3 – "Hey, Nice tits!" – Welcome to Cabo San Lucas – Baja …

3: “Hey, Nice tits!” – Welcome to Cabo San Lucas

29 August 2002
I am presently sitting at Tanga Tanga, a beer to be bought for me by a guy who thinks I have nice tits. Huh, thanks.

See you in Cabo!
I woke at 9:30 A.M. after another restless night at San Jose’s Posada Sr. Manana. I decided to spring for a place with air conditioning in Cabo San Lucas (CSL). No more sweaty nights… for now.

The Aguila bus station is about a 20-minute walk from the hotel with no relief from the sun. The sun-baked pavement was blindingly bright. I hiked down to the station and as luck would have it just missed the bus – so I hopped on a regular intercity bus that stops along the corridor, taking about a half hour to get to Cabo San Lucas and only cost about 9 pesos.

I exited the bus only a couple blocks from the oasis: Hotel Melida, 300 pesos and right near the center: air con, 2 bottles of water in the room – perfect!

I slathered myself in sun-block and readied for a trip out to Lover’s Beach out by Land’s End, the southernmost point of the Baja Peninsula. But first a walk around town to get myself oriented. As it turned out this did not take long as Cabo, despite its big reputation, is quite small.

Street Food Rocks
I cannot stress how good the food is from the sidewalk vendors! And so cheap. I wandered down a side street and at one cart a queue formed, which to me says “Eat Here Now!”

I am a vegetarian. Or rather I should say, at home I am a vegetarian. Not for any religious or karmic reasons, but for nutritional reasons (and the fact that really, I just cannot afford to buy meat… okay, if the meat is free, then perhaps I’ll eat it because, hey, it’s free and a girl’s gotta eat). And since I’ve been doing it for so long now, it’s stuck. But not while traveling. I’ve found that it is virtually impossible in most countries to remain a budget traveler and a vegetarian at the same time. And Mexico is no exception.

Mole con rajas. Mole is a chocolaty sauce usually served over chicken. I’ve had it once before and when I saw it was served over rajas, which I thought to be peppers, my vegetarian spidey sense perked up and I ordered it, munching it right there on the sidewalk with the locals. Oh, and it had chicken in it, but what the hell, life is too short – so I enjoyed it with some hot salsa on top.

The Search for Aire Condicionado and A Word to the New
I was not ready for the beach yet, must wait a half hour or something after eating right? So, feeling a bit like an internet run I found a place with incredibly slow net but wicked cheap on a side street off CSL’s main drag, Blvd Marina.

The air conditioning was lovely and at 18.75 pesos was a steal. Fortunately for me the ATM only disperses 200 peso bills and the clerk could not change it…so I got 45 minutes of internet for the spare change in my pocket, 15 pesos (US$1.50).

CSL, on the surface, is all gloss and neon. You cannot walk four steps without “hola chica” machismo or a sales pitch from some sidewalk “Information” guy or other. I already know I am not time-share material (oh, so sad) but I am tequila, golf, and fake silver bracelet material.

A word to the new: those guys hawking bracelets? Actually drug dealers who do a bit of pimping out young Mexican girls on the side. While strolling down the waterfront malecon looking for a boat to take me to Lover’s Beach I was approached by a young man with said bracelets. After an unsuccessful sale of shoddy jewelry or authentic Mexican massage (my lucky day) he whipped out a dime bag of grass. Which I answered with “Not a fucking chance in hell.”

Don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see the inside of a Mexican jail or see my bank account drained by entrepreneurial policemen. And I’m not spending my cash on the same stuff I have at home.

Glass-Bottom Boat

There’s an Elephant in here somewhere…

I was searching for a glass-bottom boat to take me out to El Arco and Lover’s Beach. Didn’t take me long, as a nice salesman tried to sell me on 100 pesos with return.

“What? 10 bucks? Where’s the other guy?”

He answers, “What other guy?”

“The man with the blue shirt who told me $5 including return. He was here like 15 minutes ago.” Complete bullshit. But I was not paying $10 for a choppy boat ride around a freakin’ rock plastered all over postcards and postage stamps.

“50 pesos! No, can’t do $5. It’s $10 round trip.”

“No thanks, gracias man.” And I walked away. He called out.

“Is it just you? Solo?”

Gotcha. “Si, solo.”

“$8 for you – but only for you. Come with me.”

Acting all uncertain, which I still kind of was, thinking I was getting scammed even though I thought I’d done the scamming, I followed, hemmed and hawed until others signed up for the ride at $10 each round trip. Score.

El Arco, the big cheese of Land’s End rocks. This side, Sea of Cortez. That side, Pacific Ocean.

And it was totally worth every penny. In fact I still recommend paying the full $10. I blew half a roll of film on the gorgeous rock formations (El Arco, Upside Down Baja, La Tortuga, the elephant that to this day I still cannot see) the sandstone itself calling out “Climb me!”

The tour was a hoot. At a populated snorkeling area we stopped and the captain named and pointed out fish through the glass viewing area on the bottom of the boat. My boating companions and I, all from Southern California as it turned out (Indio and Redondo Bch respectively), peered down into the sea below in awe like little children. I definitely recommend a glass-bottom boat ride.

To Lover’s Beach
We circled the official “Land’s End”, a bit of rock peeking out of the surf which delineates not only the very southern point of the peninsula but also the line between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.

On the Pacific side is a stretch of clean white sand known as Divorce Beach. You can walk from Lover’s to Divorce in a few steps. Divorce Beach is great for sunbathing and relaxing, but swimming is not recommended as many tourists drown in the tumultuous rips each year. I could tell just by the crashing waves that a swim on the Divorce side was not in my itinerary.

Lover’s Beach… if you peak through the rocks you can see Divorce Beach on the other side.

I disembarked at Lover’s Beach with Tina and Jared from Redondo Beach, California. We swam, snorkeled and relaxed in the shade of the sandstone rocks (perfect for climbing if the walls weren’t so dirty) while talking about trips to Thailand and Australia.

Tina and Jared were celebrating their 3-year wedding anniversary with a week in Cabo. Jared was sad to hear that the surf was hot at Costa Azul yesterday as he brought his board with him and until yesterday the surf was flat. As they were leaving the next day, the board was already packed up and ready to go.

We parted ways at the dock. I headed back to wash the Sea of Cortez out of my hair and literally chill in the beautiful air-conditioned room at Hotel Melida.

Dinner, Drinks and Ron
Around 7 P.M. I decided it was time to wander and find a choice location for a spot of dinner, drinks and diary updating. While trolling the strip and gazing into such empty overrated hot spots as El Squid Roe and Cabo Wabo I finally decided on my first choice: Tanga Tanga.

Tanga Tanga, believe it or not, is the first place mentioned in the horridly out-of-date Baja California Lonely Planet. I usually avoid LP-rated restaurants and bars, because they are often the most touristy joints in town. However while passing by this all-outdoor bar a few times today and seeing it filled with an equal mix of Mexicans and gringos, I decided to stop in for a cerveza.

And who did I happen to sit next to, but the “nice tits” guy.

Funny that. See, I’d thought he said “nice tat.” On my right bicep I have a self-designed tribal tattoo which never fails to get a mention or an appreciative gaze, even in the overly PC, non-machismo U.S. So I returned the compliment with a “hey thanks man” and kept on my way.

I find myself sitting at the bar, waiting for the bartender to notice little ol’ me and Ron sits down, flipping out because I said thanks to his tits comment. So I played along because in all honesty, this 50-something’s dirty old man comment made me laugh. And as a result my first Pacifico was paid for and I got to speak to him about his expatriation. Ron now sells sunscreen to tourists. Yeah, this sunburned city would be the place for it.

A mariachi band plays a few feet over and fights with the gringo station pumping sorely out-of-date hits from the 1970s. Ron and his mate Carlos stumble off, giving me a business card for if I ever return to Cabo. Yeah, sure. As I am planning on deserting this place for the quiet anonymity of Todos Santos tomorrow I doubt that will happen.

Final Thoughts
I am not impressed with the tourist influence in CSL. The main streets are covered in KFC’s, McDonalds and everything else from north of the border. Everyone speaks English to accommodate the Canadian and American influx of sun-soaked ignorance. But for me, I’ve loved wandering the streets a few blocks north of Blvd Marina, taking in the local living and enjoying a spot of people watching, one of CSL’s official sports.

I was definitely not impressed when Ron returns to ask if I want to “party” with him and Carlos.

“Um. No.”

If I wanted to party I’d have stayed home. Honest, the type of people that love Cabo are not the types I want to party with.

A guy sat next to me after Ron and Carlos vacated and told me how he’s been vacationing in CSL for 10 years as it is one of the hottest destinations for sport fishermen. When I asked him what I should do in Todos Santos, he had no clue as to where it even was.

Tourist.

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