Friday, January 20, 2006

Sea of Cortez?

My swim this morning in our indoor pool at the south club house was rather "warm" way above 86 degrees. It reminded me of our fateful dips in the Sea of Cortez a few years back. Of course there wasn't the sea smell or stickiness of the salination or boyancy. It did have the gentle waves and the and the alluring temperature and maybe even some "whales". It was around 37 degrees outside and the walk was a bit "nipply". The jaccuzzi was its usual 107 and an arthritics dream in the morning. A note on the door said there was a "mechanical malfunction of the pool heater and a disclaimer/warning not to strenuously exercise in such over-heated water. I was tempted to swim a few extra laps with "scuba man" and his mask and mouth piece; "sir splash-alot" who slams in and out of there in 30 mins. tops; "miss manatee" and her slo-mo cruising; "the one-legged man" who pops in and out with ease and has a beautiful stroke; "end-lane underwater only man" and his gigantic kicks; and finally the 4 to 5 "resident" water-aerobizier ladies and their styrofoam dumbells. Some mornings it is a virtual traffic jam for a while. I don't even try to get into the weight room or get a "machine" at this time of day...5:44A.M.

As I swam today, I thought of our experiences in Baja, CA and was still amazed we survived. Before we swam in the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez, east of the the pennisula out of La Paz, we had a harrowing road trip playing "chicken" with careening, lop-sided, overloaded mexican trucks on two-lane highways. Many times it was..."come to Jesus time" and we passed several over turned loads sprawled sideways on the highway. We heard that gasoline (petrolina)? was hard to find so we initially carried an extra 10 gal. container strapped to the back (or maybe it started out inside the van). Bad decision...not 50 miles into Baja, we had 4 car-sick boys throwing up cranberry juice and crackers...lovely smell. We made it to Guerro Negro by dusk where we had reservations and found it was so close to the Pacific Ocean that it was dank and moist on most surfaces, even the pillows. We did see the less-than-impressive monument to the "Tropic of Cancer" line. We made it the next day to Cabo San Lucas and a condo my wife's boss owned. Very nice but electricity. Excellent food, fish, service at the adjoining Califia Resort where we got to know a wonderful waiter, forget his name right now. They had an "infinity pool" we "took over" with our boys and a restaurant with a patio that housed resident ferral cats in the thatched roof who came down for morsel peroffered by you know who. We danced the night away while the boys were back at the room and Betty got blisters on her bare dancing feet. We were kept awake that night by some tropically named storm that seemed to produce waves that continually crashed and produced a roar that was deafening. On our trip back we stopped in a town for "refreshment" and potty breaks and were "stared down" by the locals in a scary way either because we didn't park in the right place or our female wasn't properly attired(fully covered) We bought and got out quickly. We hit a "nicer" hotel on our east coast return and were lured into the water. You could walk way out it was so shallow and warm. Clark and Brooks noticed them first....the sea lice. Brooks got cramps and then stepped on a jelly fish. Clark carried him in. I went for the hotel doctor. Panic...he sent me out to a local "drugstore" (not that name, much longer with a "teca" on the end) I spoke some Spanish and was finally able to get the pills the doc said we needed. Then, Brooks, he his inibital(?) way wouldn't take them...he has a gagging reflex worse than his mom. I was so concerned that I used my "classroom voice and habit" the "countdown" only I didn't start at 10! No luck...but miraculously he survived. We still had two more encounters where we, as a family, almost didn't (survive that is). We were stopped on the road by machine gun-toting "federales" looking for an escaped prisoner who they were using on "road maintenance". Suddenly I "knew no Espanol" while they poked around in our van with their eyes and guns looking for a hidden "criminales". We thought we were goin' to...jail...never to return. Later on, almost gleefully free, we were "sightseeing" "vacas" in the "vados" when I spotted a burro and a cart. I turned to look and almost steered into an oncoming truck. I never felt so releaved and "free" when we crossed the border in that line of cars and thanked our lucky stars for the U.S.A. and the "Bill of Rights". ie. search and seizure, assumption of being innocent etc.

Next time, if there is one, we'll fly. We did have a chance to get off the Disney Magic this summer when it docked at Cabo. We chose the empty ship and its three pools and spas. Our memories of the Baja, will stay just that, "memories". Bob


At 9:25 AM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

We didn't see any whale cows calving (having pups) while we were there. Wrong season, I'll bet. Whale watching is happening now off our coasts with daily trips in small "sea-sickening" boats. I did this for many years with my 4th-5th grade classes because we studied California in Social Studies along with the Missions and Father Junipero Serra. Never saw much, a breach, maybe once, spouting a bit. The california gray whale is not a thing of beauty...except maybe to another whale. All barnacle-encrusted and long-nosed. I wonder how long they actually live taking that annual trip from Alaska to Baja. Probably not much longer than us early morning swimmers at Sun Lakes who keep hoping for "rejuvenation" like in the movie (?) You know...with Don Ameche. Bob


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