Something can be said for venturing with gusto head on into the unknown. Rambling down roads in which the turns are fresh and the straights allow eyes to wander out toward the landscape. The open expanses of the Baja Norte allowed for certain introspective transformations within the cockpit of the Land Cruiser to take place as we pushed through valleys of towering cactus saluting the surrounding jagged hills. Moving further from the border it became progressively easier to resist the inclination to overlay American methods and processes on our hospitable host culture. One early conversation centered around the cost and subsequent economic benefit of laying the infrastructure for running, drinkable water in households throughout the country and another on how difficult it is to find business establishments open in the evenings or on Sundays. We concluded that our observations could indeed be potential issues in the States but that they are by no means universally held social values. Conversations such as these are important early on and by having them open us to more meaningful participation in the local customs in which we will interact.
Highlights from the Northern portion of the Baja were sensory based for the most part. The verde enchiladas in Ensenada might have been some of the best I’ve had. I’m finding that young kids can’t take their eyes off of blond hair as in some areas is it rarely, if even, found in the population. Christmas was marked by the gift of delicious tamales from a gracious host and Christmas carols through a car stereo in the middle of a desert campground. Meaningful gifts were exchanged and whiskey poured in our coffee to celebrate Christmas morning. We continue to push on south!