February 8, 2013 – Well it is cooling down again up north so our timing could not be better as we head south on Baja with our February tour. This morning we awake at Villarino’s Campground and RV Park in beautiful Punta Banda ready to continue our Baja adventure after a busy day yesterday on Day 1 of the tour. Our border crossing and drive through Tecate was uneventful, no wrong turns or stop unscheduled stops by local police. After a couple body breaks we were in Ensenada, this time we took the truck route though town as the Malecon was closed because of Carnaval which will last a few days. This took a bit longer but gave everyone an excellent view of the busy town Ensenada really is. After our Commercial Mexicana & COSTCO stop for a few food items, lunch and a visit to the ATMs we continued to our destination.
Just one last stop at the new PEMEX on Punta Banada just minutes from the campground. Unfortunately one of the RVs caught a PEMEX sign on one of the pumps as it was leaving from fueling, a little damage to the 5th wheel, a lot more damage to the sign. After I had a brief discussion with the manager all was well, these things can happen he said, he appreciated our business and this was no big deal. I thanked him very much and we were on our way.
After getting settled at the campground we headed off for our excursion to La Bufadora. Because of Carnaval in town the place was nearly deserted, hardly a tourist to be seen, I have to say it was a bit odd but very peaceful. The tide was out and the seas calm so La Bufadora was not doing much, however we did get a couple of minor roars. The local merchants that were open were happy to see us and a couple of purchases were made.
Prior to arriving at Potrero for Day 0 we stopped at Maria’s (Angelous Barber & Beauty Salon) in Cameron Corner’s where we often get our hair cut when we return from Baja tours. Maria is great and very reasonably priced for sure, she also has a great gift shop. Maria and her husband do own a big RV and says she will make it down one day with us to Baja. She has some concerns because of all the historical bad press, this is not unusual. Maria would like to go particularly because she has relatives on Baja, you see is was born in Tijauna and immigrated to the US at an early age, however she remains fluent in Spanish.
Did you know?
Carnaval in Mexico is celebrated by about 225 communities in various ways, with the largest and best known modern celebrations occurring in Mazatlan and the city of Veracruz. Larger celebrations are also found in the Baja California and Yucatán Peninsulas, similar to other Carnavals with floats, queens and costumes but are not as large as those in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. Smaller and more rural communities have Carnaval traditions which have conserved more of Mexico’s indigenous and religious heritage and vary depending on the local indigenous cultures that Carnaval was assimilated into. The largest of this kind is held in Huejotzingo, Puebla, with mock battles based on the Battle of Puebla and reenactments of stories. Other important Carnaval variations can be found in Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Jalisco, Morelos and some parts of Mexico City.
In the Baja California Peninsula, the two main Carnaval celebrations occur in Ensenada and La Paz. The Ensenada Carnaval extends over six days and consists of the quema del mal humor, dances, parades with floats, a royal court and more. It is one of the most important tourist events in northwestern Mexico attracting about 300,000 visitors including many from California. It has had performances by Joan Sebastián, Alejandra Guzmán, Magneto, Caló, Polo Polo and others. The modern La Paz Carnival was begun in 1898, making it one of the oldest in the country. Before that, celebration of Carnaval was limited to formal affairs at the houses of the rich. It includes concerts such as those by Espinoza Paz, Sonora Santanera and Ha*Ash .
*One final note, the weather forecast for Potrero this Friday evening and Saturday morning is snow. Accumulations of possibly a foot in higher elevations!! Sometimes you are good and sometimes you are lucky!!