1 April - 31 May 2017 Los Barriles, Baja, Mexico

Saturday 1st April

La Paz – Los Barriles

After a visit to Walmart to stock up, we headed out of town to the south for our journey through the mountains to Los Barriles.

Stopped off in the mountain fruit growing town of San Bartolo to buy mango empanadas.

Our new campsite, Baja Sunrise is located just south of Los Barriles. Jorge the park owner was there to greet us. We have a nice spot right by the beach and soon set up camp. The park was quiet, just three other RV’s. We met Aubrey and Bev from Canada. They have been here at the RV park for a little while.

We will be staying or a couple of months and intend catching up on the blog and carrying out some repairs and maintenance on the RV. Also, being away from home for over two years we need to catch on some overdue medical, dental and optician visits.

Sunday 2nd April

Monday 3rd April

Happy Birthday Tony

A birthday message:

I guess Los Barriles is my favourite place. This afternoon we will be going to my favourite bar for a couple of happy hour beers - Smokey's Then to my favourite on the beach restaurant – El Gecko I will have my favourite meal – fried whole red snapper Have a bottle of my favourite wine. Be accompanied by my favourite wife. It will probably be my favourite (65th) birthday. Cheers!

Sandy helping with the present unwrapping.

Tuesday 4th April

Tony paid a visit to East Cape Medical and Dental Centre in Los Barriles today to get some medical checks done that he would normally have at the GP surgery at home.

The Centre is a nonprofit organization that provides medical and dental services to the community, including free care to all local children. They also provide health screening and educational workshops. Monetary support for the centre and the free health care work they carry out comes from donations and payments received for medical and dental services.

Friday 7th April

Saturday 8th April

Sunday 9th April

White seeded loaf. We are enjoying our home baked bread.

Tuesday 11th April

Palapa Bar at Hotel Playa del Sol

Monday 10th April

Trip to Costco in Cabo San Lucas where there is an optician service for my long overdue eye test. I was advised this was a good place to go and I can believe it. I tried to get in here before I left Los Barriles in March but the waiting list was so long, it was worth the wait, the optician, Alejsandra was excellent, very professional and attentive.

Wednesday 12th April

Thursday 13th April

Easter week started with the Semana Santa Los Barriles Rotary Club Sports Festival Dinner at El Gecko Beach Club. A well-attended event to raise money to support sports in the area for local students. The Rotary Club supports many projects in Los Barriles and several small towns in the East Cape. Last year they rebuilt or repaired albergues. These are dormitories where children live while attending schools too far from their homes to commute daily. Rotarians came down from the US to help and work alongside the families that live here. Another project is providing clean water to many of the small pueblos and ranchos that are unable to access or afford clean water. Filters systems are supplied at no cost to the residents.

Friday 14th April

The beach is very busy in front of our RV Park with locals who have arrived to camp on the beach for the Easter weekend. Lots of music and singing, some of it going on all night but a good time was had by all.

The campsite has also got busier. Howard and Emily came over for early evening drinks. They are here camping for a few days and live at Lake Chapala - Mexico’s largest fresh water lake.

Sunday 16th April

Mobula Ray jumping just off shore.

Monday 17th April

Went to Healing Winds Holistic Centre in Los Barriles for yoga class

Easter weekend rush has finished. We have the place to ourselves.

Tuesday 18th April

Visit to East Cape Dental Practice for a long overdue clean and polish.

Wed 19th April

Visit to East Cape Medical Centre to have a suspicious looking mole removed from my back. Very quick procedure done under local anesthetic. No waiting lists here, saw the doctor on Monday and had the procedure today.

Thursday 20th April

Bocce Ball Tournament at East Cape RV Park in Los Barriles. This is a fundraising event run by East Cape Guild. The guild is a non-profit organization working to provide scholarships for local students to attend high school. Once children have completed education up to the equivalent of the US 9th grade, about 15 years of age, costs for any further schooling becomes the responsibility of the family.

Everyone paid a $20 US fee to take part and for that dinner was included. We were split into teams of four, in my team was Jim, Mitch and Ted. It was a hot afternoon and although we didn’t make the finals our scores were respectable. It was good fun, we met a lot of new people and had a very sociable afternoon.

Friday 21st April

Lunch time at La Concha, a small Palapa restaurant just across the road from our campsite. The best ceviche and fish tacos we have ever had. Fresh and delicious.

Monday 24th April

Wednesday 26th April

Visit to East Cape Medical Centre to have stitches removed and lab results. All was well with the mole, nothing nasty.

Monday 1st May

At El Gecko Restaurant. Sat next to a table of three ladies who had arrived in a grand looking classic jeep.

Wednesday 3rd May

Aubrey and Bev invited us over to their RV, together with Rebecca and Scott our neighbours, for early evening drinks. Rebecca and Scott are from Washington and have been travelling with the support teams for the recent Baja 1000 road race. They have two lovely dogs, Maggie the black Labrador and Dakota the Rottweiler and Akita mix.

Thursday 4th May

Tony found ascorpion and large spider under the RV. Our understanding is that the scorpions in Baja are not deadly but could certainly give a cocker spaniel a painful sting.

Sidewalk Fundraiser at Caleb’s Café in town. The Sidewalk Safety Project as the name suggests, exists to improve the sidewalks in town which can be treacherous. It is very easy to slip and fall on the uneven and often sandy slopes of the sidewalks. Therefore, as they do here, the community has taken action.

Friday 5th May

Cinco de Mayo is the date of a famous victory by Mexican troops over an invading French force which took place in 1862. Greens Restaurant in Los Barriles marked the occasion by putting on a pig roast and some live entertainment. At our table for seven was Aubrey and Bev, Rebecca and Scott and Hope a friend of Aubrey and Bev.

Sunday 7th May

It was an unexpectedly stormy night with a strong wind coming off the mountains. At sunrise, we expected the wind to drop but it continued and unfortunately caused the RV awning to rip. Yet another repair to add to our list.

Monday 8th May

Out for dinner at El Gecko with Rebecca and Scott. On the way down the sand road to the restaurant we noticed that Rebecca and Scott’s vehicle was no longer behind us. They had seen a couple of goats with their heads stuck in a wire fence that surrounded a garden and had stopped to release them. The goats had been eating the scrubs on the other side of the fence.

Tuesday 9th May

Another windy night and day. Our shade canopy has taken a pounding and has several broken or bent struts. It is not supposed to be this windy in May,however, like we have heard in so many places we have visited over the years, ‘the weather is unusual for the time of year’.

Wednesday 10th May

Scott has flown up to Las Vegas for a couple of days to a convention. Rebecca came over for dinner. The wind continues to blast us. I went up onto the roof of RV to weight down the satellite dish with sand bags.

Thursday 11th May

Paid a visit to East Cape Medical Centre today. Tony had just gotten over an attack of gout in his feet when he experienced a sharp pain in his left shoulder. It seems that he has frozen shoulder! His left arm is now strapped up and immobilized and he has painkillers, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant tablets. It looks like he will be grounded for a while.

Sandy, Maggie and Dakota love the beach and swimming in the water. There is a lot of competition between Sandy and Dakota for possession of the ball.

Rebecca and Maggie

Rebecca treated us to a meal at Smokey's bar.

Friday 12th May

I went into Los Barriles to play Pickeleball this morning.

The wind has died down and the sea is much calmer. The dogs enjoyed a swim in the sea and then Rebecca and I went for a dip in the lovely turquoise water.

Scott arrived back in the afternoon and we all sat out on the beach at the water’s edge and enjoyed the early evening sun.

For dinner we went to Tio Pablos in Los Barriles. It was fish and fries night.

Saturday 13th May

Scott, Rebecca, Maggie and Dakota left this morning. It was sad to see them go. Bev and Aubrey are in Cabo Pulmo housesitting for a further week, therefore we have the place to ourselves.

Pesto chicken a la Cerys Hill

Sunday 14th May

Our first homemade pizza, the breadmaker is proving to be a big success.

Monday 15th May

Sandy in a hole.

Tuesday 16th May

Met Bob and Susan when they came on site to have a look around. They are here visiting from Seattle, staying in a beach property just across the bay. At home they have a trailer and were considering bringing it down to Baja next year.

Arranged Mini Storage at a place at the back of town just off Mex 1. We have rented a small lock up unit to store items we do not want to transport during our summer trip north.

Wednesday 17th May

Bob and Susan called in to say hello this afternoon.

This is a beautiful harmonious time of evening when the light is soft and the colours are mellow. lilac, lavender, grey and sand all blending.

Thursday 18th May

In contrast to yesterday evening we had a fiery sunrise this morning

Saturday 20th May

Fishing boat coming right into shore to collect a bag of bait.

Aubrey and Bev arrived back at the RV Park after their two weeks house sitting in Cabo Pulmo. They said it was an amazing house, totally powered by solar. Took a ride down to Smokey’s bar for appies.

Sunday 21st May

No wind and a calm flat sea this morning. Aubrey and Bev out paddle boarding.

Tony and Sandy doing a bit of litter picking on the beach.

Monday 22nd May

Went out fishing with Aubrey in his boat this morning. We thought we saw fish jumping but it turned out to be mobula rays. These fascinating small manta rays fling themselves out of the water with such energy and it was good to get a close-up look.

The Sea of Cortez is one of the top deep sea fishing areas in the world and has been on our list of things to do in Baja from the beginning. However, we know nothing about fishing, don’t know what’s edible, what must be thrown back, how to take a hook out or how to set up a rod. Aubrey is an experienced fisherman and he very kindly offered to take us on our first trip.

This sea has such a rich and varied stock of fish of all sizes, including dorado, yellowfin tuna and marlin. Jacque Cousteau called it, 'the world's aquarium'.

Not far off the beach there is deep drop off, we registered over 600 feet on the Fish Finder, where grouper can usually be found, unfortunately, they were not biting today. We also tried for red snapper but no luck, Tony was very disappointed, he wanted fried red snapper for dinner. The sea chopped up on the way back and we all got a little wet a taste of the sea.

This house on the hill next to the RV has an interesting 50's retro look about it. Jorge said a friend of his fathers built it. It does not have piped water and sadly is slowly decaying,, it would be a great restoration project.

Sport fishing boats racing back towards Hotel Palmas de Cortez.

Dinner at El Gecko with Aubrey and Bev. Tony had fried red snapper and pretended he had caught it himself!

Tuesday 23rd May

La Pirata for dinner. I had imperial shrimp, large shrimp wrapped in cheese and bacon.

Met Jim and Corey there and had a nice evening chatting with them They are here on holiday from California where they and their family have a winery near Sacramento.

Wednesday 24th May

Took a walk down the beach early evening past Hotel Palmas de Cortez to the palapa bar at the Hotel del Sol.

Friday 26th May

Having a dip in the sea with the boogie board.

Saturday 27th May

Aubrey and Bev arriving back from a fishing trip.

Views of Los Barriles:

Baja Sunrise RV Park.

Our local gas station right opposite the RV Park on Mex 1.

Hotel Palmas De Cortez taken from Mex 1.

Los Barriles taken from Mex 1.

The water feature at the main entrance to town.

Plaza del Pueblo

Plaza Libertad

A common sight in Los Barriles, ATV's.

Greens Restaurant.

La Playa Restaurant.

Three Dog Corner.

Our favourite bar in town.

Sunday 28th May

Monday 29th May

The campsite Iguana ......

...... and this is where he lives.

Tuesday 30th May

A last dinner at Smokey’s bar before leaving LB.

Wednesday 31st May

Aubrey and Bev are housesitting for a couple in Los Barriles who have gone back to the US for three months. We went over to the house for dinner this evening. A nice house with a large garden with citrus, coconut and mango trees. Included with the house was Checkers the dog and Heidi the cat. We eat out on the first-floor terrace and it was a lovely last evening to finish our two months in LB. Aubrey and Bev are coming to England in September to housesit in Wellingborough for six weeks. We will meet up with them again in Los Barriles in November.