Don’t get me wrong. In many ways this place is lovely. Certainly far more “real” then most of the places I’ve stayed lately. But there’s just a few things that make it not so great. The padlock on the door is fine. The lack of windows in the room is fine (ish). The not so clean is getting to be a bit less fine. But what really made me sure I didn’t want to spend another night came at night. First the guy next door insisted on watching his TV really loud pretty much all night long. 2am? Perfect time for loud obnoxious TV. Were there windows I could have closed them, but there are just open slats towards the roof and no way to shut out the sound.
Even that would be OK were it not to be completely topped by the woman yelling and pounding on the door a few doors down at about 3am. See the trouble with padlocks on the doors is that you lock yourself in with a sliding lock, not unlike those on bathroom stalls. This works super if you’re the only person in a room, but add another and suddenly you have a big problem. No way for that second person to get in without you letting them in. I’m guessing this is made especially hard if you’re completely wasted…. or at least that is what I assume was going on. I didn’t hear any sort of paramedics though at one point with how loud the yelling and pounding was, I was pretty certain the person in question simply had to be dead. I mean really, after 30 minutes of the loudest pounding and yelling you’d have to be right?
Anyways, that lack of sleep combined with a general funk had me starting the day on a less than positive note. I’m honestly not to surprised by it but travelling alone in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language is hard. It’s especially hard in larger cities where people really don’t give a damn who you are or what you’re up to. Not that they necessarily should, but it means your interactions are very limited. This being my first solo trip outside of the US I’m certainly learning how this can be. The fact that I’m on a motorcycle makes it better in some ways, a jumping off point for some conversation, and worse in others as you’re not stuck waiting for a bus somewhere with the locals.
Anyway, my day was made much better as I rode on. Both from the nice roads, again a good mix of straight and fast and curvy as all hell (quite a number of full on switchbacks today), and the greener scenery. I hadn’t realized just how much the lack of green and water was affecting me.
But the thing that really brought up my spirits was running into Frenchy (aka Jerome) unexpectedly on the road. You have to love it when you see another motorcyclist in Baja and then you realize it’s someone you know. This is especially true when you didn’t expect to see them at all that day or even think they would be in that area.
Yup, riding along “hey, there’s another bike! Holy crap it’s Frenchy!” I definitely wasn’t expecting to see him this far south yet but I should have known better. We chatted for a while and he helped me feel pretty reassured about the decisions I’ve been making (without knowing it I’m guessing). He confirmed that getting off road in Baja is really difficult. The roads aren’t like anything I’ve seen in Washington, that’s for sure. The thing is, when it never rains, nothing ever gets compacted. So the sand just gets deeper and the gravel just gets deeper and things just get weirder. Most of the time they don’t look like roads that people really travel, but they are. And with motorcycles as heavy and big as ours are that makes for some seriously difficult riding. Jerome (Frenchy) told me that he’d fallen over several times. The roads so bad that you can’t go faster as you’d like to on dirt but then going slow throws you off as well, fortunately usually without hurting you as bad as it might trying to go fast.
He also told me that most of the beaches he’s gone to have horrid roads to get to them, and so the fact that I haven’t been camping is something I’m a bit less concerned about now. To be honest I wasn’t sure if I was just being a baby or if this crap was really difficult and to hear someone who is a much better rider describe it as really hard put things into perspective.
Onwards and on a high note I thought of and then found the perfect souvenir gift. If you check out my flickr you might figure out where I got it and thus maybe what it is. But I don’t want to give it away completely.
Riding further I made it into Los Cabos and the zoo that is that area. I had thought that I would stop for a nice lunch and experience it, but it was just so obnoxious, so much of a traffic zoo that I just got out after riding around in circles for about a half hour. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some posh hotels and swank, but that super touristy stuff isn’t exactly the trip I’m on. I suspect it won’t be the trip I’m on until I take a cruise ship to the place instead of a motorcycle.
Of course don’t let that fool you, I’m hardly roughing it tonight. I kept on the road to Todos Santos thinking that might be my stopping point for the night. Supposedly full of expats and a supposed artist community I figured it might be a good place to stay for an extra day and from the looks of it I think I’m right. So tomorrow I’m off the bike. Walking down to the beach, doing some shopping (there’s a book store here apparently) and just relaxing. I will probably take a nap. And yes, to swing to the other end of the spectrum I’m staying in a nice hotel. A boutique hotel apparently, for an arm and a leg, because if I’m taking the day off I want some damn AC and a decent bed and no crazy woman pounding on the door at 3am. I know, it’s a lot to ask. And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m a Libra and like the finer things in life. I’m OK with that. The weird part is that the place is the Hotel California (though I do think I’ll leave eventually) so from one California to the other.