Monday, August 9, 2010

Show & Tell: San Carlos

I'm not a big fan of simply relaying what activities I've been up to unless it can be used to illustrate life for any foreign service spouse. Today, I'm going against that general rule I put on myself.

I mentioned Hermosillo's isolation a couple of weeks ago and the fact that we can only leave the city driving north (to the U.S.) or west (to the beach). Over the weekend, we went west to San Carlos, or Sonora's Cabo San Lucas.

We drove down Saturday with a couple of Natalie's colleagues, and a scant hour and a half later, we were arriving. This can definitely be done in a day trip, and future expeditions will probably only be for a day, but we wanted the whole experience and booked a hotel room upon arrival.

Another early lesson from this trip was that bringing Tiffy wasn't the best idea. There is only one pet-friendly hotel that we're aware of, and it was not of the best quality. But at 450 pesos (a little less than $40), well, you get what you pay for.

We left Tiffy behind and went out to enjoy one of the private resort beaches for a couple of hours, which seemed like a good spot to snorkle, if we had the gear, before agreeing we needed to do a sunset booze cruise.

In addition to the sunset, we saw some of the islands and their caves in the Sea of Cortez, or the Gulf of California, depending on your preference.

The one-hour tour was BYOB (an acronym I'm fine with, by the way), and we made one mistake in trying something new. It was Sol, which is fine, but this was a lime and salt flavored variety. The taste was akin to take a beer can, dipping it into the ocean, and squirting some lime juice in. Fortunately, we also got some Tecate Light.

We went back to our hotels, cleaned up, had dinner and then went out to experience San Carlos nightlife. While there are a few bars and clubs, everyone seems to congregate at two or three establishments. After visiting some of the empty places (including one club in which there were five of us, five employees and no one else), we ended up at La Playa (the beach), which was a great choice. They serve cocktails in a jumbo styrofoam cups (perhaps the equivalent of three D.C. cocktails) for about 150 pesos (little more than $12), if I recall correctly.

We also did tequila shots (of course), though Natalie needed a little pep talk to take hers. Someone we met here is providing the encouragement. He is my favorite kind of Mexican - the kind that speak English. Though one of these days I'll be alright with the Spanish-speaking kind. Most every one in San Carlos, by the way, speaks some English.

The second day on the beach was Tiffy's first (and possibly last) beach trip. She enjoyed herself, but it is a lot of work to watch her as she would lay chase at any passing four-runner, or passing plane, or bird shadow. We were some of the first people to arrive, which worked out well because we could just turn her loose and wear her out before other people got there, and before it got too hot. By the way, not too bad for a dog that we got from a rescue shelter. Started in a shelter, and now she is an international traveler.

I don't think she particularly liked the water - not a big surprise. In the beginning, after Natalie and I would get in the water, she would want to come to us, but the waves (pretty big for the area, apparently) would scare her away.

Later in the day, when Natalie and one of her colleagues went out in the water, she finally mustered enough courage to make it out to her. Sadly, I didn't have the camera out. But she seemed to figure out that if she jumped at the first waves as they broke, she would stay above water and then have enough time to paddle her way out to Natalie. She did this once, Natalie caught her and carried her back to the shore, then she went back in.

Tiffy was upset about this, and about 10 minutes later, she went swimming back into the water. This time, Natalie was too busy listening to someone complain that his children couldn't get visas or American citizenship or something work-related (really, lie about where you work or say you're just visiting), so her colleague caught her. As she was beginning to bring Tiffy back, a large wave crept up behind her, and in an effort to keep Tiffy mostly out of the water while keeping her top on (I guess Tiffy's foot had caught it), she lost her sunglasses.

I started into the water as I saw the wave approach prepared to go grab Tiffy as I was sure she would be going under water. After the wave passed, I saw her paddling for her life as she made it back to land. Who knows how dogs think, but I'm fairly certain she was proud.

She spent the rest of the afternoon in the shade of her own personal umbrella, usually burrowed in the sand as well. The umbrella, by the way, was not intended for her exclusively, but we bought it at an Hermosillan Wal Mart. And just like in the United States, most things you buy at Wal Mart are a piece of crap. Cheap? Yes. Quality? Not so much.


  1. What a great little trip. Travelling with a dog sounds a lot like travelling with kids.

  2. Life with dogs is great. My Max was such a trooper during all of our travels.

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