Monday, September 29, 2008

Drunks and devastation

One immediate conclusion after travelling two days in the mountains is that even these areas are infested by zillions of insects also.
Including the so much feared “noseeums”.

Last night, somewhere between La Purisima and Loreto, as soon as it was dark and the light put on, they all came.


Within a short time there was a similar situation as had been fled at the lagoon “Estero del Tomate”.
The ceiling of the Fuso Szulc black of millions of “noseeums”.
And worse, there were vicious mosquitoes as well.
Attacking and biting where they could.
Making the body a moon landscape of bites.

Inside the Fuso Szulc meanwhile, the temperature was 32º C (90º F).
And no wind.
Horrible circumstances.
What to do?
Where to go?

Earlier that day a Mexican family was met that lived on a rancho in the mountains.
They complained as well about the insects.
Their way of dealing with it was to hide, as soon as it was dark, in their beds that are surrounded by a boxlike cover of sheets.

This idea was used last night.
The whole body covered by a large sheet and the small ventilator blowing fresh air on the head to have some air.
But this was far from a comfortable situation as the temperature was still above 30º C (86ºF).
Sweating like in a sauna.
Itching all over the body.
Feeling miserable and helpless.

These are therefore not very happy days.
One conclusion is that “Estero del Tomate” was left hoping to find a better place in the mountains.
Cooler and with not as many insects.
But the insects are everywhere and even at altitudes of over 900 meters (3000 feet) it is even warmer compared to a location next to the ocean.
Another conclusion is that next summer the advice of most fervent and loyal blog reader Bob will be followed to go to Parque Nacional San Pedro Martir.
This is in the very north of Baja California, east of Ensenada and at very high altitude.
Now it is too late in the year to travel to that place.
Where it snows in winter…

A third conclusion is that to find a location in the mountains to stay for a while is hardly possible.
Either a place is found in a valley with a river to have water.
But these locations rarely are found in Baja California and where a valley and a river happen to be, usually people live.
Besides, in a valley means to be locked in between mountains.
No view, no sky.
Or a place is found high up in the mountains.
Like on top of the world.
This is hard to find as well because there are no roads going to a platform like space from where to enjoy a magisterial view.
Besides the fact that there will be no water there needed for the daily shower.

The other revealing experience was the visit yesterday and day before to the villages of San Jose de Comondu and San Miguel de Comondu.
Only 3 kilometers between them, high in the mountains.
In a large valley with water, palm trees, fruit trees and cattle.

San Jose de Comondu has been a Spanish colonial settlement in the 1700 and 1800’s.
Somehow these Spanish managed to have a successful existence.
Maybe by exploiting the local population, but they built an irrigation system, made fields and had prosperity.
That prosperity has vanished.
A village like San Jose de Comondu today is a demonstration of disinterest.
Of a lack of focus on making things beautiful.
One reason for this is alcohol.
Numerous the men in the village that were met who were drunk.
At one point a man was near the Fuso Szulc, at 8.30 am, beer can in the hand, rather drunk.
A young boy approached on a bike and the two of them had a long chat.
Remarkable situation.
The boy obviously is used to adult men being drunk.
For the boy this is nothing to be surprised about: it is completely integrated in the Mexican social fabric.
Hence, it can be predicted that when the boy is older, he probably will use alcohol excessively as well.

When the man finished another beer, he threw the can away.
While at 50 meters (160 feet) an old oil drum was available for garbage.
But drinking too much beer results in getting the feeling it all doesn’t matter that much anymore.
Who cares?

And that is what is often seen in Mexico.
Villages and towns that have a rather run down look.
Including La Purisima.
Who cares?
Let’s have another beer.

In the next village, San Miguel de Comondu, was a big fiesta and of course it was a consideration to witness and possibly participate in the festivities.
But it was easy to see that many men and also women were drunk or at least tipsy.
And this was at 10.00 am
For a permanent pilgrim this is not a good situation.
When people are under the influence of alcohol they become unrestraint and unpredictable.
When a drunk in his village notices a stranger, he possibly chooses the visitor as the target to release frustration and aggression.
Like many women know suffering when the husband comes home drunk.
And the police as well who were present in San Miguel de Comondu sporting large rifles.

Driving out of San Miguel de Comondu, the road was rained by empty beer cans of the Mexicans who had come by car to celebrate.

Another thing came up in the conversation with the Mexican family living on a rancho somewhere between La Purisima and Loreto.
One of the women, out of the blue, suddenly asked if she could come along in the Fuso Szulc.
And she gave immediately the reason for her request.
Her husband loved beer too much.
It was a surprising remark of the woman because the conversation had not been about that subject at all.
They didn’t even know of the recent experiences in San Miguel de Comondu.

Insects and drunks.
It looks the final conclusion of the current escapade is to return to “Estero del Tomate”.
There are insects bothering.
Like everywhere this time of year.
But at least there are no drunks.

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To learn more about the
Parque Nacional San Pedro Martir, click on:

http://www.bajaquest.com/sidetrips/sidetrip06.pdf




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4 comments:

Rojo said...

You and George appear to have very different experiences in Mexico

Rojo

Anonymous said...

isn't it important to lead a comfortable life? particularly when life is so short.

why don't you find a decent place and be there? its a big world and there are many nice places.

what's the point of being bitten by insects all the time? while technology is about progress, NOT beong bitten by insects is also about progress!!

rajendar menen from bombay, india, at rajenmenen@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Go north of Guerro Negro. There is the Laguna Manuela with a white sand beach and 8 miles further north El Tomatal with the bay of Santa Esmeralda. Very nice. And you know it will be cool. In the evenings you will have to wear a sweater. And all of that because of the cooler water currents that flow nort of Guerro Negro. You are only a days drive away from the biggest air conditioner in the world....
Andreas

Anonymous said...

I find your adventure very interesting, Sorry to hear about the bugs being everywhere, Something good will come from it,,it always does, Robert