|I pulled the hood of my sweatshirt a little more snuggly against my neck
as the cool ocean breeze was starting to send a few chilly evening fingers down
my back. As I walked down the old boulevard, I smiled at others also out for an
evening stroll. Long pants. Hands
stuffed in down jackets for warmth. Girls wearing furry boots. Guys covering their heads with watch-style
pull down stretch hats to cover ears against the blustery night.
Everyone you pass has a nod and a smile all somewhat grinning about
being so bundled up. It’s an inside local joke. In addition to my hoodie, I’m wearing thermals, my Levis and
my hiking boots with actual socks! Quite a divergence from the flip-flops that
adorn my feet the majority of the year.
Despite all the sunny palm-tree travel posters and brochures, yes, Baja
does get winter. And yes, it does
get “cold.” For us in La Paz, that
means down to about the mid-50’s at night.
Relatively speaking, that translates to about a “3-dog-night” up in
Alaska where the frigid evenings are judged by how many dogs one must sleep
with to keep warm.
The few tourists, mostly snow-birds escaping places that really ARE cold
like Canada, New York and Montana, continue to stroll in shorts and loud
Hawaiian shirts and laugh to hear us talk about using drinking hot cocoa and “electric
blankets” and staying in-doors at night because it’s too cold to go out!
For the visitors that normally come down to enjoy the warmer months, it’s
sometimes a shock that the sun isn’t always out or that everyone isn’t down at
the beach or out drinking margaritas on the terraza or fishing or how windy it
I remember a few years back a guy wanted to build his dream boutique
hotel on one of our beaches. He
had been a visitor for many years enjoying the sun, sand, fishing and diving
for many years of summers. He
finally had all his papers in order. He purchased the beach-front land and got the work crew to break ground…in
Revelation! The winds howled. Scaffolds blew over. Sand and concrete
scattered. Half-the-days, the work
crew couldn’t work. The owner had never spent any winters in Baja! He thought
it was 90 degrees and sunny year-round. No fishing. Very few tourists. After
two months of futility, he packed it up.
But, it’s a nice time to be in Baja. It’s a time, many of our anglers
and regulars don’t get to normally see since most fishermen visit the Baja from
March to November.
Yes, it can be windy and (for us) chilly too! But, generally, the sun is
out and there’s a certain tranquility that descends on each place from the
desert to the beaches and from the smallest pueblo to even the larger tourist
cities. There’s even a word for it “tranquilo.” (calm or
quiet). And it’s a good way to describe it.
The sun light is different. It’s more subdued and the days are shorter
although the days can be brilliant as a winter day. Beaches are relatively empty. So are the streets.
Don’t be surprised to find you have a store or restaurant all to
yourself to enjoy the full attention of the staff. There just aren’t that many
If you thought Mexican “manana” was a leisurely pace, try “manana” in the
winter! There’s no urgency. There’s no “prisa” (hurry). Lo
que sea! (Whatever!).
rushing around for office parties; setting up the electric Santa on the roof;
cookie bakes; midnight sales; Christmas cards; parking lot crushes…”Calmate”
(Take it easy) is the attitude. No stress. No underwear-bunching is allowed! You
will never be late and there’s no such thing as a cocktail dress or an ugly
Christmas sweater. Imagine that!
It can take
some getting used to for folks that move down here.
frustrated because we’re used to the frantic pace of Christmas and the
holidays. Here, the “holidays”
start about mid-November and go until after the feast of the Three Kings in
January. So, no sense in getting
frustrated. No one is real motivated
to get much done so you just roll with it!
sometimes don’t leave their homes. People don’t go to their offices. For about
a month, government and municipal employees barely work or are on hiatus with
diminished staffs (sounds like a lot of government offices, doesn’t it!). So, if you need anything “official”
done, forget it.
If you need
to rush or get something done RIGHT NOW…wait until February!
It’s not a
bad way to look at things no matter where you’re spending your holidays.
down a notch. Park your sled and
give the elves and reindeer the day off. Whether you’re eating menudo or Aunt
Mary’s cheese log with crackers, take the time to enjoy the moments. Savor your
family and friends. Tomorrow can wait. Put it off until February like we do in
Best to you
and yours for many blessings now and in the coming year! And thanks too for
reading my two-cents columns all year long too! Cheers!