The plan was to take advantage of the opportunity and spend Christmas Eve as isolated as possible.
On the 24th I got up really early, got my bike ready and was off to the little city of Santa Rosalía, on the Gulf of California.
A typical Mexican Christmas “tree”!
There I found a café where I gave myself the luxury of buying a panini with all the fixings and it even came with a salad! I saw an enormous chocolate cake, (they call cake ‘pastel’ – yummm, it eased the longing for the sweets from São Paulo street markets!) I got a piece! It’s Christmas Eve! My first all by myself! Let’s go for it! This would be my feast!
I stopped at a water distributor to stock up and saw some wines from the vineyards of Baja California. Hmmm… I’m going to get one! There! A complete Christmas feast!
Christmas wine, it had to be local! I chose one from a Baja California vineyard that I saw from the highway. Delicious, I recommend it!
I continued along the road. I decided that everything that day was going to be wonderful. I’d discovered a few months back that we have this power, one of these days I’ll talk more about this, I put on my earphones and chose the playlist: “music that moves me”.
No climbs, no head winds were going to ruin my day of the 24th. I was kind to myself (and a little complacent, I confess) I stopped to rest several times, I took lots of pictures, I drank lots of water! Today was not for economizing! I’m going to stop when my heart tells me to and my eyes are enchanted with the scenery.
From the top of a hill I saw the lagoon, emerald green contrasting with the deep blue of the sea. What a beautiful place! A few miles later down the road, there was a bar at the crossroads of a dirt road that looked like it led to the sea. I stopped and asked: “Is the beach very far?!”
“No! It’s just ahead! But you have to ride on soft sand!”
“Is it worth seeing?”
“Yes it is! It’s beautiful!”
I got to the beach, it was peaceful. Not as isolated as I’d hoped, a lot of houses but not a single person. Hundreds of birds rested on the strip of sand between the mangroves and the calm waters of the lagoon.
My house and my companion, Christmas morning.
“Look Thru” is an artistic installation by a Dutch girl and it was on the beach of São Lucas a few years ago. The work was sometimes like a Christmas decoration for me.
An immense dog approached, black, happy, beautiful. I remembered Paco, my dog. What nostalgia…
He let me put my hand on his head and he sat by my side looking at the scenery with me. Later I found out his name was Lucas. Young, trained and smart. He reminded me of the other Lucas I’d met on this trip. I smiled nostalgically.
I walked along the shell covered beach, the smell of salt water and of seaweed. Noisy albatrosses and sea gulls. The wind was blowing hard. I looked up at the blue sky. I remembered the Montana sky. What nostalgia…
The Pelicans coming to the beach to fish.
At the end of the beach, the river, the mangroves and the perfect place to camp. A woman came from a motor home close to the river, Sue. Lovely, elegant and English with a strong British accent. I smiled and greeted her and said I’d be spending the night there. She said: “Of course!”
Sue and Roy, my neighbors.
I sat on the beach, watching the birds fishing and I must have sat there for a few hours. The sun was going down, it was time to eat. I opened my lunch box with the cold sandwich and the salad. How delicious! The wine? Delicious!
Around 6:30, I was already inside my tent and I heard Sue’s voice calling me. With a plate in her hand: “The best tamales around! Be careful, there are olives with pits in them!”
Tamales are a kind of salty polenta (dough of cooked corn meal) filled with shredded meat and deliciously seasoned. They come wrapped in corn husks that keep the tamale together and moist. It’s a traditional Christmas food in Mexico. And my new favorite! The women get together to make them and the preparation is an event in itself. It’s hours of work.
One of the tamales given to me by Sue, my favorite food here in Mexico (at least so far).
What a delicious food! The wind picked up and I needed to open the tent because I was worried that the tent frame might break.
The cloudy sky threatened rain.
I looked at my watch, 00:00 in Brasil, I made the traditional toast with my family, they probably had no idea I was toasting with them.
At 3 in the morning I woke up, the wind had stopped and the sky was more starry than ever, my first “isolated” Christmas was completely star filled!
At 5:30 I woke with a start, it seemed that a present was waiting for me under the Christmas tree, a lavender light was filling the still open tent. I looked at the sea and this is the vision I had:
My Christmas morning present.
I spoke out loud, perhaps for myself, perhaps for everyone: Merry Christmas!