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T

ravelling to the remote Pacific Coast of Baja’s Valley of the Cirios Reserve is not easy. This 6.2 million acre federal protected area represents one of the best-preserved wild landscapes and has some of the oddest plants remaining in the Baja California Peninsula. The stretch of Cirios or “Boojum” coastline with its wildlife, empty beaches, jumbled boulder fields and pristine point waves is a microcosm of everything that mythical wild Baja has come to mean and everything that has been lost in the more urbanized corners of the Peninsula. This is also home to Baja’s most unique plant, the boojum, a name taken from the poem “The Hunting of the Snark” by Lewis Carroll. Boojums or cirios as they are known in Baja resemble overgrown carrots with sprouts. They can be found just south of El Rosario and north of Guerrero Negro. While the Los Cirios Reserve encompasses almost all of their range in Baja California, they can be found around the Sierra Bacha in Sonora.

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Luckily among the sea of boojums, I find the hidden turnoff to the coast. Getting there requires driving a 60-mile dusty, meandering dirt track that veers off the Transpeninsular Highway blacktop between El Rosario and Cataviña. The track passes through verdant cardon cactus and boojum forests followed by a descent into one of Baja’s most notorious badlands.

“Luckily among the sea of boojums, I find the hidden turnoff to the coast” My Wildcoast colleague Zach Plopper marked our progress on a GPS-enabled Xplore Tablet PC against a previous track made the year before. Despite the plethora of navigational hardware, I took the wrong turn into an arroyo that ended up at a beach that offered up a panorama of miles of fortress cliffs to the north, blue-gray white-capped sea, and washed-out sky.

- Fouquieria columnaris, the Boojum tree or (Spanish) cirio (syn. Idria columnaris) is a tree in the family Fouquieriaceae, whose other members include the ocotillos. It is nearly endemic to the Baja California Peninsula, with only a small population in the Sierra Bacha of Sonora, Mexico. The plant’s English name, Boojum, was given by Godfrey Sykes of the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona and is taken from Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of the Snark”.

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After a quick lunch, we backtracked south through meandering moonlike gullies and after an hour arrived at our destination---a salt marsh hidden between two jutting headlands capped by sandstone spires with a cobble coastline and a garbagestrewn fish camp.

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After pitching our canvas civil-war style basecamp tent in a sand pit protected from the wind by a large tamarisk tree and a cobblestone berm, we made a campfire and watched the full moon rise into the nighttime desert sky. The following day we head south. After a few hours of driving, we emerged from a steep descent and caught a glimpse of rights rifling down an empty point. Zach tries out a recent yard sale find—a 6’2” winger swallowtail twin-fin shaped by Donald Takayama sometime back in the late 70s’ or early 80s. “I haven’t had that much fun in a long time,” Zach said. I catch a few waves on my 8’2” mini-longboard. The crystal clear waves peel along the desert shore. Osprey cruise overhead looking for their dinner. A pod of bottlenose dolphins swim through the lineup, surfing a few of the set waves. We don’t see any other surfers in sight.

“I haven’t had that much fun in a long time” “There isn’t another part of Baja’s Pacific Coast as isolated or as wild as this,” Zach said after he returned to our camp. He should know. Zach has been surfing Baja for more than 20 years.

Photo by: Tomas Castelazo LAND’S END MAGAZINE No. 3

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During the next few days, we surveyed just about every beach, point, and wetland for 130 miles along the Pacific. Over the course of our coastal transect, the only signs of civilization were occasional solitary fish camps. We stopped to talk to hermitlike ranchers and fishermen encountered along the way. While people were few, wildlife was abundant. A mule deer ran into a cactus forest as we emerged from a lush mountain pass. Fat coyotes played a game of hide-andseek as we sped through mud flats. A large female peregrine falcon guarded her nest perched atop a craggy point overlooking miles of desert coastline and salt marsh. While we enjoyed the beauty of Los Cirois, we also appreciate the rich cultural traditions of the few ranchers and fishermen who remain. That is why over the past five years in Los Cirios, WiLDCOAST has been assisting Mexico’s National Protected Area Commission (CONANP) and local landowners conserve their lands and their way of life.

A Journey Through Baja’s Wild Boojum Coast, Serge Dedina, 619.606.0537, sdedina@wildcoast.net

To date we have assisted in the conservation of more than 20 miles of beautiful coastline and have helped local families continue to carry out their traditional livelihood activities. Over the next two years we hope to preserve an additional 10 miles of coastline.

Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST and the author of Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias.

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“It is nice to come down here and give back,” said Zach. -SD.

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Arriving the beginning of August of 1993 was not the smartest plan. I didn’t even think to check and see what the weather was like during summer months. (Google not invented yet) Besides, what could go wrong living in paradise? A whole other story – that’s what!

“Y

es, it’s for sure – I am moving to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico,” I say with as much courage as I could muster letting my three bowling teammates know I am dead serious. “Oh, and by the way, I am taking the kids with me!” They are now rolling all around me in complete shock and dismay shrieking in unison, “You can’t take the kids. They are too young. You will ruin their lives. You can’t drink the water! You have to be kidding. You can’t go away for an entire year, alone!! You’re going where exactly? Mexico? What will you live in? How will you make money? One year is too long. You hate bugs! What about banditos?” And so it went on like this for months and everyone I knew said the same thing. After discovering Cabo’s overwhelming beauty while on vacation in 1991, leaving the frigidly cold northern Canadian city of Edmonton was easy. I couldn’t wait to live in paradise where summer was the whole year long with endless white sandy beaches and warm ocean water to swim in and most important of all - everyone had a maid! LAND’S END MAGAZINE No. 3

The very best part about living far, far away, in a little Mexican fishing village is meeting all the other interesting, lets just say, odd characters, and hearing their stories of finding this Mexican paradise we all call home. We expats qualify as the ‘wanted and the unwanted’ and are a strangely courageous bunch somehow struck with wanderlust. The truly ‘normal’ folk’s who must know what is going to happen day in and day out, same routine with a job and life in general, don’t do such outlandish moves. The wanderers of the world end up staying here, welcome grand adventures and have fascinating stories to share. And some expats eventually grow up and go back home, usually north. Every expat is asked, “How did you end up living here? You are so lucky to live in paradise.” The most common reply is, “I came on vacation and never left.” Of course almost all who ask understand completely how this would happen. Doesn’t everyone go on vacation and never return home? Taking up roots in paradise means so many visitors from ‘back home’ now vacation on your living room sofa bed. I didn’t have to add dramatics when sharing our first adventures with scorpions, blackouts (electric not alcohol induced), water shortages, hurricanes, a burning car in the desert, and a rattlesnake in the kitchen!” After a bit too much tequila one special houseguest sighed, “Sounds like Cabo is great for vacationing in and not meant for living in!” Okay, some days this fits.

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Most of us arrive to this very special micro-paradise soul searching, wanting adventure and much needed change from the ‘real world rut’, all this recovery might as well be in perfect weather. Of course there is the reality that wherever you go … you take yourself with you! When you ask a local expat how often they go home to the USA and they proudly announce, “I never go home.” Run the other way quickly as this is a sure sign that this Person is one of the ‘wanted’. (Either that or they hate shopping!)

Many interesting sub cultures live here. The ‘boat’ people, basically those who work on the many luxury yachts and fishing boats moored in the marina, from Captains and first mates, to the owners and managers.

Cabo was a small little fishing village in the early 90’s with limited access to telephones. The two phone centers in town offered pricey long distance calling while standing in narrow stalls with curtains for privacy. Satellite TV was typically only found in hotels and if you were lucky enough to have TV in your rented condo it was with a pirated service card. (Pricey) The small local jail and small offices around town still used the old manual typewriters. These relics fetch a pretty price the days on EBay. The ‘Up’ street, the ‘Down’ street, dusty roads, one stoplight and everyone knew your first name. For some odd reason we never knew people’s last names. (More tequila please:)

Of course there are the ‘art’ people, all those cultured painters and crafty types. The many galleries are all over southern Baja. Todos Santos is a wellknown art community just north of Cabo by about 50 miles and full of fabulous life stories! Todos Santos is the place where all the 60’s hippies arrived and thrived and never went back home. (Love this town)

The ‘sales’ community is the biggest of all because our town if full of luxury resorts that sell timeshare, fractional and general real estate. This is now a huge expat community and most of these talented folks can sell the salt off a margarita rim. Some of the best stories come from this group of renegades.

There is a significant date to be aware of when exactly an expat arrived: Before BC or after BC. When separating the true early renegades of Cabo, those who arrived single and with kids vs. married, flat broke, or broken hearted, we also use the BC date. The real defining factor of who earned their survival badge in the early years BC. (Before Costco) Yes indeed. We originals who had kids to feed found ourselves desperately craving American food products.

What about the expat kids you might be thinking? ‘Cabo Kids’ is the groups name our gang of expat children all grew up with. These kids were the luckiest kids in the universe with daily beach fun, pool time and surfing. Every few weeks someone’s kid, no matter what new age, had a birthday to celebrate. Of course we all attended, meaning entire families went to Squid Roe! The best kids party place ever created. The floors are covered in wood chips, the dance floor is a playground and the dance music loud. Funny waiters provided entertainment, all food and drink service and the clean up. May I say the best part was the clean up! Cabo’s streets were safe to roam and we parents never worried. So safe, I let my daughter at age14 drive her two brothers to school!

The arrival of Costco changed our lives forever. Slowly walking up and down each isle breathing in the sights of each new item waiting for us to feed our shopping starvation. Touching everything and giddy with anticipation to see what was new each week. A love story with Costco was born.

Now, the ‘Cabo Kids’ are all young adults living around the world in places like Switzerland, New York, Mexico City and Canada. Some are here working and enjoying life in the NEW Cabo San Lucas. In fact this group had a reunion recently and realize they all share a special bond that is forever. (Smile)

Before BC, we eagerly went to the local grocery store, which stocked the few American products we all craved, had new shipments arrive we raced to see what products came in. Seriously overpriced and usually outdated, we had our favorite items, such as B&G Cream of Wheat, Captain Crunch or Kraft cheese or Sour cream! Guess what? We expats would buy every single item left on the shelf in case the store never restocked! We became hoarders.

Our NEW modern day Cabo San Lucas is so famous now and well photographed. Cabo is ‘THE’ place where the celebrities come to play and be ‘seen’. We see the action photos in People Magazine beachside weddings, honeymooning and dining out and partying at the local clubs like Squid Roe and the Nowhere Bar.

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It is nice to be here. Life in paradise is easy and simple now and I am proud to be a Cabo ‘original’. -DK.

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ost people usually think that single men have a better life, but that’s not entirely true. Although I don’t have anybody asking me to take the trash out, now I do it myself and even more often than when I was told to. I was married to the most beautiful and loving woman for nearly 25 years, but the day I decided not to do everything as she said, that beautiful woman became my ex wife. That’s why I had to learn to clean my house, doing the laundry and cooking my own meals. Should I have known that I would become so passionate about cooking, I would have divorced earlier. That day I was thinking about how complex life is sometimes, when I heard my friend Gabino parking on the driveway, he had news about our friends ‘Los dos gringos locos”, Bob and Chris. You may remember that Chris broke his leg the first time we went on the quest for the ‘Jesuit treasure’, and that was the reason the search was suspended and our friends went back home to get better medical care and resting. That news made my day because even though it wasn’t a long time since we first met, we had become good friends. Bob, who was around 35 years old by then, was 6ft tall and quite athletic. Chris was younger than Bob, a bit taller, thin and a little ungainly. Both of them worked on real estate.

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Chris was married, and had a cute blonde and smiley little girl, like any proud dad, he would show us her picture with any excuse. I was very thrilled as I came with Gabino to San Lucas to see our friends. We found them at the hotel’s restaurant havinga breakfast of “huevos rancheros” with orange juice and coffee. Since “Cold handed” Gabino and I hadn’t had breakfast yet, we joined them. Our friends told us about the odyssey they went through with their families that time Chris was injured, the nagging, the time of convalescence and most important, they told us about the contents of the leather sack we had dug up. It turned out to be: A silver buckle, two ax heads, two belduque blades, six knives of different sizes, a brass candle snuffer and several iron nails, as you can see, nothing of great value. This had disheartened Chris, but my perception was different and I made sure to let them know it. -Hey, you must remember that for the spanish, the iron tools were very valuable, especially the knives because they exchanged them for pearls with the natives. If I were a missionary and had to abandon the mission to walk a distance of 35 leagues (a 4 day journey) the first thing I would bury would be the less valuable stuff that weighted the most, leaving the most valuable for last. I also reminded them that the sack we had found was very close to San José del Cabo. Chris who was looking at me nodded, Bob laughed and said: -Pit’s right, we shouldn’t give up, we returned to Baja to continue with the quest and we want both of you to come with us, what do you say? Gabino didn’t even give a second thought; he took a sip of his beer and quickly said yes. Me, I took a bite on my tortilla with refried beans and made them wait until I finished it and said: -I’m coming too, but we need to get more equipment, at least a good first aid kit, we shouldn’t be as reckless as the last time, I want to return alive. If we find something valuable besides that, it would be excellent. We spent the rest of the day renewing our friendship, catching up. Chris told us everything he had suffered since his accident, an exposed fracture that forced him to rest for over 6 months, time he used to improve his Spanish and read everything he could find about the Baja California missions. Meanwhile, Bob told us about how they had started saving money to continue with the quest. I also told them a few stories of the region that were linked to some legends of colonial times. That afternoon, we went to get supplies and began to prepare Gabino’s new truck, who just nodded without letting go his bottle of beer.

We took the same route we did during the first trip and we tried to locate the two signaled rocks, which took us more than two days (remember, back in those days, GPS was not available in Mexico). Bob finally located one of them, the first one, helped by a compass and some notes he had taken during the first trip. We continued down the route of the first trip and reached a peak where you could see both seas. According to my theory, the monks departed from the mission in San José del Cabo Añuiti towards the mission in Santiago de los Coras. Eventually they were reunited with the other missionaries and continued to the mission in Santa Rosa de Las Palmas (Todos Santos) and finally joined their other brothers from Nuestra Señora del Pilar de La Paz Airapi so they could depart to La Paz where they would get on board of the ship “La Concepción”. That ship was boarded by 15 Jesuit missionaries and the brother in charge of the warehouse. We thought about the possibility that when they first received the order of leaving, they had started traveling on their own, but it was more likely they had decided to travel in group for their own safety, so we decided to go down the way they had probably followed and we paid attention to every possible signal we could find. Bob had a surprise for us. In a cardboard box he had a metal detector, which he was positive it would help us to locate any buried metals. According to the Information I had, the Jesuit missions were quite miserable and life there had been a torture for the monks and the inhabitants, but thanks to Chris, I learned that they would supply them with everything necessary or available from the mainland. He then showed me a copy of one of the shipment lists that had to be made for authorizing the departure of the ships that were destined to the missions, which sailed from San Blas to La Paz. Those lists detailed the goods that were shipped, such as: Lace from la Mancha, violins and cords, sealed jars with olives and capers, hot peppers in vinegar, black pepper, oregano, cumin, aluzamas, comfit fruit, bone whisk ballons, fine chocolate, catechisms from Ripalda, basil ointment, Saturn paste, cocoa butter, wine from Málaga, rolls of silk, cotton, linen and wool, raw leather chairs, wine barrels, seeds, etc. We followed the trails that Bob said he found on his maps (I think he was just lucky). We would follow those trails up and down and wherever we watched something suspicious, we turned the metal detector on, but nothing, not a single ‘beep’. We returned to the camping site tired and angry, especially me because I had to cook for my starving and impatient friends.

- Silver Bars for Trade-off

“Los dos gringos locos” had decided to make this second trip in summer to avoid the rain we had in the first trip , although it would have been way more reasonable to make it during the winter because the temperatures in summer rise to above 40° Celsius in the Baja desert. That and my overweight would make me sweat like a pig in “barbacoa” (but it was all for the sake of science… and greed).

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During one of the talks we had at night, we concluded that if there were any buried treasures, they had to be in the caves in the nearby hills, so we decided to come back to the place where Chris had the accident and follow that route again. Quite discouraged, we went back to the stream where we had lost the truck last year and despite only one week had passed after we had located the first stone with the signal, we couldn’t find it this time. We realized that somebody had destroyed the first signal. Maybe our lack of experience and cheerful optimistic mood had awakened the greed of other treasure hunters, so we decided to keep going down the trail we remembered. The metal detector didn’t really help, even though Bob showed us how to use it and we shifted regularly it was only after a few hours that a beep alerted us and began to dig. In one of those occasions, near a rock formation, we dug up a rusty horse shoe, quite old in my opinion. That made our hopes rise again, and that way we found some nails, a length of chains and several empty cans, but again, we lost track, so we decided to go back to San José del Cabo to replenish supplies and to get more beer for Gabino. We spent an entire day asking the locals if they knew any stories about hidden treasures or the existence of any caves in the surroundings, but the stories they told us were quite recent and no one had heard anything related to the Jesuits, they just told us about pirates that visited the peninsula and about some shipwrecks of ships on their route to and from China.

We would get up very early in the morning, and it was only after the sunset when we would come back to the camping site. Little by little we were convinced that we were running out of ideas, and not only that, the holydays and the savings of the gringos locos were also coming to an end. Stubborn as we were, we explored for more than three weeks the trails trying to find the Jesuits treasure. The reasonable doubt that maybe there was no such treasure was feeling more and more real every day, but the two signaled stones we had found on our first expedition couldn’t have come out of the blue. Those signals were and still remain to be our nightmare. Finally we accepted our defeat and one night we decided to end the adventure. Our friends would return to the USA not without promising they would come back again, in a year tops. That first year we communicated over the phone once a month usually, after that we kept making plans over the mail, which was every time more sporadic. At least 5 years passed by and one day I received a letter from Bob where he told me that Chris had divorced and moved with his new wife to Hawaii where he had unfortunately died in an accident while diving. Six years ago, Bob decided to relocate and moved to Todos Santos, thanks to that, we see each other very often. He is still working in real estate, made a small fortune and met a beautiful Mexican señorita whom he married and now they have two children. I’m a godfather to the older one by the way.

After a good night sleep in a decent bed and a bath, we decided to go back to the sierra. We agreed to meet at my place next morning. The first ones After our adventure at the sierra, I neto arrive next day as usual, were Chris ver heard of Jenny ever again, maybe and Bob, however, this last one had now she has her PhD in Biology and librought a plus one, a red haired lady ves now in New York or Florida. with freckles who had accepted his invitation quite enthusiastically and was And about my dear friend ‘Cold hanwilling to help us expecting nothing in ded’ Gabino, I can only tell you that he return. Chris had already accepted her finally got entirely cold, or better said, but the truth was that it was a bit hard - La Barra de Kino. he “bought the farm”. I’m sure he is for me to do the same (maybe because The bar has a weight of 72.1 grams now with Chris exploring new lands, she would replace me in the kitchen) of gold, its measurements are 61mm with a cold beer in his hand of course. but soon I learned that even though by 25mm by 5mm. Meanwhile, I’m still researching about Jenny had many attributes, she was how life was back in the Jesuit missions, not a kitchen enthusiast so I happily welcomed her. I’m pretty sure that the mountains surrounding Los Cabos still hide many surprises and treasures. I’ve never When Gabino arrived, we told him we would have a new known if at least 0ne has been discovered by these plamember on the team. He remained silent and nodded, ces so, by now, this “Jesuits treasure” legend is entirely although I knew that, as any good Mexican, he thought fictional until a new explorer or a new “gringo loco” prowomen only brought inconveniences and bad luck. ves that wrong. To be honest, Jenny was very cheerful, she was used to be outdoors because she grew up in Texas where her family was engaged in raising cattle. She was studying biology and accepted helping us in everything except cooking. She was very helpful because she gave us the characteristics of the vegetation and its possible age. Thanks to her we found again the trail where we found new relics: Some rounded iron bullets, coins from middle 20th century but none object that we could date as from the Jesuit missionaries times. LAND’S END MAGAZINE No. 3

.................................. That last time we were together, we celebrated our adventure with a special meal, a “Fruti di mare” feast. We found a palapa in a nearby beach and we cooked shrimps in sea water and broiled some lobsters with butter sauce, but the dish we enjoyed the most were fresh clams broiled on a gravel pit, a meal worthy of great explorers. - PP

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Clams broiled on a gravel pit: The first things you’ll need are clams. If you have access to a beach where clams are available, choose the ones with better size and color. The ones that you find by the mangrove swamps are not recommended since they feed by filtering dirty water. If you buy them at the market, make sure they are still sealed and heavy. Don’t buy them at the supermarket since they freeze them to death. Brush them gently to remove sand and dirt and leave them on a bucket of water in a fresh place. Don’t refrigerate them so they stay alive. Count 10 medium size clams per diner. Get the equivalent of three wheelbarrows of gravel (like the one you find at the beach in Cabo Pulmo), rinse it with tap water and leave it on the sun to dry. To prepare the gravel pit, you’ll need to dig a rectangle of 3 x 5 ft in the sand, make sure to make it 1 ft depth. Fill it with hardwood charcoal and light it, wait until it’s red-hot. Once the grill it’s right on term, spread the washed gravel with a shovel until it’s 3 inches thick and let it heat. When you see it’s HOT ready, put the clams in a way that once it opens, will let the juices run. Once the clams are cooked, put them on a tray with a bed of lettuce and lemon. Serve them with a cold beer on the side.

- Sea clams must be very fresh to eat them.

Enjoy!

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T

en kilometers away from Cabo San Lucas, down the road to San Jose del Cabo, you can find the Cabo del Sol development. Right there it’s located the Fiesta Americana hotel, all surrounded by first class infrastructure and two of the most beautiful golf courses that exist in Los Cabos. But back in the 1960’s, next to this place the only thing that you could find there was a rancho called “El Zalatito” named this way because of the trees called “zalates” or “wild figs” abundant in the surroundings. Also because of this, the beach located right in front of this farm was known for many years as “La playa del Zalatito”. However, after August 28th of 1965, all of that changed, and ever since that day, that beach was known as “el Barco Varado” or “The stranded boat beach” . The reason for this name change obeys precisely to the stranding of a japanese fishing boat that occurred that same date. The ship “Inari Maru No. 10” with 500 tons capacity was caught by a tropical storm, side effect of the hurricane “Berenice” which hit just in front of the coast of the Baja California Sur territory. The ship had a rudder failure and without proper control and being LAND’S END MAGAZINE No. 3

at the mercy of the elements, was driven into the shore and got stranded in the beaches of Los Cabos carrying about 400 tons of marlin, sailfish, swordfish, tuna and shark. Employees from the Hotel Cabo San Lucas, - also known as Chileno Hotel -, gave the alert to the fishing inspector of the zone, Mr. Abel Green Manriquez. When he and his crew arrived to the place it was around 9:00 am. There they found a group of sixteen Japanese sailors around a bonfire, one of them was sharpening a knife. Apparently they were about to prepare their breakfast with a donkey they had captured, but when the inspector got there he tried to communicate with gestures and grimaces, trying to convince them to leave the donkey alone. Fortunately, Mr. Tomitaka Sanay arrived just in time, he was a Japanese fisherman who had lived in San Jose del Cabo for many years, and since the moment of his arrival to the site of the stranding, the communication between the Mexicans and Japanese men became much easier. By this time the Japanese had already told the inspector about ten to fourteen other sailors who were still inside the ship, so they helped them to disembark and arranged their transportation to San Jose del Cabo.

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On their way to San Jose they encountered with the harbormaster Mr. Francisco Huisar Montalvo, who, at that very moment, got in charge of the Japanese crew. He took them to the guesthouse of Mrs. Romelia Ojeda de Gonzalez, where they were fed and hosted.

“The visitors brought a lot of things that were new to the locals” Now, you can imagine how fast the news spread around the small town of San Jose del Cabo, which at that time had a population of barely three thousand people, and the stranding of a Japanese ship and the reception of thirty sailors in town were major news. Once in town, Mr. Tomitaka Sanay acted as a consul of his home country because he offered his help, his house and his friendship to the shipwrecked sailors who, despite they were installed in the guesthouse of Mrs. Romelia Ojeda, spent most of the time at Mr. Tomitaka’s place, singing and clapping in a Japanese style, cooking, drinking and laughing, transforming the ambience of the house into a continuous celebration. Also a lot of the town people visited Mr. Tomitaka’s place at any time of the day, they also offered their friendship to the visitors and started to try learning some words in Japanese, they also tried to teach the sailors some words in Spanish (including an exchange of swear words in both languages of course).

les sandals which the Japanese sailors traded with the palomilla of town. The crew of the Inari Maru No. 10 stayed in San Jose for about a month, they blended in with the population and made friends very quickly, they were invited to play baseball and the Mexicans got very surprised, because they didn’t expect them to be so talented at playing it. This whole experience marked deeply into the people of San Jose. The family of Mr. Tomitaka was very happy to have the opportunity of sharing so many things with these people. Regarding to the ship, it became Federal Government’s property; this because it was fishing without proper authorization in Mexican territorial sea and this was why the authority started its dismantling. In order to do so, they hired the services of Mr. Jose Abaroa, owner of a small shipyard from La Paz. He brought his own staff of workers and equipment, but they only worked for a week, after which they returned to La Paz. Then, a group of engineers from Mexico city called “Ingenieros Asociados Subacuaticos” arrived on site. They were under the command of chief engineer Raul Mendoza Mata and they brought a team of divers and equipment to start working.

They also hired seve ral local people; here are some of their names and nicknames: Francisco Amador - This is the Japanese flag that the crew from the Inari Ruiz “Chico Pompa”, Maru N.o 10 left as a gift for Mr. Tomitaka Sanay. They exDon Jesus “Chuy” pressed their gratitude and friendship in the signatures and Monroy, Pablo Aviles, writings. Oscar Pimentel Cortes “el Kala”, Pablo Orozco Peralta “la Pu Pu”, The visitors brought a lot of things that were new to Federico Lucero “el Pato”, Ricardo Lucero Salvatierra the locals, for example: instant soups or canned tangeand some others. They also hired Don Jose Agundes as rine in syrup, but the things that got most of the locals’ a cook, whom, after most of the personal had left the attention were maybe the canned cigarettes. site, stayed as the guardian of the place for an undetermined period of time. The crew also donated 1,000 watts light bulbs for the local hospital and some people were lucky enough to Little by little the remains of the shipwreck became receive radio-recorders from the visitors, which were a fewer and fewer, and at one point only the bow of the very particular novelty at the time. Also you were able ship was left. Finally, the developers of Cabo del Sol reto hear ALL OVER the downtown, the stepping on the moved it around the year 2000. few sidewalks of San Jose produced by the wooden so-

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Nowadays, you can still hear a lot of anecdotes and stories from the people who lived that experience. They keep good memories of the Japanese crew and the things they left for San Jose del Cabo. Some relatives of Mr. Tomitaka Sanay are now part of the San Jose del Cabo society; they became doctors and teachers, and also remember how happy things were at Mr. Tomitaka’s house during the visit of the crew of the Inari Maru No. 10. Article by Rene Cota Bertin and David Green Moreno.

Brief biography of Mr. Tomitaka Sanay Mr. Tomitaka Sanay was born on May 5th of 1900 in Amami Oshima, prefecture of Kagoshima, Japan. At the age of 18 years old, he embarked together with an uncle of his, heading to the San Francisco Bay area, a place where he lived for about three years. After that, he traveled to Cabo San Lucas with a group of Japanese fishermen. Once there, he worked in the shark fishing. At this period of time he taught his fishing techniques to the inhabitants of Cabo San Lucas. He eventually met Ms. Eudalda Maldonado Villalobos and they got married. They had seven sons and daughters: Sumiko, Yataro, Aiko, Katsutaka, Yoshiko and Maria de Jesus. Mr. Sanay was a host to the crew of the Inari Maru No. 10 after their ship stranded in the shores of Los Cabos. He passed away at the age of 70 years old, in the city of La Paz, B.C.S. .................................................

- Mr. Tomitaka Sanay was a Japanese fisherman who arrived to Los Cabos in the year 1921.

We want to thank Ms. Norma Fisher Sanay for providing this information, she is one of the granddaughters of Mr. Tomitaka Sanay.

- The Inari Maru No. 10 was part of a Japanese fishing fleet. It stranded on the shore of Los Cabos on August 28th of 1965

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n the year of 1937 the Gonzalez Canseco brothers, Manuel and Valerio, bought his share to their uncle Arturo and became the only owners of “La Voz del Sur”, a store located in the main street of San Jose, which was an emporium of industry and commerce in Los Cabos since the early 1920’s and until late in the decade of the 1990’s. By the year of 1937 “La Voz del Sur” was a node where all the commercial and productive actions of the region converged and it’s precise to mark, they were many. Full of towns and farms, the region had an abundant vegetable production, among those, were particularly outstanding the tomatoes (called jitomate in south Mexico), which had similar or even better quality than the ones harvested in some other states of the country like Sinaloa, Michoacán or Jalisco. Besides this, the livestock activity was also very important producing leather, meat, cheese and other dairy products of excellent quality.

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“...it was an actual industrial and commercial node that propitiated the regional production” At the time, all of these activities ended up at “La Voz del Sur”, a store that can’t be compared at all with the big warehouses that are established today in Los Cabos for a simple reason, this wasn’t only a store where products were sold, it was an actual industrial and commercial node that propitiated the regional production, promoting exports to the interior of Mexico and foreign countries. We were able to hear all of this, first hand, from a man who was involved in this venture for fifty five years, being a trusted employee of the Gonzalez Canseco Brothers.

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We had the chance of talking to Mr. Jose Carballo Valle, better known among the palomilla as “El Cano”, who is 86 years old, born and raised in San Jose del Cabo. He started working when he was still very young at the store located downtown in San Jose, just in the corner of what are now the streets of Manuel Doblado and Antonio Mijares Boulevard, right across the street from the municipal county’s office. Don Jose, kindly received us at his home. He invited us to a nice patio where I’m sure he spends many hours of his day, because in the middle of July it felt very fresh helped by the shade of several mango trees. The lovely picture was completed by a small fountain.

“We had the chance of talking to Mr. Jose Carballo Valle, better known among the palomilla as -El Cano-” - “I always loved my job” – he says -, “I used to wake up very early in the morning to arrive on time to the store, and once there, there was always something to do. We were general employees, so we used to perform many tasks, from unloading a truck full of goods to putting the store shelves in order. The work atmosphere was excellent because most of the people who worked there were long time friends from town”.

Don Jose also explained to me that he had a very particular task besides the regular ones everyone had; he was the driver in the delivery routes of the company. Many routes where set periodically to the region of Santiago, La Ribera, Los Barriles and the whole East Cape area to collect the products from farms and towns.

- “But we never got to ride empty” – he remarks – “we left with a truck full of goods, and as we unload some sacks and boxes, at every point we had to load new ones in the back of the truck”.

“At every place they visited they were well received” The routes always left around 4:00 am so they would be able to reach the first towns at dawn. At every place they visited they were well received, there was always someone who invited them for breakfast or lunch depending on the time of the day, but they were always very diligent with their schedule because they knew that the earlier they finished the deliveries, the earlier they would be heading back home. A whole day was needed to complete this small commercial route, and back in those days, these routes were the motor that moved the economy of the zone, a practice that would be very benefic for Los Cabos nowadays when all the economy is depending solely on tourism.

“all the products that otherwise would have been kept for self consumption, began to increase their amount of production and quality” It was very interesting to learn about all the things that were generated in the region by “La Voz del Sur”, all the products that otherwise would have been kept for self consumption, began to increase their amount of production and quality because of the constant demand generated by the store. This also produced an economic welfare among the population which began to have access to more diverse products imported from different parts in the state, the mainland and even foreign countries, a benefit only shared with very few places in other parts of the country.

“La calle grande” what today is Boulevard Antonio Mijares and the city square.

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I asked Don Jose about the dangers of the commercial route, if they ever were in actual risk of being mugged by road bandits. He laughs a little and answers, “Not at all, back in those days we would always carry talegas (small sacks) of money to pay at every stop for the products that we had in the list, and also, in every place we collected money from the goods we left in the local stores, and we never worried about being robbed. The little sack of money always traveled behind the seat of the truck, but not because we were trying to hide it, but just to keep it safe from our own kicks”.

“At that time our payment were $13.50 pesos for a week of work, and those where seven twenty pesos”

- Don Jose Carballo Valle, “El Cano”, at his 86 years of age, worked for fifty five years in the store that was the commercial node in the region of Los Cabos.

“But the truth is, we were always very careful not to tell anyone about these departures” – he says – “We tried to keep that information only to the store, and we did it that way because if anyone else from the town found out about a route, it was very likely that we would find five or six people waiting for us at the exit of San Jose asking for a lift or the commission to carry a letter or a package to the places we were going to visit”.

“ In times of World War II, the Gonzalez Canseco brothers promoted the fishing of shark to get the liver which was canned at the very store and exported to USA”

- The -Seven Twenty silver pesos. Called like this way because of the percentage of silver used on its alloy 0.720. They were common currency at the time.

Don Jose narrates everything with meticulous details and little by little helps us to understand the way of life of those times and how this store was an enormous part of it. In times of World War II, the Gonzalez Canseco brothers promoted the fishing of shark to get the liver which was canned at the very store and exported to USA. Also, several local products such as damiana ( an endemic plant from which a popular liquor is made), were dried and packed to be exported to Europe; this besides cheese, piloncillo, meat, cotton, livestock, leather, tomatoes, sugar cane and models “A” and “T” of new Ford automobiles. So that’s correct, the vision of the Gonzalez brothers took them to install a Ford Motor Company distributor in San José del Cabo, which by the year of 1950, had already given 25 years of service to the zone, and it is because of this, the reason it is considered the second distributor of Ford to ever open in Latin America.

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If you, dear reader, visited San Jose del Cabo around the year 1998, you may have made the same mistake we did. If you visited the Goncanseco store and thought that you were visiting a small local store which was making efforts to do a daily sell, well, the truth is that this was the very first business among many others owned by the Gonzalez Canseco Family, located in many cities such as La Paz, Culiacan, Mexico City and even Los Angeles, CA. Very successful enterprises of very diverse activities in charge of brothers Manuel and Valerio between the decades of 1920’s to 1960’s. It was the year 1965 when the younger brother, Don Valerio, passed away and maybe it was at that point where the concentration of commerce activities started to disperse among the also very active children and grandchildren of Don Manuel and Don Valerio. Don Jose expresses in the same way that other people that have lived a life of work and activity: happy and enthusiastic when remembering all these experiences. He remembers his youth and his accomplishments, he became a highly trusted person by his bosses, to the point of being in charge of taking the children to the rides and school, in charge of picking up the special guests of the family (among which were included artists, governors, ambassadors of several countries and even former presidents of Mexico). He was also in charge of carrying any personal shipping that needed to be sent to La Paz or any other place.

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- “We used to work very hard, but we had good bosses who always cared for us. At that time our payment were $13.50 pesos for a week of work, and those where seven twenty pesos” - Don Jose exclaims, making reference of the 0.720 silver coins used at the time – “But also, they always supported us in many other ways, with construction material for our homes, or some medicine, sometimes with things that were as simple as if the boss heard from his window a boy selling cookies in the street, he called his attention with a whistle and after joking a little bit with him, he would buy the whole basket and send the boy to distribute them among the workers”. Of course this hard work had its consequences and Don Jose tells me that maybe his only regret is the time that he had to spend away from his wife and sons, because despite the store was located in San Jose, by becoming the trusted driver of the Gonzalez Canseco family, he constantly used to be in trips and assignments, he specially remembers the time when he was on the road, and meanwhile his wife was giving birth to one of his three sons.

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- Don Valerio Gonzalez Canseco -fourth in higher row- and Don Manuel Gonzalez Canseco -second in lower row- were the visionary brothers that impulsed the economy of Los Cabos in the early 20th century.

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However after my visit to the house of Don Jose Carballo, it was very clear for me that he must have been a good husband and father. During all the time we talked, his family was present, and not because any appointment he had arranged previously but because the good habit that the inhabitants of the small cities of Mexico have, spending as much time as we can with our families and the people we love and care about. Don Jose stopped working when he was around 70 years old, at that time the store was still in function, and he remembers that he was unable to stop feeling the impulse in the morning of showing up at the store and ask “is there something I can do?”. It’s an inner impulse I believe, the desire to continue being part of that we love to do, or maybe it’s the doubt about being sure that the new employees are doing their work correctly or not, or just the feeling to go and say –hi- to someone or showing respects to the patron.

- At the time many products were shipped from San Jose del Cabo to the mainland, from vegetables and dairy products, to livestock.

I can picture Don Jose seated up very early in his bed, looking for an excuse in his mind to go to the store. After all, as we say in Mexico: “El alma no envejece, el cuero es el que se arruga…” -BL

“The soul never gets old; it’s the skin the one that wrinkles”

- Since 1925 a Ford Motor Company distributor was installed in San Jose del Cabo.

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Picture by: Dánae Kotsiras Ralis Hernández LAND’S END MAGAZINE No. 3

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invented by Totonacs, originally performed in their towns on special religious festivals and is full of calendarical and astronomical significance.

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louds gather heavily above the gentle hills of northern Veracruz, a landscape now closer to that of a golf course than to the dense tropical rain forest that covered these areas till 100 years ago. The clouds grow vertically during the morning, forming huge columns of white cotton, the wind taking them from here to there, jamming against the slopes of the first high sierras to the west. Even though the radical transformations this area has suffered after oil extraction and cattle raising, the hot and damp weather of the area still prevails, and portions of re-grown forest patch the hills. In the middle of this area, between today’s oilboomtown of Poza Rica and 19th Century vanilla growing boom-town of Papantla, fourteen centuries ago, an ancient civilization of unknown name and origin founded the city known today as Tajin. Since its discovery more than 200 years ago, the city has captivated its explorers and visitors for its unique architectural style, a blend of foreign influences (Teotihuacan, Maya) and original traits, which ironically did not extend beyond a small territory: a little sister city grew uphill in the cloudy slopes of today’s Sierra Norte de Puebla, 44 kilometers to the southwest, in a place known in Nahuatl language as Yohualichan, “the house of night”.

It consists of four dancers descending, hanging upside down, tied from the waist, from a high wooden pole, especially logged for the occasion, describing 13 swirls each around the pole, accompanied by the music of a fifth dancer sitting on top of the pole. Tajin, a powerful and short name, means in Totonac “thunder”, and as an extension, refers to the rain deities. Even though it is not sure if their direct ancestors lived in the city, which rather seems to have been a multiethnic city, the name Totonacs gave its ruins is both correct and poetic. Three times I have visited Tajin, but the most recent, the one that inspired me to write these lines to share with you, was special: the thunder god was present in his realms. The city lays in an almost flat area in the middle of several hills, forming harmonious arrangements with them, an affirmation that Mesoamerican pyramids were hand-made representations of sacred mountains. Since its foundation, around 700 a. D., just after the collapse of the monstrous megalopolis of Teotihuacan, and taking advantage of the broken balance of power of the time, the city started flourishing, developing a unique artistic style. At first timid, with the centuries the platforms and walls of Tajin, standing on sloping basements, started to be covered with niches, crowned with slanting cornices. Another trait, not original to Tajin but extensively used in it, was the xicalcoliuhqui, a stepping spiral, resemblance of the sacred snail shell, symbol of planet Venus and the god later known as Quetzalcoatl.

The Totonac indians who live in the area at least since the times of the Spanish conquest, claim their origins to these two ancient cities. One of the most interesting contemporary indian ceremonies, which is performed for visitors at the entrance of the archeological site three times a day, is the “Danza del Volador” (“Flyers´ Dance”), apparently

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First forming rectangular arrays, these platforms grew higher and more decorated, assuming an individuality rarely seen in other Mesoamerican cities, whose buildings rather held close similarities, favoring the whole effect rather than the individuality of the architectural piece. The jewel of Tajin is the clearest example of what I am stating: the Piramide de los Nichos, the Niches Pyramid, to which we will refer later. The values of this ancient city have been recognized internationally, and UNESCO enlists it as a world heritage site since 1992. At its peak, the city held some 30,000 people and spanned to 1.5 square kilometers. Its decline started around year 1000 a. D.

“Next to it lays one of the 17 ball courts of Tajin, another of its landmarks” Last July, in the middle of the rainy season, our visit started as usual with full sun and more than 30 degrees Celsius in 90% humidity, which at 130 meters above sea level is not much in Veracruz. Traversing the recently built Museum and service areas, an interesting piece of contemporary architecture by Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon, one arrives to one of the simplest but best ordered plazas of the city, the Arroyo Plaza, which seems to have been the city’s marketplace, paved with sandstone slabs. Next to it lays one of the 17 ball courts of Tajin, another of its landmarks. These courts consist of a pair of long and low platforms, generally sloping towards the center, in the middle of which took place an ancient ritual –more than a mere sport- known simply as “juego de pelota” (ball game), in which a solid rubber ball kept moving by means of the players’ elbows and hips, representing the movements of the Sun between light and darkness. This “game”, played by many peoples in many variants from Southern United States to Central America, often ended with complicated offerings among which human lives were the main gift to the gods.

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The abundance of ball courts in Tajin means, for some scholars, that the city was, like ours, a multi-ethnic one, with different courts representing diverse social groups. Another argument supporting the cultural diversity of Tajin is the fact that the period when it was built was one of intense migrations, with cities being abandoned while others were being founded. Parallel to the ball court first seen after the Arroyo Plaza, lies another, parallel to the first, 65 meters from center to center… To me, the plurality of Tajin does not explain completely the “exaggerated” abundance of these structures.

“North of the big ball court lies one of my favorite buildings, a steep plain pyramid crowned by a row of niches.” As the visit continues to the north, perpendicular to the two courts previously seen, we enter another, the most beautiful of the city, some 60 meters long, its twin walls covered with perfectly faced sandstone blocks. At given intervals, the simplicity of the stone walls is interrupted by vivid bas-relief representations of several rituals involved in the “ball game”, including human sacrifices and the descent of celestial beings to feed on them. Its beauty, despite the bloodshed, is undeniable, and its value as detailed documents has been useful in deciphering the many mysteries involved in the ancient rite. North of the big ball court lies one of my favorite buildings, a steep plain pyramid crowned by a row of niches, sitting atop a high pediment with little stairs all around. Seen from here, the city starts looking a bit chaotic, as its buildings start to deviate from the perpendicular angles seen in the Arroyo area, forming various angles between them, not just straight perpendicular lines as in most Mesoamerican cities. To the right, a beautiful pair of sister –almost twin- pyramids shows us part of the colors the ancient city had: bright sky-blue stucco still glows after more than a thousand years of rain, sun and thunder.

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of the city, a big plaza, farther north, with its own ball court and two long platforms with grandiose stairs built according to the slope of a hill. Built taking advantage of this natural trait, the north section of the city lies some 15 meters above the ground level of the ceremonial center, and is believed to have served the elite both as residence and as private ceremonial space. Because of the proportionally reduced dimensions of the buildings of the area, it is known as Tajin Chico (Small Tajin).

- El Tajín is a pre-Columbian archeological site and was the site of one of the largest and most important cities of the Classic era of Mesoamerica. The city flourished from 600 to 1200 C.E.

To the left of the sisters, closing a rectangular plaza, lies the much awaited Niches Pyramid, with its stairs looking to the East, to the sunrise, a perfect postcard occasion to take home and remember for life. Boasting a total of 365 niches distributed on its seven levels and four facades -square holes almost one meter by side- this building is one of the jewels of Mexican art of all times. Its stair having been built after the pyramid itself, covering part of the niches, its function is not clear enough, especially withouy stairs, but its reference to the solar calendar is undeniable. Big cubic stones with a hole in the center lie in front of the pyramid, suggesting the rising of poles, maybe flags, and transporting us to the times of splendor of Tajin. It is compulsory to go around the monument, making us doubt such a complex beauty can be repeated in its four sides. The temptation of counting its 365 niches is also inevitable, but frankly, I have never finished the counting. Their number reminds us that the most precise calendars ever developed by mankind before the Age of Discoveries was the Mesoamerican. As we ended our circular path around the pyramid, Tajin, the thunder, made its appearance. The Sun was gradually hiding behind each time darker clouds, having let us enjoy the niches with the severe shadows of tropical latitudes, and a fresh watery smell came from far away, carried by the north wind. With still much of the city to be visited, we hoped not to face Tajin the thunder until the end of the day, so we moved on to the next section

- Mural from South Ballcourt, El Tajin.

Several buildings form a couple of plazas in this area of the city, their walls bearing innumerable variants of the niche and the geometric curls and sea shells, but in smaller scales compared to what we saw in the ceremonial center. Some of the best preserved wall paintings of the city lay in this area, covered by a palm leaf hut, surely similar to the ones that covered many of the buildings of the city at its splendor time. Rain started at last, refreshing us at first but rapidly soaking our clothes. We walked fast towards a dense group of trees, which for some minutes, covered us from the harder rain. Soon the trees started dripping, and our temporary cover did not work anymore. Walking ahead we found refuge under a great stone lintel, that marks the access to one of the most intriguing buildings of Mesoamerica: the so called xicalcoliuhqui, the gigantic “greca”, geometrically curling inwards. Thunders and rain continued abundantly, and small streams formed rapidly all around, flowing on the sandstone paved plazas of the city, towards the lower areas, and trough ancient underground drains that still work. What we could see from the door in which we were hiding from the rain is suggestive, and our mind tried to see beyond as we could not move from where we were: water still fell furiously. After more than 30 minutes, rain was almost over, and curiosity grew greater than the sensation of being wet. After all, in this tropical area, no matter how wet you are, you never feel cold. Turning the corner of the building were we hid, a long spectacular wall, full of niches on a giant sloping base, some 120 meters long, aligned in perfect perspective, inviting us to walk along its huge sandstone blocks. At the next corner, the sight is repeated. In our mind, the building takes shape of a great quadrangle, but it is actually a flat representation of the sacred sea shell, a squared spiral that bends inward towards an unknown center. It is believed that it worked as a defensive wall, controlling the access to a very special section of the city, maybe the rulers’ residence. Only half of this wonder has been explored recently, the central section that it protected looks still like a hill full of trees. The visit to the explored parts of Tajin ends there, it is time to return to the south, to get back to the 21st Century. The inverse sight of the buildings is suggestive, incrementing the dynamic angles of the ceremonial center. Suggestive too are the wet surfaces of stone after the rain, the greenery, greener than before, the sweet smells of herbs and flowers, the sound of water dripping from the trees and flowing downhill through drains and two small creeks: Tajin, the thunder, again took possession of his city, making it live once again. -RR

Picture by Ilhuicamina

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The poor wee puppy was filthy and black with fleas. He also was very small for a Mexican street dog, which is why he was especially skinny, not big enough to get much of the street scraps. Most scraps went to big strong strays. The puppy’s little ribs were sticking out and he looked really pitiful. My heart went out to him, but I tried to hurry by him anyway. At that time, there were many starving dogs on the streets in Cabo, and I knew I couldn’t save them all myself. I also was really afraid to even touch him, for fear I’d catch something that I could carry back to my then only dog, Micki. Small though he was, that dog was determined. He kept right in front of us all the way to the restaurant, continuing to throw himself on his back and wave his legs in the air right in front of us — the universal sign of surrender. We went into the cafe, and ate our dinner. As we left the building, we found our little friend patiently waiting for us, tail wildly thumping outside the door of the cafe. He repeated the “Please take me, I’m yours” process on his back the entire walk back home. His determination and obvious extreme need overcame my resistance; besides, it was pretty obvious that he had chosen me. Despite my friend’s objections, I picked the little fellow up — gingerly, to be sure — and took him straight to the bathtub. After three shampoos followed by vinegar rinses, he was temporarily free of flees and looked great. He actually looked like the Jack Russell in the Taco Bell commercial. Not only was he determined, but also he was pretty smart. When Micki came over to check him out — after his bath, of course — he threw himself on his back and lay there until she’d done all the sniffing she desired. She then accepted him into her family, with the stipulation that she was the boss — but would become his best friend. The relationship played out that way for the next 11-1/2 years of his life, and the remainder of Micki’s. We named him Charlie. That was Ralph’s choice, the male short form of my name, because Charlie had adopted me.

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hen I first moved to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in early 1997, I stayed with a good friend for a couple of months while I searched for my own place. The weather was beautiful, as it always is in January there, so my friend and I decided to walk to a nearby restaurant for supper. As we exited Ralph’s place, a little kinda white and brown puppy laid his body, tummy up, all four legs waving in the air, in front of the bottom step, forcing us to step over him to get by. Ralph was not as much of an animal person as I was, and tried to chase the dog away.

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The next morning, I took Charlie to the vet to be checked out. He was pronounced healthy and given all the shots he needed. Since he was so small, I thought he was only a few months old but it turned out he was actually about 9 months old. The vet also told me that he was a mixture of Jack Russell, Corgi and who knows what else. Most Mexicans do not like to neuter male dogs. You really have to push even the vets to do so. This particular vet talked me into putting it off, so Charlie escaped that procedure for a while. My sister, who lived in Canada, came for a visit with me in Cabo a few months after Charlie joined our family. She had left her home in the middle of the night on the day before she arrived, so was exhausted when we arrived back at my place that evening. She fell into a deep sleep long before I got to bed. Over coffee the next morning, she asked me if my sleep had been disturbed by the earthquake during the night. I told her I slept fine and that there hadn’t been an earthquake.

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She insisted that she definitely felt the earth move, not only once, but several times during the night — but she was too tired to care, so just kept sleeping. This bothered me a bit, so I phoned around to see if anyone I knew had felt an earthquake. I was assured that there had not been any kind of tremor in the area. That evening, we went to bed together — we were sharing my king-size bed, along with Micki and Charlie. As we dozed off to sleep, Charlie took a “male” stance and prepared to execute. Immediately during peals of laughter, both my sister and I realized what the “earthquake” had been the night before. Charlie had been enjoying my sister’s leg. That ended there. The next morning poor Charlie had another trip to the vet — this time not quite so pleasant! I still tease my sister about when a little dog made the earth move for her. Charlie moved from Cabo to Tennessee with us, along with Micki and Ginger. He is an important part of our family. He and Tony are best pals. Our family has both grown and shrunk. Charlie lost his best friend, Micki, more than a year ago. We all still miss her. But our family has grown and now Charlie has new friends and is still enjoying life. He still likes to lie on his back and wave his legs in the air when we return home after being gone awhile — only now, I believe he is expressing joy, not surrender. - CA

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November - December edition of Land's End Magazine