Colorful Cabo-2004

We took off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for Cabo San Lucas on Saturday, September 11th, 2004.  Some people called it 9/11.  We each packed one heavy suitcase for the eight-day vacation and security guards ruffled through all of them.  The 757 jetliner was only carrying 60 passengers, so none of the lines were too long.

Our seats were next to the emergency door, so we had plenty of leg space.

The good seats were the result of our frequent travel friends, Jan and John Flora of Fridley, who always make the request at the ticket counter for this seating arrangement.  In case of emergency, however, we are expected to help the flight attendants with their requests.

We landed at the Los Cabos airport about 2 p.m. and taxied to the Villa del Palmar about 20 miles south of the airport.  Our spacious comfortable condo on the beach was also a result of the Floras, who used one of their time-share exchanges for this trip.  It was lovely, as you can see.  John and Jan's condo was identical to ours, right next door.

Allan and I each had our own large bathroom, a king sized bedroom, and a princess sized kitchen.  We made coffee every morning, enjoyed the air conditioning, and watched the news until we met up with the Floras.

The view from our deck was inviting.  Can you see that long black/white whale slide into the pool?  We all went down that slide, but John did it the most and he graded the splashes from 1 to 10.

From our deck we could also see the great Pacific Ocean.  Or was it the Sea of Cortez?  Since the condo is located on the southern tip of the Baja, at the confluence of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez, we were right in the middle of everything and we loved it.

Since this first afternoon/evening time at Cabo was going to be short, we immediately donned our swim duds and went for a walk on the beach.  The waves and backwash caught us by surprise and tipped Jan head over heels and stole the margarita right out of her hands.

But refills were not far away.  The average year-round temperature at Cabo is 75 degrees, but the average September temperature is above 90 degrees.  It was steamy hot every single day and we often sought the shade.

Every night there was a show or fiesta at the Villa that reminded us we were in Mexico.

Our first morning was Sunday morning, so we caught a ride to a beautiful cathedral in downtown Cabo where the natives live.  Mass at Santvario D'Guadalupe was at 7 a.m.  Much of the outside of the cathedral was "original," but the inside is new and renovated.  A huge slab of rock formed the base of the altar, with a large piece of clear glass supported above the rock as the altar surface.

After a scrumptious breakfast we went to our pool.  We were poolside for a time every single day.  We swam laps and played in the water and went down the slide and read books and took naps and listened to the roar of ocean waves.

Lunch fare was often at our Villa, where club sandwiches and burgers and fries were tasty.

Every afternoon from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. was Happy Hour.  The strawberry margaritas and regular margaritas were refreshing, and we were glad they kept the tequila to a minimum.

One afternoon we followed footsteps in the sand to a colorful canopy down the way.  This sand is not hard, so walking a long distance is not easy.  We sink a little with every step forward but who's complaining?

Under the canopy we bought tickets for a glass bottom boat tour, and it was quite the experience.  It began with a shoreline scramble in the water to climb over the edge of the boat as it rocked wildly in the waves.  I'm hesitant to say "ass over teakettle," but that's exactly how it went.

Our sense of humor remained intact, but we did question what we had gotten ourselves into.

As we approached the rocky tip of the Baja, the scenery was stupendous.  We've never seen so many pelicans congregated in one location.  Seals also slept on the rocks and played in the water.

The pelicans were not frightened away by our presence.  Obviously they've become accustomed to gringos in glass bottom boats.

Since I couldn't take a picture of the boat we were sitting in, I took a picture of one that looked just like the boat we were sitting in.  Notice the words:  Glass Bottom Boat.  It's not too big.  And notice how close we were to the rocks.

Only a few feet away from our boat was a fishing boat that was proud of its catch, a blue marlin!

This small opening on the Sea of Cortez, is called Lover's Beach.  If you walk a few feet to the Pacific side, you're on Divorce Beach.  We stayed in the boat.

This first opening between the Ocean and the Sea is called Land's End.  It's where the land first comes to an end after being a solid continental mass all the way down from Alaska, down Canada, alongside California, and the Baja Peninsula.  As we could see, it looks like a dragon taking a drink of water.

The water was rough.  I couldn't believe we were moving so close to the rocks.  And the motor on the old boat killed twice.  We also went around to the other side, into the Pacific, where Land's End looks like a camel taking a drink of water.

Our young Mexican navigator got the motor going each time it stopped, and we did not slam into any of the rocks.  I was glad to get back into the Sea of Cortez and head away from the rocks.

Through our glass bottom boat we had seen a lot of fish, but we had been more interested in everything that was above the water.  The experience was exhilarating.  Meanwhile, people on cruise ships had stopped for a while to shop at Cabo San Lucas.  Notice the mountains in the background.  The landscape was awesome as we headed back to our beach.

Again, our scramble out of the small boat in large waves was a clumsy experience.  Allan's effort to retrieve my beach shoes (lower right side of the photo) got him a tumble into the brink.  Notice where his own sandals ended up, halfway up his legs.  We laughed and laughed and we were glad he didn't lose his hat.

And then we followed footsteps in the sand again, back to our villa.  Chairs and umbrellas were already stacked next to the wall in front of our villa for the evening, anticipating high tide.

We taxied to a fancy dinner at Galleans in downtown Cabo where we ordered Filet Mignon and a Caesar Salad made with real raw egg dressing and served with anchovies.  Nobody took my words about the salmonella threat seriously, but I suspect everyone blamed a visit by Montezuma on the water. I purchased my sunburst necklace at a B&B Jewelry Store at a downtown Mall.

Each morning we walked out to the beach.  On most of those mornings there was a red flag posted, which meant, "Stay away from the water!  Dangerous conditions."  We learned that Hurricane Xavier was grazing the coast about 200 miles away from us and causing a ruckus.  Allan is looking, here, at the rocky point (Land's End) we had visited in the glass bottom boat.

The unusual wave patterns at the beach -- where waters seemed to collide perpendicular to each other -- is probably due to the meeting of the Pacific with the Sea of Cortez.  The waves are at least 20 to 30 feet high at this point and very loud.

Mexican vendors still tried to sell their wares, over the wall, to people at the Villa.  We didn't bite.

Large turtles didn't care that the sea was treacherous.  It was simply time for them to lay their eggs so they came on shore and did it.  It was never a private moment for them, as security people rushed to their location and dug up all the eggs as soon as they were finished, to transport to a safer spot.

We toured the Playa Grand, still under expansion, where salespeople wanted us to buy a time-share.  We enjoyed their fancy breakfast, $50 off dinner coupons, and the colorful scenery.

But we didn't buy a time-share!  We loved Cabo San Lucas, and have enjoyed the time-share experience of others in other places, but can't convince ourselves that it's the way for us to go.

When we go places, it's almost always spontaneous with nary a preplan of tomorrow.  One Cabo morning at 8:30 a.m. the four of us took off on ATV's, for example.  Since I'm not a mechanical-type person, I needed to first learn that "the clutch is under your left foot, lift it twice for second gear to climb the hills, lift it once more for general riding in third gear, lift it again for fourth and fifth gears for speed at the beach, turn the key from zero to one to start the machine and press this little black button, turn the orange knob in either direction to kill the machine immediately if you're in trouble, to move forward keep your right thumb on the lever at the right handlebar, brakes are behind each handle bar, squeeze them to slow or stop, there's another break under your right foot, any questions?"

We had to wear helmets and goggles and scarves to fight the dirt and dust.

After an hour of rough riding in the hills, among the lizards and cactus, we arrived at the Pacific beach.  We became expert operators of ATV's.  It was really fun.

After stretching time on the beach, we zoomed through the hills back to ATV headquarters ...

... and a night out on the town for a fajita dinner at Margaritavilla.  We sat on the upper deck overlooking the marina, with a nice breeze to boot.  On our walking way to Cabo Wabo we stopped at some Mexican shops and I found a perfect shorts and shirt outfit for Miss Adeline, adorned with colorful little fish like Nemo, her latest favorite.

We could often feel the sweat running in and out of every crevice from our head to our toes, and we always had the perfect remedy -- this pool, one of three at our Villa.

This was John's favorite pool each afternoon during happy hour.

It was our favorite spot, too.

We toasted a final afternoon together at Cabo, knowing we'd probably never sit here again.

The sound of ocean waves kept us company long into the evening as we ordered rib eye steaks at our seaside resort and reminisced about our good times, past and present.

Before we left for Minneapolis, we checked the beach one last time for signs of Hurricane Xavier.  He had not harmed us, nor interfered with a wonderful week.  Thank you, John and Jan, for a wonderful time at Cabo San Lucas.  Where do we get to go next?

The End

Love, Sue