09.01.2018 - 09.13.2018
On September 1st we arrived in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico for an extended stay. We will be in La Paz until December 29th and are looking forward to trying out a different mode of travel. The last five months have been a whirlwind; the next four will be a light breeze off the ocean.
As I've mentioned before, our goal is to travel the world slowly, staying in places for weeks and months even. Well, this is our first chance to try out that plan and see how we like it. We're looking forward to this new adventure.
MAKING IT HOME
So what does settling in look and feel like?
Well first you get yourself an apartment. Ours is a sweet little one bedroom a half block from the Malecon, the walkway that runs along the Sea of Cortez here in La Paz. Being us, we had to have a porch to sit on for coffee and cocktails.
When we got here it was bare so first stop Home Depot for some plants to brighten things up. Yes they have Home Depot in La Paz!
And serendipitously, La Paz actually faces almost West so we get fabulous sunsets from the Malecon.
We can see the water from the deck if we lean way out but we have a great view of it from the bedroom.
Not a great photo but in person you look right through the riot of flowers and windmills outside the window down to the blue water.
Then it's off to find the Walmart, yes they have that too, for all the little things we want to make it feel like home but that weren't supplied. Nicer pillow for Scott, the kind of scrubbies we like in the kitchen, a juicer (but of course), and other small items. Have to find your local market for food, we have one four blocks away, the farmers market (Tuesdays and Saturdays three blocks away), the bakery, it's an amazing French bakery three blocks away, and the thrift store at which we found our French press for morning coffee. And now you have an equipped and stocked kitchen.
Small but very functional. Of course you have to learn all the nuances of how things work in another country. How do you light the gas burners on the stove? Well there's a "sparker" button. How do you light the oven? Stick your lighter into the hole above the pilot. Oh and don't forget the plumbing is crazy here so hot is on the right in the kitchen sink (but not in the bathroom or shower?)!
Dirty clothes and no washer/dryer? The drop-off laundry is six blocks away. Two loads washed and folded for under $10 US.
Ok, we're all set. Now we just have to learn the language and for that we start school on Monday.
FINDING YOUR LOCAL
Football season has begun. The time of year that all day Sunday, along with Thursday and Monday nights, football dominates our lives. But we don't have cable! So, off we went to find where to watch American football. Luckily, La Paz has a fair number of expats so we have two good options. Both right on the Malecon within walking distance. There's Tailhunters - run by a woman from California and her Hawaiian husband. And there's Harker - run by Brian Harker and his lovely Mexican wife, who bakes the cheesecakes! As with most things here, they are multi-purpose joints. Tailhunter also runs fishing trips (you can bring your catch back to the restaurant to have it cooked) and Harker is a SUP shop and outfitter.
We've eaten amazing food for incredibly cheap prices but are yet to find our go to spot. We'll keep you posted on that.
FINDING THE BEACHES
While there are beaches along the Malecon, the water quality can be suspect during the rainy season so the main beaches are on the road south of town. There are four, each with their own appeal. The first, Playa Tesoro, is a quiet bay with mangroves and a small restaurant that will be perfect for a quick paddle (I may finally get to inflate the paddle boards we've hauled all this way!). The second is Playa Pichilingue, a bigger, more open bay with a few restaurants and chairs and umbrellas for rent. Then its Playa Balandra, reputedly the most beautiful but with no services. When we went by it was crowded with families. And finally, on the other side of a small point, is Playa Tecolote. It's a wide open beach facing out into the Sea rather than in a bay. It has gentle waves, beautiful sand, and a bunch of restaurants.
This is the place we think we'll spend the most time. We can even drive out onto the beach to set up and then just walk down to the restaurants for something to eat.
GETTING IN SHAPE
Five months on the road was not kind to either Scott or I in terms of keeping fit. After Florida, where we had such a promising start with our beach walks and yoga, our routines faltered. BUT, we've picked them back up again here. The Malecon is a five kilometer path that's wonderful to walk as it's all right along the sea front. But at this time of year, it's too hot unless you're up before the sunrise - 6:30 am! We've done it a few times but decided it wasn't going to work on a regular basis so we joined a gym. It's really nice and, more importantly, it's air conditioned!
And finally a word on the weather. We arrived earlier than we originally planned and we knew it would be hot but just how hot we weren't prepared for. July to September are the hottest months with highs close to 100 and high humidity. That means you leave the house to walk to the market and by the time you're back you're drenched in sweat. Mornings before 11:00 am are good and the evenings cool down. So we spend the middle of the day in air conditioning. Either at home or at the gym or the mall. Once it breaks, the weather will cool and it will be in the 80's and then the 70's for the rest of our stay.
And I must also mention that this is the "rainy" season. What that means in practice in La Paz is if a major storm comes in we might get rain. Because we are an the bay here, it keeps the afternoon storms pushed back into the mountains. We hit some rain storms coming back from the airport but we've only had one rain here so far.
You may recall our post about being rainmakers.
Well, the first night we were here we were talking with our landlord and he said: "It never rains in La Paz". Famous last words! The very next day it rained for the first time in a year! And it was a deluge. The streets were running with water like small rivers. So our track record is intact! Ha! Check out this short video for what it was like.
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