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Archive for the ‘Camping in Bahia de Kino’ Category

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Mexican school children parade with their heroes on El Dia de Revolucion

Mexican people love parades.  Seems like every time Jackie and I are in Mexico, there is some sort of celebratory parade going on.  But the one we witnessed last Monday morning, Nov. 19, Revolution Day, was particularly exceptional.  Jackie and I, and our new friends Karen and Eno, who we met within ten minutes of our arrival at La Playa, watched the annual Revolution Day Children’s Parade in Bahia de Kino Viejo (60 km east of Hermosillo).  Niños de la escuela of all ages, dressed up in proto-revolutionary costumes, carrying placards bearing faces of revolutionary heroes, shouting Viva Mexico! Viva La Revolución! paraded, marched, and danced down Acapulco Blvd. The streets were lined with enthusiastic parents, family members, and village citizens.

A narrow band of desert highway separates Bahia de Kino into two very distinct parts: Kino Viejo (old Kino) sits on the southern part of this pristine bay.  There is so much natural beauty here that during certain times of the year, that it attracts hundreds, maybe thousands of visitors, both Mexican and American.  I’m certain with so much natural beauty that surrounds this village, the village itself, its people and its often extreme poverty, is barely visible to most visitors; that is unless you do not keep your eyes open.  Kino itself is the perfect metaphor representing Mexico as a country top-full of mysteries, contrasts, and paradoxes. While Kino Viejo is essentially a small, and very poor fishing village where most of the families live in crudely constructed hovels, often fabricated from nothing more than cardboard coated with asphalt tar or corrugated steel roofing painted black.   Many families have received donations of concrete block building materials from the local part-time residence Americans, or RV trailers that American snowbirds have abandoned for one reason or another and donated to families without any housing at all.  Mexican people as a rule are both resilient and resourceful if necessary, but they are also a very grateful people, and they understand that some Americans want to help simply out of the goodness of their hearts.  There are many Americans here who are like that.

Isla Alcatraz as seen from La Playa RV Park, Bahia de Kino

Five miles of fairly decent road separates Kino Viejo from Kino Nuevo where the wealthy Mexicans and Americans own spectacular hacienda style houses that loom over the upper part of the bay.  We are camped at a virtually empty RV park, La Playa, that also sits above the bay, affording us with a privileged and beautiful view of the islands Isla Alcatraz and Isla Tiburón. Mexican families tend to be weekenders, driving in from Hermosillo.  American Snowbirds take up residence often as long as six months out of the year, especially the Canadians desperately trying to escape from the Canadian winters.  Some Americans, such as our new found friends Karen and Eno, drive the five or so hours from Tucson, Arizona, and live in their very modern, very comfortable travel trailer.  They rent their space, which has a spectacular view of the southern bay, by the year for an insanely reasonable rate.  As I write this, they have just left for Tucson for a couple of weeks, planning to return as soon as possible in early December.  When we arrived just two weeks ago, they were the only residents; now, with them gone, we are the only ones in this paradise.  But don’t feel bad for us: while the news from Warrenton and Astoria reports the residents suffering from early winter rain and wind storms (the highway to the high school is flooded under four feet of water; buses, somehow, plow through with teachers and kids), we celebrate the 80 degree air and 70 degree water temps with daily walks up and down emerald-water beaches, devour the large blue and brown shrimp fresh off the boat; eat flounder, so fresh that cooking it evokes the very essence of the sea; consume crab (just in season now for a couple of weeks) that an old fisherman in a wheel chair spent hours cleaning and cooking, then selling it to me for 100 pesos a kilo; and least I forget, there is Poncho, who cooks for the gringo tourists out of his house on weekends, and who during the week carves Salvador Dali (he told me in his splendid broken English that he had seen a poster of one of Dali’s Christs) inspired crucifixes out of iron wood using an old washing machine motor and an old Craftsman carbide blade that’s been modified and repaired a thousand times.  Yes, Mexico is full of mysteries, contrasts, and paradoxes.

Hasta la próxima vez…

Not a scene from a Greek isle, but empty RV sites…

Isla Alcatraz in background

Isla Alcatraz from our modest campsite…

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About thirty miles into Mexico we came up on what turned out to be a huge line of parked tractor-trailer rigs.  I would say easily a hundred, lined up ass to nose as far as my eyes could see.  mexican truckers waitingOf course, I pulled up at the end of the line; I had no idea of what else to do.  I inched the Coach House around the rig in front of me to take a peek at what was happening.  A huge passenger bus roared by and one of the drivers ahead of me waved me frantically onward.  The line of truckers were all waiting their turn to pass through inspection at the Aduana, another checkpoint. Passed through that one easily as well.

Mexican truckers own highway 2; the truckers seem to have systematically established their own rules of the road, which, naturally enough, facilitate the transport of goods more economically; the faster they can safely deliver, the more profit for everyone.  One custom of note, which many of the road loggers and bloggers have seemed to have overlooked in their Mexico survival driving advice columns is the custom of straddling the shoulder’s white line, almost at all times, which leaves the center line for passing.  trucker shouldersThis enables other truckers to pass in between traffic going in both directions.  I learned this within the first fifteen minutes of driving in Mexico. Traffic speed limits are subject to Mexican relativity: even when the posted speed limit is 60 km, every driver goes much faster.  I had to adapt to seeing the speedometer as km rather that mph, not made any easier by km numerals half the size of mph on an American-made vehicle.

Our first stop for the night was in Caborca, about three hours from the border.  First, we had to look for a little hotel, Hotel Casa Blanca, that has five RV sites in the parking.  I had the address and the Garmin, so finding it shouldn’t be a problem.  Except the Garmin did not recognize any of the street names.  Worse, most of the streets, main streets included, did not have any street signs identifying intersections.  One example of the Garmin Mexico maps at their worst is in our search for an ATM in Caborca.  Instead of a bank, the Garmin directed us to an abandoned shack.  No good.  Since I couldn’t find the hotel, I resorted to calling the Casa Blanca, but the lady who answered the phone spoke no English.  Understanding directions over the phone in Spanish is probably the most difficult language challenge there is.  Jackie spotted a street name that intersected with the street we were looking for.  No luck.

Entrance to Casa Blanca

Entrance to Casa Blanca

Casa Blanca Office Entrance

Casa Blanca Office Entrance

 

After driving around for almost an hour looking for the place, by sheer providence I spotted the hotel’s name atop a giant pole: Hotel Casa Blanca!  Pulled in to their parking lot of the street and just opposite of the office, there were five tight little rv spaces of which only three seemed to be usable.  The very friendly office lady pointed us to the only spot that had utilities.  Tired, hungry, and very thirsty, we lay in for the night.  No pesos meant no cervaza at least for that night.

Coach House RV Spot

Coach House RV Spot

Coach House backed in for the night

Coach House backed in for the night

 

The next morning, the owner greeted us before we left and wished us well on our journey.  He introduced himself as Hector Hernandez and profusely apologized for not having the kind of amenities American RVers are used to.  It had been a long time since an American RVer had stop for the night; he’d almost given up hope of ever seeing one again.  I wanted to make him feel a bit better so I told him his Hotel came “highly recommended.”  This surprised him, but a smile did cross his face.  I said his internet connectivity was particularly exceptional as well.  He took this well and ask where we were going.  Hector made a couple of recommendations himself for campsites and offered his card for future reference.  Hermosillo was four hours away.

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