Home: Playa Estucasa beachside palapa
We’ve read that “Baja midnight” is around 9pm, and that seems to be holding true. It might have something to do with the generally-gray population on these beaches, but I think it’s mostly just due to the “living by the sun” cycle that comes with an outdoor-focused life. Because most people seemed to be up at dawn again, just like us, after another quiet night.
As much as we ended up loving our days at Santispac, there are many more beaches on Bahia Concepción, so we decided to take the “risk” of moving on today. It feels almost stupid to think that there could be a better spot to live than this bright blue pool in the desert, but something was pulling us onward.
On our way out we had a nice chat with our neighbor Val, who made us finally relent and take some water from her for the road (she had also offered us the shade of her RV canopy several times). It was inspiring to hear the independent life she has been living, which generated echoes of Rett’s mom in our ears and hearts.
We didn’t have to ride very far until we found the turnoff for another beach that we decided to try our luck at. Coming down the rough gravel road, we saw some nice-looking walled(!) palapas, and maybe one of them was open? We came around the front, and no, it’s occupied. Boo! But next-door was George, a friendly guy with a guitar impressed with Rett’s “Da Brim” cycling hat. A semi-long-termer, he welcomed us, filled us in a bit on the way the beach works like Roger and Val had at Santispac (there were no on-site caretakers at this beach), and best of all, said there might be a palapa or two open at the south end. So I ran down there, and, yes! A perfect shelter was open with wind-blocking walls on two sides, up a steep rough slope, but that just gave an even better view of the incredible turquoise water out the “front window”.
The wind had barely stopped blowing over the last three days, and while we had essentially gotten used to dealing with it to the point where we’d forgotten about its presence, once we got into the shelter of the palapa and started laying out our blanket and decorating our new home, we immediately noticed its absence! It was so relaxing to be able to take that subconscious element of stress off of our brains. And we could also tuck into that walled corner to be shaded from the hot sun through all hours of the day. Which is exactly what we did, just sitting, doing nothing but marveling at this bit of heaven we’d dropped into in Mexico.
When our hunger drew us out of our reverie, we put together some more hummus-cucumber tortillas for lunch. I stepped out of our palapa for a moment and met our neighbor Susanna and had the usual get-to-know you conversation for a few minutes, except, unusually, she was topless the whole time! I might have surprised her, since our end of the beach was mostly-empty, and with our bicycles up in our palapa, and no vehicle in front of it on the sand, it wasn’t obvious that we had taken up residence. I know I was surprised, but either way we both handled it like pros; sometimes getting older is nice…the teenage version of myself would have been 100x more-awkward in that conversation!
Next on our busy agenda was a refreshing swim. And now after a few days of swimming in a salty bay, we’ve learned that squeezing the salt-water out of our clothing (before it evaporates) at least somewhat reduces the white salt tattoos that get left behind when it dries (though they still stay somewhat stiff and crunchy). Conveniently our palapa had dozens of nails and screws set up to be used as hooks, and rope lines as well: more luxurious amenities in our US$8 accommodation!
We cooked up a hearty no-drain pasta dinner from our chairs in the palapa (aided with the nice “tomato bouillon cubes” we’ve found in Mexican groceries), and then after sunset we took a stroll back up the beach where George had invited us to sit around a fire and sing some songs. We were surprised and delighted to find it was actually a semi-organized concert, with George on guitar and vocals, and his partner Penny contributing ukulele, spoons, and additional vocals. And then of course everyone else (of the 10 or so other people who gathered ’round) singing along to the songs they knew or adding percussion.
It turns out that George is an excellent freestyling entertainer, able to make up lyrics on the fly to existing songs, such as a version of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” that referenced Baja, the beach, us, and even our bicycles! It’s so amazing to feel welcomed into these ad-hoc communities (and they’d had no idea that “These Boots” was another memorable social-echo for us today: it was the very song Rett had sung at our night of karaoke way back in Ensenada!) So not that George needed it, but in another move to social community-building, Dave, from British Columbia, passed around an “inspiration stick”, and I believe I may have been the only gray-hair who didn’t partake. But I appreciated the generosity and bonding it inspired!
Around Baja Midnight we then walked back to our palapa. There were no lighted sailboats in this bay, so it made for an even darker night before. I don’t know if the winds stayed higher tonight, or if it was the nature of this particular beach, but there were audible waves coming to shore, and when we stopped to look, we could see the water lighting up all on its own, without us needing to agitate it as before. When a six-inch wave would roll ashore, a beam of light would rush down it like lengthwise like a laser flash. Um, wow. So yeah, it turns out there somehow is a place better than the incredible beach we had left this morning!