Some birds can fly, some can’t! Wait! Let’s just EAT!

Do you think she misses Baja?

We drive by a wonderful shop everyday Mike needs tacos, we often stop and just wander around. The owner Raul is lovely, as are the several metal workers busy at the outside and inside booths cutting, forming, bending and painting the amazing pieces of art they are creating. Some have a spark plugs as a body, others another piece or recycled metal. There are birds and things with wings, lizards and bugs, butterflies and cactus. It is just a feast for the eyes. We bought Zophia, the zopilote (vulture) here fifteen years ago, she remains my favourite but these owls…I was contemplating a purchase…”Room!” Mike keeps saying! “We don’t have the room!” I was tempted to try to squeeze one of those six foot Great Blue herons in! I am a master at packing!

Galeria Mexicana, they have a facebook page so can check them out! It is an addictive store. He also has glass and beautiful ceramics as well! Drag me out of here please!!!!

The imagination of the Mexican people never ceases to amaze me. You don’t often hear, it can’t be done, they find a way to do it. They are resourceful! Mike has accused me of being very Mexican-like occasionally, usually when I am doing it the hardest way possible…when there are easier alternatives I have not considered. It comes from making do as a child with what we had, and having to do a few chica nadas, (it translates as a little nothing, known North of the border as a jury rig!) which is a repair done with what you have, probably not properly, but it works. We watched the guys who built our house in the Sierra arrive on the 4×4 only road from the North, one of them sitting on the hood, holding up a liter Coke bottle, to feed gas to the motor, the new fuel pump they laughed, a car on an IV drip…it worked, they arrived..sigh…Quero Mexico. He still wouldn’t let me buy the herons…;( ha!

What will I miss about Mexico when we leave? The life on the street, those easy warm smiles from friendly faces, ALL the TACOS (I can hear Mike yelling!) the attitude, the segundas, the weird and wonderful things I can find in the grocery stores, getting several meals for less than $20 at the corner store…I could go on and on. Speaking Spanish, relearning the big words one speaks with edumacated folks…hahahahaha! I will miss so much. Estero Beach is a bubble though, a clean, safe, people leave things out and they don’t get stolen kind of bubble. We checked out a few RV parks to the North of us. They haven’t been updated since the 50’s by the looks of them and the atmosphere is one more of degeneration and decay than happy tourist spot. We might not be able to come back here we have thought, things change, I hope we can, houses may get built here, everything is changing at times, yet it all remains the same.

What will I miss, our friends, Karla’s amazing carrot cake! Ha! She’ll be getting regular deliveries of hard to find baking supplies from up North! Felipe’s smile and park news. John and his two beautiful dogs. Mike has apparently won Lacey, the three legged blue heeler cross, over, a rare feat we have been told. Mike keeps yelling tacos, he may not recover after leaving, or will simply waste away from starvation. Where lunch at the Rey de tacos costs less than $5. Juan and Caty and all their adventures. I’ll miss the faces I didn’t see this trip. The flower man with the world’s most beautiful smile, the older lady that sold the Vigia newspaper on the corner of Reforma, the older faces here at Estero, gone, retired, replaced. So many photos I didn’t take. The world keeps turning…

What won’t I miss? The potholes! Ha! Ok, there have been some improvements on Reforma, the air pollution, a month was enough for me, the cough has started. Telcel…still expensive and short lived GB. watching people struggle, living with so little. The traffic, the fact that red lights and stop signs are merely suggestions, watch before you give it the gas on the green, chances are the eighteen wheeler in the opposite lane decided to go anyway on the red, or pink light Mike calls it, he’s bigger. The chaos some days when you are just not up to it. Being sick the last week meant we missed some visits and faces, I hope we can catch up another visit. We will be forever grateful to Luis, Alexa and Danny at Estero who made our stay there possible! But…we were ready to leave the city.

Goodbye Punta Banda and Estero Beach

It’s less than an hour drive to Valle de la Guadalupe, Mexico’s wine country. John sent us off with delicious tamales, delivered by Ruffino, made by his sister and paid for with a six pack of beer! We left him some home-made salsa verde for his as well! We wanted to eat them with him but he was called away at the last moment downtown.

Guadalupe RV Park

The growth has been explosive in the valle. New wineries, restaurants, airbnb’s, glamping. I’d emailed Guadalupe RV park run by the school for the deaf, Sordo Mudo across the street, I never heard back so we just went. It has full hook ups and 50 amp…gasp…as well as 30 amp services. Ok, there is one 50 amp plug in with 130 volts, a bit high, probably enough to fry the video card in Mike’s computer…c’est la vie. We took that spot on the ned as it was extra wide, a few other smaller Rv’s there and what looked like some new permanent spots. and there is well water…with 70 psi…0_0….Ok, unheard of! It’s close to the highway, so noisy, but a hop and skip from Juan and Caty’s house, our neighbours in the Sierra for ten years, and a short drive to some of the most interesting food in the Valle. Yes, Food, and NO, I wasn’t going to try to keep up with Mike after my IBS bout, it was a mouthful here and there for me, entire plates for him!

I sat under the shower and tasted the salt from the Estero beach water run over my face and down the drain. Yes, the water was that salty, some days I thought they were simply pumping it out of the estuary. It makes you appreciate little things, like being able to run your toothbrush under the tap, not wiping away salt from the dried dishes, and those showers where you can actually open your mouth without worrying about some microbe you might have just ingested.

We had a wonderful visit with Juan and Caty and one of their project workers, Jacqueline, catching up on news and family, stories and the latest of the world of the Condor Project, always rife with trials and tribulations! We planned an early breakfast at our favourite spot, (Jaqueline had to go to Ensenada at 10 a.m. to have her wisdom teeth removed!) which we thought has closed, but discovered it had moved into a resort type setting inside another restaurant in San Antonio de las Minas! Huevo Republic was as delicious as it had been before, and yes, I did eat the entire plate this time!

We made plans for Deckman’s restaurant the following day for a late lunch and went back to the trailer to digest. That took Mike about an hour….maybe we could go to Fauna he suggested? Yes, I did groan out loud…I’d been reading about Fauna and their multiple course tasting menu…as had Mike, he was ready for lunch, he was going to kill me with food I thought!

Fauna…the menu and chef

 I made a reservation at Fauna, located within the luxury boutique hotel Bruma, the only time slot they had was for 1:30-I grabbed it and we drove the less than 2km there from the Rancho Sordo Mudo, Guadalupe RV Park. We entered through a large wrought iron gate, guarded by a very friendly man who asked if we had reservations, we did and we continued on down the road following the signs. The road was rough, engineered by rain and runoff, a true Baja road. It was packed and incredibly busy, ah, Saturdays. They told us it would be a few moments until we were seated so we wandered around, up to a reflection pool with a dead tree in the center, fresas taking selfies with their wine glasses and high heeled platform boots, did we time travel I was thinking? It felt like we’d entered a carnival tent….YES chef!!! We wandered past an outdoor grill and staff making tortillas and roasting and chopping on our way into the communal table. The menu wasn’t exactly descriptive but the plates and smells coming out of the kitchen were impressive! We were seated facing the kitchen. There is an à la carte option, but most parties choose the multi course Feast tasting menu we were told…”14 plates, or more!” the waitress said, “I hope you are hungry!” Mike was grinning from ear to ear. I think I might have audibly groaned out loud.

I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed eating the food more or people watching slyly, it was quite a sight! At one point it felt as if we’d time traveled to the 1970’s and were enjoying a meal at our table (they are all communal dining tables) with a touring rock band, all they needed were peace sign necklaces to go with their paisley, fur coats and hats! Hippy fresas! When they got up to leave another group soon sat down…another decade. 2″ long fingernails, I have this theory that they are status symbols, the longer the nails, the less obvious physical work you can do, no gardening, or diaper changing for these tallonned ladies, they pay people to do this for them! and the hats…straight out of a Clint Eastwood Western, felt with either leopard, feathered or sequined bands. Not that these ladies rode horses, not with those nails! Even the young girls/kids had these hats! They were not terribly friendly either, cold stare kinda ladies, maybe we were just not cool enough😂 Almost more interesting than the food we’re the views and the traffic for the rest rooms going by the other side of the table! The men had these bouffant up draft hairdo’s, they looked like real live actors from the Simpsons! Ha! Great people watching! and the food, some great, the sashimi was heavenly, the grilled broccoli with chiltepin chile delicious, shellfish ceviche tart and perfect, grilled Octopus was fabulous but it was all TOO salty, just a bit heavy handed sadly. 

The service was friendly, attentive and fast, too fast, there were so many staff…I had the wine pairing and barely got to look at the bottles that came and went…WAIT, bring that back! The kitchen was hopping, it was wild. Grilled mackerel in grilled romaine leaves, an blue corn empanada with cheese on a molé sauce, beef was chewy, scallops were perfect, best was the crispy grilled skin pork with radishes, but everything was, incredibly salty. Last course was grilled quail, exquisite, and yes Mike ate 75% of it all! I took bites here and there! The best of all was roasted squash, I ate most of that, not overly salted! Yeah! Did I mention the last couple to come and sit opposite us certainly caught Mike’s eye! She had on extremely short shorts, like really SHORT, nylons, but the best was the shorts were covered in shiny black sequins. I just felt so damn underdressed! Ha! or would that be overdressed? I’m surprised Mike didn’t drop his napkin, or a utensil! Hahahahaha! It was fun, if just for the people! We are obviously not quite hip or cool enough for Saturdays out in Valle de la Guadalupe! Ha! Dessert was a drink-bourbon and coffee, a churro with ice cream and a guava based dessert, not salty, yeah! I am surprised Mike could even move….

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing…

It must have been that last dash to stuff everything he loves to eat in Mexico in! Ceviche, octopus, quail… but we were not done! We saved the best for last, a late lunch the next day at Deckman’s in the Mogor Badan Winery, the next day. If I survived…Ha! I did!

Deckman’s at Mogor Badan

We arrived a bit earlier than Juan and Caty and were given a table, listing heavily towards the vineyard exposed to a very cold wind, yes, we are wusses, I just didn’t want to shiver my way listing through a good meal. They did move us after we asked to a more protected spot, at least we were on even ground! Blankets were provided as well! It is a wonderful outdoor area, protected by bales of straw with a view over the vineyards. My phone couldn’t scan the menu, Caty’s could, we are such country mice, they did bring us paper ones as well, my preferred type thanks.

We decided to opt for the tasting menu, again, Mike looked pleased!

Everything was sublime, from the shredded beef amusé-bouche tostada, to the kumamoto oysters, shellfish ceviche, a lobster in an infused butter sauce, to abalón with a carrot puree. The beef marrow bone was served with amazing crusty rolls and a brick of tender shredded lamb was to die for. The desserts were simple and delicious and I was full, but not as Mike would say with the boys “plugged!” Then I needed a nap! We didn’t opt for a wine pairing, I was disappointed at Fauna not only with the quality but also with the rush, no one was interested in explaining to me what I was drinking, or where it was from. Caty and I had a nice Nebbiolo, all I got was the front of the label, but that was it as well. Juan had a wonderful mezcal and Mike a citrus mezcal margarita. I should have taken more pictures! Ha! TOO busy eating! Dya think Mike is full now? Ha!

It was a wonderful way to end our stay here in Baja. Not having to drive the hour back through Ensenada dodging the red light runners to get back to Estero made it all the more enjoyable! If you want to go to the Valle de la Guadalupe to eat with your RV or trailer I really recommend this spot. It’s central to so many wonderful restaurants and wineries, you are minutes away from most of them! Traffic noise dies down after dark as well! Do it!

Good night Valle de la Guadalupe!

Enough food! Ha! Stay tuned for the trip back to “el otro lado”…the other side…i.e. The USA, we’ll be avoiding dance halls, mushroom farms with unhappy employees, schools and well, Walmarts. It’s a crazy country…

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