The drive from Cuidad Constitucion was a couple of boring hours. But we began to see some of the roadway repairs that have happened since the hurricane tore through. As we came into the edge of La Paz the evidence was more apparent. Toppled concrete walls, removed roofs and trees down. It was not as overwhelming as we anticipated. Everyone we have discussed it with has mentioned the fast and efficient work that has gone into the repairs. While a few structures are still damaged, most are rebuilt, repaired or demolished and awaiting renewal but commerce continues around the remaining destruction.
We rolled in to La Paz on a Sunday and found an RV park near the downtown area. It was right on the water, so we were able to walk the dogs along the beach. Then we hopped on the bikes and rode the malecón. (A malecon is a seawall walkway or roadway. Often a gathering place in a Mexican beachside town)
In La Paz the malecón is the hub of all social activity for locals and visitors alike. It was jammed full on a Sunday night- with two lanes of cars going both ways on the street and couples, families, tourists strolling along the cobblestone walkway. Because of the season the light posts and palm trees
We found a restaurant that served crepes and coffee (for dinner!!!) and sat at the street table to enjoy the action. After a bit of discussion we decided that we could stay in this town for a while. So I hopped on AirBandB to see what was available. There were a couple of places near the malecon so I emailed them. One responded right away, and it was the right price in the right place. So we took it! By morning we were so excited about the opportunity to stay in one place for a whole week. We would check in the next afternoon.
In the morning we left the RV park and hung out in town for a bit. While walking the dogs we met Westy Goes South. http://www.westygoessouth.com It was so great to connect with other travelers in a van! We swapped stories and made promises to meet again.
We also saw www.1rdtrip.com and made plans to have dinner with them later.
Then it was time to check in to our temporary digs. We met the property manager and took a look around. This small house included things we have been without such as an oven, washer, Internet, microwave, hot shower!
The only thing missing from this rental was parking. So we selected a spot on the street, just outside our apartment window. This was a wet location and a bit smelly- as there seemed to have been a sewer leak earlier. We figured that if the van was in a moat of poop-water it would be safe. We locked up and went into town for some fun. When we returned two-hours later, we noticed our cargo bag looked askew. If you look at an old photo you will notice that cargo bag is 10+ feet up in the air. But in broad daylight, in a busy little neighborhood, someone had climbed up there and slashed the bag and the cords.
Upon removal and inspection we discovered that they took our masks, snorkels and booties. Damn. We had a snorkel trip booked the next day! And I really loved my oldie-but goodie dive mask! But in trying to look on the good side- the knife did not damage the room-enclosure for the awning. And they left our cheapo fins for us to use for flapping around the house!
Feeling the need to cheer up a bit I decided to decorate for the holidays. I started with the 8-inch pinecone that we found in the National Park. Parque Nacional San Pedro Martir had some beautiful trees. http://slowcarfasthouse.com/2014/11/26/beaches-valleys-and-mountains/ I had selected this pinecone to ride along with us. MY plan was to use it for Christmas decorating. Here it is, posing near the front grill of the van-
After the decorations were up, I decided to put up the tree. Here is a photo of the tree in light, and in darkness. I had forgotten how the scent of a tree could fill a room. She’s a beauty, huh? Amazing what a tree can do to a house!
That night we were feeling a bit insecure about the remaining items on the van. So Mike cabled and locked what he thought was most vulnerable and we placed motion lights on the front and rear end. Then went to sleep in the apartment and hoped for the best. The van was right out our window, in poop water, in a quiet neighborhood. Unfortunately the next morning we found that someone had come in the night and stolen the spare propane tank that was painted like a minion. This required tools, time and standing in poop water. They must have really wanted that tank! Goodbye minion, you will be missed by many children who enjoyed waving at you as we passed by!
When we discovered this latest theft, I cried. I cried a lot. I guess I just needed to cry! But then we decided that we would find a place to park the van more securely before something more irreplaceable was taken. I emailed the property manager, and she made arrangements for us to park in a gated yard just a block away. We would have a key and the 12-foot gates would deter further thefts. We are parked there now and finally feeling that the van is secure.
The issues with the van/theft are challenges that we must overcome here in La Paz- they cannot define our visit or our time here. The city itself is a beautiful place. We have met many wonderful people and enjoyed the weather, the scenery and the location. We had the opportunity to snorkel with whale sharks, which was fantastic!
We were in the water with 30-foot fish that were so docile and occupied with plankton filtering that they did not care about us. We could not touch them, but could swim over, under and around them. Within 2 hours we saw and swam with 4 different whale sharks, each with distinct markings, a school of sardines and a few remora’s hanging around. It was amazing and certainly helped me adjust my attitude.
In an effort to see the best, not the worst…. we made a few trips to the stores and shops in the Zona Commercial. It is a bustling place with great colors, noise, action and an amazing array of products.
I even went watch (reloj) shopping AND FOUND ONE! I have been looking for the perfect watch for some time now. There were many to browse through, and I selected one. Then we took it to another shop to have it resized.
While it has been an emotionally (and financially) frustrating visit thus far- we still like this town and enjoy the conveniences of the weather, goods, services, location and scenery. Now we are going to grasp some of the local cultural events-, as there are many activities here for us to enjoy. December 12 is a major religious holiday (Dia de Virgen de Guadalupe) and there are farmers markets and live music events planned. We will grasp all we can, and hopefully leave La Paz with good memories!!