Monday, August 26, 2013

Baja Sur, August 10-18

This has been the most packed few months I've maybe ever had.  It started in early July with a trip to Yosemite, then I went to SIGGRAPH, then Yosemite again, then Baja, next friends visiting SF, and finally I'm leaving for Burning Man in two days.  I have pages of notes from Baja but will likely never publish them, so here are some takeaways from the trip.  Now if my cough would only go away before I hit the playa...

Fingernails grow fast when not biting them at my desk in a dark cubicle, and I like when my brain moves slower without computers in my face all day.

There are no gas stations anywhere even close to a dirt road on the East Cape.

Don't touch the bottom when surfing a reef break.  Ouch.

The Cabo San Lucas coast guard apparently don't like it when you snorkel out into the open water near large boats.

Stay away from downtown Cabo.  It is painfully touristy and gross.
Rent a car and bring snorkel gear rather than take an expensive boat with limited time in the water.

Trust the young, tough-looking local locksmith when he says your locked out car won't be broken into despite everyone saying it will.  He probably has connections and helped you out.

Driving on washboard for an hour (or two) rocks your core.

Most of the good things on East Cape require driving on washboard.

Speaking of driving, dirt roads suck, but aren't nearly as scary as eroded paved roads where they will unexpectedly drop off into a car-destroying put 6 inches from your tire.

Margaritas are best with fresh squeezed oranges and home grown limes.

Coastal rainstorms at 3am are spectacular if not disorienting.

Palapas are not waterproof.

Palapa cough lasts longer than you'd expect.

Tom Curren makes a mean surfboard.

It is best to follow your instinct and not trust the illegal cock fighting ring leader's request for a ride for himself and his  large backpack wielding friend when he stops your car on an otherwise desolate dirt road.

Eating regular meals is a good thing, but when in doubt, having peanut butter, bread, nuts, and Lara Bars go a long way.

The best way to check the surf is by opening your eyes and tiling your head.

Be weary of stray dogs.  Some are nice, others are nicer, and others like to get rowdy and bite after being nice.

Octopuses are the most amazing thing to see while snorkeling.  Nothing else compares.

Packrafts are an indispensable adventure tool, but kind of scary in open water with two people and a (literal) boatload of gear.

Even in quiet artsy towns, people will try to screw you over and make you pay too much for things.

Small beach breaks are good at breaking toes and tweaking knees at the end of a trip.

Old hippie couples living off the grid in the scorching Mexican desert are the quintessential model for self-reliance and are inspiring to spend time with.

It took meditating on a scary reef break surf every day for me to find comfort in the waves, but when it came, I enjoyed surfing more than I ever have.

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