Catch a Wave, You’ll Be Sittin’….

…on Playa de Cerritos!

I talked earlier about the “Firefly Effect,” meeting a fellow traveler who seems to “light up” when you meet them, and if you stop and share a conversation, they usually have some wisdom to impart.  Such was the nature of the effect in Todos Santos.  The unfortunate lack of wifi in my room in Hotel Gulguarte had me sitting in the courtyard, plugged in next to the laundromat, when a 50-something “surfer dude” leans over the railing and shouts down from the second floor, “What does a guy need to do to get wifi around here?”  My response, “Come down to the laundry pit.  It’s the only place it works.”

Joe is a free spirited surfer from Kelowna, British Columbia, who spends summers washing windows in Kelowna, and winters surfing in Baja.  We talk for hours about everything from 9/11 conspiracies, to how he gets a date in “surf camp” by charming the ladies with his chicken stir-fry.  He is a fascinating person who has opted to live life to his own tune.

Playa Los Cerritos

Playa Los Cerritos

Mayan Village Resort Eco Cabanas

Mayan Village Resort Eco Cabanas

Joe plops down beside me, cross-legged, and we share passcodes, apps and maps.  I can’t help but blush as I stare at his legs.  He has the most beautiful legs of any man I have seen.  He rides his bike the 10 miles to the beach, then surfs all day.  I try to avert my eyes.  😉IMG_8276IMG_8269

Since I crossed the border into Baja, I have been looking for a place to swim.  It seems the water has either been too rough, too cold, or the winds too high.  The western side is known for its rip currents, undertows, and steep drop-offs, but Joe tells me how to get to a beach where I can swim.  “If you stick close to the headland,” he tells me, “you’ll be safe. I explain that I don’t have a car, but no problem, he says! The Aguila bus will drop me there!  “Tell the driver you want off at the Artisinal shop.  You’ll know it by the Real Estate sign that says ‘Se Vende.’  He’ll try to drop you off at the resort.” (making the money sign by rubbing his thumb and index finger together.)  “But don’t let ‘em.  Tell him you want off at the Se Vende sign.  Catch a ride to the beach.  If you are walking on that road more than 10 minutes, it’s cause you wanna be.   That’s the kind of community we are.”IMG_8265

Sombrero Man

Sombrero Man

After a stop at my favorite coffee shop, Caffe Todos Santos, for a latte and a muffin to go, I am on the 10:00am bus bound for the beach.  It’s a gorgeous day, so I want to be sure I get to stay awhile if it is as nice as Joe says.   The bus drops me along the highway as requested.  It’s still early enough to be cool, so I walk the 1 mile dusty road to the beach.

We, the "Great Unwashed" are not allowed to visit this monstrosity.

We, the “Great Unwashed” are not allowed to visit this monstrosity.

At first glimpse, the surf looks rough.  The waves are curling and crashing, and I see only surfers, not swimmers.  But just as Joe said, I continue on down to the headland to park my chair, where I see other swimmers out in the water.  I suspect the water temperature will be too cold, but while it is bracing at first, once past the initial shock, it is perfect.

Again, my trusty REI backpacking chair proves worthy of its weight.

Again, my trusty REI backpacking chair proves worthy of its weight.

mmmm.....did somebody say "massage?"

mmmm…..did somebody say “massage?”

I sit in my chair for most of the day, listening to this “community” lingo. Just as Joe says, there is a camaraderie among the surfers that I envy, as they congratulate each other and talk surf strategy.  Their conversation  reminds me of the lyrics from the Beach Boys, “…paddle out, turn around and raise, and baby that’s all there is to the coastline craze. You gotta catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world!”

I later learn Playa de Cerritos is a “point break,” where the land juts out, causing the wave to fall over on itself in the perfect curl, which makes it so popular among the surfing community. I think back my teen years, my “Endless Summer” blacklight poster worshiped on the wall behind my candle-lined turntable like an altar, and remember how I was such a “surfer wannabe.”  My parents even rented me a board at South Padre once, but I never got the balance thing down.  Still, I feel the effects in my stomach as I watch them dip, flip, and ride that quintessential curl all the way in to the beach.  Pumped with adrenalin, they run back up to the headland, paddle out, and do it all over again.

There is a trail that goes around the headlands...

There is a trail that goes around the headlands…

The waves are thunderous.

The waves are thunderous.

All beaches in Mexico are public, so vendors are present but not persistent.  Soon “Sophia” strolls by asking if I am interested in “massaje.”  On the beach.  Twenty bucks for one hour.  SOLD!    I move my things up to the massage table shaded by an umbrella, drop the straps on my swimsuit, and let Sophia work her magic on my shoulders and back, achy from the beasts of burden.  I can’t believe an hour goes by so quickly, laying there listening to the roar of the surf and a little light jazz, interrupted only by the occasional whirr of the blender coming from the nearby beach café.

The headlands trail ends here!  No way to cross.

The headlands trail ends here! No way to cross.

Looking back over Playa Los Cerritos from the headland trail.

Looking back over Playa Los Cerritos from the headland trail.

Lunch at the beach cafe'.  US prices, but still not a bad deal for under $8 US, as the guacamole was a full meal.

Lunch at the beach cafe’. US prices, but still not a bad deal for under $8 US, as the guacamole was a full meal.

The sun is sinking low, which tells me it’s time to make my way back out to the highway to wait for the 4:40pm bus back to town.  As I turn up the dusty road now hot from the western sun, I see Joe coming on his bicycle.  He stops, “Hey!  I know you!  Are you walking cause you wanna be?”  I tell him not really, as I am too relaxed from the massage.   “But no one has stopped to offer me a ride.  I guess I don’t exactly have ‘the surfer look!”   He sees a car coming up the road, and he raises his hand.  The car stops.  It’s a Mexican family with two small kids in the back, so I feel safe.  Joe rattles off a paragraph of Spanish, the only word I know being “Pescadero,” the nearby town with a bus stop.   I hop in, he waves me off, and away he goes…like a firefly.  😉

“Just get away from the shady turf
And baby go catch some rays on the sunny surf
And when you catch a wave you’ll be sittin’
On top of the world”
~The Beach Boys

Here’s tonight’s lodging:

Since I could not get wifi in my room in Hotel Gulguarte and the “bed” (four inches of memory foam on an concrete slab) was killing my back, I ‘traded up” to the Maria Bonita for my remaining two nights in Todos Santos.

Maria Bonita Hotel, 500 Pesos, or about $27 USD.

Maria Bonita Hotel, 500 Pesos, or about $27 USD.

No bathroom photo, as it was so small, I couldn’t get back far enough to get anything but the shower door!

19 thoughts on “Catch a Wave, You’ll Be Sittin’….

    • DOUBLE dividends! On the beach, and again in my REI year end kick back. 😉 Thanks again, John, for one of many wonderful tips!

  1. The ocean is so beautiful. The sound of those waves crashing is music to my ears. How nice to meet a firefly:) I’m sure there was lively conversation with Joe:)

    We’re meeting Gaelyn and Bill Friday for a Jeep trip to White Pocket. I am really looking forward to meeting her. So glad I found her blog through you:)

    • Oh, you are KILLING ME! I would get on a plane to do that White Pocket drive! I wanted to do that so badly when there, but just didn’t think the little Tracker could make it. I can’t wait to read about it! Better have some conversation topics in mind, as that Gaelyn, she’s a quiet one. 😉

    • Thank you, Carole! It was a dream day for me too! So much so that I went back and did the same thing all over again the next day!

  2. Your photos are just so magnificent. Was saying to Hubs this morning that there are so many really nice pictures being taken by our friends these days that they all run together. But yours are always such standouts! How DO you do that, Girl?

    Tell us more about that wondrous chair. Looks perfect for inclusion in small vehicles.

    Virtual hugs,


    • Thanks for your lovely compliment, Judie. So nice of you to say that. I just try to send a little love thru the lens. Glad you feel it, and thanks for sending it back. 😉

      Here is the chair. It folds up small enough to fit in a book bag:

      But there is a story behind it…maybe if John is still reading, he can chime in. But apparently, REI had copied a design of another company. They sued, and REI had to change their design. If you notice, the bar beneath the seat now runs front to back, whereas mine runs side to side. According to John, the front to back can cause a little discomfort it you sit down too hard in the chair. 😉 Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the original maker…John, are you there?

  3. Nice to know I’m not the only one who looks at legs, Bill’s in particular. I’ll take that cabana on the beach for a week, or so, and a daily massage. Love how you’re livin’ in up.

    I’ll try not to talk Pam’s ear off. 😉

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