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Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

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Friday, February 01, 2019
When fishing isn’t so a-peel-ing
Thursday, March 28, 2019
I’m voting you off the island


On second thought…
Back in the day before I lived in Baja, I scheduled a springtime trip. Man, after a long winter, I so looked forward to getting into the sunshine and away from the crowds and hectic grind.

So, there I was. At the airport with my luggage, ice chest, rod tube… and holy cow!


Where did all these people come from?


I had forgotten, it was not only Easter week, but also spring break when I scheduled my vacation.


Oh the agony! It’s exactly what I was trying to escape.


I ran smack into long lines at the airport. Students and families all trying to get someplace. Everyone looking to get away, but now swallowed up in the mass of humanity and everyone getting agro about it.


And this was in the pre-9/11 days before you had to take off your shoes and basically undress and unwrap everything at the TSA counters.


The plane was full and it was one of those flights where they asked folks to “volunteer” to give up their seats in exchange for a free voucher… “blah blah blah…”


Not a chance. I didn’t exactly see anyone raise their hands abruptly.


And in the plane, it was also the flight where they tell you it’s full and there’s not enough room for all the carry-on luggage, so please stash it under your seat, over your head or give it up to the baggage handlers.


Oh, and the flight was full of excited kids and babies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… family time is important, but some poor baby was screaming in the back and one little devil thought it was fun to kick my seat from behind. And yell “BOO” again and again through the crack in the seat!


Got to the Cabo Airport and again, it was jam-packed. But, at least most folks were a bit more congenial now that they were on the ground in Baja.


Until they hit the immigration and customs inspection lines, that is. They wound round and round and round, almost back to Los Angeles! That took almost an hour. Like waiting in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.


The hotel shuttle from the airport was delayed as well because, well… they wanted to fill in all the seats so we had to wait… and wait… until everyone from every flight got through the morass. Didn’t want to leave anyone who had reservations.


I was pretty bedraggled by the time I got to the hotel — waded through a full lobby and reception and got to my room.


It was already late. Lots of people partying in the street and a crowd of tequila-fueled partiers was the last thing I wanted. So, some forgettable room service tacos and I passed out dreaming of big fish in the sunshine and ocean the next day.


It wasn’t quite as I envisioned.


The marina was packed with boats headed out fishing. It was a regular morning traffic jam on the water: trying to buy bait, fueling up, just trying to get to the fishing grounds which were jammed with fishing boats… but add to that the site-seeing boats — the booze cruises and other pleasure craft.


As might be expected, the fishing was negligible at best. Just too much traffic on the water and pressure on the fish.


It was like that all week. But what’s that saying about, “a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work?” It was nice being in the sunshine, but it would have been nice to hook a few more fish and if it wasn’t so much like work.


Oh well.


Took a day off to head to the beach. A little secluded cove that’s a nice getaway. Not too many folks. Got my beach chair, small ice chest of beer and my beach towel. Ready to go!


Oh no.


To say the beach was crowded is an uber-understatement. It was more like Woodstock on sand.


There was hardly a square foot of sand that didn’t have a tent on it, plus tables, chairs, beach toys, blaring boom-boxes playing banda/rancho music and cars parked willy-nilly everywhere also blaring music. The whole city was out.


In Mexico, there are no designated camp sites. The beach belongs to the people so wherever you want to camp is legal. There were tents within inches of each other. There was no space. No privacy. It was almost impossible to walk to the water.


I jumped in my rental and drove to two other beaches to find the same result!


I finally found a spot right next to a local family of eight. They took pity on the bedraggled tourist and invited me to barbecued carne asada for lunch. Very kind and nice folks. I shared my beer.


Nothing to do but make the best of it. It was an OK vacation as vacations go, but not what I had planned or expected.


What I had failed to do and forgotten was consider Easter and Spring Break.


As I found out later, the weeks up to… including, and shortly after Easter are the busiest times of the year for travel and vacation in Mexico. Not only are tourists, students, etc. travelling into Mexico for Easter and Spring Break, but it is also the busiest time for locals to travel as well, both internationally and domestically.


Many Mexicans travel into Mexico as well as travel outside Mexico to visit friends and family. Domestic inter-city travel also fills planes, trains and automobiles… and busses!


It’s even busier than Christmas or Thanksgiving (by the way, in Mexico they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving). Consequently, you’re not only dealing with crowds, but airlines rates and hotels prices are at a premium, IF you can find a ticket or seat available. Frankly, everything is more expensive.


It’s a nice time to visit, but be prepared and give it some extra thought if you’re looking for a bargain vacation or to get away from the crowds.


* * *

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