Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since our arrival in Merida. Because of Covid concerns we haven’t done much exploring yet, outside of getting to know our new neighborhood. Here is a summary of our first two weeks in pictures.
So, our new life in Merida is comfortable, quiet and beautiful…all we could ask for during these difficult times. We look forward to exploring and sharing more as the weeks progress. Stay safe! Love and light to all!
My friend, Olivia, gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog post. She asked some great questions which I will answer here.
How was your time in Vietnam? It was wonderful! Vietnam handled the Covid crisis very well. It was very safe. Da Nang is beautiful and affordable. However, we came for a month and ended up staying for 10. We were concerned about having to review our visas every month and the strong possibility that we would eventually be denied.
Will you ever return to Asia? We hope so. We love Asia, especially Thailand and Malaysia. Plus there are several countries we still want to visit (India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia for sure). But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that nothing is for certain.
What was your impetus to move to Mexico, in the middle of a pandemic? How did you choose Merida? Merida is one of the safest cities, not just in Mexico but the world. While the pandemic is of course a concern, we chose Merida because of it’s relatively low Covid numbers, thriving black ex pat community, affordable housing and proximity to family and friends in the U.S.
How are you feeling today? We traveled for 2 days, 4 planes plus all the packing and preparation. We are exhausted and jet lagged but grateful to have arrived safely. We tested for coronavirus before leaving Vietnam and were both negative. We plan to isolate for the recccomended 10 days and will wear masks and practice social distancing until further notice.
One question Olivia didn’t ask but I wanted to share on briefly is: What was traveling like during a pandemic? It was really surreal and a bit anxiety producing. Most of the airports were REALLY empty until we got to Houston. We treated ourselves to better seats, lounges and a hotel stay during our Houston layover. We wore masks at all times and my hands are so dry from all the washing and hand sanitizer. Overall our travel was a positive experience, for which we are very grateful!
Thank you Olivia for helping me to clarify what I wanted to share today, our 5th day in beautiful Merida.
Compared to our last border crossing (Tijuana with a 6 hour line of cars and bomb threats), today’s crossing was a breeze. We left Puerto Penasco this morning around noon headed for the border at Sonoyta.
Sonoyta is a small town in the Mexican state of Sonora. It’s right next to Lukeville, Arizona. The crossing station is only open from 6am to 6pm daily and is little used. There was one car ahead of us when we crossed at 11:30 am.
We had our passports ready and encountered no real problem. A U.S. Department of Agriculture agent did come into Winnie and left with a carton of eggs, some frozen chicken, potatoes and soy chorizo. Had we known we could have left those things in Puerto Penasco. Here’s a link for what foods can be brought from Mexico to the U.S.
The drive after crossing was quite lovely. Lots of cacti and small towns. We took highway 8 all the way. Right now we are spending the night in Campo, California and enjoying a beautiful sunset. One great thing about RV life is that home is where you parked it!
I’m too tired and jet lagged to write much but the BOLTs have arrived safely in Ensenada, Baja California Norte, Mexico.
We are reunited with the BOLT dog, Kahlo.
And are back in the cozy Winnie.
The trip was grueling with a 5 hour layover in Bangkok and a 12 hour one in Tokyo. We ventured out from Narita Airport, by bus, into Tokyo. I don’t recommend this. The bus ride is 3 hours round trip and all we saw was the big, bustling, business part of Tokyo. We will definitely visit Japan when we have time to explore and enjoy.
We arrived safely in San Diego after a 10 hour flight. From San Diego we enjoyed the Blue Line Trolley which took us right to the Mexican border.
Crossing the border was easy, the Mexican immigration folks are lovely and friendly.
We took a taxi from the border to Ensenada, less than 2 hours, for $80. There are cheaper ways to go (by bus) but we were very tired. We arrived safely at the Mona Lisa RV park. And are enjoying the Pacific Ocean Views.
Tomorrow morning Kathy and I will be leaving Mexico. We will also be leaving Winnie, our well loved RV, and Kahlo, our beloved dog. We have really enjoyed our year and a half of RV life. We visited 22 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. We found and fell in love with Kahlo, met lots of wonderful people and have so seen much beauty.
However Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, has been calling our names and we’ve decided to return for a year. Winnie will remain here in the safe keeping of the Mona Lisa RV Park.
Kahlo will also remain here for the year. We believe she will be happier here than in an apartment in Thailand. She has a best friend, Lucky, and Lucky’s owner, Javier, will take good care of her while we are gone.
We will miss her very much and probably miss RV life too. However this is the life we have chosen to live…a life of “home-free” travel, and sometimes sad good byes.
La Bufadorais ablowhole (marine geyser) located on the Punta Banda Peninsula, just outside of Ensenada. It is one of the largest blowholes in North America and probably the largest tourist attraction in the Ensenada area. Cruise ship passengers are taken to the site by bus for around $35.
Our neighbors and friends, Keiko and Graeme, were leaving Ensenada so we decided to pay a visit to this famous spot. The trip was three bus rides and about 40 pesos each from the Mona Lisa RV Park.
The spout of sea water is the result of air, trapped in a sea cave, exploding upwards. Air is forced into the cave by wave action and is released when the water recedes. This interaction not only creates the spout, but a thunderous noise as well. The phenomena repeats every minute or so with its volume depending on the strength of the waves.
I’m going to be down for about a week and not too happy about it! I’m very much a woman who likes to fill up her days with activities. Here in Ensenada, I’ve been going for 90 minute walks on rough roads and running and dancing on the sandy beach. I don’t know exactly how but I’ve injured my right knee. Ignoring the pain (for about 2 weeks) hasn’t helped and reducing my exercise time hasn’t helped. Finally I am paying attention to my wise wife…which always helps. Kathy reminded me that this knee thing has happened to me before (2 years ago) and the solution was RICE. No, not the often delicious grain that I love.
The combination of rest, ice, compression and elevation are what solved my problem two years ago and I trust it will do so again. So, rather than sink into self-pity or drama about it, I thought I’d do something helpful and share this solution. I also want to share gratitude that our BOLT life allows me the time to RICE and a beautiful and serene place to do it in. Looking forward to being up and about in a week…just in time for our excursion into town for Black Panther, hopefully able to do this then!
Yesterday BOLT had lots of fun being Ensenada tourists for a day. While Kathy and I are enjoying the simple life here at the Mona Lisa RV Park, there is not much excitement. So, along with our neighbor we set out to have some fun. We caught the mini-bus just outside our gate and within thirty minutes we were in the center of town. From there we had a great day! Let me show you in pictures. Our first stop was lunch. We ha a delicious and inexpensive meal at Antojitos Lula. Three meals, including soup, appetizers and beverages was 300 pesos ($15) total! Definitely a place where we will return. We worked off our lunch by strolling through the busy streets of downtown Ensenada, window shopping and just taking in the sights, sounds and colors. We visited this really cool museum. The Museo Histórico Regionalis a small museum set on the site of a former prison. You can visit the former cells and there are exhibits about early life in Baja. I especially enjoyed practicing my Spanish with one of the curators. We both agreed that: “En todo el mundo la mayoria de los prisioners son inocentes.” That most are imprisoned for lack of money. Our walk continued to the cruise ship harbor. A big ship was in port so there were lots of vendors out. We are savy enough to know not to buy anything, it was all overpriced but fun to see. Our last stop was the beautiful Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia. This is a fairly large museum and we didn’t have time to explore it all. The part we visited replicated a cave and had anthropological finds exhibited throughout. Another place we will definitely return to. We most definitely had the perfect day of tourism and we were happy to return to our peaceful Mona Lisa home.
This is our second visit in the RV to Ensenada and probably our fifth or sixth between cruises and car trips. We never spent more than a day, usually just a few hours. This time we’ve been here a few weeks and find ourselves loving it. What’s different? I think mostly it was our willingness to explore the city more deeply, to look beyond the smoggy, crowded big city feel or the cheesy touristy vibe near the cruise ship docks. Here are some of the reasons (razones) why.
Nuestro Barrio (Our Neighborhood)
We are staying well outside of the main city in the Chapultepec district. It has a very rural feeling with small tiendas (shops) and businesses that supply everything we need at very affordable prices.
!El Océano! (Theocean!)
What more can I say? This is what we see, less than 40 feet from our RV door. We are loving the sounds of waves crashing and seeing schools of dolphins swimming by.
Paradas Continuas (Continuous Stops)
These little mini busses are great! For 13 pesos (around 50 cents) they take you all around Ensenada and the surrounding areas. We’ve had lots of fun riding them up and down the hilly, small communities that surround the Big city. Soon we plan to take one into city central where we can visit the museums.
La Marcoplaza(Grand Plaza)
Just a short bus ride away is this really cool spot with all the conveniences of any modern mall. There always seems to be some sort of entertainment happening. There’s a Walmart, Home Depot and a really beautiful movie theater. We actually spent our first night in the parking lot here and were undisturbed. Now it’s a fun little day trip for us.
Persona Amable (Kind People)
Not just Ensenada but everywhere we have traveled we have been so blessed to meet kind and helpful people. It really does make a difference. We feel safe and welcomed here in Ensenada and look forward to exploring more of the area. If you have any experience here we’d love to hear your suggestions.
The Mona Lisa RV Park and Motel is far from the fanciest or most modern place in Ensenada but we find it absolutely perfect for BOLT!
We are right next to the Pacific Ocean, separated by a rocky breakwater. There is a stone stairway that leads down to a clean, shell strewn beach. When the tide is out you can walk along the ocean for miles.
Of course, the ocean is beautiful, but the uniqueness of the Mona Lisa is all the art work here. There are murals and sculptures all over, many of them depicting Mexican history and Toltec and Aztec sacred figures.
All the necessities of life (groceries, laundry, drinking water) are within walking distance. Plus there is a sweet little mini bus that comes practically to our door and takes you right into Ensenada Centro.
Things are a little run down but the staff is wonderful and very helpful. We have a great spot for our Winnie. It looks out onto the crashing waves and has a little table, outdoor kitchen and a palapa (thatched shade). There is really good wifi and our spot has electric, sewer and non-potable water hook ups. A spot like this in California would be at least $65 a day. Here at the Mona Lisa it is $20 a day and a month is a huge discount down to $330 a month.
We are really enjoying the mild weather, relaxing lifestyle and affordable prices. We will probably be here for a couple of months. Ensenada is a less than 6 hour car trip for our So Cal friends and there’s an airport for everyone else. We sure would love to see you!