I had told Vance that in Bahìa de Los Angeles there would be people, and hotels, and good food, telephones! We played Jimmy Buffett when the vast island-ridden bay appeared, and soon learned that Bahìa de Los Angeles was nearly deserted. 'Stashed his trash in Ecuador Bought a good suit and clothes Flew on up to Mexico…' A small town of fish camps, motels, and a few restaurants.
It was also the most breathtaking place I had been in weeks - wide, unspoiled beaches. Two sailboats moored against a sandbar; giant islands shadowing the bay. Despite my misperception, there was beer, and it was for sale, so we drank in the hundred and ten degree heat, and pitched camp under a palapa north of the city.
"We drove here," I told Vance. 'I dial your number for you' the lady next to a large fan said, drinking a soda with ice, pat in her comfort. I called my mother on a satellite phone, "I didn't know you could drive to places like this!" I said, and before the line went dead, she said, "You know that the elections…" I took to a shower stall near our palapa - cool water - a man in the stall next to me was singing, "Mary had a Little Lamb" in a whispering falsetto.
It seems that the heat was getting to people. "You know that the elections…" I thought about it for a while. The elections! No cervezas to be sold on election weekend. Zedillo! Fox! I suddenly had some appreciation for our struggle for beer. My mother, a constant reader and observer, was more in touch with Mexico than we; the plight of travel, of being out of touch, had caught us.
But there was a 'who cares?' line in there somewhere, and we snorkeled the shallows to get an idea of the life here - plenty of wrasses, sea bass, a grouper or two, skates. Most of the fish were oversized, well fed. It made sense: the Sea of Cortez is a natural fish-trap, and holds more species than any other region in the world. Vance went to sea, paddling in the vicious wind. I hacked away chest-deep, fly-fishing north of camp, in a spell of utter concentration, and a sloppy fly-line ripping at the water.
Fish were passing beneath me. Jumping feet from my line. I pulled a Corona out of my pocket, drank it, and soon my line was flying right, back, forth, back, forth. The fish kept jumping around my line, mocking me. But I drove here, and I couldn't give a fish-gut for a bite, I was chest-deep in the sea, exactly where I wanted to be. We took to dinner at a second floor beach-restaurant; the only restaurant in five miles, which was called, "Restaurant." The owner, Reno, offered us Margaritas (seeds at the bottom meant he used real limes) and we ordered fish tacos - the taste of the fish dominated, which meant this was caught locally, probably by the guy with a fishing pole who was yelling at Reno from the beach.