The rules were simple: no computers, drives, power strips or thicket of cords. One carry-on backpack each, two books, two passports, swimwear. Shut off all thoughts centered around productivity, deadlines and goals. Embrace only sunlight, the empty expanse of time and an ocean in which to float …
It was remarkably good to be back down Mexico-way where, after landing in San Jose del Cabo, we traveled in a squiggly triangle across the southern end of Baja California Sur. We veered instinctively from the pulsing, necrotic party zone of Cabo San Lucas and headed north, towards Todo Santos as evening colored the sky, the lights of coastal towns floating in the distance, like phantom ships.
Around nine o’clock on New Year’s Eve, the bus finally pulled in and we found ourselves standing on La Paz’s quiet malecón. It was our first time in Baja California’s capital. And it was there that we discovered that with its mellow boardwalk, ocean breezes and healthy supply of world-class Piña Coladas, the city possessed a peaceful, sublime magic all its own.
We awoke the next day at the El Moro, a hotel situated at the north end of the town’s malecón. Our room was enormous by our minimalist standards (it rivaled the size of our entire apartment in Seattle), had its own private sun deck and a closet worthy of cartwheels. The real gem, however, was the pool. Bordered by thickets of hibiscus, it glistened in dappled sunlight, the water flowing around an island of towering palms. With one glance at the idyllic swinging bridge that bisected its mirage-like presence, we knew that we would have few complaints.
Antonio, bartender cum laude and 30-year-resident of La Paz served his signature fruity drinks with a warm smile and chatty remembrances of arriving in the city in the 1980’s, fresh from Chiapas. “It was real quiet then,” he said. “You know, back before it got so crazy like it is, now.”
We smiled at this, having just witnessed a virtually silent New Years Eve descend upon the placid city, the anemic pop of one, maybe two firecrackers at most, marking the midnight hour. Later, as we made our way to the hot tub, Antonio sauntered over with two more drinks. “I made too much, it shouldn’t go to waste,” he said with a shrug. “Disfruta. Invita la casa.” Enjoy. On the house. And so, we did.
Suffice it to say that during our stay in La Paz, we didn’t do much. The daily hunt for food was as taxing an endeavor as was allowed. Napping, reading and lounging in the sun rated much higher on the list and so it was fortunate that the one-and-a-half mile stroll down the malecón to the city center provided us with ample reason to walk, even if the final destination was merely another place to idle in the sand–such as an inviting, little beach bar next to the marina named, Stella’s…
By the time we packed up on the morning of the fifth day, we had obtained that which came for: rejuvenation. Our constantly spinning thoughts had dwindled to silence, our faces had color and our limbs were loose. We had fallen asleep at nine o’clock two nights in a row.
As we munched on tortas while waiting to board our bus south, we found ourselves sad to leave easy, little La Paz. But this was quickly overshadowed by our curiosity about what awaited us next, in a little-known place called, Cabo Pulmo.
More photos of La Paz ...