Santa Rosalia and Muleje, Baja
We wake up and hit the San Ignacio town centro first hoping for water and veggies, but most everything is still closed so we got nothing more than a good look at the beautiful central town square. We head out and after another hour of arid, high desert driving the mountains dump us out directly along the sea. The last leg downhill is an in-your-face reminder of the impact of tourism upon countries without the size or infrastructure to deal with it. Miles of landfill and construction which then merge into work being done to reopen the copper mine that made Santa Rosalia thrive back in the day. We pass through the mayhem and then into Santa Rosalia's centro. This place is huge, and everything we could possibly want or need can be found here. Only problem is that is it swelteringly hot and we aren't sure we can make it from the tortilliaria (clearly, the first shop) up the street to other shops. Luckily the mini super is pumping the A/C and we get our fill of produce and spices. Its easy to get used to fresh handmade bread straight from the oven, freshly pressed tortillas and steak sliced off while you wait…especially when its all a small fraction of the price we are used to paying back home.
We leave town with one last stop for a garrafon of water, and hit a few RV parks that we had read looked like a nice place to spend a few days. We also thought that while they might be a bit too crowded with "permanents" (full-timers), that we could at least enjoy a bit of company. We circle through, jump in the water and leave with the eerie feeling that something just isn't right. While all the RVs, mobile homes and trailers are still here (and the carefully conch-lined patios are still intact) most of the windows are boarded up and we didn't see a single person- or any sign of one recently.
Thus far, we have yet to camp with a single other traveller and we are amazed by how very vacant all of baja seems to be outside of locals. We knew that we shouldn't expect crowds since we are here in the off season, and with the obvious reduction of tourism in the last few years…but not a single soul so far and we are half way down baja- thats a daily surprise to us. We look forward to meeting a few other travelers, sharing stories and learning about their adventures!
We continue on to Mulege', which we have heard is a VW mecca…but to our surprise we don't see a single one in town. This town is more our speed however, still large enough to find what we need but a bit smaller and feels even more quaint due to the fact that its streets are almost chiseled into the hillsides. The only reason we don't stay in town is that its a mountain away from the ocean and you can't swim in the river that runs through (and we are still sweating profusely since Santa Rosalia).
We stop for a tequila/internet to decide on our next campspot, and jen haggles for a watermelon at better-than-local prices as we return to the bus. A few miles out of town we come around the bend, drop back to the waters of Bahia Concepcion and hit the first beach to find a palapa to call our own and settle in.