Thu January 03 2013  —  e-mail Manfred

Bienvenido a méxico, follow the pelicans.

Flag Mexico Cardon Cactus, Baja Californian desert.

Monday, May 09 2011

6 years, 9 months, 17 days

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of ThisFabTrek.com, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Current Vehicle 18,924km

Trekking 683km

Ferry 2,573km

Train 6,459km

Land Rover 73,588km

Other cars 156,693km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm.

www.thisfabtrek.com > journey > north-america > mexico > 20110509-la-paz-baja-california

Green in Baja California.

Map, Baja California.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

Ensenada, Mexican Flag.
Ensenada, Mexican Flag.
Is me in Baja California.
Is me in Baja.

The thing with Mexico is that it pulls me in like many years ago Morocco. I just have to go to Mexico!

After the long wait I enter on 23rd of April cross the border early morning from San Diego to Tijuana then down along the coast and I feel fresh like out of school, I know nothing of Mexico. Just maybe that I am defiant as governments urge to abstain from traveling to Mexico.

There is no story yet in Mexico or in Baja California, I am too new to the country, I need to look and understand, maybe just go south these 2000km of the Baja desert, enjoy nature and sun after winter and maybe be a bit vigilant.

BTW: for a fab story turn this page and read the Copper-Canyon page.

I still tell you what I do in Baja...

Ensenada 23rd, Baja California, Mexico, Saturday and Easter, at 2 in the afternoon the central drinking quarters are in high swing, young Americans come on a long weekend binge, also in defiance of travel warnings, their sign is a Mexican tourist sombrero and full-body tattoo, girls of course blond, real blond or fake, hot-pants and plastic boobs, some are stunningly thin, many enormously obese and they'd be, why not, in hot-pants too, boys and girls down rounds and rounds of tequila shots, some have had 10 and as many beers, or twice as much. It is just 2.

I have my first Taco experience, carne asada, no sophistication on the food front yet, then find my corner bar right on the drinking mile, the DJ hammers loud and straight, just keeps banging, my beer is Pacifico, my cigar Romeo y Julietta, I sit by the open window, the sun warms, I still carry the northern freeze inside thanks God I don't have to talk. The fridge is turned to below freezing, the cold Pacificos go down well. Maybe the best beer in Mexico, I'd go through Mazatlan later on the trip and find the brewery. Here in Baja we add a lemon squash to our bottle, sometimes salt and lemon, later on the mainland beer is consumed rather straight. Yes, yes I would learn all that but for now I know nothing and while the Californian young go wild on booze, ecstasy and disco and two chubby black ladies perform a dance of sorts on top of the bar, stick their bum out for a photo, I remain rather mute, get drunk slowly and type away on my laptop till night falls, since my switch to Apple all the routines need still tweaking, the workflow of GPS and pictures and webpage adjusting. A geek of sorts but not a programmer this will remain a constant endeavor till leaving Mexico City, only by then I'd be set-up.

Ensenada 24th and one day of drinking is enough, the morning all is full of glass and bottles and vomit, Ensenada is not what I have come for, I want the Baja desert, the Sonora desert, the cacti, the rugged coast line, the sandy beaches. So I drive out scared a bit as the news about this country have not been good over the past years; friend Mohamed at CPJ in New York stuck me their report on the drug trafficking's related killings and war, a horrific story of some 30,000 dead. I don't brush it aside, want be cautious where to sleep and park. Also my knowledge of Spanish is so limited.

Baja California, desert road and strange plants.
Road and strange plants.
Cardon, Baja.
Cardon, Baja.
Huge, tall, colorful desert plant. 15 meters and more. Baja California.
Huge, tall, colorful, desert plant.

South, after the first night the cacti start very soon, and soon the first real giants, the Cardon and Pipes that tower 15 to 20m are a common site, and a great many other weird stingy scrub-cacti; some crawl on the ground while others try to reach the skies. How amazing how nature adapts to the driest of all climates. I am so happy and many times stop, run in the desert, crawl up a hill to take some photos of the strangest ever encountered plants species, some quick flying bug eventually stings me in my upper arm, you better get back out of here he conveys the message, wasps might become aggressive and numerous I think and head swiftly back to my van. On another occasion, in a dry creek bed palms and cacti grow happily side by side. It is paradise.

Restaurant, truck stop fallen in ruins in desert Baja California, seen better times.
Seen better days
Baja California, desert and cacti.
Baja desert and cacti.
Palm trees and cacti, Baja California.
Palm trees and cacti.
Bushes of cacti and yucca, the desert produces plants like from another planet.
Bushes of yucca and cacti.

The road though is long, straight and hot, the vultures sit on the cacti and wait, taking in the (I would say at least 5 liters) required amounts of water is an ordeal, the cold beers by contrast in the desert such a delight, cans of Tecate and Modelo, but it dehydrates and brings head-ache.

Baja Agave shawii.
Baja Agave shawii.
Baja California Agave Shawii.
Round Agave.
Agave shawii, Baja California.
Agave shawii.
Round Agave shawii, Baja California.
Round.

In Guerriero Negro north to south I cross the 28th parallel and enter the state Baja California Sur. Time changes forward by one hour, I turn east, land inwards and a white hot takes over, the desert becomes both drier and hazier.

Cactus and shade in Baja California.
Cactus and shade.
Fillingstation, Baja California.
Filling gaz in Baja.
Vultures in the Baja Californian desert, sitting on Cordon Cactus.
Vultures on Cordon Cactus.

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San Ignacio.

San Ignacio, Baja California.
San Ignacio, Baja California.
San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, oasis, lake and palms.
San Ignacio, oasis.

Then all of a sudden there is San Ignacio, an oasis, palm groves, a lake, la Misión San Ignacio Kadakaamán, since 1728. In San Ignacio I have my first reminder that the land had seen a sad past, once the missionaries and their soldiers arrived the local populace was to die within some 60 years, mostly of disease, also in particular sick episodes the priests forgot to feed those Indians they recruited for explorations. ... Be brave call it a genocide! From Loreto, which I'd cross a day later a bit further south a "great" system known as El Camino Real (Royal Road), a means to conquer was established with Christianity just pretexted, it wiped out 90% of the indigenous people in California (Alto, Baja and Baja Sur), some missions closed soon after their installation because they ran out of subjects.

Beer and food intake on the main plaza in San Ignacio, then back on the desert road, the same white as this morning engulfs.

Yucca Palms in Baja California Sur.
Yucca in Baja.
Cactus and mountains in Baja California.
Cactus and mount, Baja.

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Santa Rosalia, Muleg, Loreto.

Santa Rosalia's industrial past lies there to rust, Baja California Sur.
Santa Rosalia, industrial past.
Disfunct industrial works in Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur.
Works in Santa Rosalia.
Santa Rosalia's industrial past lies there to rust, Baja California Sur.
Santa Rosalia, industrial past.

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur.
Santa Rosalia, Gustave Eiffel church.

Santa Rosalia on the Mar de Cortés/Gulf of California greets with miles and miles of trucks and scrap yards along a seafront, also a lot of very old holed out machinery, locomotives and cranes, rusting away at the side of the road. Then entering town the metal converters and industrial works from a century ago sit there as if still in use, just a bit rusty, never dismantled and still waiting to be assigned museum status; the copper mines here stopped work more than 50 years ago. The French miners have built this town of wooden houses in all colors lining narrow streets up and down and Gustave Eiffel is credited for the design of a white metal sheet church. I walk those lanes of the old Santa Rosalia up and down in search for a bar, all the political parties have party offices in the wooden colored houses, there is a Mahatmar Ghandi library/biblioteca, bookshops/librerías, clothes shops, bakeries, beer shops but no bars, the town at the late hour shines in pleasant light, somewhere someone has put the speakers in the window, on the main square later a crowd gathers and listens to a politician. Mellow!

In the morning I go back and take some more shots of the white church - now with front morning light. On a street stand I have two coffees and so-far the best Tacos, with cooked suckling saucy beef (what ever this is called); almost like a pro I load up with the ingredients that are avail: chopped parsley, onions, and cabbage, pimiento and a squash of lemon over the top.

Eiffel church, Santa Rosalia, evening.
Eiffel church.
Gustave Eiffel church colored windows on white painted metal, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur.
Eiffel windows.
Gustave Eiffel church clock tower, colored windows on white painted metal, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur.
Eiffel in S. Rosalia.
Wires in Santa Rosalia, Baja California, Sur.
Wires.
Libreria Santa Rosalia, old town.
Libreria.
Santa Rosalia townhall.
Townhall.
Partido de la revolucion democratica. Santa Roslia.
PRD.
Tecate sign, Santa Rosalia.
Tecate is sold.
Speakers in window, wooden house, Santa Rosalia.
Speakers in window.

Vulture in Baja California, circling blue sky.
Vulture circling sky.
Vulture looking down, Baja.
Vulture looking down.
Vulture.
Vulture.

Baja California where desert approaches the sea, Bahia Concepcion.
Desert approaching sea.

On way to Mulegé I follow some vultures for a while as they circle the skies eying for prey. In Mulegé a Pacifico on the beach where Rio Santa Rosalia empties into the ocean, then on south along the coast along the Bahía Concepción, the cacti vegetation continues almost right down to the sea, many white sandy beaches are nested between the rocks. Somewhere I have another Pacifico.

But beer dehydrates, I know that already, just cannot help my thirst, I arrive in Loreto almost too tired to walk round. The Loreto mission was the first of its kind, 1697, Jesuit, with the conquistadores came the beginning of the end of the indigenous population, the beginning of Spanish California.

loretto, Baja, mission church, palm tree.
Mision Loreto.
Loreto, Baja, mission and palms and bird.
Loreto, mision, palms.

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Cardon Cacti.

Sunset behind Cardon Cactus, desert, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Sunset, Cardon, Baja.

It is another 2 days until La Paz, via Ciudad Insurgentes and Ciudad Constitución and somewhere before dawn I walk the desert amidst the huge Cardons and the colors and structures of the fabric come out nicely this evening.

Structure of Cardon cactius bark.
Cactus bark.
Structure of Cardon bark, thorns.
Cardon fabric.
Sunset, desert near Ciudad Constitucion.
Near Ciudad Constitucion

Cardon detail, near Ciudad Constitucion.
Cardon detail.
Cardon Cactus forks, branching off.
Cardon forks.
Massive Cardon Cactus, evening light, near Ciudad Constitucion.
Massive Cardon Cactus.

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La Paz.

Mission church in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
La Paz, mission.

So finally La Paz the only real town of size and shape here, 29th of April, Friday, ready for drinking? Really I am tired, still freezy and shaky from the north, weakish from too much driving lately. But what the heck, here, parked centrally not far from the the seaside walk, El Malecon sleep comes close to utopia before 3 in the morning; only then the buzz dies down a bit, the stop and go traffic jam of pick-up trucks with their musica ranchera at full volume, their simple bass makes windows vibrate and sets off multiple car alarm systems. Oh, this ranchera reminds me so much of Austrian/Bavarian folk music/Volksmusik; 1864 till his death 1869 Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph of Austria ruled Mexico (wiki), is that the connection I wonder?

Well when the traffic dies down there would still be music in the streets, bands of mariachis may stroll well past 5 in the morning. So I might go out as well, foolishly I conclude. La Paz, and there are 2 kinds of bars, the "good" become lively just before midnight, the "bad" maybe lively any time in the day or evening. The bad are those where you don't want to be seen coming out by your wife, which doesn't apply to me. The "bad" are those where beer is damn cheap, music all ranchera style, and strange women hang out of any size and age. "Bad" are those where next to the obligatory Madonna icons on TV a soft-porn is showing. It's in the fully packed "bad" ones you encounter the real Mexico, of course.

La Fuente de Sodas, soft drinks bar in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
La Fuente de Sodas.
Giulietta y Romeo, icecream sign in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico..
Giulietta y Romeo.
Girls preparing for show, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Girls preparing for a show.

Struggling with my health I leave after 3 days. La Paz is nice and I'll be back through here anyway.

I leave and on my way pass the Cactus Sanctuary, but this is in the middle of the day and not great for photos and I'll be back through here anyway. Drive on.

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Todos Santos, Hotel California.

Mission church Todos Santos, Baja California.
mision Todos Santos.

The now design hotel is indeed such a lovely place, the Eagles though have nothing to do with it. It is unbelievable but happens that when I enter the Gypsy Kings version of Hotel California is on, I am alone at the bar, have an Indio beer and feel, it's been my destination. That is at 5. It is Monday and I go for a walk and 4 hours later I am still the only guest at the bar; a dead and lovely place that makes its money during the day when tourists come in the still false believe that the Don Henley wrote the famous song here in some way back hippie times. This is why beer is damning twice as expensive as elsewhere. (todos-santos-pages)

The town is all newly renovated, bright colored art and pottery galleries, bookshops and tequila sunrise bars, for the tour busses from Cabo, it all closes at 6. It cannot hold me.

Hotel California, Todos Santos, Mexico.
Hotel California.
Hotel California, bar.
Hotel California, bar.

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Los Cabos.

Huge waves pound, Baja California Sur. Sunrise light.
Huge waves pound.

The cruise-ships off shore inhibit an otherwise great view on an immaculate ocean and southern most cliffs of the Baja, a bit closer funny plastic boobs try aerobics of sorts on the beach, these bars/resorts love to entertain their idiots with who wants a tequila shot for 20 pushups; Cabo San Lucas is clean vacationing, a marina with restaurants and an AC shopping center, catch your own marlin, it's easy, drinking and drinking. But then late you might meet the old, those Americans that came and stayed 20 or 30 years ago, their tattoos tell a story, they still wear long hairs, they saw "their" hippie Cabo evolve into that posh place.

I struggle with hang-over and heat during the day, thanks there is the AC Starbucks that has free wifi.

On 5th of May I leave for San José del Cabo, Cinco de Mayo (wiki) is a no-event; with all the Americans around...?

Christina flies in on 6th of May.

Sunrise  reflected in pounding wave, Baja California Sur. Near Cabo San Jose.
Sunrise reflection.
Sunrise and wave, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexcio.
Sunrise and wave.
Reflection of sunrise light in wave spume, Baja California Sur.
Reflection of sunrise light.

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C. and La Ribera, follow the pelicans.

Sun lit pelican in sky.
Sun lit in sky.
Baja Pelican in sky.
Pelican in sky.
Pelican in sky.
Pelican in sky.
Sun lit pelican in sky, Baja Sur.
Sun lit pelican.
Pelican in flight.
Pelican in flight.
Pelican in flight.
Pelican in flight.
Pelican in flight and wings in front.
Pelican, wings in front.
Pelican shows legs in flight.
Pelcan showing legs.
La Ribera, Baja Sur, Pelican in sky.
Pelican.

Christina and hat, Baja.
C and hat.
C and hat, South Baja.
Christina hat.
Red Christina.
Red C.
Red C.
C. red.
Beach Baja Christina.
Beach Baja Christina.

Bird dance, Pelicans in sky silhouettes. La Ribera, Baja California Sur.
Pelican slhouettes.
End of day sky, pelicans circling, hunting, South Baja Mexico.
Pelicans, end of day.
In the sky silhuettes of Pelicans, Baja, Mexico.
Silhuette of Pelicans.
C. against sun, evenin La Ribera dunes, Mexico.
C. against sun, evening.
End of day walking in sunset, Baja California Sur, La Ribera.
End of day.

With C. we drive back north; La Ribera and Cabo Pulmo have amazing beaches, the pelicans glide and hunt for fish. We head for Santiago and the Sierra de la Laguna mountains in its back. Eventually further north via Los Barriles and El Triunfo, another mision which presents itself in flashy evening light, back to the Cactus Sanctuary.

Sierra de la Laguna. tree out of rock, Mexcio, Baja California Sur.
Tree out of rock.
Sierra de la Laguna tree.
Sierra de la Laguna tree.
Scrub landscape, Santiago, Sierra de la Laguna mountains, Baja Sur, Mexico
Scrub landscape.
Rock tree, Sierra de la Laguna.
Rock tree.

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El Triunfo.

Evening light, El Triunfo.
Evening light, El Triunfo.
El Triunfo, Casa del Artesano, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Casa del Artesano.

El Triunfo, iglesia Santa Ana.
Santa Ana.
El Triunfo Santa Ana.
Santa Ana.

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Cactus Sanctuary.

Pipe Cactus, Baja California Sur, Mexcio.
Pipe cactus.
Pachycereus pringlei.
Red flowers.
Cactus Sanctuary.
Cactus Sanctuary.
Cactus flowering.
Flowers.
Pipe cactus buds, Cactus Sanctuary.
Buds
Blossoming Pipe Cactus.
Blossoming.
fruits on Pipe Cactus, Baja California Sur.
Fruits.
Cactus Santuary.
Santuario de los Cactus.
Birds are feeding of cactus flowers.
Birds feeding.

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Gracias Baja, takin' the ferry.

Back to La Paz, a brief look at the beaches north, Balandra and Tecolote, the peninsula Baja California has been good to me, after only 2.5 weeks on Tuesday the 10th of May Christina and I take the ferry over to Sinaloa. Thanks Mexico for that introduction, gracias Baja I am ready for more.

Bird in sky.
Bird in sky.
Parasols Balandra beach, Baja Sur.
Parasols Balandra.
Christina Balandra, Baja Sur.
Christina Balandra.
C. reading book on Baja ferry, Shadow is watching.
Shadow watching.

Me on Tecolote beach, Baja Sur.
Tecolote me.
Men on Ferry, La Paz to Los Mochis.
Men on Ferry.
C. reading book opn Baja Ferry.
C. Baja Ferry

Tecolote beach, Baja Sur.
Tecolote beach.
Lone pelican gliding over ocean surface, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Lone pelican gliding.
4 pelicans flying close over water, La Ribera, Baja California Sur, morning.
Pelicans, La Ribera.

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