Friday, July 25, 2008

Baja Tuesdays...A Journey Through Hilarity

*Horse power, horsepower and the Secret in the Sand*
A Photographic Odyssey
Part 1- Horse power

Wednesday morning dawned bright and early in Los Cabos. Being a fishing village, and a tourist attraction for the large sport fish those waters held, dawn and dusk were the busiest times of day. Hundreds of boats of all sizes departed at sunrise and then returned home again at sunset with their catch, or at the very least, with flag adorned masts denoting which great fish were caught, and subsequently released, on the days journey. We loved to wake up at 6am and watch them getting their gear together and loading the boats. Then, like a signal had gone off to all of them at once, the engines would roar to life and they would streak out of the harbor and melt into the sunrise. The day has officially begun.
This afternoon we have scheduled a private horseback ride at sunset at a ranch not too far from Cabo. We spend the morning at the beach club, humiliate ourselves in and out of the water taxi, and then meet up with a local company for a quick glass bottomed boat tour out to Los Arcos, or The Arch.
I absolutely LOVE boating. Have I mentioned that? LOVE it. I could very happily live on a boat for the rest of my life. A small one though- not one of those cruise ships. Those are scary. Anyway- So, once again we're in a crappy little wooden boat bouncing through the choppy waves out of the marina, and I am in 7th heaven. Couldn't be happier, honestly. See? Here's a picture of me joking around with the guide (another good looking Mexican whose name is sadly forgotten).

If you ignore the fact that I look hungover, which I assure you, I was NOT- then you can clearly see how delighted I am. Ahem, anyway- This really was one of my favorite fun things because A. it was free, B. it was cool (I'm talking temps here) and C. we were able to meet many of the natives up close and personal. See below.

You kind of wonder what is being said in this conversation....

A crabby friend who promptly pinched our guide...and of course,

The real wildlife.

The view was also amazing and the sea, indescribable. It's impossible to explain the color and the beauty of it except to say what I said many times on the boat that day, it's just like in the pictures you always see of tropical places. They aren't kidding or using photoshop. It's really that color.

Moving on. Our group departs after the tour and we head back to the hotel to eat and prepare for our sunset ride. Eileen and I have been looking forward to this since long before we left for Mexico and have actually paid for this, so it better be good. (This post is going to be heavy on pictures and light on literature- hope no one minds)
I'd like to introduce you to Jimmie.

Jimmie is a BIG palomino gelding full of 'espirito', which is what I had Dave request in Spanish upon arriving at the ranch. I'm not some city chick (in spite of my love for handbags and shoes) who's never been on a horse, and my biggest apprehension about this tour was that I'd get stuck with a plodder. So we requested espirito, muy espirito, and that's exactly what we got.
Jimmie was a giant and he HAD to be in the front. He looks sweet in this picture, and in fact he was, but he was happiest when running full tilt down the beach at a hundred miles per hour. I was happiest that way too, but since our guide Jose' had risked his neck letting me do it, I only got one chance at it. You'll have to ask Eileen about the whole episode as Ryan (the one with the camera) did not get any pictures as he was out buying a muffin.
Eileen got the plodder, unfortunately, and ended up tethered to the guide's saddle and being literally pulled down the beach against the very adamant convictions of the beast in question.
Dave and Ryan were given horses with zero personality, which I'm sure Ryan appreciated. He suffered a slight 'wardrobe malfunction' in that he opted to wear thin, quick-dry pants with no 'protection' against the abusive saddle.
At a walk we were fine, but the minute the guide picked up speed Jimmie jumped against the lead horses hindquarters in an attempt to shove it out of his way, Eileen's horse (being towed by the guide) was unintentionally and perpetually in Big Jim's way and Eileen and I were knocking together like the abused cohoney's of the guy behind us, that being Ryan. Dave followed along on his personality-free nag and yelled conversational spanish from 20 feet behind the guide. The wind was blowing, the surf was pounding and it was almost impossible to have a conversation no matter what language you were speaking, but it was indescribably important to Dave to ask this kid about everything under the sun, at which point the kid would turn around so he could hear Dave, Jimmie would make a grab for the front seat, Eileen's horse would pick up some centrifugal force and spin around behind the guide and the guide's own horse, who was the idiot among them all, would begin to dance around like a bolt had come loose somewhere. Ryan's horse, just for fun, would stand still and bounce in place, having discovered the secret of his riders misery and assumingly, enjoying the sound of whimpering.
At some point it became more than obvious that Eileen's little legs were too short for the stirrups. This was evidenced by the fact that aforementioned legs were bouncing along at a 90 degree angle to her hips, like a tiny lego-lady, bent in half. The stirrups were shortened as much as possible, but resulted in the same effect, and so for Eileen, the ride was over.
Jose' radioed back to the ranch and just as the sun was setting, rescue came. Eileen and the ranch owner blazed off together on his ATV, she clinging to his back as they roared over the dunes. We could hear the screaming laughter for miles and Dave suddenly looked as if the dangers of this situation were only now becoming known to him, like a candy had suddenly turned sour in his mouth, the idea of his Sweetie pie alone with a bunch of wrangling Mexicans surprised him and apparently didn't sit well.
He was quiet (which, for Dave, means a less animated conversation) for the rest of the ride. Ryan's horse did his best to keep the pace at an even trot, effectively sterilizing my husband and ruining his vocal cords to operate at a frequency that only dogs could hear. Jimmie was forever pushing for the front and when we once again hit the open beach after touring around some old buildings above the dunes, Big Jim was set to run. Muscle and previous experience with Big Dumb Animals, had prepared me for this luckily, and I was able to keep him at a dancing, gyrating trot/gallop the whole way back.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Eileen was enjoying the exclusive attentions of the ranch owner and his men, who were lavishing her with conversation and cold, carbonated beverages. Dave, Ryan and myself, the resident Wrangling Hero's, made an uneventful, yet lovely, trip back along the beach and through the palm groves near the corrals.
We joined Eileen on the veranda just as the sun was setting. The perfect end to a truly great day.

Proof that they did it.

Our 16-year-old guide, Jose'.

The Muffin Man. (with a cameo from Dave)

And so our sunset tour ends and I for one was totally happy. I now want to live in Cabo and am thinking Ryan may have difficulty getting me back onto the return flight....hmm...
One last picture of me and Jimmie (note the crazy 'I-just-rode-100-mph-on horseback' hair I'm sporting.

Great, great day.

Sunset, Sunrise- a few meals and suddenly it's Thursday.

*Please stay tuned for next weeks episode of Baja Tuesday's...Horse power, horsepower and The Secret in The Sand, Part II


eek said...

This is MIL.....OK.,O.K. IT's ALL TRUE!!!!!
First, I want to say that I had to wipe my eyes again. It's just so real in my memory to relive it thru DIL's words. DIL is so kind to not give you the whole vision of EEK trying to get into the water taxi.....But the Water boat to the tip of Cabo was wonderful. Water was so clear and it was so tempting to get off at one of the beaches and just roam around. But the daunting task loomed on how to get out of the boat without drowning and then trying to get back in the boat with the waves bouncing the boat higher than I am tall. (no dock here).So staying in the boat was the only option. The scenery was amazing.....
Melissa and I had been planning the horseback riding. I had wonderful visions of my riding a prancing steed along the beach at sunset. But reality is a bummer. Short Legs, sturips too long and soon I'm rethinking the vision I had and experiencing the pain of reality. So for me the trip was SHORTENED. The ride back to the ranch was wonderful...... The Beach, The Wind, ThePounding surf, GREAT !!!! and the kindness of the staff..
But the best picture in my mind is when I was looking at the setting sun and seeing the black silouette of the horses and riders coming along the dune with the brillient orange sun setting behind them....(if only I had the camera). But even tho I wasnt sitting on my prancing steed, I still have a beautiful memory.......

klyn said...

Okay first off, you actually were awake at 6Am to watch the fishing boats leave!!! As in daily and intentionally, or just accidently as you took a pre-wake-up toilet trip?? You actually used the word love and 6AM in the same sentence - scary.

I want to be on your next trip - it's sure to be adventurous. Alas, mine is to the midwest in August... Sticky, yes, but adventurous...we'll see.

ha - another muffin break - will Fuzz ever live the airport (sans cash) muffin down!!

Sorry, Mrs. K, that the ride wasn't what you had envisioned. Some of my more interesting memories were from events that didn't go quite as planned!

eek said...

DIL (Darling Daughter-in-Law) is getting WAY to far ahead...I will either have to spend more time on this machine, or capitulate no..that's not going to happen! OK, so will someone please tell me how THEY can get away with letting you buy your Mocha & scone breakfast at one end of the corridor and just expect you to DUMP it at the next check point??~!! WHAT? People on the other side don't drink coffee, or eat?? And then 50 feet on the OTHER side.....Yep, more fast food, snacks and COFFEE!!? The AMIR stops,freezes in the security lane and unloads a baleful stare directly into the vacant eyes of the "uniform". FIL, Ryan and Sweetiepie begin to shuffle, press against his unmoving bulk, and whisper little words of comfort like: Cabo-Cabo-Cabo, there's more coffee, Cabo, cabo, c... PD takes a huge munch of leftover scone, washes it down with a good 6.5oz swig of Double-Tiger something or other, never breaking eye contact with the vacant-eyed uniform and discards the still warm coffee and cup into the nearby trash can. Which I might add, is already 1/2 full of other cups, scones, etc. I'm now positive they are recycling them to the poor of Bosnia. Eileen is whispering encouragement to move forward, DIL is in her mantra, Cabo..Cabo..Ryan is grinning like the cheshire cat and saying nothing. PD moves ahead through the checkpoint and tries to keep up with DIL, who has bolted for the departure gate like Seabiscuit in his run for immortality against Man-O-War. PD is the pack animal for this trip, and it is a short run until the pain in the right shoulder begins to drag him the nick of time he staggers onto one of the moving sidewalks and begins to make up a little ground while catching breath. Then it is a dead-heat as they all four thunder into the departure gate and swarm the boarding counter. No one there, of course, why would they man a boarding counter?? For people who need answers???!! The smile has disappeared from DD??)IL. There is a distinct tenseness in the lovely facial tone. Her movements are jerky and unsure, the grip on her paper cup Latte'(she has a LATTE'?)is begining to crinkle the edges. PD to the rescue! Melissy, someone will be here anytime, we are early. She raises one eyebrow slightly, as if to say, "are you just saying that?" But PD enlists the aid of son Ryan again by looking DIL in the eye and rattling off a discreet one-liner that actually brings a lessening of the tension. Ryan, not to be left out, picks up the ball and has HDW (his darling wife) laughing and thumping him on the chest. We all find chairs where we can stack the luggage (all carry-on)an we sit and wait. In the process of time, not too much time, a suit arrives and We all storm the counter before they turn the lights on. Ryan asks about signing up for Standby for the Phoenix flight and the suit looks at him and says, " I guess you didn't look online at your reservations this morning, did you? Well, NO! Everything was fine lastnite,? Well since then this flight has been cancelled due to mechanical can cut the silence with a dull butter knife. HDW bangs him with her elbow and demands, Ryan, tell him something!! There are no words. I'm sorry the suit says, we will try to get you on the next flight, it leaves around 9:50am.!! Great, we only have 3 1/2 to 4 hours to kill! Our saving grace at this moment is that DIL is speechless. She wants to scream and she wants to cry, "what about CABO!?" Mostly she wants to scream at the suit who robbed her of her vacation to CABO! PD & son guide her back to the seats, restack the bags, pour the dregs of her latte' into her trembling lips and look at each other in desperation for inspiration. Eileen has self-medicated and is singing a little ditty, "we're going to Cabo, Cabo Ca-a-bo..." The light of inspiration comes to PD FIL AMIR...Melissy, my daughter, listen to me, her head turns, her eyes lock on his and those brown beauties leave a plain message....This is no time for FLUFF~! Her vacation she has planned for is slipping from her grasp, and with it her sanity. Those twin brown pools of delight have a tinge of MENACE in wrong word could bring down absolute mayhem on everyone at gate 33. PD never wavers, he reaches out and touches her hand and says, "Melissy, look around, everyone who came for this first flight is on the cell phone! They're calling their travel agent or another airline, I'm telling you they will be deserting this gate like rats leaving a sinking ship! In 10 minutes this place will be deserted and we will be the first in line for standby on the next flight to Phoenix, and we will still be able to make the connection to CABO! The bright light of realization dawns...there is a sharp intake of breath...YES, YESS there IS life after a cancelled flight!! DIL has returned, we are renewed. She is on her cell phone calling her travel agent who is lieing in bed 100 miles away, groping for the phone wondering who killed who? whatever she says to the travel agent we will never know. She discreetly turned her back and spoke directly into the phone...Ryan takes his life in his hands, turns to the AMIR with both "thumbs-up" and does the silent, double nod of the head and "Right-ON-DAD"! We are saved...Melissy has returned, Eileen is slipping away, but peacefully, PD sits down to enter once again into the bloody adventures of UTRED the Northumbrian Giant, and by the grace and mercy of our LORD himself, we make the 2nd (and only) flight to Phoenix. Now you might just be thinking about the smiles on FIL's charming countenance as she skips down the boarding ramp and onto the actual airplane that is taking us all to CABO! Well, to Phoenix, anyway, and she is even immune to the fact that we are not sitting together on this flight. No...I'm pretty sure that if you wanted to separate a group of 4 as far from each other as possible, we won the toss! Even so, DIL remained happy and talkative right up to the moment when we taxied away from the ramp and then sat on the airplane while they "checked out" an instrument malfunction!!?? DIL begins to scan the aircraft for someone with answers...the laughter 10 minutes or so we begin to move forward again. We approach the active taxiway, cross a runway and stop...yep..STOP! There are no smiles, no words, there are lines of tension in the face..the right eyelid has this unnerving...twitch! DIL's lips are a straight, thin line devoid of mirth. She looks for Ryan, she only sees the back of the seat where he sits...she looks for eileen, her prescripted calm might help..but MIL is too short to be seen, and prob'ly still humming her little song..then she locks eyes again with FIL. Good, old, Dependable,(scratch old)PD. He sees a trapped animal in great distress, DIL is about to chew her leg off to get to the pilots and get them going...PD hands her his best smile and mouths,"Don't worry, it's O.K.! Just as it looks like she is "buying" this silent comfort, the intercom comes on.."this is the captain, we have some problems with a few of the instruments and are holding for a maintenance crew to come take a look, we're sure we will be able to continue after they take care of the situation." Words fail me. The look and whole body language of DDIL went from despair to bloody, hands-on murder, agony, crying and back to hands-on-the-throat, MURDER. Desperation, I am Melissy! As luck and providence would have it, she is wedged firmly between two adults who are also wedged in to the "cattle-car" seats provided on international flights, these days, and she cannot escape. we are saved the traumatic scene of recompense she would have foisted upon the luckless crew....Then a mere 45 minutes later, the news....Ladies and gentlemen our instrument anomaly has been fixed and we are now cleared to takeoff for Phoenix. For those of you who have connections to make in Phoenix, we will be arriving a few minutes ahead of these departures,and there will be airline personnel in red jackets waiting to direct you to your gate, upon deplaneing in Phoenix. Oil, lots of soothing oil has calmed the raging waters of desperation and murderous intent...DIL is smiling again, but it has a Charlie-McCarthy appearance...I catch her eye again and with the toothiest grin I can manufacture, I mouth, C-A-B-0, C-A-B-0.. DIL relaxes, smiles and sits down again. The airplane lifts off and we are actually, physically, separated from Portland International Airport, and headed for our new ADVENTURE!! Phoenix!

meliken said...

Klyn, in answer to your question, yep. We were only there for a week! I had every intention of sucking THE LIFE out of every day, beginning at sunrise and going to midnight!!
We were exhausted by the end, and I haven't woken up at 6 since- but it was fabulous while it lasted. ;)

meliken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melinda said...

Melissa, I love reading your blog. You always make me laugh. I had no idea you were such a talented writer. Keep it up. I love hearing about the life of the R Kendall's.

Jessica said...

"we are saved the traumatic scene of recompense she would have foisted upon the luckless crew"

Oh yes, I definitely got that impression. *gufaw*
I'm glad y'all had a beautiful trip despite the rough start. Doesn't that always make the good part better?

Anonymous said...

bwa ha ha!!! we'll never know if my shaming did it, but if it did - what shaming words would work best to get the next installment out of the literarily verbose br'er??

and do we really have to wait for tuesdays for these installments?? quicker! quicker! *cracks whip*