While our car was making its way across the Caribbean to Colombia, it was up to us to find our own way. We could fly from Panama City, take a sail boat across the ocean or go for the cheapest option which involves a number of outboard motor boats followed by a series of long bus rides. The motor boat option had the added benefit of getting to see a number of additional small towns along the way and spending the most amount of time on the San Blas Islands, an archipelago just off the coast of Panama. Having logged our fair share of miles on public transportation during our lives a day of travel on even the worst of roads seemed a lot less intimidating than the 36 hours of open water sailing that we would have faced had we taken the sail boat. Of the sail boat option, we had heard a number of horror stories of incompetent captains, lack of food supplies and rampant sea sickness. However, we quickly realized our choice was just as susceptible to a bungling, inept crew as any other.
I was forced to use that as a title, but I won’t say by whom.
We said our goodbyes to Mexico and moved on to our first new country in over three months. Crossing over the invisible line that separates Belize from Mexico was unlike any other border I’ve ever experienced. It was like stepping into a completely different world. Not only is the national language English but the people and food have more in common with the Caribbean islands than with the surrounding Central American countries. It was a bit of a culture shock, but after spending 3 months in a foreign culture we welcomed the respite and enjoyed our days in the comforts of our native language.
Our night on the TMC ferry was uneventful to say the least. It’s more a cargo ferry than a passenger ferry, so with the exception of a few other small vehicles, we spent the night surrounded by 18 wheelers and dozens of truck drivers. We hung out for a couple hours on deck, watching the sunset over the La Paz harbor, reading and attempting to converse with some Mexican teenagers.
Baja is the kind of place where time just slips away from you. We originally intended to spend a bit more than a week here but it’s been nearly 16 days and we still find ourselves hesitant to move on. We have driven from the north to the southernmost point, bouncing along both coasts on the way down. We have slept on the beaches of both shores and in the meadows of the towering Sierra de las Lagunas. We have strolled malecons at sunset and sipped margaritas beneath many a palapa. Despite all we’ve done, there is a sense that we’ve barely scratched the surface. One thing is for sure – Baja California has it all.