Happy Birthday To Me; Tour Of La Paz
A bus showed up at 9:00 this morning to take us on a tour of La Paz, a very different place from Cabo San Lucas, and the capital of Baja California Sur. As Eduardo, our tour guide described it, the economy of La Paz is 20% government employment, and the other 80% is tourism, with more and more cruise ships starting to stop here. The population is 375,000, with about 18,000 Canadians and Americans. At one time, there was a thriving pearl industry, until a combination of foreign overharvesting and a red tide wiped it out. There are still oysters here, but they no longer produce natural pearls, although a small business in cultured pearls exists. Here is the very first air compressor in the world, built to service the original pearl divers:
We toured the local history museum, which is very nicely done.
The black on the paintings portrays evil elements, and the red portrays good elements.
This is an original picture of Santa Rosalia, up the coast from here and site of the flash floods we drove through on the way down.
The smokestack you see on the right was used to vent the effluent from the copper-mining operation that was there at the time. Trouble is, it was too short, and the smoke killed thousands before they brought Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) over from France to design a much taller one.
Next, we visited the beautiful church:
The original Spanish roof was destroyed in a hurricane, and replaced by the French-designed roof that still exists today.
The next stop was at a famous local pottery shop, family owned and using designs passed down from generation to generation. Their products are only sold here, and every piece is hand-painted. Only the original clay powder is imported from Oaxaca in central Mexico. How could we not buy a few pieces?
We took a quick pass through the local market, where we found the spirit of Fred wandering around:
After returning to the RV park, Jeannine went for a swim and I awaited the return of the truck which picked up everyone’s laundry yesterday ($8.00 a bag, washed, dried and folded). At 4:00 there was a root beer float social, (at which I received a rousing “Happy Birthday to you” and a Margarita glass), followed by a community fire in the evening.
Tomorrow morning’s agenda (at least for 8 of us) includes an excursion to “swim with whale sharks”. Don’t worry, they have no teeth and are very docile. Should be interesting.