Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What I do all day

We're leaving for home tomorrow. This was a shorter stay for us than usual; two months for Allison and I, three for Robert. Overall, it was a pleasant time. Nothing too unusual happened, in fact; I am becoming jaded about our life here. The unusual seems normal to me anymore. I haven't felt inclined to write about every little thing. Loreto Bay is becoming our other home, one we are growing more familiar and comfortable with each passing year. I'll never recapture the wonder and astonishment I felt in the early days here. I tell people how things were just five years ago and I surprise myself at how primitive and pioneering I make it sound. You know, remember those days when we couldn't find the simplest items like brown sugar, or half-n-half, or an extension cord? We truly felt like we were living in a state of forced deprivation. Each year more is available in Loreto. I imagine in five years we'll feel like we live in a resort--well, relatively speaking. Loreto Bay has such a long way to progress, but we'll always remember the good old days.

Just when I think I've had enough of the dirt, the dust, and the deprivations, we get a string of incredible pink and orange-hued sunsets. I don't doubt half my neighborhood heard my excited shrieks to my own family to,"Get out here, you have to see this, hurry!" If I embarrassed myself it was worth the alarm to others to get outside. How could you let anyone miss something so beautiful? When I think about it there are dozens of remarkable images inside of a day here: whether it's a hummingbird nest in a neighbor's tree, a shark-whale in Puerto Escondido, an acacia tree in full bloom, a spatter of raindrops that lasts ninety seconds. Maybe because life here is so slow and modern-day distractions so few that we all have to look more closely at the show nature puts on.

Someone asked me recently, "What do you do here all day?" Some days not much at all, I answer sheepishly. I always feel guilty for my abundance of leisure time because: #1. I'm too young to be retired. And #2. I always think I should be filling my days with philanthropic works to counterbalance my abundant leisure time, but I never do because I'm basically private and somewhat non-social.

Besides schooling and supervising our daughter, I guess you could say I spend most of my time here just watching things. When I get tired of reading or surfing the internet I find myself outside with no purpose in mind but to wander. I like to ride my bike through Nopolo or take my camera out scouting for things to photograph. I might catch a glimpse of a pack of desert dogs hiding in the brush. Quail and an occasional roadrunner will nervously scramble across my path. I might encounter a stray burro or find someone's horse tied to a tree. I'll hear the tinkering bell of a goat on the hill beside the Carretera or the hum of a swarm of bees as I pass under a mesquite tree. Along the estuary I'll see fish leap from the water or pelicans dive-bombing. In Agua Viva I'll notice a house has been painted thus marking progress for the homeowners there. Avocado green, papaya, mango, tomato, one by one the palette is beginning to fill out.

The highlight of my day is the hour-long walk Robert and I take at sunset. We have a route we created that takes us along the length of the golf course and around the estuaries. Often-times, we start so late that we see both the sunset and the dark blanket of stars before we arrive home. It always seems that Orion's belt is right above our house when we reach the front door. I've never been so intimate with the stars than I have here in Loreto. They practically scream at you to look above. I now think I understand the ancients who studied them. In dark skies the stars and planets are a presence not to be ignored. Here our vision is captivated by the beautiful sunset against the mountain range only to be further entranced by the night sky that follows. We feel one with nature, or maybe we feel insignificant against nature for a few contemplative moments before turning inside only to spoil the effect by plopping down for few hours of mind-numbing cable television.

So my time here vacillates between meaningful contemplations and mindless distractions. Just like back home. And that's what I do with my time. Maybe my life, too.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

La Paz get-away

I'm way behind on my posting. I'll start with the trip to La Paz we took around the third week of April. The intent was to meet our friends, the Browns, after their sailing jaunt that took them from mainland Mexico to the La Paz marina. They had been on the Sea of Cortez for a couple of months and were in La Paz to prepare for the sail back to Loreto. The plan was for Robert and Allison to climb on-board while Ann and I drove their car back to Loreto. The crew would island hop up the gulf ending at Puerto Escondido four days later. A nice introduction to sailing for beginners.

The Browns recently purchased their boat with plans to spend the next year sailing throughout the gulf. It's an experience they want to enjoy as a family, island hopping, living minimally, freely. It's also an exercise in space management: it's a 35-ft boat, not much room to roam. Our Airstream is smaller than that, but we have the option of stepping onto land when we get the urge--and there's no sea-sickness. Also, being on the water requires full-time attention: once we're parked and set up we're done. I think part of the appeal for them is that team effort that is necessary to keep a boat afloat. Their children are gaining skills and confidence being part of the crew. Everybody has a task to perform.

While in La Paz we stayed at the El Moro on the Malecon; not a bad spot and very close to the Marina. We had two great meals at local restaurants, one the name I never got, but the other called, Caprichos, right off the square where the cathedral stands. The most memorable meal, however, was the deep-fried hot dog from Sam's Club. Yes, what's a trip to La Paz without a Sam's run? I forgot to mention that we caught a ride to La Paz with our good friends and neighbors, the McCormicks. We spent a day following them around on their shopping adventures. We spent practically a whole afternoon in Home Depot lounging at one point around a patio setting in the outdoor section. I actually forgot I was in Mexico until we stepped outside again.

On a side note: The Browns drove us to a magical spot south of La Paz called, Gran Sueno. We were surprised at the luxury of this hidden resort in the middle of nowhere. It was essentially a mini-kingdom built by a real estate magnate from San Diego. Gorgeous grounds, a grand playroom with a miniature train running under the ceiling, an immaculate horse stable with a handful of well-groomed horses, tennis courts, a golf course, a chapel, and a swimming pool with a rock slide were just a few of the amenities. The place was created by someone with family fun in mind--definitely a person who values kids and playfulness. We spent the whole day there lunching, lounging, exploring. It is definitely a place I would like to re-visit. The next day Ann and I saw the crew off and headed back towards Loreto.