Dated 01 SEP 18
I have a fantasy, it was been keeping me going, I long for it, and it is so close to fruition. It involves a cool tiles room, flowing water spraying freely soothing my aching back and darkened skin; followed by a bed with fresh sheets and if I`m lucky no room mates. I speak of the shower and bed awaiting me in La Paz, southern Baja. But in the evenings before hand I instead make do with warm water sprayed sparingly from an old plastic bottle followed by a sweat inducing evening in the desert. In all fairness two evenings I am lucky enough to be camping on the shores of the Sea of Cortez which affords me the chance to bath on private beaches known to just a few luck soles. There are countless bays with clam shallow waters which under normal circumstances would be invitingly warm but I could do with a frosty dip in Cornwall instead.
With a constant sheen of sweat sand sticks like glitter to glue and I just can’t rid myself of the itchy particles. It took eight days to complete this stretch and along with being some of the worst days or I should say toughest and I think I also smell the worst. There has been know where with running water to wash my clothes and the sea just doesn’t do the job. Mexican dust sticks to every surface including me, my hair is a matted birds nest and I have a sour tinge. So much so that I can notice it, so it must be repugnant.
The days are long, I rise two hours before sun up to give me the extra hour or so with relative coolness of the morning. Its still in the twenties but won’t have doubled until the afternoon. I miss the cold greyness of morning of the US or even Australia. Though I know that once it returns I will begrudge it. The landscape is undeniably beautiful in a tough bastard sort of way. The sheer expanse, with cactus standing to attention like soldiers on parade in defiance of the heat, has been truly magnificent.
At night the clear skies give a vista that you just can’t comprehend. As I lie back in my tent I’m exposed to the nocturnal heavens, with the billions of stars populating the sky as it turns from a deepening blue to the black of night and smeared across it is the milky way. At one sunset as I lay awake, my eyes widen as I hear a horse galloping, it tears round the corner from behind the building with a barrage of dust and hooves; revealing for just a second or two the horse with its rider atop holding his stetson firmly to his head as they were silhouetted against a back drop of crimson reds and oranges as day was giving in to night. A real life cow boy complete with spurs, dare I say it, maybe one of the coolest sights of the trip. If only he had reared u against the orb of the setting sun, but he was a moment to late.
Two days to go and things are very stop start, riding incontinence s back, just for the day. Damn those fish tacos! I’m held up in the town called god knows what, when I get talking to a family. It is Sunday and Steve is taking his three boys out for their weekend ritual, flavoured waters. Wild! He generously offers to include me in this ritual so the boys take me off to the shop where you have a choice of about fifteen buckets. You can have anything fro strawberry to water melon and weirdly banana water which just sounds strange to me. Now I don’t speak a word of Spanish, well nothing conversationally useful and Steve is not an English speaker. Juan his twelve year old acts as translator. He has been going to English school for just two years and is fluent to a T.
I do wonder what a different experience it would have if my Spanish was as up to scratch as Juan’s English. I’m missing out on a significant portion by not knowing the language, who knows what doors it would open and insights into peoples lives. In the likes of the stans I didn’t feel like I was to blame or even able to bridge this void but here in Latin America there is just one language. Apparently an easy to learn language without a singular Cyrillic in sight.
With my disturbed stomach once again I am on the cusp of taking the afternoon for myself. But apart from sit down what the hell would I do all day? My kindle has gone the same way as my phone and is out of action. This is devastating, it is not as though I can go to the local library for a hard back, they are all out of my linguistic comprehension anyway. Unfortunately my nest egg that I have been nurturing to fund this expedition is more of a small clutch rather than a golden goose egg so I have no means of replacing it. I will have to wait for a good hostel book exchange. but for this afternoon I I opt to cycle from bush to bush getting ever closer to the end of Baja.
On my final morning before reaching the holy grail of a cold shower and a soft mattress I come across Tony and Lise. A French couple cycling from Vancouver to Guatemala. We team up for the final afternoon and they provide great distraction from the heat, miles and wobbly tummy. That night we celebrate with a shower, a few beers and a early night in La Paz.