10/14/2013 – Back in La Paz

After 2 nights in Loreto and 2 more in Puerto Escondido (Tripui, actually), we hit the road for home.  But wait!  Almost forgot one of the most important things.  While we were in Loreto, several folks told us how important it was for us to stop at what they called the “Clam Shack” between Loreto and Puerto Escondido.  It’s actually Restaurante Vista del Mar (I think) and is located on a turnout right on the water’s edge.  Since it was around noon-ish when we left, we decided to make this a must-stop.  We weren’t disappointed.  The setting was out of a Corona commercial.

There was going to be a photo of our view out over the water inserted right here but WordPress is acting the fool and keeps telling me that my uploaded photo files contain no data and then gives me an error.  Tried restarting the computer, restarting Safari, rewriting the blog, all to no avail.  So, sorry.  It’s not like I didn’t try.

Lulu ordered the stuffed clams (almejas rellenas) and I ordered the clams with cheese (almejas gratinadas).  We figured we’d split everything so we each got to taste both dishes.  Lulu’s order came out as 8 fairly large chocolate clams individually wrapped in foil.  When she opened one up, it was a beautiful baked clam covered with cheese and ham and tomatoes and who even knows what else?  It was excellent.  My almejas gratinadas were not as fancy (but I got half again as many).  Baked clams on the halfshell with garlic and a piece of white cheese (probably panella).  Being plainer, they conveyed the taste of the clams better.  Again, excellent.  Really glad we made the stop and really sorry the photos aren’t uploading properly.

Anyway, we left Puerto Escondido (Tripui RV Park) at around 7:45 on Sunday morning.  We were getting mightily low on cash so opted to drive the 25 km back to Loreto to hit the ATM.  By the time we were actually on the road in the right direction it was pushing 9:00.

The first part of the drive was spectacularly beautiful.  We climbed a grade up to the top of the Los Gigantes mountains through desert that, because of the recent rains, looked more like jungle.  So green!  The road was windy and steep-ish so it was a fairly slow climb but that made it easier to enjoy the flora we were passing.  Once we got to the top and started the very easy grade down to Ciudad Insurgentes, the landscape took a turn for the worse.  The road was straighter, the flora was browner and sparser, and everything was just not nearly as pretty.  We hit the Pemex station just outside of Ciudad Insurgentes for gas and a bathroom break.  I don’t know if they are all like this or not but the bathrooms at that Pemex station were probably the cleanest public bathrooms we’ve ever seen in Mexico and possibly ever seen anywhere.  They were beautiful and, I say and, they had toilet paper, paper towels, and soap.  Unheard of.   I hope they’re all like that because we are plotting a huge Mexican road trip to start about this time next year and, since Pemex is the only game in Mexico when it comes to gas, we’ll get lots of opportunities to check out their facilities.

When we took the turn towards Ciudad Constitución, I found myself heading the wrong way down a one-way highway.  Everyone was very patient with me, slowing down, pulling over, waving me in the right direction, etc.  Fortunately a turn lane appeared before too long that allowed me to get on my own side of the road.

Ciudad Insurgentes is actually kind of off the main highway but there are a few businesses strung out along the road.  We decided to stop for breakfast and chose a little restaurant that was next a small hotel.  This restaurant is just the kind we always hope to find.  It was only a step or two above a street vendor: standard-issue plastic chairs, tables covered in oilcloth, a TV on the wall in the corner, someone’s little kids wandering through now and again and the kitchen crew working in an unlighted kitchen to keep the overhead down.  Lulu decided to order “avenas con platano” (oatmeal with a banana) and I chose, instead of my usual “huevos rancheros”, “huevos con chorizo”.  The nice lady poured us some coffee and disappeared into the kitchen.  After awhile I could smell the chorizo cooking.  No mistaking that odor.  Yum!  Soon she brought us our breakfast.  Lulu’s oatmeal looked more like oatmeal soup.  The oatmeal was drowned in milk, but instead of cooling it down, it actually heated it up since the milk had been heated up before adding to the oats.  There was some cinnamon sprinkled on top and a cinnamon stick floating in the bowl.  The cinnamon stick undoubtedly added great flavor but, from a purely visual point of view, maybe not the best choice.  I mean, here’s this bowl of light grey, slightly lumpy liquid with this mostly submerged brown log floating around.  However, Lulu declared it excellent!  My breakfast was eggs scrambled with chorizo, refried beans on the side and a stack of hot flour tortillas and a bowl of spicy salsa.  What more could a body ask for?  Pile some eggs on the tortilla, spoon some salsa over them, roll it up and chow down.  Take a forkful or two of refritos and repeat.  Four of these breakfast tacos later and it was all over.  Most satisfying.

The rest of the trip, through Ciudad Constitución and beyond, was a bit of a snooze.  Not literally, thank god, but definitely nothing to blog home about.  It’s frankly just a boring, flat piece of land.  We got stopped once by the Policía Federale at a roadblock.  Checked my license and registration, asked where we came from (Loreto) and where we were going (La Paz).  Were we on vacation (yes) and for how long (several months).  Then he handed my papers back and said, “It’s OK.  Bye.”  That was it.

We finally arrived in La Paz and drove through town, along the malecón, out to Costa Baja.  The boat was in perfect condition and wasn’t even as dirty as Lulu had feared it would be.  Took us absolutely no time to become reacclimatized after three months away.

It was hot and humid last night.  Today we met up with Rick and Jasne to pass along the rigging goodies I brought down for them.  While we were sorting it all out, it started to rain.  And I mean to tell ya, it rained!  I’m drawn to an image of a cow and a flat rock.  I mean it RAINED!  We waded through the streets that had rivers running down them, to have some lunch at Super Burro.  Lulu and I reacquainted ourselves with the king of Mexican street fare: the lowly taco.  We each had one carne asada, one al pastor, and one chorizo taco.   They were very generous with the meat and, with all the extra goodies to pile on, as well as the sliced cucumbers, roasted peppers, chips and salsa served along with, we were a couple of very happy munchers.  Super Burro is a sit-down restaurant, not a street stand.  It’s on a par with the place we stopped for breakfast in Ciudad Insurgentes.   But still the prices were only slightly higher than street stands.  Six tacos and two cans of club soda (agua mineral) came to $136 pesos, about 10 bucks.  Every time we eat at a place like this, where the prices are right and the food is so damn flavorful, we ask ourselves why we ever eat at fancier places where we are almost always disappointed.  Will we ever learn?  I certainly hope so.

The really hard rain finally let up but not before we were soaked to the skin.  It’s been raining on and off ever since.  This is the fallout from Tropical Storm Octave.  We’re glad we’re home because the road between Guerrero Negro and La Paz is known for being very susceptible to wash-outs during torrential rainfall and we certainly saw evidence of what the last big rainfall did to sections of the road on our way down here.

That’s about it.  We’re home and we’re happy to be here.

 

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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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8 Responses to 10/14/2013 – Back in La Paz

  1. Elli and Bill Bogden s/v Cada Dia Mas says:

    so happy you made it safely! can’t wait to get there, too. heard on the marina palmira site there might be two storms headed your way, so stay dry and safe. will look forward to hearing about what develops. miss you both

  2. MWhite:LittleCunningPlan says:

    Whenever I read your descriptions of the food, I realize I might need to buy clothing in a larger size to travel down there. On the other hand, I recently made some excellent coffee braised pulled pork here at home. Makes great soft tacos here at home!

    • sryoder says:

      Coffee-braised pulled pork, eh? Sounds intriguing. Care to share? Oh, and you don’t necessarily have to buy bigger clothes, just looser ones. I’m rediscovering the joys of the Hawaiian shirt. ‘Course I say I’m wearing it because it’s so darn hot and humid right now.

      Congrats on the new boat. Hope to see it anchored out in La Paz one of these days.

      • MWhite:LittleCunningPlan says:

        Certainly I will share! But you need a slow oven to do this right. Perhaps a crockpot would work.
        This is for a 4 pound pork shoulder, or pork roast

        Rub:
        1 tbs salt
        2 tsp pepper
        2 tbs espresso grounds or instant espresso granules
        1 tsp ground chile powder or pepper of your choice
        1/2 tsp ground cinnemon.

        Mix that together, dry your pork roast, and rub it good with the mixture. Cover and put in fridge overnight.

        Braising liquid
        1 large chopped onion
        6 cloves garlic
        2 tbs espresso powder dissolved in 1.5 cups warm water.
        1 stick cinnamon, I used 1/2 tsp ground
        1 .5 tsp ground chile powder
        1 tbs brown sugar

        Next day, brown the pork roast in very hot oil in a skillet or in a dutch oven. Meat might look almost blackened due to the espresso.
        Remove pork, reduce heat to medium, add a little oil and saute the onion. Add garlic and continue sauteing. slowly stir in espresso, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir in brown sugar and spices. Bring to simmer and add pork. Boil for about a minute, then put on lid and put in oven at 325 degrees. Let braise for at least 2.5 hours. Mine went for 3.5 and it was fabulous. Turn shoulder at least once.

        When done. let the meat rest on a plate for about 15 minutes, then pull with forks. You can crisp the meat in hot oil in a pan, but it’s really good just like this. Serve with taco fixings. Yum!

        Don’t see why you couldn’t use a crockpot on low for this so you don’t heat up your boat. But the low, slow cooking is paramount to the finished product.

      • sryoder says:

        Thanks Melissa. I think we’ll stash this in our when-back-in-Oregon file. No crockpot on the boat.

  3. al foster says:

    Glad you are home safe and sound. Unfortunately we are still in San Diego headed south and just received word that MX 1 is closed south of Loreto for repair, thanks to TS Octave. No idea how long it will be closed.

  4. Beverly says:

    Melissa: I AM in Oregon and I intend to try this recipe!! In my crockpot. Thanks for sharing it.
    Beverly (Steve’s sister)

  5. Joan/Raymond Yoder says:

    Melissa: I too, live in Oregon and have a crock pot so I printed off your recipe. Sounds very good. Thanks for sharing it. Joan (Steve’s Mom)

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