Only our second night driving into the Baja Peninsula we stopped in a small town famed for lobster crepes of all things. As we ate our crepes, decent but certainly nothing to write home about, we checked a surf guide we had picked up before the trip that boasted decent waves at a nearby beach so we asked around. We were provided with some very vague directions and headed in search of promised surf.
Shortly into our voyage we found ourselves 4x4ing in our 2 wheel drive Westy down some rocky terrain at one point the van started to just slide down the steep slope I braced myself with my two arms out stretched in front of me on the window shield absolutely certain we would tip head over heels. After our treacherous drive we landed ourselves level again on a deserted beach stretching for miles. We couldn’t believe our luck the waves coming in good size sets and not a soul in the water to have to share. We donned our gear and headed for the waves awaiting us.
Just before putting our fins in the water we noticed a couple of bodies heading in our direction along the beach in the far off distance. Upon approach they introduced themselves and shortly into our conversation we discovered they were in town with the circus. As odd as it sounds it’s true, we met Mexican circus performers that appeared out of nowhere on a deserted section along the northern coast of the Baja Peninsula looking for a ride into town. We tried to side step the question not really wanted to let them know we had just decided to spend the night out here under the stars, just the two of us and all of our belongings, probably not a wise decision but I think they figured it out in the end anyways. After they left all I could think of was 2 Mexican circus performers know we’re planning on staying out here alone overnight, hmmmmm?
We spend the rest of the early evening riding endless waves it was a day our dreams were made of. I had one of the best rides of my life promptly followed up by the worst pummeling ever. It was a memorable day in the water.
Afterwards I was inside the van hanging some items to dry and putting away our dinner dishes when Ricardo, who had been rinsing the gear just outside the van, grab his wallet and some money and violently tossed it at me much to my surprise. He sternly told me to put it all in the safe “fast.” Before I could question what was happening he said “a Hummer full of guys with guns is headed our way.” In my head I kinda laughed at the idea of putting things in our tiny little safe bolted to our closet floor. I laugh when I’m nervous or afraid for my life as it turns out.
I poked my head out the side of the van door just as the camouflaged painted Hummer came to a roaring halt spraying sand all around us, but what really caught my attention was the 7 or 8 young men all holding very big guns with intensely serious faces. I elected to stay in the van. Ricardo already standing outside greeted them warmly, I mean how else would you greet men with guns? They questioned him a bit on who we were, what were our plans, curious as to how we happened to wind up on this beach all alone. This was all happening in spanish so of course my english brain was hatching an elaborate get away plan which hinged on actually figuring out where the car keys were. My plan was hampered with the fact there was nowhere to hide only sand for miles and we were clearly out gunned. In addition, this was my first panicked escape plan situation I hadn’t done any drills beforehand for this type of situation and I was really regretting it at that moment. As my eyes darted around the van in search of the keys my internal thought process broke with the sound of hearty male laughter.
A sigh of relief washed over me, I should have known Ricardo would have them in the palm of his hand within minutes he can charm the pants off a naked person. Cue naive wife whom offers up chocolate biscuits for the men to devour. Nothing like chocolate biscuits to potentially save your life. We learned a lot of young Mexican men do military service to secure a passport which may otherwise be unattainable. Before they departed we actually talked them into letting us take a few photos, we tried, but to no avail, to hold the guns. They wished us well and let us know they would check back on us later in the evening.
A few cold beers later, which always taste that much better after you think you may be kidnapped or worse, our armed friends returned to and to our surprise set up camp just a few meters from our van. They stayed the night and instituted an armed perimeter with two roaming guards throughout the night. We should have felt comfortable, we should have felt secure, instead we felt cheated, our deserted beach had been invaded and needless to say it just got that much more difficult for a girl to pee, damn beer, without witnesses.
A few weeks later we learned a father and his teenage son from California had been camping in a tent on the same beach a few days prior to our arrival and unfortunately had been robbed and beaten with bats. The closest town, Rosalita, citizen’s had been very angered by this attacked and had requested the military increase patrols in the area. Beating up tourists is bad for the economy you see.