A seven hour bus trip away from Mulegé stood La Paz, a city we hoped to not only explore, but also to serve as a base for us as we looked to some activities, and day trip to surrounding towns/cities.
It was our hope to be there by early afternoon, giving us time to find a room, a feed, and then perhaps explore a little before bed.
Some things you cannot control however, and on route to La Paz, like back in Las Vegas, that most weird of desert occurrences took place.
Other than for the novelty of it all, we didn’t give it much thought, until we got to our first delay.
Part of the road had washed away, and the rest was under a freshly formed river.
Cars were halting, but our large vehicle gave it a go, with the edge of the now brittle road a little close to our coach for comfort!
It felt a close thing, but reality was, we were likely ok (although had we tipped, I’m sure I’d be saying differently).
With this large obstacle down, we continued on, until we were by all accounts only 20 minutes out of La Paz when we were again stopped. This time by a large queue of vehicles.
Here we found ourselves forced to wait for over an hour, as another section of road, this amidst some attempted road works, was now narrowed to a single lane. Here, single cars were given preference, so it was a long wait indeed for any truck or bus (I should spare a thought for northbound traffic, as not a single vehicle was given passage in our entire wait there).
Eventually we were given the green light to continue on, finally getting to the outskirts of the city where we continued to traverse newly formed channels of water.
As we finally arrived in La Paz much later than expected, we’d had plenty of down time whilst in transit to look for economical options in our Lonely Planet so as we could then quickly turn our attention to dinner (our 7 and half hour journey actually took about 10 hours), so we settled on the Pension California. Such a lovely place…
In truth, it was pretty good. Described as something of a meat locker, with padlocks on doors and concrete furniture, whilst the base facts are true, there was much less coldness in this place than one would imagine.
It was very quiet however, and not until our last night there did we really see any other guests.
But now, more pressing needs were to be met, and for dinner, conveniently located outside the pension, stood a well recommended taco stand, so it was there we went.
Their Tacos Pescado had been written up as one of the top 4 in Baja, so it was naturally these that we opted for.
Whilst the servings were large, and the available toppings plentiful, we were a little underwhelmed given the good rap they’d received. The tortillas were quick to split, the fish was not as juicy and hot as our Mulegé experience… but, given it was late in the day, we still happily woofed them down, and thought to reserve our judgement for another time.
The rains had well and truly passed, so we took the chance to hit the waterfront, stroll along the Malecon and stretch our legs.
It wasn’t the worst time of the day for this exercise as well, the setting sun certainly provided a lovely back drop.
Time was taken to refresh ourselves with the aid of a couple of cold Pacifico’s, and after the golden sky had darkened, we were off to bed.
The plan for the following day was simple. Arrange a couple of side trips, one to swim with the Whale Sharks, another to Isla Espiritu Santo, explore a little, then find a nice spot at which to watch the Netherlands vs Argentina match, whilst also possibly enjoying a beer or two.
We remained surprised by how few people seemed to be about (both local and tourist, although the few tourists we did see, were all Mexicans), but after checking out a few operators, we found a place that would actually bundle the Whale Sharks & Espiritu Santo on the one trip.
With that sorted, we hoped to find a place with a bit of a crowd and atmosphere for the game, but also wasn’t too steep on the beer prices.
The lack of people about severely hindered part A of that desire, so we settled on Harker Boards, which as well as serving locally brewed Baja beer, also doubled as the hire place for stand up paddle boards.
We settled down for a beer, only to realise we were an hour ahead of kickoff (damn these changing timezones). Oh well, we utilised the extra time to partake of their beer & pizza offer which lead to the following (perhaps deep) thought.
Is a Mexicana pizza in Mexico considered Foreign, Local, or Fusion cuisine??
The next couple of days we spent primarily on side trips.
First, we made our way to Cabo San Lucas to check out Lands End & the Arch, before the aforementioned day trip out to the Isla Espiritu Santo.
As such, most of time in La Paz over these days focused on dinner, sunset and the odd beer!
By Saturday we were ready to move on, so we made the morning trek to the Baja Ferries office, hoping to get tickets to try and book for that evenings boat to Topolobampo (in truth, we’d tried the evening before, got to the office just before closing, only to realise we’d forgotten our Passports!)
With success in that endeavour, it was time again (in truth, we had plenty of time as the ferry was at 11pm) to find a venue for the football, this time to watch the Dutch again as they made sure the hosts Brazil truly left their home tournament with a whimper.
A local evening bus got us to the ferry, and it was time to bid farewell to the Baja Peninsula.