This trip has been the walking cure and it’s mostly worked.
Some beach walking, some boardwalk picture taking jaunts in La Paz, the Capitol.
But mostly walking in the best town I’ve found in Baja, Todos Santos.
Strolling really, in my condition, up and down the steep and hilly town.
Careful of foot placement on the fake brick, red-tinted concrete sidewalks. Often showing dog, cat and sneaker prints of the unwary, forever fossilized.
Don’t come to Todos Santos if you are disabled, frail or weak. No place for wheelchairs either.
There are many wheelchair ramps on corners, nicely blue painted, graded and grooved for traction, displaying the wheelchair icon.
But they lead only to the usual narrow, steep, sometimes uneven steps.
Avoiding the steps would mean taking to the narrow street, near suicide from the big Mexican and gringo trucks and speeding cars.
Each driver convinced they are Juan Fangio.
Mexican vehicles take a pounding from the dust, curves, dips, rocks, floods, stray critters and the aggressive round steel speed bumps (sleeping policeman) called topes.
Consequently Baja vehicles often sport missing bumpers and fenders and hoods, cracked windshields and dent collections.
But the most important accessories, the horn and the radio, are omnipresent and in constant use.
Horn lovers, Baja drivers use it in the usual manner to warn or alert other drivers, pedestrians, dogs, cows and ice cream vendors.
But it’s also used to greet friends, wake up your carpool mates at 0600 hours, or sometimes just in sheer exuberance.
The radio is set at eleven at the factory and never changed. The accordions, guitars, drums and singers blast out the sad or jolly ballads in waltz time from dawn to 2300 hours. Must be some law.
Founded in the early 1700s, Todos Santos is termed ‘magical’ by the authorities and sometimes I believe it.
The way the fierce light falls on the colonial buildings.
The poly-chrome sun setting over a breaching whale.
The true fact that the Tropic of Cancer line runs just south of this little town.
Other times the magic goes away. Like when I miss home and family and pets.
And my kitchen, bikes, weight set, bass guitars. The dogs and cats waiting for me, whether they know it or not.
Or when I can’t find a meal without beans, tortillas, spices and oceans of salt, all contraindicated for this bod.
Not that you can’t rent a bike, hit the only gym or pet sweet dogs and cats in Baja.
They are here alright. But they are not mine. And after a month here I’m craving mine.
So I’m ready to fly out of Baja on Wednesday, as profound and as life changing as it’s been here.
Many times if I’d had a plane ticket in hand I might have left early, thinking ‘what am I doing here?’
But now I’m short, two days and a wakeup, good lord willing and the arroyo don’t rise.
And now I think I spent just the right number of my precious days in Baja.
Most of it here, in mostly magical Todos Santos.
[2 March 2020, Roseville, California:
Back home again after the flight from hell that almost killed me. With the COVID-19 virus running rampent it looks like my timing was good. If I fly to Baja again it will have to be in my own plane.]
Unless noted, all text and images by todgermanica.com.