Posts Tagged La Paz
Posted on November 21, 2014 by jason
There is a well-known boondocking beach at the end of the road east of La Paz – Playa Tecolote. There are a few grubby restaurants to choose from, but otherwise it’s just a few miles of open beach where you can camp anywhere you like.
I managed to get stuck, so it’s a good thing we were with friends willing to push a bus. For some reason, every time I’ve ever been stuck it only my right rear wheel that spins. The left one doesn’t move at all. In mud. On ice. In sand. Every time. If the left one would even budge, then maybe I wouldn’t have been stuck. For all I know, I’m driving a 1WD.
Bode decided he was going to swim from the restaurants to the camp site at the end of the beach. Little did he know we parked about a mile away. I’m proud of him – he did it – and collapsed at the bus and we didn’t see him the rest of the night.
Just before sunset, a Syncro pulled up to join us and further confirmed our ‘two buses attracts a third’ theory. Sort of.
Greg and Katie told us of their grand plan to drive to Chile in under 4 months. Probably possible, but not recommended.
The next day involved lots of chilling out on the beach. Greg and Katie were gone before we even got out of bed.
Posted on November 20, 2014 by jason
The Whale Shark. Rhincodon typus. Literally the biggest fish in the ocean.
This time of year, they’re enjoying the warm plankton-filled waters of the Bay of La Paz.
We were too.
You can spot them by looking for the giant sucking open mouth at the top of the water. Easy enough.
We came across several. Estimates ranged from 8 to 10 meters. A three-story building, give or take.
These things are so big that you can apparently go on a sightseeing tour to see them from an airplane.
Watching these guys feed isn’t scary at all – except maybe for the one lady in the next boat who actually got in the ocean, but refused to look underwater. Not sure about the logic on that one.
The only “oh, shit” moment came when we were drifting along watching one feed and another swam up behind us. When you turn to see the largest fish in the ocean silently gliding past you out of the corner of your eye… it get’s your attention.
Huge thanks to Sidonie for sharing her underwater shots!
Posted on November 19, 2014 by jason
If you read the comments, you may have noticed that we were contacted by some travelers a few weeks back about stopping in for a visit. Meet Vincent and Sidonie.
The crazy thing is that we’ve actually met their bus before – albeit with a different owner – way back in Colombia. Since then, the bus made it up to Montreal where it sat parked for 6 months. Then, these guys flew over from France to pick it up and drive it to Alaska. Now, they’re on their way to Argentina. It’s an Argentinean-made bus, so it just wants to go home, I guess.
Anyway, we know the deal. Karmic debt. We have a cozy casita with running water, actual beds, warm showers, a washing machine and a real kitchen. It makes all the difference in the world after living on the road for extended periods. They didn’t even mind the house scorpions. “We have those in France too.”
Anyway, really cool folks with a great travel attitude. They’ll go far.
We gave them the BodesWell Tour Agency special and showed them around. They got to release some baby turtles. We got French cooking. Win-win.
Of course, some bus work was mandatory. In all of Southern Baja, there’s really only one place to go: Geraldo VW in La Paz. Geraldo has a full shop, just about any part you would need and even speaks some English. VIP parking included.
Posted on September 21, 2014 by jason
We’re perpetually behind on the blog – three weeks to be exact. Let me skip ahead. So, we’re in Todos Santos having a great time and minding our own business… and get hit by a hurricane.
I was a wild ride, but our little casita (below) held up like a champ. Solid concrete with steel bar doors. Probably the safest place on the peninsula to ride out a Cat 4 hurricane.
After a few days in the dark, we decided to go for a ride to find some services. Todos Santos was turned upside down and shaken, but it will survive. Many locals lost everything, but people are out helping each other and starting the cleanup.
In La Paz, there was quite a bit of damage and a few stores were open using generators. A few gas stations open, but very long lines. Most were destroyed. Long lines for ice. Long lines for tortillas. But, generally civil.
La Paz provides power for Todos Santos and about 70% of the power lines were down over the 80 km stretch. Estimates are for no power or water for a month – but nobody really knows.
Cabo San Lucas was another story. Massive damage. Nothing open. Widespread looting. People pushing and pulling carts down the street with as much as they could carry. Trucks loaded high with brand new appliances from the local superstore. I actually saw a guy walking down the street with a complete skeleton (medical reproduction) he must have pulled out of a school. The police took the day off. We split too.
It’s going to be a while before things return to normal down here. We hit the road again north up to Constitucion and now Loreto so we don’t have to compete for resources (food, water, gas). We’re going to sit tight here for a bit an dfigure out what’s next.
Until then, we’ll go back to blog about the happier times and cover the past 3 excellent weeks in Todos Santos. Otherwise, we’re fine… just questioning our recent luck.
Posted on September 20, 2014 by jason
We just drove 550 km down Baja with a shattered windshield. The packing tape trick worked pretty well – we had to re-patch it a few times. We’re still cleaning up new glass shards that appear every day, but it’s no biggie.
We arrived at the shop in La Paz, and after a bit of discussion, they decided that they actually had the correct windshield in stock! Another client had ordered one, but hadn’t showed up to install it yet. So, it was ours if we wanted it.
There was some banging on the window frame to try to get it back into reasonable shape to accept the new glass – it ain’t perfect, but it will work.
Parabrisa nueva. Que linda.
Posted on September 19, 2014 by jason
The entire area on the Sea of Cortez (a.k.a. the “Gulf of California”in Mexico) south of Santa Rosalia is awesome. We could camp up and down the Bahía Concepción and the rest of the coast for quite a while. But, we’re on a mission to replace some glass and to get to Todos Santos. Through a friend of a friend, we’ve landed a little casita on the beach for the next 3 months, so that’s our destination.
We cruised through Mulege and stopped in Loreto for lunch – both are fair-sized towns with no auto glass shops. Ultimately, we settled to stop for the night in Ciudad Constitución. It’s a quiet middle-of-nowhere agricultural town that’s one of the bigger towns down here. Still, no glass shops. We called ahead to a shop in La Paz and they said they would have to order the new windshield and it would come from Tijuana. But, first we would have to go to the shop and put down a deposito.
Posted on June 12, 2011 by jason
Before we headed into the jungle, we were told that we needed to be flexible on returning. This is accurate advice. The morning we were schedule to fly back to La Paz, it was raining. Things shut down when it’s raining here.
The tiny Rurre airport has a grass taxi strip, so the rain and mud did not bode well for our departure. Once the rain finally let up, we headed to the airline office in town and waited around with the other 18 passengers who where hoping to get back to La Paz. Ahead of us was yet another planeload of people throwing a fit about their flight also being cancelled. People were actually freaking out.
It’s the jungle, people. Relax.
Long story short, the staff tried all sorts of stupid tricks to try to pacify everyone – including driving us to the airport for no good reason. This was a complete charade to clear to the office so they could deal with the next round of cancelled flights. We wouldn’t have minded a week delay if they just would have been honest with us (actually, not true, since we were running out of money. There are no ATMS in the jungle.)
Two days later, we made it back to La Paz. The highlight of the short flight is splitting two 6000 meter peaks right before landing in the city.
It didn’t take us long to be reminded that La Paz sucks. Some people think it’s a fine place. We could search for some silver lining, but we’re not going to bother. If you ask someone about La Paz, they will probably tell you about how they got ripped off or robbed (Angela fended off a purse-snatcher). It’s just not a great destination. There are lot’s of other places in the world to see. Moving on…
I was happy to find a shortcut out of town that’s not on any of our maps. It completely bypasses downtown from Mallesa and put us on the main highway south.
We continued to struggle getting gas – being charged double (again) for foreign plates and refusing to fill up our jerry can. These both seem to be legitimate regulations that are only occasionally enforced. This is the Bolivian government’s attempt to eliminate the gasoline black market – it’s a problem.
We drove south all day as random pieces of the bus broke off. Nothing major, but it was one of those days. Eventually, we found a hot springs (warm springs?) north of Oruro where we took a quick dip. We debated camping there, but decided to make the short trip to Oruro for a hot shower and warm bed.
Sometimes you need a day to adjust back to bus-living.
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