Friday 1st July to Monday 4th July
After my extremely leisurely breakfast and mini guided tour, it was gone 2pm when I finally left Ensenada. As my destination for the day wasn’t far and I had plenty of hours of daylight left, I decided to check out a tourist attraction around 40km’s south of Ensenada.
La Bufadora is one of the largest marine geysers in the world, and is caused by the breaking of waves against a cave that is at the bottom of a cliff, reaching a height of up to 65 feet! I nearly turned around and went back before even looking at it, as the sheer sight of all the tourists and the related tat stalls that accompany them was enough to turn me off and have me running for the hills! But I decided that while I was there I may as well see it, and while horrifically touristy and commercialised, it proved to be an amusing visit nonetheless.
My first mission was to make my way down ‘tat alley’, which was put in such a place that everyone who visited La Bufadora was forced to walk down it. I on the other hand decided to ride down it, which was rather entertaining. People offered samples of churros and other nibbles, so I happily indulged in some drive-by snacking, while waving and chatting to the people that called out to me as I rode past their various stalls.
I found a place to park my bike for 20 pesos, with the promise that it was ‘muy seguro aqui’, and walked the short distance to the natural attraction that everyone had come to see. I heard it before I saw it, as the most incredible thunderous sound came from the bottom of the cliff, before a huge spout of water shot up high in to the air, quickly coming down and soaking all the bystanders who laughed and screamed in equal measure.
It was rather entertaining, but the most amusing thing for me was the Mexican guy behind me, who insisted on playing his guitar through a cranked up amplifier, essentially drowning out the incredible natural sound that was being played before us. It was sad really, I know people need to make a living, but it was like they didn’t know how to present and appreciate nature and all its beauty. Every man and their dog was cashing in on this natural wonder, and sadly for me they’d ruined it, but as always I saw the comical side and accepted it for what it was.
Happy to leave the chaos and crowds behind, I enjoyed the ride back to the main road, and continued my journey south to San Quintin. It was sunny and just the right temperature, and the road took me winding through the mountains, past some beautiful scenery.
I’d planned to stop at a campground just outside of town, but after pulling over to refuel my plan suddenly changed. I normally just ride until the fuel runs out, as I carry two extra gallons in my front basket, but worried that it would happen on a stretch of road that had no shoulder, I decided to pull in to a lay-by. It was while filling up that I got intercepted, and a very welcome interception at that! A couple in a truck with a motorcycle and quad bike in the back beeped as they drove past, then turned around and came back to check that I was OK.
We greeted each other in Spanish, before the male of the couple asked in accented English if I was OK and where I was from. Assuming that he was Mexican, and always replying to people in Spanish regardless of if they speak to me in English, I replied ‘Inglaterra’, and got a very confused look in return. ‘Where?’ he said again. ‘Inglaterra’ I replied. I got another confused look followed by him asking ‘Do you speak English?!’ ‘Yeah’, I replied, ‘I’m English!’ ‘Oh!’ he said, ‘We’re from Poland!’ It made me laugh, no wonder he hadn’t had a clue what I said.
After confirming that I was OK and was just fuelling up (they even offered me some fuel thinking that I needed some), Kinga and Tom asked where I was going, and confirmed that they were also going to San Quintin. Kinga asked if I knew of any places to stay, and I said I was headed for a campground just north of town. She then said that there were some cheap hotel rooms available, but when she said that they were only $35 my heart sank. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘Unfortunately my total budget for everything is only $20’. Then without missing a beat Kinga said ‘Well come to our hotel and we’ll pay for your room!’ ‘Really?!’ I said, somewhat gob-smacked. ‘Yeah! Come and join us! There are more bikers there too’. I couldn’t believe it, it was so incredibly kind and thoughtful. And with that my plan was changed. They gave me their number and the address of the hotel, before waving goodbye and driving off down the road. ‘Well, I thought, ‘that’s a turn up for the books!’
An hour or so later I rolled in to the grounds of the hotel, only to be told that there weren’t any Polish people by the names of Tom and Kinga staying there. I momentarily wondered if I’d been duped, until I called Tomas and he told me that they were in the hotel next door! Phew! Tom and Kinga greeted me as I arrived, along with their friends Donna, Ricky and Rich, who were all on motorcycles. It turned out that they’d all been visiting Don Eddie’s Landing over the July 4th weekend for many years, and that Ricky and Kinga both raced motorcycles in the desert together. Needless to say I had a soft spot for Kinga after discovering that; a girl that races motorcycles in the desert is a girl after my own heart!
Tom and Kinga were originally from Poland, but were now living in California where they’d been for over 16 years. They had both finished school and were studying law, when they quickly realised that there was little to no opportunity for them in Poland. Sadly when it came to getting a job it wasn’t what you knew but who you knew, so they decided to head to the land of opportunity for a better life. And they most certainly achieved that. They essentially arrived with nothing, but worked hard, made an effort to learn English and integrate in to society, successfully created their own thriving business, and also had a family. I had the utmost respect for them for what they’d achieved, and it just went to show that if you have the ambition and determination, you can achieve anything you set your heart and mind to.
Not only did they pay for a bed for me, but they also bought me dinner that night too. I couldn’t believe it. I was also taken aback when Kinga asked what I was planning for the following day. ‘We can go to the beach, sun bathing, surfing, whatever you want!’ ‘Looks like I’m staying for the weekend then!’ I thought, surprised but certainly not complaining about the turn of events.
As if a bed and dinner wasn’t enough, Kinga and Tom insisted on buying me breakfast the following morning, before we jumped in to their truck and headed down to the beach. We picked up a hitch-hiker on the way there, which turned out to be a rather amusing and interesting diversion. Antonio sat in the back of the truck, happily singing away as we bounced our way down the heavily corrugated dirt road to his ‘casa’. I spotted a rather dirty bottle of water in his hand, so I gave him the rest of mine, which he eagerly accepted with a ‘Thank you’.
It turned out Antonio spoke rather good English, and he explained that his house wasn’t far, just a bit further down another sandy dirt road by the water. He explained that his wife was away at the moment, and naively expecting to turn a corner and see his lovely waterfront property, I was rather surprised when he told us to stop next to a home-made shack. ‘My casa!’ He exclaimed proudly.
Antonio’s house was made of wood, plastic bottles, cardboard, and anything else that you could think of. He jumped out of the truck, and insisted on showing us his fishing operation.
A line of bottles ran along the coastline, and on further inspection we saw that they were attached to a net. Antonio fascinated me. I wanted to know all about his life and what had brought him to live here, but with Tom obviously keen to get moving, I decided not to engage in what could be a lengthy conversation. We wanted to give him some water, but as we only had beer we offered him one of those instead. He said he didn’t drink much any more, but gratefully accepted it, and continued to serenade us as we said goodbye and drove off back in the direction we’d come from.
It’s funny the people you see and meet on the road. People have such different lives, which is easy to forget when you’re so absorbed in living your own one. When you travel you cross paths with people that you wouldn’t normally cross paths with, and sometimes you can’t even begin to comprehend what their life must be like. It certainly makes you aware and grateful for what you have, but we also need to remember that just because people have less in terms of what we can see, doesn’t mean that they don’t have more in other non-materialistic areas of their lives.
After a very bumpy ride we finally arrived at the beach, and proceeded to have a very lazy and enjoyable afternoon. I’ve always said that I hate sunbathing, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed lounging in the sun, not to mention my little snooze under my umbrella.
Knowing that Ed wasn’t too far behind me I’d asked if he wanted to join us for the weekend, and after riding round for ages trying to find us, he eventually came bounding down the beach, sand flying everywhere. It turns out that there are a lot of brilliant sandy trails in the area, and Ed had a great time playing on them.
The same can’t be said for poor Tom’s truck however, which struggled to get up all of the trails we attempted to take to leave the beach. They were all uphill with deep sandy patches, and with all the weight up front and too much power, the truck banged, shook and shuddered violently, throwing us around in the process.
Thankfully we finally made it up one, and headed back to Don Eddie’s where Ed and I managed to get a room together overlooking the water. We could just about afford it between us, and with Tom and Kinga insisting on paying for all of our meals and drinks for the entire time that we were there (Kinga announced on Saturday night that they were going to be our sponsors for the weekend) we were able to stay two nights together in total, and had a great impromptu mini holiday.
Kinga and Tom were excellent company, and we hit the beach together again on the Sunday. It was another gloriously lazy and relaxing time, even though it was baking hot and rather windy. Before you knew it your towel was covered in sand, and applying sun-cream became equivalent to rubbing yourself with 90 grit sand paper!
Ed doesn’t really do relaxing very well, so while we were being lazy, he took the opportunity to have a play on Tom’s quad, arriving after us grinning from ear to ear and covered head to toe in wet sand.
Kinga was equally as lazy as me, having a rather lengthy sleep in the sun, but in her defence she did summon up the energy to have a surf later in the day.
Ed was incredibly hot and tired after blasting around on the beach on the quad, so he decided to risk an ice-cream from one of the many vendors that drive up and down the length of the beach, ringing their bells and playing music. ‘I wish I’d filmed that!’ Ed said, as he returned laughing holding a Banana Split. You see the ice-cream vans in Mexico aren’t quite like the ones you get in England. This one, for example, was a banged up old Toyota van, completely stripped out with just a cooler and a table in it. As the guy knelt on the floor he put an old banana in a container, before opening up the cooler to reveal two tubs of ice-cream that you get in the supermarket. Add some chopped nuts and a couple of wafers, and voila! one Banana Split. Ed wasn’t quite so sure about the cleanliness of the whole operation, but he was happy to take the risk on this occasion.
After being sufficiently roasted and rested, we returned to Don Eddie’s early evening, to discover an all you can eat seafood buffet was on offer. Of course Kinga and Tom insisted on paying for it for the both of us, despite us insisting. Tom actually said that he was going to get upset if we kept trying to pay, but being polite and British we just had to insist every time! I think he also got a bit fed up with us saying thank you repeatedly, but I’m always so incredibly grateful when someone performs a random act of kindness for me, that I feel the need to express just how thankful and grateful I am, and that their kindness and generosity is never expected. I blame being British and being raised properly. I’ve always been taught to have manners, and I take pride in having them, but maybe I need to learn to be a little more gracious when it comes to receiving things. I guess at the end of the day these random acts of kindness mean a lot to me, and I naturally want to express that.
And so after another lovely evening of good food, great company, and a few cocktails in the bar, it was time to say farewell to our newfound friends and spontaneous sponsors. They were off early in the morning back to California, and we were continuing our journey south. We’d had such a wonderful weekend, and it wouldn’t have been made possible had it not been for their incredible selfless kindness and generosity. You meet many wonderful people when travelling, but some stand out more than others, and Tom and Kinga are most certainly up there with some of the most special and kind people that I’ve ever met. Thanks to them we had a brilliant weekend, and they further reinforced the fact that the world is generally a good place full of good people. You just have to get out there and find them, or in this serendipitous case, let them find you.