Monday, August 23, 2010

Loreto, Baja, Mexico

Baja 2010 #1
I had a good day in San Diego and recovered a bit from the constant travel. I felt like I entered Mexico when I stepped into the Greyhound bus station in San Diego - everything was in Spanish and there were very few gringos around. It was, per usual, very confused. There were no signs and no announcements. A bus showed up from a different bus line, with no sign on it, but everyone seemed to be getting on it. I went and showed my ticket to the driver. He hummed and hawed and finally said "ok", kept my ticket, and waved me on. It didn't inspire confidence! Just to double check I asked another attendant if the bus was going to Tijuana. He said yes. Actually, that was a mistake - never ask a yes/no question in this kind of situation. Instead, I should have asked where it was going. But it did go to Tijuana so it was ok.

It was the most low key border crossing I've had. No one looked at my passport, my luggage, or me. Everyone else got off the bus at the border, I think transferring to a bus to the Tijuana airport. I thought they got off to go through customs so I started to follow. The bus driver said "where are you going". I wasn't sure if he meant that as a question, or if he meant I should be staying on the bus. I said "uh, Tijuana?". Playing the straight man, he replied "we're in Tijuana". I said "terminal central" and he pointed back onto the bus. I sat on my own for a while and finally he got in and drove me to the bus terminal.

Being quite uncertain, I had allowed plenty of time, so I had almost three hours in the bus terminal. Thankfully it was clean and not too packed. I didn't see another gringo the whole time I was there. I guess not many tourists take the bus!

The bus was full, but reasonably comfortable, and air conditioned (too much, as usual). I managed to sleep most of the night. I woke up to a beautiful pink sunrise over the cactus, and the sounds of someone in the back of the bus retching violently and repeatedly, and not trying to be discreet about it. I had to sympathize - at one point I'd started to get motion sickness myself. I never get car sick, but on the windy, bumpy road, with the wallowing suspension, it was a little too much like being on a boat. And I do get sea sick. Luckily we stopped at a critical point and I got some fresh air and a Gravol and was ok after that.

18 hours later, getting off the air conditioned bus in Loreto was like stepping into an oven. It was something like 37 c (~ 100 f) and very humid. I walked the several kilometers to the hotel, starting the dripping sweat which seems to be the norm here.

[Shelley] My experience going through US customs was much different than Andrew's entering Mexico. Full body scan, thorough search of bags, the whole nine yards and more. I couldn't get to Los Angeles early enough to get to Loreto the same day so had a full afternoon and evening to kill. I took a trolley from the airport hotel strip to Manhattan Beach where there was a beach volleyball tournament going on. I had to laugh when I saw the truck on the beach with the LAPD logo on it, wondering how hard it would be to fill those special duty positions!

The next day I arrived at our bungalow in Loreto about 5 minutes after Andrew did. Pretty amazing considering I spent 2 days coming by air and he spent 6 days coming via bus and train.

Heat and humidity slammed us both as we got off our respective modes of transportation.

Sukasa Bungalows very nice. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

We did our first two dives today with Raphael at Dolphin Dive Center. This is our third time to Loreto but my first time diving here although Andrew has dived with Raphael on previous visits. On the way to Coronado Island (always a favorite due to the sea lions) we stopped to watch dolphins playing.

A fast current was fun on the first drift dive. . . zoom zoom! The sea lions were humorous zipping around us. Lots of other cool things to see too (check out the photos).

Second dive was even crazier than the first. Again strong current and Raphael did his best to keep us out of the "washing machine" but still a strenuous dive. Interesting radical changes from warm water to cold and back! Like switching the shower from hot to cold.

Weather perfect for being on the water but now dripping with sweat any time without a/c.


  1. Glad you are enjoying the diving in Loreto - Please say Hi to Raphael for me, he is a good friend of mine( if you dive again) Steve Ammann

  2. Great photos (as always)! Looks like a nice place. I love the dolphins! That is so amazing!

  3. Hi Steve, Raphael says to say hello.

  4. Thanks for the information..I was looking for it as I am also traveling soon over there with my family..