March 11

March 11

Misplaced Priorities: A Rant

We left Guerrero Negro at 10:00 this morning for the 4-hour drive to Bahia de Los Angeles. Along the way, we were waved through an agricultural inspection station as we crossed back into Baja California (the northern of the two states that make up the Baja Peninsula.) About an hour later, we underwent yet another military inspection; again, friendly but efficient, and everyone got away without having to make an unwilling donation to a gun-toting soldier. The consensus is that these guys are bored to death most of the time, and relish the chance to look inside the rigs and ask a lot of questions about them, while ostensibly searching for drugs. Two of the soldiers at this particular checkpoint must have done something to tick off their commander, as they were up by the command post making adobe bricks. Our feeling is that the government could make far better use of their time by setting them to work repairing some of the more atrocious stretches of highway.

One of the excuses that we hear over and over again is that the hurricane damage is to blame; truth is, the hurricane happened over four months ago, and the highway leading over to Bahia de Los Angeles still has several stretches where detours have been built around impassable damaged areas, but there is absolutely no evidence of any repair work being undertaken; not a solitary worker or machine in evidence anywhere.

Unfortunately, the same is true for the “beach camping” area we are in. The hurricane took out a boardwalk and large chunks of the sites on the beach, yet despite this having happened months ago, the day we arrive is the day that they decide to burn the piles of dead vegetation, leaving a couple of guys with shovels scrambling to douse the piles of hot ash as we are pulling in. The smell of smoke is everywhere, and the whole area is littered with broken glass. The owner did manage to string some electrical cords so we could have minimal power, but has given up trying to replace the buried cables and fixed electrical outlets after having had them vandalized 3 times for the copper. The beach is nice enough, but the general feeling among many of us is that the tour company should have checked this out before putting us here. The same can be said for several of the campgrounds we have been in. The excuse “It’s Mexico” is wearing thin.

Although many would disagree with me, I feel that, as much as I like much of what we have seen, and certainly the Mexican people themselves, Mexico, or at least this part of it, is in fact a Third World country, in that, despite the fact that this country sits on large oil reserves, there is still a huge economic imbalance between rich and poor, it cannot provide its people with universally potable drinking water, and it cannot provide a reliable electrical infrastructure. It’s too bad, because there is so much potential here. Thus endeth my rant.

That said, Bahia de Los Angeles is in a beautiful setting

DSC_0027

and if and when it ever gets back to its pre-hurricane state, with the buildings repaired and the beach restored to its natural condition, it could be a lovely place to spend time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that that is going to happen anytime soon

At 5:00 we gathered for a nachos social, and will be having dinner tomorrow at a restaurant opposite the beach.

 

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