Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Good bye Cabo, Hello Los Barriles

As I write this, I am on the bus on my way from Cabo San Lucas up to Los Barriles to meet up with Kim & Brian again. I have been hanging out in Cabo since Saturday – taking it all in and for the most part, doing a whole lot of nothing!


This blog is going to be more about observations ,experiences, etc. as opposed to talking about what has been happening, as I haven't blogged in a bunch of days and have a long list of things to cover. J I have learned that in Cabo ALTO (STOP) on a good day means a soft yield, but for the most part, it goes completely ignored. I will be the first to admit, I am not a good passenger when I am in a vehicle with someone who I don't feel is up to my driving standards and can often been seen braking with my foot in the passenger seat, so you can just imagine how I am in Cabo. I have come to accept that the Mexicans know what they are doing and that a t-bone collision isn't inevitable – so in other words, my foot is no longer going through the floor board of the car.

Speaking of cars & taxis, they have some of the cleanest taxis that I have ever seen down here. Every taxi that I have got into has been spotless! We did have one taxi in San Jose that I thought that we might have to get out and push up the hill – my uncle figured it needed a new fuel filter(?) – but it got us home in one piece and that is all that really mattered. Yesterday I took a taxi from the hotel to the bus station to find out what time the bus left and how much it would cost, as this information was not on the internet and the hotel couldn't seem to help me (go figure). Round trip, it cost me $200 pesos (highway robbery) and as soon as I got in my taxi, my driver called his brother, who happens to drive bus, and found out that indeed the bus does run to Los Barriles and should cost about $100 pesos. Naturally I ribbed my driver about this – that it was costing me almost double to go the station as the actual trip itself! So I made him come into the station with me and translate – told him that he had to earn his money! J

I have heard some choice comments and phrases since I have been here that I would like to share:

  • "Okey dokey" – our taxi driver said this to someone over the radio – we all had to laugh. Not something you expect to hear from a Mexican.
  • "They don't have shoes but they all have guns" – our shuttle driver to diving, when we were talking about some of the neighboring states
  • "Amiga, you look like a red lobster! Whale watching? Glass bottom boat? Water taxi" – the pick up line I was given yesterday in the marina. Not I didn't go with him.
  • "Nice" – accompanied with a blatant look at my chest (this one wasn't surprising – however he was very obvious)

I went to 3 different movies when I was in Cabo, and unlike at home, you don't have to mortgage your house to go. A show was about $49 pesos and a large pop and popcorn was about $79 peso. And get this – you can chose between regular popcorn or caramel corn J They also have these really cool trays that you hook into the cup holder that hold your beverages and food. That way if you are sharing your popcorn with someone, one of you isn't left holding the bag. They are also handy if you have a couple of drinks or bags of popcorn – that way you aren't doing the juggling act. In terms of the movies themselves, they were all in English with Spanish subtitles, so it worked well for me. However in the first movie (can't remember the name b/c it was in Spanish) the sound cut out a bunch of time and given that I can't speak Spanish, I lost a bit.

So a few things that I have seen that have made me wonder/go WTF/OMG include:

  • A couple – probably close to my parents age (late 50s, early 60s) – she was literally holding him up b/c he was so bombed walking down the street. You could also tell that he was getting the "I am so pissed off at you look". Am thinking that he had the 10 beer for $10 specials that is so pervasive in Cabo – maybe times 2!
  • Also another couple – I would guess he was my dad's age (60) and she was in her mid-late 40s, getting it on on the beach by the Capella Pedregal (which I will go back to). I think what started as putting on some sunscreen turned into a full on grope-fest by him within about 30 seconds.
  • The gramps wearing his socks with his flip-flops – when will people learn that this is never acceptable!
  • The shear number of restaurants/bars/holes in the wall that sell food and booze in Cabo. One has to wonder how any of them make any money but they must if they are still around. For the most part the d├ęcor is fairly rustic – some plastic lawn chairs and a few tables and it seems that the grittier the place is, the more popular it is.
  • The military presence on the marina – I can understand that. What I don't understand is why during the day they don't carry firearms, or at least they aren't visible, but at night they are all sporting some sort of rifle?!

So that's it for now. . have made it back to Los B and back to a good internet connection. . . will blog and post more photos later.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cabo Pulmo

Today my uncle Garth and I went up to Cabo Pulmo to go scuba diving. We were up nice bright and early to catch our ride (7:10am) however our driver failed to show up until about 8:20am, after much phoning around by the front desk. I was fairly oblivous to the whole situation, however later this afternoon I realized that he was incredibly hungover -thus his lateness. We convinced him to make a quick stop at Starbucks and then we were on our way (after backing up blindly and almost taking out 2 people) Now having been up to Cabo Pulmo twice in the past month, I was fully aware of what the road was like out to there - 15 km of washboard. One would also think that given I knew what the road was like, that I might have second guessed the venti mocha at Starbucks. Let's put it this way, I have a very strong bladder and it was given a good workout this morning!

My diving experiences have been fairly limited to date and have all been in warmer water (Great Barrier Reef and Maui), so when the dive master put me in a 7mm suit today and said that the water was cold, I started to wonder. But honestly. once I was in the water, I didn't notice it at all and was rather quite comfortable. The other thing that I have not experienced while diving is a small dive boat. The boat we were in today held about 8 passengers (cramped) and 6 comfortably. It was completely open air as well. They also had a very unique way of getting the boat in the water (in absence of a dock) - the pick up truck essentially gunned it through the sand and pushed the boat into the water. Our first dive was at a place called El Bajo. The water was a balmy 66 F and we got to depths of about 58 feet and were down for 39 minutes. Not bad for my first dive in 2 years. The visability was not bad but also not great - about 40 feet or so. This princess is used to 70 - 100 ft. visability. While under, I saw not one but two schools of manta rays swimming by which was really, really cool. They are so beautiful when they swim. Also saw 4 guitar sharks - always hiding under the edge of the coral - not wanting to be disturbed. Some huge groupers, parrot fish and all of the standard warm water (although it was chilly) type of fish. Overall, not a bad dive. Coming to the surface though, well that is when the fun began.
While we were under, the wind decided to pick up - you don't notice this when you are 50 ft down. So needless to say, when we emerged the sea was rolling pretty good and that is about the same time that my stomach started to roll and I started to turn green. Upon getting back into the boat, I realized that I wasn't exactly feeling healthy and since I only had a mocha for breakfast, there was not a whole lot for me to hurl up, so I just had to accept that I was going to feel yucky.
Our 2nd dive was at a spot called El Cantel. Unfortunately this time I could not get down no matter how hard I tried. After a couple of attempts, including having more weight put into my weight belt (I was at 20 lbs), emptying both my BCD and lungs, I finally admitted defeat and crawled back into the boat, which was a good thing b/c visibility was about 10 ft while they were under and the rest of the group came up after 28 minutes. All anyone was seeing were the fins of the person in front of them. When I got back into the boat, I just sprawled out on the bench b/c I knew that my eyes watching a bobbing horizon was not going to help my green stomach. However by the time we got back to shore and out of the boat, I was okay. Not sure what was up with all of that but guess the big Guy upstairs figured that I shouldn't be doing my 2nd dive.
Included in our dive was a nice lunch - we had 3 really nice sea bass tacos - sauteed with a little veg -very tasty and some excellent candied grapefruit scones. Considering that my uncle and I are on the fish taco mission, this was a nice addition.
Oh, I was introduced to a little taste of heaven last night - pecan cream tequila. Let's put it this way, we bought out the guy it is that good! We went for tasters last night and tonight and tonight I managed to get the last bottle (after buying a couple last night). It is so, so yummy!
Tomorrow my aunt, uncle & cousins are heading back to Vancouver :-( and this part of my holiday is coming to an end. I have had a really great time with them and hope to be able to join them again in the future on a holiday. Tomorrow I am going to head into Cabo San Lucas for 2-3 days before heading up to Los Barrilles. When we were there the other day, I realized that it has changed A LOT since I was there 10 years ago, so wouldn't mind to hang out for a bit and check it out. Plus, I want to just lay on the beach and veg. :-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Whale Watching Times Two

So I made it down to Cabo safe and sound, although I did opt to be voluntarily bumped from my flight from Phoenix to Cabo. They were looking for 1 volunteer and the wait for the next flight was only 1 1/2 hours so I thought "what the hell". For my "troubles" I got a $200 flight credit and a food voucher for a big whopping $5. Didn't go to far considering my salad was $9.28. Fortunately with my Aeroplan Elite status I have Star Allinace Gold privileges so I just hung out in the US Airways lounge and did a little work (yes -I said work :-( ) In any event, instead of getting into Cabo at 1:30pm, I got in at 3:00pm and made it to the Coral Baja by about 4:00pm. It was amazing how many people wanted to "reimburse me" for my transportation costs to the resort - no I don't want to go to a timeshare presentation and I think I can suck up the $11 that the shuttle cost me. I can tell you, my time is worth more than $11.

Today we decided to head into Cabo San Lucas and headed to the pier and see what sort of whale watching deal we could get, considering when we tried to book something through the resort but everything was full. At the pier we were quickly acosted and managed to get the guy down from $80 per person for 2 hours and an hour at Lover's Beach to $30 per person for 3 hours, 2 1/2 hours at Lover's Beach, beer and water. Our "captain" Arnold was a tad challenged by the english language so we would get about every 5th word and then just agree with him. I have no clue what he was saying! We managed to see a ton of dolphins and they got within 2 arms length of our boat and we saw 3 different whales. Given that there were 4 women on the boat, there was a fair bit of squealing at the beginning every time we saw something come out of the water. After about 2 hours watching whales and dolphins, we headed to Lover's Beach for some sun and beach time.

Lover's Beach is opposite to Divorce Beach (which is where that couple from Calgary drowned last week. As soon as we were getting out of the boat at the beach, they made it clear to us that we were not to go in the water on the other side, but I was amazed at how people still went into the water. Dumb asses! It was at Lover's Beach that we got to experience whale watching again. Now once again, God is going to strike me down I am sure, but watching some people try and get into these bobbing boats was hilarious! There was this one woman who was probably in her 60s and one moment you saw her and then the next it was ass in the air with her legs straight up. I give her credit though, she made it into the boat - it wasn't pretty but she made it. :-) Given that we were waiting for Arnold to come and pick us up again, we probably stood and watched people for a good 20 minutes - gave a whole new meaning to whale watching! I do have to admit, that when I had to make my entry into the boat, I sorta got heaved up and rolled into it. I know that it was not pretty!

After our afternoon out, we stopped in Cabo for a late lunch/afternoon snacks. My uncle Garth and I are on the quest for the best shrimp tacos. Todays were better than yesterdays - still very good but still not quite there yet. Maybe tomorrow will be the lucky day?! Managed to put back a couple of girlie drinks and then 2 shots of tequila - hey, when it Rome. . . . then as we were passing through the mall, we stopped in a Mexican tourist store called Fiesta Mexicana where they had a tequila cart. Unfortunately the tequila cart didn't have any little plastics glasses so my uncle and I each just drank straight out of the bottle, much to the horror of my aunt! We figured - no harm done :-) The guy eventually came over and asked us if we wanted a sample and we politely declined. Had we been thinking, we would have taken a souvenir shot glass off the wall and drank out of that.

Tonight we went into San Jose Del Cabo for a couple of drinks and some tapas. As well, every Thursday evening from 5-9pm there is an Art Walk - all of the local galleries stay open a little later, they haul out the wine and encourage people to stop by. There was a really good vibe to the area where the Art Walk was and made for a very lovely evening.

Tomorrow my uncle and I are heading up to Cabo Pulmo to go diving for the day. I am pretty excited about it b/c when I was up a few weeks back, I stopped at the dive shop at Cabo Pulmo and it seemed like a great place to dive. Plus I have been diving in a couple of years. So I best be going and get some sleep. As our cabbie said tonight - "okey dokey". :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back to the Baja

Surprise, surprise - I am en route to the Baja - I know, AGAIN. Yes, I was only home for 2 1/2 weeks but I have had enough of the snow and the cold! Seriously though, this is my originally planned holiday.

I am heading down to San Jose del Cabo for about 4 days and will be hanging out with my Auntie Karen, my uncle Garth and my 2 cousins (who are much younger than I), Kelsey & Kait. It turned out that our trips were going to overlap so I decided to come down a little earlier and hang out with them - should be fun. I have never really travelled with family before - so hopefully we won't kill one another :-) They have a condo at the Coral Baja and I will be crashing with them. Then on the weekend, I am going to head back up to Los Barrilles to hang out with Brian and Kim again for another week.

I know, rough life. In my defense though, this makes up for having my trip to Madrid cancelled because of the volcano. And I did have to go to Fort McMurray yesterday, so I deserve a trip. And, it has been bloody cold in Calgary and it has been snowing. So yes, I deserve this!

So check in over the next week or so, and I will try and post updates. I am also on a different computer this time, so will be able to easily post pictures :-)