Our final day in Loreto was a cloudy, windy day but enjoyable nonetheless! Rather than begin our day with a long walk on the malecon, we drove to find a Sunday farmer’s market we had heard about. Unfortunately, it appeared to more of an eclectic flea market so we just did a drive-by.
Heading back into town we stopped at the most unusual cemetery I have ever seen. The town of Loreto is said to be the oldest human settlement on the Baja Peninsula, dating back to 1697, so we expected to see some really ancient gravesites. Indeed there were, but more interesting was the amazing colors found in the sacred graveyard along with everything from a mound of loose dirt to a tiled grave, and from a brick enclosure to what the Mexicans call “chapels,” a totally enclosed and locked structure, often with a glass front, containing pictures of the deceased along with flowers, candles, urns and patio chairs!
Although we did not see any family members while we were there, apparently cemeteries in Mexico are vibrant and often comfortable places where families gather on a regular basis to celebrate both the life and death of a person. It is an ongoing celebration that perhaps intensifies with death. I have never seen anything similar to this but kind of like the idea. Most often in the states, funerals and cemeteries are synonymous with dark images and sadness, and then often the actual burial is a closure. This doesn’t appear to be the case in Loreto! Needless to say, I continue to enjoy learning about the different customs of the Mexican people.
We had heard about a clam shack right on the water a little south of town, so after our stop at death’s doorway, we drove down to Vista Al Mar – what a find! Just look at the shrimp and how close we were from the water! It appeared to be a local place as several Mexican families, along with wintering Americans, greeted the servers by name. I can only imagine how beautiful Vista Al Mar would be on a warmer day!
We eventually did, indeed, complete our daily walk. On Sunday, as well as the three days prior, there was not much action at the harbor as the wind was preventing fisherman from venturing out as well as prohibiting tourists from touring the Sea of Cortez and the Isle de Carmen! For most of our week here, we watched local laborers working on the arch that sits at the end of the plaza. All the work was done by hand, with very few electric tools – hand-mixed cement, water carried to the spot, crude brooms with handmade dust pans. Finally the work was completed and the arch looks beautiful!
For our final dinner in Loreto, we walked to the Oasis Hotel and Restaurant which was an experience in itself. When we entered the restaurant there was only one other party dining, which usually isn’t a good sign. Although the restaurant had been recommended, i had my reservations as it seemed old and extremely dark. As we got settled at our table and ordered drinks, we realized that Christmas carols were playing, one after another, all being sung by Michael Buble! We chuckled and continued to laugh as we conjectured as to why? Didn’t the wait staff understand the lyrics? – they were in English. Was this the only station available? Were they still celebrating? Who knew, but then we really giggled as we found ourselves singing along!!
As trite as it may sound, you truly can’t judge a book by its cover. We enjoyed a crisp, fresh salad – complete with a cold plate – and delicious chicken and shrimp fajitas. We also treated ourselves to a piece of carrot cake!
Our nine-day stay in Loreto has ended, but today we began an eight-day adventure in Mulege. We checked into an Airbnb cottage on the Santa Rosalia River and will join several couples from our caravan for dinner tonight in town. We continue to have a blast although the weather really does need to warm up a bit! The internet here in our “Casa de Baci” appears to be strong but am still having difficulty downloading pictures, so watch for more posts from Mulege! If you don’t see any you can assume that Bill and I are just too relaxed to function!
Stay Calm and Travel On…