Bobcats, Waterfalls, and Bike Rides: La Paz Weeks 7 and 8

Apologies for the delay in updates, I really did not expect that graduate school would dominate my life. However, we’ve done some really exciting things in the past two weeks and I’m excited to share! So, buckle in.

Week 7 started off with a dive near Punta Arena BCS, at a beach with water so clear that you could see your reflection. My dive instructor took me out to practice my navigation skills and explore a rock wall that is adjacent to an abandoned resort. I saw Moray eels, Tang, and nudibranchs among other invertebrates. I’ve officially decided that nudibranchs are now my favorite animal, especially after seeing so many colorful variations of them down here in La Paz.

One of the many beaches in La Paz

The rest of week 7 faded into week 8, and I was drowning in work. I swear that somehow zoom school is more work than clases presenciales. Someone finally took my bike to the shop in Monterey, CA, and it is currently being outfitted for a cycle tour this summer. More details on that to come.

At the start of week 8, we did a little reflecting and realized that we hadn’t yet ventured to the Sierra mountain range even though it’s only two hours away. We decided to go to La Cascada Sol del Mayo, a waterfall located in an oasis in the Sierra mountains. On our way, we found a rustic little restaurant and rural tourism center called El Meson de Carlota.

We give the food a 10-10 rating. I tried Manta Ray for the first time. It was a bit too fishy for me, but apparently they have the best, hand-caught ray in the peninsula. If you’re interested, they have a back patio with an open bar where you can dance and drink under the desert stars.

El Meson de Carlota

We got lost in the little town of Santiago on our way to the waterfall. We were nervous about taking the Prius down bumpy dirt roads to get to the mountains, but she took it like a champ. Fortuntately we made it to basecamp with no issue, paid the entrance fee, and hiked down to the waterfall. It was worth the hike.

La Cascada Sol Del Mayo
Waterfall swimming

We even ran into someone who was releasing Bobcats that he had trapped on his farm:

Bobcat going back to the mountains
Oasis in Santiago

To finish out week 8, we took a day to cycle from La Paz BCS to Playa Balandra. The large highway shoulder makes it an easy route to cycle, and the road wraps around the bay before taking you into the desert valley. My favorite part of the trip was stopping at all of the roadside celebrations of patron saints.

60 km cycle through the desert

The park guards even let us into Playa Balandra even though they normally stop letting people in after 6 a.m. People are always friendlier when you’re traveling by bike.

Playa Balandra, La Paz, BCS

The Gringo Gazette: La Paz Weeks 5 & 6

“I stood in the water, toes in, looking out at the beautiful expanse of the world… and all I thought about was… Matthew McConaughey.”

Gigi Vujovich

Waking up to a Cabo sunrise on Valentine’s Day, after watching a sunset over the harbor the night before:

Sunset over Cabo
Sunset over La Paz

The way the colors diffuse through the sky like paper soaking up orange, pink, and blue watercolor will forever baffle me.

We decided to spend even MORE time in Cabo than planned. That gave us time to try some local cuisine, and drop our friends off at the airport. I opened a present wrapped in the local newspaper for foreigners: “The Gringo Gazette”. If only I had thought of that title for this blog.

View of Cabo from a mountain

As we drove away, leaving the airport in our rearview, Ben and I sat in the silence that our friends left behind. It was the first time that it was “just the two of us”.

These past two weeks were spent…working. (And watching beautiful sunsets with a few new characters from La Paz). We had Little Caesar’s Pizza three nights in a row. I went to La Ventana with a local friend- we watched the kiters and sat in the hot springs. Another friend showed me the best ice cream shop (next to the Chedraui in la colonia La Posada) and I found the best flavor in the world: pay de limon. All in all, it wasn’t a very eventful week.

I spent the week reflecting on what I want from life. I’m torn between creating a more permanent life in Latin America and settling in the USA. (TLDR; I’m pretty decided that I want to call Mexico home… I just don’t know how to find a professional job here.)

I started a certificate program with the Inland Ocean Coalition, an NGO gets landlocked states involved in ocean advocacy. A guest speaker told us about his book “Blue Mind” and explained how scientists should emotionally appeal to public audiences if they want to capture their attention on a hot topic such as climate change.

Ben and I went to a new beach. Everything is open now; pretty much all COVID restrictions lifted (even though the vaccine hasn’t arrived here yet?). I explored some tide pools, went for a dip in the cold Pacific, and found a new boardwalk.

I invested some time in a few long bike rides through the city, and met a cycle touring group that is headed from Mexico to the most southern tip of Argentina. They reminded me of the cycle tour I have pending for this June, and how little I’ve prepared for it.

Oh…and I turned 25. It was quite a calm end to a very shitty year. My very lovely, kitesurfing/Texafornian friend took me to Punta Arenas to go camping on the beach to celebrate. We basked under the full moon, ate Trix cereal, and listened to the loud BOOM of Mobula Rays flop in and out of the water. My Big Agnes sleeping bag worked like a charm during that cold desert night.

Camping near La Ventana