February 12, 2010

La Paz

Few cities show their best side when they are entered.  However, La Paz just doesn't seem to get any better as I penetrate to the center.  Maybe the kindest thing I can say is that it will be a long time before anyone calls La Paz 'the Paris of Baja California Sur'.  My hotel room is pretty nasty too, the TV has 6 channels, one of them is a looping porn tape. The city is very busy, with lots of mysterious industry taking place in small dilapidated shops. 

My plan is to leave as quickly as I can get on the ferry to Mazatlan, which is 20:00 tomorrow, or about 24 hours.  After a few hours in my depressing room I have to get out. I leave my roommate, Cucaracha, in charge "¡No friends!".  (Later I find out that I was probably staying in a "sex motel", a place where a married man can take his girlfriend or secretary for a nooner.  I always choose a motel where the cars, and my bike are hidden from view, so do Mexican philanderers :-)

If I was in any city in Canada or the US, I would be in the scariest part of town judging by appearances, so I take the appropriate precautions, small amount of cash, no credit cards, and I go for a walk.  It is very dark, the street lights are dim, the sidewalks are broken, the stores are covered with bars, and the 'greeters' are tough looking security guards packing those newfangled two handed police billy clubs in holsters. I am intimidated. However, I notice that with me on the sidewalk are young couples, nice girls, older ladies carrying their shopping and purses, and ordinary looking young men. Hmmmm.  I end up walking for maybe an hour and half, and see lots of stores, the traffic is constant, there is a lot of energy here, La Paz is a work city, sort of a Mexican Grande Prairie.

The next day I have to find the ferry terminal and get tickets for ferry to Mazatlan.  I get lost and stop at a Moto shop for assistance, one of the salesmen or maybe the owner hops on a bike and shows me the way, the brotherhood lives! Turns out it was around the corner.  Finding the ferry was a challenge as well, it is 17 km out of town. Once I knew it was on the 'shore road' (Calle Malecon) it was easy to find, and nice curvy stetch of 17 km it was.  There are some small beaches near the ferry terminal and I have about 8 hours to kill  before boarding, so I go for a walk and meet Jorge and Tonya who are visiting from Mazatlan.  Together we go to see a famous local rock which we would probably call a flower pot island, the bottom is nearly eroded away so it sits on a narrow tapering pedestal.

It is not a good beach day, cloudy, cool and windy, but the beach is beautiful, floury pure white.  The beaches are small and located in coves between the volcanicized rocks which look like dark cement with with large rock fillers.






There is still lots of time before the ferry needs to be boarded, so I go back to La Paz and watch the preparations for Carnival, which starts on Friday the 12th.  I won't be missing it because it is a national holiday, the same holiday as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Quebec Winter Carnival.  Mazatlan's is supposed to the best, so that is where I will be for Carnival.  I get a kick out of seeing how the booth operators are stealing (or borrowing) power.  Reminds me of my Sheet Metal Worker days when we needed to power a welder and there was no proper breaker or circuit for it. Viva Carnival! hope nobody gets fried except the tacos!



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