One Last Baja Birthday

We’re nearing the end of a three week school holiday and running out of fun things to do with the kids. In past years, we skipped town for a week. This year, we opted to stay close knowing our time in La Paz is quickly coming to an end.

On days Lori and I aren’t working, we’ve been hitting the beach or going on little hikes with the boys. But the good beaches in La Paz are a 30-40 minute drive from our place, and there are only a couple of area hikes suitable for Riley.

So, we’re turning to the arcade and movie theater to pad out our choices of things to do with two energetic boys—all the more reason why we’re excited about our impending change of course.

Out of all the cool things Riley got for Christmas, all he really wanted, it turns out, was a calculator. After the tenth time mentioning it, we decided it was time to find one. We quickly found that cheap calculators are somehow in short supply in La Paz. Lori took Riley to pick this one up from a local papeleria (office supply store) and Riley was happy as a clam. Who knew?

In his defense, the boys’ big gifts this year came in the form of IOU papers with pictures on them. I’d imagine this would be a hard pill to swallow for any five-year-old, but it was all good with Riley. All but the calculator.

We’re heading back to the U.S. soon, so we thought the boys wouldn’t mind waiting a week or two for a really fun, useful, and durable gift rather than just getting them something local that wasn’t too exciting or particularly well-built for the money.

What we didn’t know at the time was that our return date would get pushed back a few more weeks. Fortunately, Santa’s stocking stuffers (and Riley’s calculator) seem to be tiding them over…for now.

First week in January, and yep, we’re still deep in Christmas flare around here.

We’ve got one-way tickets out of Cabo to the States at the end of the month, so the next few weeks are packed with all sorts of appointments. Today, it’s dental checkups and cleaning for all of us.

For some unfathomable reason, our boys have always looked forward to going to the dentist. I’ll admit, it’s all fun and games at this point, and they haven’t needed any major dental work done (I had six teeth surgically removed at Riley’s age so that could be why my feelings on dentists were bit different). For now, these guys are all smiles.

To top it off, they get to watch Iron Chef and Master Chef, which they talk endlessly about after each visit.

Packing it all up means we’re also in the process of selling our beloved Mitsubishi Montero. Instead of spending hours detailing it myself like usual, I thought it might be time to try out one of the local detailing services.

We left the rig here one morning and picked it up a few hours later. For the princely sum of 170 pesos ($9.97 U.S. dollars) we got her bag washed, waxed, and vacuumed.

We also could’ve gotten an oil change down the street too, apparently.

Another one bites the dust…

For Christmas, the boys REALLY wanted Pokemon cards (yes, they’re still a thing here in Mexico…a BIG thing, particularly with 6 & 7 year old boys). However, the only ones you can usually find here are counterfeit cards. Not the end of the world, considering most of the cards they play with are of the “fake” variety. But Noe and his amigos have become very astute at telling the difference, and he’s the only kids with an all “fake” collection at the moment.

Fortunately, Santa knew this and came to the rescue with some pesos in their stocking to be used explicitly for ordering “real” Pokemon cards from the U.S. For ten days straight, the boys ran to the window every time they heard a knock on our gate to make sure they didn’t miss the mail carrier. But it was never anything for us.

Finally, one day, the yellow van arrived outside our house with a small package just for the boys. To say it made their week would an understatement.

In the midst of this festive time each year, we get to celebrate a very special someone’s birthday. We took Lori to brunch at a place she’s been wanting to go all year, but never seems to be open—El Cantón Chilango. They serve a type of indigenous food we haven’t had since Nayarit. Super rico.

Next stop, Lori’s favorite beach. Unfortunately, Playa Balandra was filled to capacity and had a mile-long wait for the 1 o’clock slot (they limit the number of visitors to 450 in the morning and 450 in the afternoon, which seems like a lot, but not during a school holiday, apparently). So, we drove on another few minutes to Playa Tecolote, which certainly isn’t the worst place you could find yourself on your birthday.

This being early January, the water is still a bit cool for our tastes (around 70 degrees F), and the beach takes a direct hit from the chilly winter winds that make their way south via the Sea of Cortez . But we’re all happy to chill for awhile and share a beverage.

When beach time wrapped up, the plan was to do a hike to a hidden mangrove beach, then up to a viewpoint to watch the sun set over Balandra.

We managed the first part of our adventure, but again, no Balandra. By late afternoon, the blowing winds and cool temps were conspiring against our viewpoint picnic dinner plans. So, we decided to hightail it back and head to one of our go-to taco places in town.

Back at home, a little later than expected, we finally got to serenade Lori for her birthday and watch her blow out her gourmet cookie bar candle.

And the boys got to show her what they’ve been working on during the week to mark the occasion.

25 days left in La Paz. The countdown begins.

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