The Transition From Mexico To California

By  John Derby
Times Publisher
April 14, 2016

There is a big transition when living half the year in Baja, Mexico, and the other half in the Central Valley of California, and it is not only the switch from the dollar to the peso and back.
Food in Mexico is totally different. There are fresh fish and vegetables brought daily to the front door, or you can catch your own fish.
The only reason to go to the nearest town for many of the Gringos is for pure water and beer. Some people in our beach park have set up water filtering systems so they don’t need to go to the town of Mulege for their water.
If they don’t drink beer or smoke, then they can live on the beach from morning to night.
Ours is a laidback lifestyle.
There are several beach communities like the one where we live and about seven beach restaurants which serve from passable to good food and any given day.
One restaurant we went to last weekend for breakfast had no bacon or chorizo, which is a sign that most of the tourists are leaving to avoid Baja’s hot and humid summers.
Most Gringos bring a certain amount of food supplies down with them, especially if they come down to Mexico by vehicle.
About a quarter of the people in our area fly down from Canada or the northwest via Alaska Airlines.
This is the major airline serving our area of Baja Mexico, however, a new Mexican airline has started service from Loreto to Tijuana; and a Canadian airline now has flights from Calgary. Loreto is an international air terminal.
There are daily flights from Loreto to Los Angeles which take about 3 hours and they run from $500 to $700 round trip.
We almost always come by truck as we love to carry certain supplies, particularly California wine, which is hard to find and expensive compared to wines from Chili, Argentina and Australia. We drive slowly and not at night. The roads are narrower and there is no apron at the road’s edge.
There are also many unfenced areas where cows, horses and goats graze beside the road. There have been many accidents with drivers who do not see the animals in the roadway until too late.
By now we have a dozen or more places we like to stay on the way back to the California, depending on which road we take. Some of the hotels are excellent by American standards, and their cost is surprisingly cheap (normally less than $50 a night).
There has been a marked improvement in the Mexican economy in the past few years since the free trade with Mexico started, however, the recession in the United States has slowed down the number of tourists coming to Baja.
The bad press coming from mainland Mexico has also brought on a fear factor which we feel is unrealistic considering the amount of crime we now have in the Central Valley of California.
Weather in Mexico has been incredible in recent years, improving as the winters become warmer.
By mid-April, our beach community is heating up. Daily averages are above 90 degrees F and most homes have no air conditioning.
While the swimming and other water sports is now best, there are some of us who miss the spring season in the Central Valley.
We pack up the toys (boats, kayaks, fishing gear and offroad vehicles) and head north.
Someone described life down here as a school recess without a teacher.
Now we go back to real life.

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