La Paz, BCS

Home: Emmanuel’s AirBNB

Day 2

We’ve booked five nights in this La Paz AirBNB, tying (with Guerrero Negro) our longest “intentional stay” in Baja. It’s nice knowing that we don’t need to start researching our next destination, route, and place to stay for quite some time, so that means we can spend a day doing very little, and still have days ahead where we can do very little. We’re retired, after all, so it’s nice to be able to act like it every once in a while!

Our place is a little apartment (the last unit in a line of four) in a quiet neighborhood. A kitchen (lacking only an oven) combined with a living/dining area, one bedroom, and a connected bathroom. A surprising feature is the tiny box of a courtyard off the kitchen, which is just big enough to hold our bikes, let us string up some hand-washed laundry, and let me air out my pannier that had become imbued with the sickly-sweet smell of a block of Parmesan cheese that had gone bad.

Day 3

On the day we arrived, we went to a big, little-trafficked grocery store a block away to pick up supplies. It was part of a chain we hadn’t seen in Baja until a couple days ago, called Aramburo. Today, we walked to a full-service laundromat (this one at least took my first name, unlike the other time we did full-service, but still didn’t provide any sort of claim check, just “cinco”/5pm). And on the way back we stopped at Chedraui, another grocery store chain we hadn’t heard of. These new encounters (and absence of Calimax) give the feeling that La Paz is in some ways more-connected to mainland Mexico than it is to the rest of Baja. Far larger and far busier than the Aramburo, Chedraui also had an upscale fanciness to it that we hadn’t seen at other big groceries. And it gave Wal-Mart a run for its money with its international product selection. On the “upscale” side, I couldn’t resist picking up a $4USD(!!) bottle of Donald Trump-themed Mexican craft beer to go with our veggie and turkey-sausage saute.

I’m sure that Trump-themed beers have been released by craft brewers in the U.S., but surely not with him wearing a “Fuck You” sombrero and a swastika on his belt buckle!
Good beer with a good dinner, though Donald seems less-than-happy with the offering.

Day 4

After a couple days of chores and down-time, we finally got around to checking out some of La Paz. A walk to the cute and somewhat-European-feeling jumble of streets that make up the “downtown”, then north along the waterfront (with a failed stop at the tour office to ask questions about our upcoming kayak trip), then back south to lunch at a restaurant in the middle of the tourist strip, and finally back up the hill to our place in the Guerrero neighborhood.

In that last segment, we passed a good-sized baseball stadium. It made me think that attending a baseball game would be a fun thing to experience in Mexico, but unfortunately the Delfines de La Paz (La Paz Dolphins) wouldn’t have their season-opener until a couple days after we were out of town. It’s a little strange that the season here starts later than it starts in the U.S., but maybe that’s due to being the Mexican minor-league. More importantly, it made me realize that the MLB season in the U.S. has already been going for a couple of weeks. The start of baseball has always been a traditional marker of “spring” (and the general passage of time) for me, so this year it is a particularly useful anchor to grab onto. Our ever-changing location isn’t the only thing that makes us feel disconnected from the rhythms of our past life; living through “summer” weather in March and April is something that has screwed up my internal sense of time’s passage through the seasons. So being able to check in on White Sox games in Chicago is a way to maintain a hold on a thread that was woven into the fabric of the first 40 years of my life.

Twins! (there are a lot of ice cream/cold-sweet-stuff shops around here).
We have both wrenched our backs and stubbed toes multiple times on sidewalks in Baja cities, which is likely to happen if you let yourself get distracted for even a second as you walk. This is just one visual example of the chaos, and not even an atypical one. Oftentimes it feels safer to just walk in the street, because there is less chance of an unexpected dropoff/curb-cut/concrete-turns-to-sand.
A nice front yard near the above sidewalk.
Rett and an unofficial-feeling city sign, in front of Catedral de la Paz.
Rett saying hello to a horse in front of a (similarly-themed?) downtown hotel.
This horse appears to have been crafted almost entirely out of pieces of palm trees, which makes its true-to-life accuracy and personality even more impressive.
A wall in which Rett really liked the life amidst the decay.
Sears, alive and well here in Mexico! (it turns out that the brand is owned by Carlos Slim here, separate from the U.S. corporation, though even here they’re considering a name-change to avoid a negative reputation from the decline of the American version!)
Rett and the proper La Paz sign on the Malecon.
Two mermaids and three dolphins. Walking along the Malecon, you’ll see an aquatic-themed sculpture like this every block or two.
Lunch at Harker Board Co., with a cable-pulled horizontal dumbwaiter that would deliver food and drink orders from the rooftop kitchen/bar across the street.
One of the draws of Harker Board Co. was the beer! Not brewed by them, but from Baja Brewing 100 miles away in Los Cabos: all six were very good! Also a full-sized American-style “burro”.
La Paz: cosmopolitan enough to support a vegan diner/shop (it’s interesting to me, but not surprising, how “zero waste” is directly imported without translation, in this country where plastic-bottled-water-consumption likely exceeds that in the US).
This place reminded me of the French-inspired architecture of Santa Rosalia and its Eiffel church.
Once he cleared the intersection, this guy removed his stabilizing hand and let his dog balance on his shoulders without assistance.
The local cat welcomes us back home from atop our little courtyard.


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