La Brouhaha Mexicana [4] : As planned as it gets

Chapter4: As planned as it gets.

{Previous Chapter: As Planned As It Gets}

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No wonder this place is cheap“, was one of my opening statement on Friday morning. Although, I managed to get some sleep in, but calling it a good night’s sleep would be a stretch. However, what was on my mind then was Cataviña. About two hundred and thirty miles from Ensenada, Cataviña is a small hamlet. At least eighty miles from any other human habitation, Cataviña serves as a pit stop for travelers on Mex-1 highway which connects the north of Baja California to Cabo San Lucas tip in the south.

Anyhow, Cataviña  was still some hours away. Leaving our motel, we went straight to the ‘zona touristica’ for some breakfast at Casa Del Sol, Lopez Mateos, 1004, Ensenada, BC, Mexico. Make no mistake, there is a reason for my crystal clear remembrance of this address. The owner there spoke pretty good English and asked us about our trip. He recommended us to go to Bahia De Los Angeles instead of Cataviña, about a hundred miles further south, stating his concerns about the nothingness that prevails in Cataviña and the surrounding areas. ‘Nothingness’, attracts both Ankit and me. It gels well with the point of life. However, technically speaking Cataviña had a unique desert landscape and some ancient rock paintings to its merit.

Leaving Ensenada before noon, we headed south on Mex-1 highway. The start of the ride was a bit slower with many stop signs interruptions, but we were in riding mode in no time. In a bit, as soon as we started drifting away from the pacific ocean, it started becoming hotter, and the need to shed some layers meant a pit stop. Lucky for us our first pit stop gave us something unique – a cactus ‘farm’ near San Vicente. The idea of growing cactus in a farm was alien to me and amused me to a great degree. When I think of cactus, I think of yellow, I think desolation, arid, prickly, loner and the likes, so looking at the organized rows of green cactus with a human beings working to grow them in ‘farms’ still captivates my imagination. A quick click and we moved on.

Cactus Farm

Do you think they would have ever met any Indians before in their whole life?“, asked Ankit. A deep question. He was refering to the two women sitting inside a “nieveria” (ice cream and snow shop), in Colonet, seventy miles from Ensenada. “What do you think they do here all day? I mean how do they live?“, Ankit went on. I was busy enjoying the ‘Aguas de fruta’, a fruit drink and ‘frutas frescas’, fresh fruits.

We should ask them

But how can we ask?”

Hmm, ‘have you’ is ‘tienes’, ‘to see’ is ‘ver’, ‘Indian’ is – referring to the dictionary – ‘Indio’, and ‘before’ is ‘antes de‘”

So lets go and ask.”

Senora, ummmm… tienes ver Indio antes de

Indio de La India? {Indian from the Inida?}”, she asked not to get confused from Indian from America I suppose.

Si

No.“, came an unenthusiastic response.

Dude! they have never met one before, no Indian would have ever stepped a foot in this shop“, remarked an enthusiastic Ankit. He was much more ecstatic meeting someone who had never met an Indian before, than them who had actually never met an Indian before. It was all Colonet had for us that day. Back on our bikes and we moved on.

Ice cream and another shop in Colonet.

I feel at home in Mexico“, I had exclaimed to a friend of mine before the trip started. What else would you call a place where you can find sweet mangoes. To add to the joy, what bliss if its being sold by a beautiful lady with a name as sweet as the mangoes. Ankit and I both were extremely happy to talk to ‘Marijuce’. We even offered her a slice of a mango we had just brought from her. A couple of more sentences, and then she said something, something like, “gusto moto“. A pause. “Si“, I replied. Another pause. “Si“, smiled Ankit. We had no clue what she was saying. I now know that she was trying to say that she likes motorcycles :).

Marijuce selling mangoes

Leaving Camalu we passed through San Quintin which was close to a nice bay accessible by five miles of dirt road, but it was already past four in the evening and we were getting late. We decided against it and went straight to El Rosario, the last gas station on Mex-1, for the next three hundred miles. Having a late lunch at Mama Espinoza, where we were shocked to find a twenty dollar burrito, we moved on towards Cataviña.

Cataviña (pronounced as Catavinia), was about eighty miles from El Rosario. Eighty miles of pure desert vegetation. Not like the desserts I had seen before, where all one sees growing are desert shrubs, but seventy miles of myriad cacti. Although, frequent stop irks Ankit, he has realized I would stop nonetheless. On my part I do try not to, but to not stop where the surrounding demands it would be mean, and I ain’t no mean person. How could I not stop when I first saw my ‘cacti hill’. A minute up the hill and I could easily notice ten different varieties of cacti. Click, click, click… click. “Oh there is a different one there“. Click. The nothingness of Cataviña was coming to bloom. This was only the start. With the changing hues of the sky, changed the desert vegetation. The sun kept on lowering, the cacti rising. However, soon enough the glory infused by the resplendent cacti on the barren desert floor was sopped up by the setting sun into an impregnable darkness. Then nothingness prevailed.

We reached Cataviña half an hour past sunset. Although, I was expecting Cataviña to be small town, given the font size on the map, it manage to surpass my expectations – being smaller than I expected it to be. We were to spend the night at Model Linda. Being first to reach there, we were given the best room – the only room which had seating just outside the door, a derelict car seat. Buying ‘aguas de fruta’ to drink from the only shop of Cataviña, we spent away few hours sitting and admiring the nothingness there. Soon, the silence of the night was broken by a big familiy – father, mother, sister, grand mother, grand father, kid one, kid two, kid three, kid four, kid five – when they were given the two room next to ours. We were told that the light would be switched off at eleven in the night. Little did we know that, that also included the two fans in our room. But, then it did not matter. We slowly dozed off to sleep finishing off a well planned day.

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