Baja Buena

This land holds great beauty

We have been in Mexico for over 24 hours and, amazingly, we not been caught in an intra-gang firefight, had our organs harvested while asleep or been forced to carry narcotics in any orifice. All in all, muy bueno.

Melissa and I wanted to get a real flavor for shopping in Mexico and by all accounts, there can be no more authentic shopping than at Walmart. We wanted to be able to say that we bought our produce at a small, open-air market, but after trying to order lunch at the local taco place we once again remembered we don’t speak Spanish. So armed only with the innocence of children and two small Spanish phrase books, we navigated the aisles with hundreds of shoppers looking for everyday low, low prices Baja Style; that is to say, pretty much like any town in the U.S. with the primary differences being a much better selection of Tequila and fresh corn tortillas. In addition to stocking the casita with food for the week, Melissa bought fixings to go with some fresh yellowfin tuna left in the fridge by the owner. Melissa will regale you with her recipe for fish tacos further down in the post.

After the hustle and bustle of the big city, we headed north to check out the beaches.  The caretaker of the casita recommended a beach and provided some directions which bore little resemblance to the place we actually visited. With Melissa at the wheel, we were bombing down dirt paths rutted to the axles. At this point, I should mention that Melissa and I have divergent opinions about what is prudent when driving a rented Nissan in a foreign country down an anonymous gully. Melissa thinks this is quite the high adventure, and calls me a girl’s blouse for suggesting that maybe this isn’t such a great idea. I like to point out that if we get stuck, narco gangs will find us, harvest our organs and make us carry drugs in our orifices. I also point out that if we get stuck, I’ll be the one pushing. Still, she is in the driver’s seat which makes her impossible to reason with, so down the arroyo we go.

Guys like this took a keen interest in our trip to the beach.

My temerity was for naught however as Melissa expertly slalomed through sand and dust. The beach was quite beautiful but the water was only just warm. Melissa gamely snorkeled in about 3 feet of water, looking for something interesting.

Jacqueline Cousteau

After our beach excursion, we drove further north just enjoying the beauty of the countryside. Melissa got a little taste of her own medicine with me behind the wheel. Let’s just say that Mexico has a different idea about how wide roads should be, how far from the edge of the cliff, and how many potholes should be in the middle of the highway.

On the highway there was plenty of traffic, mostly in the form of large pick up trucks packed with household goods and small cars with large loads tied to the roof. As this is a holiday week in Mexico, many families are heading for the beach to camp. Many, many families. Camping Mexican style involves large covered areas with plastic chairs, wall to wall tents on the beach, and entire bedroom sets carried in the back of pickup trucks.  This makes us all the more grateful that our casita is very private and has a hot tub ready for relaxing with a cold cervesa.

And now for the dinner: fresh yellow fin fish tacos!

Melissa’s Fish Tacos, Baja Style, sort of:

1 package fresh yellow fin, caught by home owner

a few limes, a little canola oil, some garlic powder, salt and pepper, and a splash of tequila mix. Mix it all together, poke the fish with a fork, and marinate the fish in that mixture.

Slice up an onion and a yellow or orange bell pepper and stir them into the marinade.

While the grill heats up, slice an avocado and a tomato and set them aside.

Get out the salsa, preferably really hot salsa.

Get out the fresh corn tortillas. (Not just any corn tortillas. Preferably these will be completely fresh; the kind you buy warm and then start eating while you are still in the parking lot of the store.)

Grill the fish until it’s just firm. While fish is grilling, stir fry the onion/pepper mix in a skillet, using the marinade.

Make a pitcher of margaritas, using twice as much tequila as the recipe calls for. Sit at the table overlooking the water. Build your tacos and say ‘MMMMMM’.


9 thoughts on “Baja Buena

  1. WAAAAAHHHHH! You ate the tortillas in the Walmart parking lot? HAHAHAHA….excellent. I’m glad you survived my sister in the drivers seat. She is bold. Who needs a road? The beach has beckoned. Besides, it has been proven, scientifically, that you only need one kidney. Today we are going to the zoo. Wearing layers. With rain gear. Viva La Spring Break.

    • We had to eat them. They were still warm, and we had not had breakfast. It was impossible to continue smelling them without eating them. Also, there WAS a road. It was just hard to see sometimes. Mike wanted to drive down the beach, but I said no. I know my limits!

  2. Sounds lilke you are having a great adventure.. I am now needing to go back to Cozumel where I will feel safe and not have to do anything but snorkel… This is what happens when old age takes over….

    • Well, I would like to be snorkeling more. The water here is really pretty chilly this time of year. I was hoping to get out to Isla Espiritu Santo, where I might actually see seahorses in the wild, but I don’t think we’ll get to do it. We’ll probably have to wait until we have our boat down here some day. Old age is exactly why I feel in such a hurry to do these things. But it’s very safe here. No worries at all.

  3. Melissa at the wheel – in a rented vehicle – driving down an arroyo – sounds scary to me. Mike, for heavens sake do not ever let her anywhere a tank. WOW! But it is those kind of mutual experiences remembered with real joy in later years. Muy bueno dias (or is it Diaz?)

  4. Sounds like a fabulous way to spend the day. And drive like the wind, I say. Although, I drove pretty carefully through the Arizona dessert on a gravel road as I was worried a big rock would take out a tire. BUT I was all alone. If I had a guy with me, I’d have gone a LOT faster. Because yes, he can push!!

  5. I have been known to construct a road to get where I’m wanting to go. But around here, as on many of the roads in Utah (probably much like Arizona, actually) if you let a little ‘rut’ in the road stop you, it will be hard to get anywhere cool. I could really use a 4 wheel drive when I’m on vacation. I’m just not on vacation enough to warrant driving around Tacoma in one. And yes, so true, Sandra. I’m much braver when I have a man with me, sorry to say. If Mike or Andrew is with me, I’m much more likely to be building roads. That beach was worth it, though.

  6. Fish Tacos sound great. How fun it is to be driving down unexplored roads. It’s the same feeling you’ll get when you are sailing in new waters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.