Friday, December 7, 2012

Gripe Session

Shortly after entering Baja California Sur (BCS), I was attacked with an awkward case of upset stomach and dysentery. Definitely not the most pleasant thing in the world, but if I managed to sit still, most of the time it didn’t bother me. So, on the morning we woke at the Rice & Beans Restaurant and Hotel, we decided to move on instead of exploring the mission there. I figured I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it much, so we would catch it on our way back.

As I still wasn’t feeling well by the time we came to Santa Rosalía that day, we bypassed our adventures in that town as well. That is actually a big deal as Santa Rosalía is a French-based town with several items that I wanted to check including a church designed by A.G. Eiffel (yes, designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris) and a French-style bakery. For me to give up delicious baked goods is a serious thing. We ended up all the way at Bahía Concepción (Conception Bay) that afternoon. Still feeling pained, I didn’t do much anything that day at all. Between treks to the toilet, I did manage to pay the establishment (Buenaventura Resort) for the use of the beach. It was quite the shame to be feeling bad there, as water looked fabulous, and I would have loved to put in the kayak to explore. In the late afternoon, Jonathan offered to drive me to the nearest pharmacy to get whatever we could for me. I would have asked him to do it for me, but as I would have to go to, I didn’t take him up on the offer. The thought of braving the highway at night on top of trying to find a pharmacy in that busy little town (Mulegé) nearby, and the effort of trying to obtain the appropriate medicine (not know what it should be in the first place) in Spanish did not appeal to me. I figured if I wasn’t better by the morning, I would brave it then.

Bahia Concepcion
Our spot along the beach at Bahía Concepción.

Next morning, I was feeling much better, with only a random upper muscle spasm, almost like I had worked out my abs too much the day before. It was pretty windy here, so we decided to move on again. As we drove, we observed that it was bit moister here with more vegetation. Little did I expect that meant more insects. That night we stayed near Puerto Escondido at Playa el Quemado, or Rattlesnake Beach as the English-speakers call it. I had thought about putting out the kayak here as well, but the water wasn’t very conducive, and we didn’t have direct access to the beach, as all the winterers claimed the spots with beach access. To top it off, there were a ton of insects. I even spotted a mosquito in broad daylight when I first got out of the van. Not a good sign. Even bug spray couldn’t keep them at bay. Definitely not a desirable place to stay.

Needless to say, the next morning, we cut out to our next location. We ended up at Campestre La Pila Balneario and Trailer Park. This was (an attempt at) a nice little resort with a pool and cold showers. You could tell that in the busy season, they had bands and bars in service as well. But the pool wasn’t filtered and housed water bugs and toilets were occupied by bugs and mosquitos. At least it was pretty to look at.

Now, it was either at Rattlesnake Beach or at La Pila, but Jonathan and I both seemed to pick up some chigger bites or something. Jonathan’s are concentrated at his feet, but mine cover most of my body. At most of my joints (shoulders, elbows, wrists, knuckle, knee, ankle) and other parts of my body have at least one bite. And, these delinquents sting. I mean, I hate mosquito bites or anything that makes me itch, but I put calamine lotion on them and the itching normally stops and the bump goes away in a day or two. These guys are vicious. Calamine lotion and even my Lanacaine spray with Benzocaine for pain relief doesn’t help relieve the burning and itching feeling. Ironically, I found that my antifungal spray did help relieve the burning sensation a bit. And, since Jonathan is mostly able to not have any issues, of course, it can be deduced that besides my skin being a bit more sensitive and dermographic than his, this insatiable desire to itch and the ensuing pain is all in my head. I did find that if I had something with which to engross my mind, I could bear the pain a bit more, so when we weren’t traveling and listening to our latest audiobook (Shadowmagic 2 by John Lenahan), I was reading a book. However, sometimes forcing myself to read past the pain didn’t work. so Thursday night, Jonathan and I watched The Fellowship of the Ring, more than 2 hours of pain-numbing goodness. Unfortunately none of this helps at night, so my sleep has been haphazard. Friday, these bites are a bit less painful, finally. Hopefully they will continue to heal and disappear. They have long worn out their “welcome.”

Just a sampling of the bites that I obtained. I marked them with an “X” to verify that they weren’t multiplying.

Between my welcome gift of sickness followed by a tango with insects resulting in bites, I am not a fan of the north part of Baja California Sur. Perhaps the southern part will be more enticing, we will see.

Just to get out all my complaints at once, so you don’t have to hear too much about them later, I will go ahead and get out my last gripe. I have been enjoying travelling around Mexico, but I am getting very bored with our meals. Normally, our meals are a selection of rice, pasta, and soups, with an occasional salad or quesadilla, and normally a vegetable thrown in. Since our American-bought stores ran out, it has mostly been rice and pasta. Apparently Mexicans either don’t believe in soup (I think they do, though, since both restaurants we ate at provided it complimentary with the meal) or they believe in making them from scratch. This is really inconvenient as not even Wal-Marts here carry any good soups. They only care cream of corn and tomato soup. How lame is that? Along those lines, they don’t seem to carry any good-looking specimens of one of my favorite vegetables: broccoli (it just goes so well with most of what we eat). Actually, most fruits and vegetables just don’t look very good here unless you are at a port, even then they can be sketch. Obviously, I am getting bored with the lack of variety and vegetables. I guess I have a few options, none of which are very easy:
  • I could start learning how to cook with common Mexican foodstuffs that would do well in the van
    • I am not sure which foods those are
    • I would need to do some internet research
  • I could start eating out more
    • I am slightly hesitant as the last time I did this corresponded with awkward intestinal business
    • Costs more money
    • Not always easy to find something to our liking
  • I could huff it back to the states
    • it is a long distance
    • Not quite ready to leave

Well, that ends the recount of my grievances for now. I’ll let you know if anymore significant ones come up. ;) Here is a pretty picture as a reward for putting up with my tirade.


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