Day 11 – San Quintin to Ensenada

Our driveway. That's La Gigante parked in front of the hotel down the entrance drive. This place took us down for about $40. Unreal.

Waking to bright sun shining and colorful birds singing is a wonderful thing.  A run through the countryside included cactus farms rimmed by bright purplish-red wildflowers and a mad dash away from a couple dogs.  Not unusual down here seeing as how there are dogs EVERYWHERE, and only a few seem to have a home.  In this case, it was two – one big and one small.  The small one “chased” us for a good half-mile.  It clearly had something to prove.  We were never in any real danger, but that little bastard wouldn’t get off my heals.  Definitely improved our run time though!

Along our morning run.

I know, they really farm cactus! Must take a very patient farmer...

Ready to leave our little oasis. Always sad to leave. Always excited to move on.

The ride to Ensenada was nice and short and packed mostly by small, dilapidated towns lining the road.  It’s hard to see how anyone makes a living in these areas, but there are people everywhere.

Our room and view just did not suck at all.

We checked into our hotel and cabbed it to downtown Ensenada.  Pretty cool town made up of the usual contrasts of Mexico.  The hills are spotted with beautiful, shining, glassy houses overlooking the masses and run down buildings of downtown.  Clearly a gringo expat gathering on the hills.

Making it happen at Taqueria la Comadre. Yum.

Walking around downtown we stumbled into Taqueria la Comadre.  Holy shit.  I could have sat there and eaten tacos all day, and, well, we sorta did.  The process starts with balls of tortilla dough smashed into a tortilla maker and then tossed onto the flattop.  These thick, steaming fresh tortillas are then filled with carnitas, pork fat (yea, that one was a bit gnarly), chicken mole, or a couple other spicy meats and vegetables.  It’s all topped off with incredibly fresh salsas, handmade guacamole, and other goodies.  I  managed to put down 4 humongous tacos, and could have done a few more.  Tonieh inhaled such a large quantity of tacos she had a hard time walking without help.  We managed to make it to a Starbucks where she got to rest and take a moment.  This entire experience with jumbo bottles of water set us back and entire $12.  This was just the beginning of the magical 24-hours of tacos…

Lucky for them, this wasn't an all-you-can-eat buffet. I'd have been asked to leave.

Yes, that's Super Viagra Man. Bringer of the sword.

The rest of the stroll through town was along the malecon for some cool public art and then back into the city for a serious mishmash of junky bars, Viagra stores fronting as pharmacies, and nasty tourist crap stores everywhere.  You get the feeling that this area used to be humming but has fallen on pretty hard times.  Granted, it’s the slow season, and it was pretty cool, but still, “vibrant” was not the word I’d use for most of the storefronts.  On top of this, at one point we found ourselves in a part of town we probably shouldn’t have been in – prostitutes yelling at each other from second floor windows next to Paris de Noche – a three-level “gentleman’s” club displaying 2-story bronzed busts of naked women.  Sweet.

Favorite tourist tshirt:  “Great story honey.  Now go make me a sandwich.”

Quote of the day:  (In front of Paris de Noche with prostitutes screaming at each other.)  “Eric, I don’t think we’re supposed to be here.”

The public art was really cool, and it’s clear that Ensenada really focuses on its great malecon.  Even in the chillier weather, there were people and families walking everywhere.  If the US could get its act together and stop freaking people out about going to Mexico, towns like Ensenada could be really special.  The culinary options are seemingly limitless, and like all Latin towns, it’s really made to walk and just spend time with family and friends.

Three famous Mexicans. The guy on the left is Benito Juarez. The guy on the right is Venustiano Carranza, and the guy in the middle, Miguel Hidalgo.

Meet Benito Juarez. With a really funky hat. He must hold the record for most streets and towns named after someone in Mexico. Hope he's not pissed about the hat.

This thing was about 25-30 feet tall and made of whale bones and rebar. It has a long story attached to it about a superior being of creature that was eliminated through war. Pretty amazing piece. And a little scary too.

And after this, the contrasts continued when we managed to find a really cool wine-tasting room where we enjoyed a 4-flight Mexican wine tasting.  This place would fit in in the Third Ward or in Lincoln Park.  Unreal.  Mexico is awesome.

At this moment, we could be anywhere in the world.

And of course, musicians walking the street looking for their next gig, which could be int he next bar they find or on a street corner or right there on the malecon.  Awesome.

And like everywhere in Mexico, no shortage of live music. Keeping the tradition alive.

Back to the hotel to sleep off the taco coma.  Can’t wait for more tomorrow.

Updated route (we didn’t have to go far – at “N” now):

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2 Responses to Day 11 – San Quintin to Ensenada

  1. Jack Waite says:

    I don’t want to read your next (final) post. I don’t want this to end. Very sad. Maybe I’ll stop reading now, at the penultimate post, so I can leave the tab open on my web browser and think you’re still out there, exploring that wonderful country.
    I really like the caption “Always sad to leave. Always excited to move on.”
    That says it all.
    I always prefer the traveler who doesn’t really know where he’s going, compared to the tourist who doesn’t know where he’s been.

    • ericgwagner says:

      I felt the same way writing it. Not ready for it to end.

      Welcome back from Peru. Hope the surfing was awesome!

      And thanks for reading the blog man. Kindred spirits.

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