Doesn’t Santispac sound like it should be the name of a frozen food company? Wonder what it means.
It’s Tuesday of Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week between Palm Sunday (is that right?) and Easter. This is traditionally a time when Mexican families who can swing it pack up the kids, tents, water toys, BBQ grills, lawn chairs, etc. and head to the beach. Some spend the whole week at a single location. Others spend what time they have or might possibly change locations sometime during the week. Ever since we’ve been down here we’ve been warned about how crazy and loud the beaches get during Semana Santa and how those “in the know” find somewhere else to be during that week. A couple of weeks ago, the beach at Santispac was probably loaded from one end to the other with Canadian and US recreational vehicles. This week, there are only a small handful. The Mexican campers started arriving on Friday.
There are definitely a lot of tents and a few motor homes on the beach. In places they are packed like sardines but in other stretches of the beach there are long clear spaces. I suspect the ones that are so tightly packed are connected somehow. Extended family would be a safe guess. In spite of all the people, and there are way fewer than I expected, it’s been a pretty mellow week so far. Of course, it is only Tuesday. And, up until now, there hasn’t been a carnival involved. That’s right, a carnival. Or at least a few carnival rides. Yesterday evening I noticed several semi-trucks with very brightly painted cargoes on their trailers. Sure enough, it’s the traveling carnival rides. I couldn’t imagine where they would find room to set them up but today, Lulu and I went ashore and looked around. Once you see the beach from the beach rather than in the foreshortened way you see it through binoculars from the boat, you realize just how big Playa Santispac is. There are probably 150-200 tents set up along the beach, the carnival rides are setting up behind them and there’s still a huge wide boulevard for cars and trucks to drive on.
The Mexican families certainly know how to enjoy their time at the beach. The water is pretty warm and the kids are out in it early. Then, all day, it’s a never-ending parade of kayaks, inflatable boats, pangas, runabouts, windsurfers, stand-up paddleboards, and even the occasional sailing dinghy. There’s an older gringo on the beach, Ed, who can be seen trucking back and forth the length of the beach on his sail-equipped trike. There are a couple of vendor booths set up where people are selling mostly used clothing but other garage-sale type stuff as well. Also some hand-crafted bracelets and such. There’s a Tecate tent set up over by the beach entrance but so far, they haven’t gone so far as to actually stock and sell beer from it. I’d bet they’ll be up and running by Friday though.
We took our garbage ashore today and were surprised to note that the garbage cans spread out along the boulevard were not overflowing. Matter of fact, they were nearly empty. And looking around, I don’t see any loose garbage flying around either. We’re hoping for the best. However, sorry to say, but the “don’t be a litterbug” culture of the US is not generally in evidence down here. We’re hoping that when the campers all leave after the weekend, they don’t leave behind a bunch of bottles, cans and plastic bags on the beach.
Yesterday we got a ride to town and back with Carlos who works at Ana’s Restaurant and Bar doing a little bit of everything. Carlos had to go to town to get drinking water jugs filled, various groceries and supplies as well as gas for the generator. Playa Santispac is not on the grid so one must supply one’s own power. On the way in, we passed a gringo off the side of the road with his hood up and his arms waving at us to stop. Carlos was driving too fast to react right then so we continued on a couple miles until he found a decent place to pull over and turn around. He knew the guy who was broke-down. It was “John from on the beach”. We got back to John’s stranded Ford Bronco. He was pretty sure he’d run out of gas. His gas gauge quit working a long time ago so he generally uses his odometer to calculate when he needs more gas. But his odometer quit working too so now he relies on his memory. And I think we all know how well memory works, especially in guys old enough to be retired. No problem. We can take him to get gas. Except he didn’t have a gas can. Carlos had the big gas can he was going to get generator gas in but, not having a spout on it, there was no good way to pour gas from it into John’s Bronco. John does have a good gas can back at his trailer at Santispac. So, there wasn’t much to do except take him back to get the can. This required backtracking 7 or 8 miles and then heading in to the Pemex station at Mulege, probably 15 miles from the beach. So, so far we have the original 8 miles we drove before spotting John, the 2 miles we had to go to find a turnaround (10 mi.), 2 miles back to John’s rig (12 mi.), 8 miles back to John’s trailer (20 mi.), 15 miles to the Pemex (35 mi.), 7 miles back to John’s rig with the gas (42 mi.), and finally the last 10 miles or so to downtown Mulege where we were going in the first place (52 mi.). Fifty-two miles to get from Santispac to Mulege, a distance of maybe 18 miles. Through it all, Carlos remained very easy going. He said, “You never know, next time I might be the one who needs help.” Too true. Oh, and there was one other little wrinkle. John forgot his wallet. Yep. So I loaned him $500 pesos. We made a point of giving Carlos some gas money even though he protested. And, when we got back to Santispac, we dropped by John’s trailer where he reimbursed us and thanked us for helping him out. This is a kind of long story whose only point was to say that Carlos is a really nice guy.
The wind is supposed to shift around to the south tomorrow so I think we’ll move down the bay to Isla Requeson, Playa Buenaventura or Playa Santa Barbara, all of which are wide open to the north but well protected on their south sides. The furthest one, Isla Requeson, is only 8 nautical miles away so we should have pretty short trip. Unless we pass a boat with its hood up and someone waving us down, that is.