The ‘other’ side … and Picazone memories …

Coronado Island Just Offshore

This morning, I found myself back in the United States.  It’s then that Baja Dreaming really takes on meaning.  For starters, the temperature was a full 30° colder than the climate I left behind.  The chill in the air seemed almost biting, but for those who have continuity, it was short and t-shirt weather, while I’m wrapped in jeans and a sweater.

I’d spent my last lunch back at Picazone, the remarkable seaside eatery of Alexandro and Imelda Igartua.  On the far outskirts of Loreto, down a dusty dirt road, when one arrives at the open gate and pulls inside, the world changes.  An oasis of palms and local cactus ring a path toward the oversized palapa outdoor dining area.  Large cushioned couches beckon a lazy afternoon, along with appropriately placed hammocks.  And if the creative palate of colors on the walls and the tasteful decorations, there is always the sea, just beyond the palm fringes, beckoning with turquoise and cerulean blues.

Cozy Couches

A large modern kitchen seems almost out of place in this distant outpost.  Sparkling clean and open with a long bar, the always present Imelda greets each visitor as if they were a long lost friend.  This particular trip, son Alex was home from college for a few weeks – with only five days remaining in his vacation!  This time, it was Alex and his dad in the kitchen, as plans and seeds were being laid for a “Picazone ala Guadalara” some time in the future.  With so many cousins and family members in that mainland city, it only makes sense to expand the business.

Carol Boyd – who with husband Lee owns the wonderful Mediterraneo Restaurant in Loreot – and I picked a spot near the water.  Around us, orange, green and yellow clothes covered oversized round tables.  Chips and a variety of chilis, salsas and a special mayonnaise were delivered by Imelda – the perfect hostess.  Drink and food orders were taken, and Carol and I sat down to chat about anything BUT world politics.

Candlelight Romance

Lunch : we both had Tacones – flour tortilla wraps of unimaginable flavors.  This day – 1/2 smoked marlin, the other 1/2 parrot fish.  Divine – and devoured.

With all the guest served, Alejandro and Alex were engage in a furious game of Backgammon.  Carol volunteered another version – Acey Ducey – and then it was Alejandro and Carol, all dice rolling and chip moving.

What a fun lunch – and another great day .. on the other side .. about which, I am dreaming.

Wild Trip to San Juanico and Beyond ..

ROAD TRIP~  with stove, parties, friends & whales.

And I mean – road trip!  Left Laguna mid-morning with overnight in Guerro Negro. Great dinner – as always – at the  Malarrimo Restaurant.  Got up before the sunrise and headed east.  Watched the sun slip over the lip of the Sierra as we dropped down the grade toward Santa Rosalia.

With great luck and no traffic, we pulled into Loreto around 11 AM.  Got the truck unloaded, and on call – Carol’s connection – Richon – arrived to look at the stove and what I need for installation.  No one believed I could get a stove installed in one day.  This IS Mexico. But I was driven and committed.

Val Wilekrson

Val Wilkerson

Barry and Val came by to chat – and stayed 🙂  That’s how it works in Loreto.  Richon brought Juan.  Alexander came over.   Jeanne stopped by and brought her girlfriend, who was fresh from fishing with Chris & the boys.

Steve was deep into rum & cokes until he realized that all the orifices on the stove needed to be converted from natural gas to propane.  Sobered him up (grumpily) fast .. and the job was done.

In the meantime, Jeanne kept saying she wanted to go to sleep and have tomato soup .. but now Steve was grousing about dinner.

Carol & Lee Boyd at Meditarraneo

Carol & Lee Boyd at Meditarraneo

We were supposed to eat at Mediterraneo, Carol & Lee’s excellent restaurant on the Malecón, but now it’s after 8…. and cranky is a good word to throw out. .. So.. with grand and gracious spirit, Jeanne opened her freezer, found ground turkey and a meat loaf was created.

There were potatoes at the house from Boots & his wife Arianna who had been staying while they searched for a place to live.  We mixed russet and sweet for mashed, crafted a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.. and celebrated a feast.  Alexander had gifted Jeanne a bottle of tequila for her birthday, and this was the time to enjoy.

Wild night and tired, Steve and I crashed down.  Woke early for sunrise and a morning of client work – while we had DSL internet connections.

Catharine Cooper, Dennis Choate, Steve Kawaratani, Bill Clute

Catharine, Dennis, Steve, & Bill

We made an overnight stop in San Juanico where we partied – is there a theme song here? – with old friends and new. We were the guests of Dennis Choate and Donn Stein in their hacienda complex. Donn lent his palapa for the night .. sheets were hastily changed and the party began.

Dennis had good friends, Bill and his daughter, Cathy, staying in his guest house.   Once upon a time, Dennis and Bill had been arch sailing rivals, but now, spinnakers aside, they are best friends.  Dennis builds boats – Transpac and more – at his shop in Long Beach – Dencho Marine.

It might have been the case of wine we brought down for the boys, or maybe it was the fabulous food of the local chefs, but the evening was one of great revelry and memories were created out of deep laughter.

Sailboat racers, surfers, bikers ….. and thank god for the morning after – coffee drinkers.  Bill – you are forever my hero for the espresso!

We all drank too much, ate too much, and laughed harder than we imagined possible.  Dueling iPods provided music and Bill, CC & Steve traded iPhone tricks and info.  I woke up next to my vitamins .. Cathy in her clothes.  Too much fun …………..

Quick check of the surf, not much happeing, and Steve and I jumped back in the Hummer for the drive north along the salt flats to San Ignacio Lagoon.