Universal Truth: Nothing corners better, off-roads hardier, or stops on a dime better than a rental. Enterprise didn’t realize they rented us the Baja 1000 model Hyundai Podling (by Dodge), a true go-getter if there ever was one. It was minty green and had a lot of dings; all were carefully noted by the Enterprise guy and had Joshua rethinking the insurance thing.
Baja roads: There is a lot of signage littering the roadsides of Baja Sur. Food for thought like: “It is obligatory to wear one’s seatbelt in Baja Sur,” “80,” “Watch your speed,” “Drive carefully,” “Don’t throw trash,” and “Thank you for wearing your seatbelt.” Rather passive aggressive actually, plus they repeat every kilometer so that you are never more than 60 meters at most from a road sign suggesting that you pay attention to the topes 500 meters ahead, 400 meters ahead, 300 meters ahead.
Another thing that is clear is that southern Bajaans expect the road to be straight under normal circumstances, which is to say, always. If the road deviates in any way from the straight, a sign is imperative. I am not exaggerating when I say that there is a right or left arrow for EVERY SINGLE TURN THE ROAD MAKES. And we covered a lot of territory this weekend. Sometimes there will be a multi-curve arrow (you know the ones that squiggle left, right, left, right, then straight up arrow); however, I swear that none of the turns ever made it through the left-right-left-right-straight gamut without someone giving in and putting a single turn arrow only two turns into the curvy section.
Baja is very pretty; behold Bahia La Paz as viewed from the western shore. We were on our way to go check out an Abandonada—an abandoned phosphorus mining town.
This trailer was parked next to the cute little house with the green chair above. I’m not sure if there was a fire or if this is just what happens to trailers when they are left on their own.
Another house that was never finished?
We made it to the abandonada, parked the car just outside of the “ALTO” and “Cars not allowed” signs, then walked past the “PROHIBITED the passage of unauthorized personnel” sign to check things out. I got maybe three photos before a friendly dude with a walkie-talkie and a machete came and escorted us out. He gave us a lesson in sign-reading.
Here’s one of the restaurant, where they used to have good food, according to the machete-wielding guard.
We continued down the road to where the phosphorus mine was and where they must have loaded phosphorus onto barges via a rail system. This structure was there and that’s an osprey nest above it.
There are a lot of roadside shrines. This one looks like it was erected in a specific person’s memory.
This one had steps carved in the rock leading up to it. There are goats about and that’s what that strong-looking wooden structure is all about.
This one was a bit higher budget. It also had a tip jar of sorts.
“The Three Holy Armadillos of the Virgin of Guadalupe”
We saw about a hundred-bizillion of these signs.
Of course, there were cows too. Far fewer cows than signs though.
Perhaps they are creatures of the night.
We visited the Cactus Sanctuary. We passed about twelve gazillion-frillion cactuses on the way.
Here is a mutant! The sparse signage actually said that this weirdness was in fact caused by mutaciones geneticos. Or something. Then it said something about briggands and face lotion so I’m not sure.
Our camera has a nice macro feature.
Next to the cactus sanctuary, aside from lots of other non-sanctified cacti, was a cemetery. The cemetery had cactuses in it as well in addition to a lot of very old tombs of Chinese, Germans, and Spaniards who met their ends trying to score gold for the motherland.
Nearby was the town, Gallina, so named because of a piece of gold found there once that was the shape and size of a hen egg. The town surely didn’t have a name before that. Why it was named for the chicken and not the egg is also something to ponder.
There was a quaint church there, which was not open on the Sunday we were there. Not that we tried the door, I guess.
Back to La Paz!!
For some dinner!!!!
And a cute sunset. Oh, this sunset photo is actually from a week or more ago. When it was calm.