While Ron and I were in Cabo San Lucas, Sudi went to Baja separately with friends (the Van Pattens, who paid for his trip, that lucky bum). He stayed at the Villa del Faro in Pescadero, a small town up the coast from Cabo and just south of the artist colony Todos Santos. Villa del Faro is owned by David and Kelly Raitt, the musicians. They had a portable sound studio at the Villa so Sudi and his friend Brett spent a week composing and recording music together. Ron and I rented a car and drove up to Pescadero and Todos Santos for a day. The car was so small that I had to get Ron into the driver’s seat with a shoe horn. The top of his head grazed the ceiling. I called it the clown car. We drove for an hour through monotonous desert scenery with nothing but cactus (that looked straight out of an old Western), sand, and these stunted mangled tangled trees that all looked the same. It was some of the ugliest scenery I have ever witnessed. With billboards every fifty feet selling pieces of this ugly desert as timeshares. “Build your paradise here in Baja.” The Mexicans must think Americans are crazy, buying up this barren desert. Why? Because it’s near the beach? Always sunny?
Villa del Faro was lovely. You can visit it on the web at www.villadelfarobaja.com to see what it looks like. It’s a half-acre oasis in the midst of the desert. According to the Raitts, no Mexicans live near them. Their neighbors are Americans, and many of them are from Mendocino County. Why anyone would leave the extraordinary beauty of our local landscape to live in that desert escapes me. The Raitts took all of us to nearby El Cerritos Beach. El Cerritos Beach was like a place in a Fellini movie. In our itty bitty rent-a-car, we turned off the highway (a two-lane paved road) onto a dirt road that led straight into the desert with nothing on either side. We followed this road for a couple of miles, taking care not to turn off it onto the other dirt roads we encountered leading off into nowhere and really fit only for dirt bikes, but here we were in a car. All we saw for five or ten minutes was cactus, sand, and those mangled tangled trees. Then suddenly we arrived at a parking lot (dirt not paved) full of cars and a large cantina with a thatched roof. The ocean spread out magnificently before us. We met up with Sudi, the Raitts, and the Van Pattens, who were seated at a large table in the sand where they were eating and drinking refreshments they had purchased at the cantina bar. A band on a wooden platform in the sand played music. Only a few feet beyond the band, the children were swimming, body surfing, skim boarding, and generally having a blast on a gorgeous beach with perfect mild waves that came gradually into shore. It was one of the most lovely beaches I have ever seen. I decided that the lesson I learned in Baja is that paradise is wherever you make it. A good lesson for someone in the process of moving off 40 acres into town. (More to come about the Todos Santos adventure, stay tuned.)