Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resting on Easter

Today, we ate great food, swam in the ocean, and took one very long and overdue siesta. That is the beauty of traveling like this- it allows time for taking breaks from the grand adventures.

Happy Easter, everyone. We miss you- and all the chocolate that we didn't get this year! Can you believe that? Not once chocolate bunny on the block. Damn Mexico...


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Two more reasons we might never come back...

This dog and this house... Or, should I say those eyes and that price????

Dad- want a good Mexican rental unit? We'll rent it from ya!

The Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez is amazingly beautiful. And, what a day we had on it eating, swimming, and making some new friends.

After a morning of scuba diving through caves with puffer fish and sting rays, we resided in the beach chairs of Ed's world all afternoon. Ed and Sandra are a pair of ex pats that have set up shop in Burro bay. Renting kayaks and other small boats, they live in tiny little beach huts that are straight out of Robinson Caruso. They were so lovely to meet, relax, eat food and share stories with. Ed made us mean carne asada tacos for lunch, and their business partner Jamie fixed up the best ceviche I have ever had.

A little pup named Coco spent the afternoon wooing us (Ed is looking for a forever home for her) and we nearly put her in the car and drove away with her by our side. We actually haven't ruled it out, she is totally the cutest mexican pup you've ever seen. Although, we were smart enough to leave and "think on how it may effect the life of Sandee" for a couple of days.

As Ed pulled clams from the ocean and opened them up in front of us, we sipped on tequila and said "this is the life". Both Adam and I cannot wait to return to "Ed's world" - we could not have found a better spot to hang for the afternoon with cevice in our bellies and warmth all around us.

Friday, March 29, 2013


I know this might sound like I am bragging, but we are really hitting the jackpot with places to stay down here. I mean every little town, tamale cart, and each company we have worked with has been a dream- especially in Mulege.

When we arrived upon our little house last night, we were tired and slightly numb from my scorpion attack the night before. But, as we woke up this morning we new we were in bliss. After a run along the river that jets out into the ocean, I came back and was immediately served fresh tamales from a woman outside our house. Tamales and coffee for breakfast? Why not?

Later, as we explored the town, we did our ATM business, made reservations to go scuba diving, and even found a lovely little market to get supplies for cooking in our kitchen. We bought fresh corn tortillas, tequila and conroy (an amazing Mexican orange liquor) for margaritas, and chips and queso- the whole nine yards. If you can't tell, we are determined to make out little casita feel like home. And, it's working...we might never leave.

The spot where the house is couldn't be more perfect. The river runs along the row of houses and empties out into the ocean. I have a running trail to die for, a bar around the corner that makes fresh garlic shrimp from the sea and chile rellanos, and a set of kayaks that we got to take out for a whirl and a swim. Terns, cormorants, and great blue herons fill the laguna. This afternoon the air was about 82 and the water close to 70. Bliss.

After a little bit of FaceTime with the parents we are turning in. I think I have finally mastered a perfect margarita and Adam grilled fresh fish for fish tacos. Tomorrow we are doing a two tank dive off of islands in the Sea of Cortez. That'll work!

Happy Good Friday to all that are celebrating. Semana Santa vacationers have been around a lot this week but other than that we haven't seen much resurrection celebrations. But, Easter should provide that. We're here until Monday and plan to soak up as much of it as we can. We've already decided we are coming back to Mulege. Actually, we might come back to all of it.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scorpion bites have happy endings

For the record, scorpion bites do not start off as "happy"- not one bit. Last night, as we were winding down from our long day of driving and exploring, I cuddled next to Adam, gave him a little kiss, and snuggled into my pillow. I was SO tired.

Then, I yelled...loudly. Leaping from the bed I ran across the room screaming "something bit me!!!" As I ran my finger under the cold water saying "oh god- it's hurts, it hurts" Adam proceeded to tear apart the bed- every sheet, every inch. But, there was nothing there there. There was nothing there at all.

After killing a tiny house spider for the hell of it, we crawled back into bed as I literally writhed in pain. All I could think was, "seriously, Nell- a spider that small? Buck up!" Then, as Adam moved his pillow to relax he paused.... "oh shit, Nell, it's a scorpion". WHAT???????

Long story short, I was stung by a scorpion that was probably the bark scorpion- venomous and painful as all hell. And, after smashing the bastard, checking the sheets about 200 times for more, and a mere 3 hours of sleep from all the adrenaline and pain rushing through my body, I woke up this morning not exactly ready for our adventure of whale watching we had planned in Laguna San Ignacio. I was not a happy camper.

But, don't worry- this story has a happy ending.

After a lot of coffee and some warm tortillas with eggs, we crawled into our van to take us on what turned out to be one of the most magical days we have ever had. The gray whale migration goes through Baja every year. Each year, whales come down to birth their calves in the winter waters of Baja, California. Starting in April, they head north as the waters warm but not without some good play time in the Baja Lagunas.

Today we played with whales. Coming straight up to our boat, we rubbed their bellies, laughed as they sprayed us with their blow holes, and I even got to kiss one of the calves on their nose! It was incredible. We were in awe of the whales, the ocean, and the harmony between us and their species. Despite my throbbing finger, I forgot about it all. We were laughing and splashing all day long.

Upon our return, we hopped into the car and drove two hours south to the town of Mulege (pronounced Mu- la- hay). Here, we will spend the next four nights in a little house of our own. We have our own kitchen, a coffee maker, and even our own private porch with a grill on the patio. Kayaks in the back yard and dive shops in town, we are ready for a good stint on the Sea of Cortez.

A numb finger (it's feeling better every hour) aside, we end the day happy and joyful for more adventures a head.

And yes, Adam will be searching the sheets for any unwanted visitors tonight.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Road tripping

Road trips are often epic. They almost always include a sore behind and lower back, some kind of sweet treat, and a lot of bobbing heads to music (good music if you have a decent travel partner). However, they rarely include cacti 39 feet tall, turned over semi's with not a cop or pedestrian in sight, or checkpoints where a Mexican cop smells pretty much everything in your car- needless to say, we've been on an adventure.

Starting out yesterday we left the pristine utopia of Hotel Endemico for a hectic trip into Ensenada in search of money and gas. This was a hair raising experience that we survived despite crazy traffic patterns and getting bullied into some mediocre tacos that were more than off the beaten path. But, we managed through only because we did our banking at Scotiabank (yes, of Nova Scotia where we were married- apparently the bank has had a resurgence in Mexico of all places.)

After Ensenada we began our 3 hr journey into the mountainous region of Baja Norte. Gorgeous and lush I was stunned at the cliffs and hilltops we were driving over. Staying the night in the stop over town of San Quintin, we found a bar and a sweet hotel on the back of an orange plantation. "Jardines Baja" was the perfect stopping point and we were even treated to a Mexico vs. USA soccer game on TV. Good margaritas, a comfy bed, and a cup of strong coffee in the morning- we couldn't complain.

Waking up to what is bound to be a 7 hour driving day is never fun. But, we buckled in and made our way even further south to San Ignacio. Dessert landscapes, military checkpoints, and enormous cati pushed us through. Side note- Adam has done 100% of the Mexico driving this far and is a champion. I'm not sure if he is sparing me, or just fearful of how I might approach the random speed bumps in the middle of the highway, but I'm thankful for how graciously he has dealt with the misfortunes of Mexican roads.

After a good lunch in the salt mining town of Guerro Negro we pushed through and made it to San Ignacio by 3:30. Greeted by our inn host, Juantia, we waltzed into a garden paradise of a hostel. Our little room, surrounded by a sweet patio,
is lovely and the library inside the hostel is packed with books about our destinations and the history of this magical land.

During dinner we ran into two separate groups of retired men on their own adventures. All I could think of was my dad on the road trips he takes with his buddies these days. Dad- Baja should be your next stop. Obviously.

As we sit here winding down the day, Adam just ran out to get more tacos from the carne asada taco stand around the corner. Tomorrow we are out to see the gray whales and their calves and then 2 more hours south to Mulege where we get to camp out for five days in our own little cassita. If you can't tell, the Baja life is grand.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Leaving Hotel Endemico

As we walked up the dirt trail to our morning cafe and omelette we were sad to leave our beloved Hotel Endemico behind. This place has been incredible. Our pod number 10 perched as though it is floating above the land made us feel as though we were visiting another world, not just another wine country. Last night, hiking down the hill for dinner and the back up as the full moon lit our way, we knew we had found a really amazing spot with this one. And, as we drive away today with wine in our bags and warmth in our hearts we cannot wait until the day we come back to these floating pods, kind people, and a backdrop to die for.

Today we head south! San Quintin is a stopping point tonight for a long drive to see the whales! Let the Baja adventure continue!

Monday, March 25, 2013


In Spanish, vinacola means winery. Pretty amazing considering it sounds like it should be some kind of Mexican soda. But, today we experienced the Mexican side of wine and much more.

Our day began with an omelette that was so good that during dinner Adam mentioned how excited he was for his omelette the next morning. With a very hilly run and lots of coffee under my belt, we were ready to face the Valle de Guadeloupe of wine.

Our first stop was Barren Bolche where we were greeted with an eager tour guide with excessive pearls around her neck. The wine was great- we bought a bottle of the Grenache-Cab that was especially lovely- but mostly our memorable moment was the intense photo shoot that the woman took of us the moment she found out we were honeymooning. Nell and Adam behind the wine cellar, Nell and Adam behind the wine barrels, kissing hugging...everything! She took a million pictures and it was just like we were back with Irene at the wedding. Oof!

For lunch, we arrived at the B&B Ville de Valle. This place was unreal. A B&B run by a British couple they have the most beautiful and pristine villa down the longest dirt path. Getting slightly lost a long the way we arrived hungry and ready to eat at their restaurant, carazon de la tierra.. Turns out, the lunch was an expensive pre fix 3 course meal which turned out to be one of the very best meals we could have ever had. Gluten free with fresh veggies from their garden and water that had lavender and rosemary soaking in it, we ate looking at their gardens lush with fresh chard and sunflowers. Their winery, made out of old boats, or lanchas in espanol, was a sight to be seen and included a flight of delicious wines served by a woman named Americana. It was a good stop.

Now, we sit on our balcony at Hotel Endemico. Our chiminea is lit, our glasses are filled with red wine, and tomorrow we hit the coast for a drive south. This spot is amazing and we could not have found a better hotel and valley to start our trip.

See you soon!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Meltdowns have happy endings

"Can you imagine how many times in our marriage you'd have to grin and bare it through the 'we didn't go on a honeymoon b/c Nell lost her passport' story? SO many times"

When Adam and I woke up yesterday we were in a complete state of happiness. It was our first morning of spring break, we both had slept in until 9:45am (a rarity for me), and we were ready to leave on our honeymoon to Baja in less than 24 hours. It was going to be good. Really good. That said, until I couldn't find my passport.

I won't bring all of you through the awful details. Plenty of you reading this helped me through my insane panic attack that sent me driving all over LA county. The end result is that I found a drawer...the first spot I looked pre- meltdown and apparently didn't see it. And, all the thoughts of "I'll never have a honeymoon again", "my husband is going to HATE me forever", and "maybe I can just sneak myself across the boarder in the trunk of the car" were not necessary. And now, exactly 24 hrs after i found that little blue book and collapsed to the floor, we are back in that lovely state of happiness at Endemico in The Valley de Guadalupe.

Today started at 6am. "We need to get through the boarder before the cartel wakes up", Adam says. But, driving into Baja was everything we didn't expect- it was way easier! No long lines, no machine guns, and they didn't even ask for our passports!!!!!!!!! We basically drove through the gates and we were in. One minute we were in San Diego the next we were in Mexico- it was that easy.

The drive down the coast and then up into the wine country was like leaving Hawaii and entering some desert land from Star Wars. As we approached our hotel we recognized it instantly. Mostly because it's insanely beautiful with tiny pods as rooms perched amongst boulders. Checking in, we were handed a glass of fresh sangria and we knew we were in for a treat. After two fresh tamales from a stand in town we are now even happier.

Adam is asleep and I'm headed to the pool. Lots of photos are being taken but here are some to wet your pallet. Tomorrow is wine tasting and hiking. Good things are ahead of us- and even if we run into problems, meltdowns always have happy endings.