Added 5 May 2007

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Tuesday, 20 March 2007, Misión San Borja to Bahía de los Angeles, Baja California Norte, Mexico

As usual, I was up before dawn and delayed breakfast to try to catch the good morning light with my camera. I also realized that I should get some video footage of the inside of the mission, so walked over there hoping to find someone to let me in.

Angel's father was walking around picking up trash and doing some landscaping, and he called Gilberto over, who let me in and walked around with me. He knew I had gotten the tour already so didn't say much unless I asked him a question. He was very conscious of where I was filming and taking photos, as he would watch where I was looking and move out of my frame. I thought that was really thoughtful and cool.

Afterwards, we went to the cemetery, where I hadn't yet been, so he talked more about the history of the place. Gilberto seemed less talkative than Angel overall though. Cemeteries, at least old cemeteries, always appeal to me on a deep level. It isn't death that I'm thinking about, though. What I think about are the lives of the people who now lie below. I wonder what kind of life they lead, and whether they felt that they themselves had lead a good life, not necessarily in the moral sense, but a full life. I am most moved by piles of rocks and anonymous crosses. So many people lost in time, the lot of the vast majority of us. And yet such as these are the arms that catapult the ones who will be remembered into the heavens.

The white cross marking the mass grave especially drew me in. Normally I approach such things closely, investigate each crack and stain, run my fingers along it to learn the texture of it. But I knew that to walk to it would be to walk upon the thousands of poor natives buried there.

I had no desire to tread there. So I encircled it, eyed it from afar, and let the dead rest.

After returning to camp, Gilberto took Chuck and Marisa on a tour of the cemetery, giving me time to eat and get my gear packed up. When they got back, Chuck still had some packing to do, but Marisa and I were basically done, so we went with Gilberto on a short loop hike up the old road leading to other missions and returned by way of the gardens.

Just as we returned to camp a fairly large group of dirt bikers showed up. One jackass popped a wheelie across the parking lot, apparently trying to show off. No one was impressed. He was the kind of person who can truly be an embarrassment to a country while traveling.

Gilberto went to give the dirt bikers a tour of the mission, leaving us to finish packing up for the drive to Bahía de los Angeles. Before leaving we said goodbye to Angel, then hit the road.

We took a detour up Valle de Montevideo to see some pictographs there. It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful drive. Both Chuck and I remarked at how we actually remembered individual boojum trees and cardons from our last visit to the pictographs.

When I got to the pictograph site, I discovered that my broken rear shock slipped out of the bungee cord I'd tied it up with and that I had drug my shock over unknown miles of dirt road and rocks. Fortunately, only the shock boot was damaged. I got my tools out and simply removed the shock altogether to keep it from getting more damaged as we continued on to Bahía de los Angeles.

As we climbed around the base of the cliff, Chuck got out his noose-pole and unsuccessfully attempted to catch a lizard crawling amongst the rocks. While Chuck and Marisa went their separate ways to look at the pictographs, I primarily sat on a ledge enjoying long views of the valley and finding some small piece of the cosmic truth.

From there, we headed in to Bahía de los Angeles, where we planned on camping at Campo Archelon, a campground near town with nice palapas that is run by someone that Chuck knows. The first thing we did after arriving in town was to get gas. The town had been without gas for several days right before we got there and we wanted to make sure we got our fill in case they ran out again. We then went to the grocery store. After the getting our supplies, we went to the little museum in town. Chuck had been there before, but we didn't go the last time I was in Bahía de los Angeles, so was keen to check it out this time. It is quite a nice little museum for such a small town. It told an interesting history, and had some neat artifacts. When we arrived at Campo Archelon we found reserved signs on every palapa, and soon discovered that a big biology group had reserved the whole place. Chuck talked to the owner, Antonio, who recommended Daggett's camp a little bit north, so we headed there.

I was immediately unimpressed with Daggett's. It was packed with the RV crowd, noisy, busy, and lacking great access to the beach. I didn't want to stay.

Chuck and Marisa didn't really like all the people either but seemed more willing to stay and give the place a chance. We paid for two nights and started settling in. One of my first tasks was to fix my broken shock, so I crawled under my truck and tried to figure out a field fix, which became a topic of conversation amongst the neighbors. It seemed like I confirmed for several why they are RV campers instead of expedition campers. Too much danger for them. I came up with a solution that I hoped would get me home, and felt like it might if I didn't treat it too harshly. Chuck seemed to have a bit more confidence in it than I did.

It felt good to get that fixed, but I still wasn't thrilled about our camping arrangements for the next two days and decided I needed an attitude adjustment. I decided to put in a little time on the water. I wanted to go out by myself and just be alone with my thoughts, but figured I should be polite and invite Marisa and Chuck. Chuck had just returned from the shower and declined, but Marisa wanted to go.

It was near the end of the day and the wind was blowing variably and often strongly offshore, so I didn't want to go very far. Besides, the intent wasn't exercise, or even exploration, but regaining my bajattitude. So we paddled slowly out, focusing great attention below the waves. After floating around for a while, we slowly headed back to camp towards the setting the sun, ready for dinner.

For the second time in Baja, I broke my vegetarianism and had a fish taco that Chuck had made from some local fish he bought in town. He did an excellent job. He's going to make someone a really good little home maker someday. As the evening wore on, the wind continued to slowly worsen. Due to the wind, we didn't stay up all that late. After going to bed, the wind got so bad that Chuck was half convinced the palapa was going to collapse on him.

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