I personally never found the deserts I encountered boring, they have seemed varied and interesting. For sure they've induced torpor and sleep, only due to the extreme heat while travelling through them. Even on a motorcycle this can be a potential problem, keeping hydrated is vital. Also concentration can waver easily, mind you mine can at any time. This morning I nearly ran off the road, while looking at a lovely tree lined river going into town. My wheels were half off the tarmac edge, with a drop of a couple of inches and soft, sandy gravel below it would have been nasty. With only a low barrier for protection I would have plummeted a fair way; the bike would have stayed at the roadside though. So at least I wouldn't have gotten crushed by that as well, but I'd rather not think about that: now where was I?
Riding highways through the desert! With long mileage to cover and little traffic I tend to keep my interest active by noticing what there is and how it changes. Once we got off the dirt road the other day there were many miles of hot arid riding to do. For a long time the scenery was devoid of any interest, flat barren plain for as far as the eye could see; dead scrub was the only addition to featureless plain. There was a backdrop of mountains, they were very distant, only vague shadows on the horizon. Having just noted these things it suddenly changed, and I do mean suddenly. With no apparent change in altitude or topography cacti appeared, a whole multitude of them, dominated by the tall branching type; they formed so many strange shapes. Many had only one branch growing from their lower extremes, they were upthrust protuberances; the only way to describe them is like erect penisí. Most unfair really, there were no female equivalents; try as I might I saw nothing that resembled pert, or even saggy, breasts or buttocks. Soon another cactus took dominance, this was more like a shrub, actually it looked more like a coral than a cactus, even up close. At one stage it was so numerous there was no room for anything else between the giants.
The mountain range in Baja seems to hug the coast for so much of the time. Our route invariably swings back into the hills as we near the coast, for so long they have been a far distant view, only vaguely visible. But each time we've swung inland, and returned to the coast, we've encountered a delightful stretch of road. Hugging the hillside it will twist and turn at the precipitous edge, rising steeply and plunging again out of sight, round the next bend. Each bend holds the promise of my first sight of the sea, when it comes I can feel my heart lift, as more is exposed the joy intensifies. These are the times I look forward to, knowing what will great me as I near the coast. Even if the reality doesn't hold true, the initial pleasure is still intense.
I'm now at Playa El Coyote, just south of Mulege, on the east coast of Baja. By the time I leave I'll have been here for a week, it's great, a beach to relax on. You could say it's paradise, but a shower at least once would be nice, as would some fresh water within walking distance. But listen to me, a spoilt brat of the western world, expecting everything layed on, with no effort on my behalf. Wow, what a hardship! Today I've had to start my bike and ride into town to fetch some water, what a drag! As you can see from the photo's, the beach looks great, its virtually deserted and cost next to nothing. Of course, being in a place frequented by hoards of USA citizens, it gives very little in return. As the economists say, "there's no such thing as a free lunch", rich hoards ensure holiday destinations adhere to this philosophy.
So Iíve been dossing on the beach for three days so far. Having such a relaxed time hasnĎt induced me to write anything, all Iíve really done is to lay in the sun and read. Each day I go to the end of the beach, strip off, and enjoy some time alone. Yes, my vanity still urges me to get an all over tan; why I donít know! Is it habit, or do I actually enjoy the total exposure to the sun? A bit of both really, I do actually l like being tanned all over. I enjoy feeling the sun on my whole body, I like the feeling of being naked, I love the sense of freedom it gives me. There is nothing exhibitionist in this (I claim anyway); inevitably I ensure Iím alone, not to give offence to those who feel uncomfortable with my nakedness. The last couple of days people have been within sight of me, but if Iíve gone to the effort to be secluded can they really object? Well they can, but whether they are justified in that is another matter. Live and let live i say!
Posted by Leslie Kay at November 08, 2007 06:28 PM GMT