you imagine?  They're called "the friendlies."

Just a bloody miracle. 

Back on shore after about 3 hours and bam!  Back on the road to points north or south.  One more killer margarita down, first, of course.  Heading out of there, you're surrounded by all these eerie red pools and lakes.   Coulda been Mars.  Alone again.  Nice.

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The Best Tequila in the World Found in La Bufadora

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Regular tequila no mas.

La Bufadora, Baja is famous for being the home of an enormous blowhole that spits water hundreds of feet up in the air.  

On this latest trip down the peninsula I wanted to see places I've never been so, I went trekked down the curvy, mountainous road to check it out.   How I ended up swilling the most delicious house-made tequila I've ever had instead of seeing a world famous blow hole is beyond me, but who cares.  So some water shoots up in the air; MY GOD, did you even know tequila like this existed? 

I  wasn't even on a tequila quest at that point in the trip.  Hell, La Bufadora is just barely south of the border, but once the old dude sitting alone with a beer told me I had to try the tequila cause it was the best he ever had...well, that's all she wrote.  

I bought a big bottle of it ($50 for half bottle) thinking I'd haul it home to add to my liquor cabinet, but dontcha know I drank the whole beast before I even hit the southern tip of Baja.  Never has a sipping tequila gone down so good.  I could make mucho dinero off this tequila here - they infuse it for weeks with raisins, lemon and orange peels.  The color is so bright and fresh.  The legs just rich.  The taste is unreal.  

I wish my computer could squirt out scents.  This tequila would bowl you over.  Find it at the restaurant at the top of the hill just before you park and head down to the blowhole.  Trust me, buy the whole bottle.  Half will be gone before you even hit Guerro Negro.

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Baja Roadkill vs Desert Tequila - Both Pull Ya Over

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I like me a long lens

The swooping buzzards signal the road kill.  Carcasses picked to the bitter bone.  Every few hundred miles or so - dogs, cows, horses.  Matters not.  The desert always grabs you and spits you back out.  Birds scream and scatter. Dust whips all around.  Semi trucks shriek by.  Clouds float past.  You can always see the buzzards creeping their way back in the rearview as you tear away down HWY 1 toward the next cold beverage.

Margaritas are always inviting you in every door - and no matter the establishment - somehow there is always a blender in house ready to whip up a fresh batch of booze heavy refreshments.  I'd say 4 a day is the norm.  Pending on the potency, could be right in a row like slugs of wheatgrass at the farmers market.  It's inched its way up to 6/7 at times.  Eeeeee!  Nary a day passes without one slipping thru the lips. 

Baja is just good like that.

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Baja, Mexico - As It Stands - 2011

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Baja - Believe Nothing You Have Heard on the News

Just got back from driving the entire beast of Highway 1 in always-dusty Baja - 2 weeks of some real rough stuff.  Some highlights....

Stayed at a Tuscan villa in wine country, just East of Ensenada.  Couple bottles of fruity red wine, lush grounds, amazing food.  Perfect place to host a real life murder mystery!

Discovered best tequila in the world in small bar in La Bufadora.  Riddled with orange peels, raisins and was only $100 per house-made bottle.  Drank the whole thing before I hit the end of Hwy 1.  Typical.

Ate lobster galore at KM 56 (La Fonda) and Mama Espinozas.  La Fonda was sweeter, richer, better than Mama E's.  That said, I'd hit Mama's again in a minute.

Stopped for coconut shrimp on the beach in Bahia Concepcion.  Moon lookin' like a moon pie.  Tequila flowing.

Loreto had buckets of tequila for me.  Did the place up like it was Spain - tapas at Cava, mango margaritas at Posada de las Flores, more tapas at the turtle joint just off the square.  Body weight in margaritas.

Onward to Prana del Mar, just south of Todos Santos.  Solar hot tub bubbling.  Stars galore whilst sweating in the chilly night.  Heaping plates of healthy food.  Yoga in the early am. 

Sashimi madness at Carlitos in Pescadero (stayed at the AMAZING Ranch Pescadero).  This palapa joint could serve the best food in all of the Baja.  And, they had sake.  I shared mine too :)

Surfing with my bud Carlos in Cerritos.  Giant waves (to me at least).  Dripping in margaritas between sessions. 

Baja Bentleys madcap night of sleep and fish tacos in Todos.  Love that village.

Over to East Cape and Las Ventanas.  Kiting season and windy like mad.  Bright skies, RV's and campers everywhere the eye looked.  Could stay a long, long spell here.

Best breakfast ever in old gold-mining town of El Triunfo.  Played with new camera the whole meal.  Love the light.  Really adore the long lens.  See pix attached to this entry.

Friendly mega drug deal happening in seafood shack in Loreto.  Or it could have been an all cash "real estate" deal.  Nice to see and somehow feel a part of while slurping 'ritas.  Hazy at best. 

Date pie and margaritas around the town square in San Ignacio before heading 2 hours down a real bang-up dirt road to camp on beach and see the whales and their new babies in the lagoon.  Biggest mammel migration in the world and I was smack in the middle of it.   NUTS and beyond fantastic.

One more night at Baja Cactus in El Rosario.  Dead beat.  Sleepy and ready to pass out before the mad rush back to LA and another season out in NJ.

I love, love, love that Baja.  Those that have been will know my emotions inside and out.  Those who have not?  Well...you poor, poor sod.

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