Tuesday, March 15, 2005

RV Casa Blanca... La Paz, Capitol of Baja California Sur ... Day 21 and 22 ...

A little trip trivia: Mexicali is the Capitol of Baja California Norte.

We left Cabo San Lucas on Sunday morning, March 13th, headed for La Paz, with a three-hour stopover in Todos Santos, home of the California Hotel ...

... which included an optional gourmet brunch, which you can guess I opted for.

Judy, Pam, Joy and I shared a table and dined al fresco.

The menu was divine and much to choose from. Three of us chose the omelette with fresh asparagas and brie, omigod. Besides the gorgeous fruit on the plate are refried beans and small new potatoes. Wonderful Mexican coffee and cinnamon buns were offered while we waited.

After lunch several of us strolled through the bar ...

... and into the Emporio ... an artsy gift shop.

Julie went searching the internet for information on Todos Santos and this is what she found:

Sometime in the mid to late 1980's, the word got out that Todos Santos was home to "the" Hotel California made famous by the Eagles' song in the 1970's. In the 1990's, the rumor had reached "hipper" journalists in the US and the first articles started appearing in major newspapers, like the Detroit Free Press article in 1996.

As other journalists heard of the rumor, momentum increased and the story soon became a full fledged urban legend. New writers used the original articles to justify and support their conclusions. Journalists would come to Todos Santos and do "research", but they already knew what they wanted to write and so they sought out people who would verify what they had already accepted as fact. No real investigative reporting ever occurred.

The souvenir shirts say "Hotel California, since 1928." That claim remains unverified. Gene Kira in "The Unforgettable Sea of Cortez" writes that in 1952, "Hotel California opened in Todos Santos by Antonio 'El Chino' Tobasco." Was that when the hotel was built? Or did the building become a hotel in 1952?

In a Feb 2002 email, Gene states that although his notes are in storage, he remembers that the building did exist before it became the hotel and that "El Chino" used to serve Chinese food in his restaurant at this location and would publicize the meals by way of loud tinny speakers mounted on the roof. Gene promises more details when he finally unpacks his reference material in the future.


RV Casa Blanca, La Paz BCS ... Day 22, Monday March 14th .... group picture and city tour.

The first thing this morning is a group picture, all dressed up in our "purple" shirts (gift of the tour company) including the pets. All folks with pets also received a colorful bandana for their pet to wear in the group picture. Although there are a few cats with us, it was all dogs who showed up.

Not all the dogs with us are appearing in this one photo, but I will be doing an all pet photo day with the dogs and a few cats (if they'll let me take a picture) here before long.

So with great fanfare here we are ...

Right after our Kodak moment, Carlos with his local bus picked us all up ...

... and took us on a city tour. Besides driving around we stopped for awhile near the Cathedral where a funeral was happening ...

... where there was a lovely hibiscus garden ...

...and the city plaza was across the street.

Marilyn and I stopped in on an art class being conducted in the park area and here she is talking with the teacher.

On every corner of the plaza is a shoeshine stand, wondering from where their business comes when it seems that everyone is in sneakers or sandals .. well, the tourists are.

Our bus next took us to the Ibarra Pottery factory ...

... where a lot of fascinatin' stuff was going on. It sure looked like a lot of their beautiful items were being sold. Living in an RV where things rattle 'n roll, their delicate pottery wouldn't last long in my rig.

Our next stop was the weavers, folks making all sorts of woven articles.
Here is a man spinning cotton.

And here is one of their very old, all wooden looms, where this person is making
a roll of woven material like what an upholsterer would use, for example.

Business was pretty brisk there, too. I even purchased some place mats, sorely needed for my rig.

Back to the RV park and time for those pesky chores that RVers get involved in like laundry, dumping, getting propane gas, polishing and cleaning, checking email, going for a swim, chatting with neighbors ... another caravan came in while we were gone ... a group that has been following us by one day for about a week now. And their wagonmasters have a DataStorm dish just like mine, whadya know. Their two sons somehow found me out there and told their folks that somebody named Joline was following them around.

So yesterday ended with one of Portia and Kathy's famous margarita parties and a clean-out-the-refrigerator potluck. It's been said that is the best one we've had.

Day 23, March 15, 2005 (The Ides of March)

Today I got a haircut, hallelujah. Marilyn and I drove around for quite awhile looking and finally spotted a "salon." Besides getting a good cut (hard to find on the road) what fascinated me the most is that the business had NO running water. To shampoo my hair, a helper person stood beside the beautician holding a bucket of warm water, which we negotiated (as between, hot, warm and cold) with neither of us speaking the other's language. I will guesstimate she used less than a half gallon of water to wash and condition my hair. Amazing! Her price? 90 pesos or approximately $9 US. That is about 1/10th what I pay elsewhere. She received a nice tip.

Tomorrow is a looonnnng driving day (for us, as we average 35-45 miles an hour ... yes, the elephant train moves slowly, but the company is so good.

So it's 30 for today and g'nite.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us
are small matters to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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