Take a Little Trip: Baja

This weekend, rather than lounging by the pool or celebrating the fourth with fireworks, we spent the holiday in Mexico.  Yes, this was not exactly a patriotic spot, but our visit proved to be a fun-filled getaway nonetheless. 

Destinations like Cozumel or Mexico City or Oaxaca probably top the list of Mexico's tourist sites.  So, when I discovered that our weekend cruise stopped in Ensenada, I wasn't expecting a transformative travel experience---I was wrong. 

Ensenada, like its neighbor Tijuana is in the literal and metaphorical armpit of Mexico.  These border cities lack Mayan cultural sites, crystalline warm Gulf waters and visually-compelling cathedrals.  All of the reasons visitors head to the Yucatan or the big cities of Mexico are absent in Ensenada.

I had been to Ensenada before, so I had low expectations on this trip.  Ultimately, however, I left the sleepy fishing village pleasantly delighted with my afternoon visit.  

After a tour of the local fish market, a lunch of tacos al pastor on fresh, warm corn tortillas and a stop at a candy store for some goat-milk caramels (cajeta), I had tasted my way through the city.  I came, I saw, I devoured.

How then as a tourist, do you find the good in the Ensenadas of the world?  How do you turn an ordinary stop into an extraordinary afternoon?

Here are a few of my travel tips:
  • Eat where the locals eat, shop where they shop. Avoid the places with tourist buses and whistle-tooting, tequila-shooting gringos out front.

  • Travel without a plan.  Allow yourself to wander.  Discover what's around the next corner. 

  • Be open minded.  Sometimes the most unassuming destinations can offer the friendliest people or the tastiest local treats.  

  • Find joy in the ordinary. Take in the scents that are different from your own home.  People watch.  Sit and enjoy.
 Photos by moi. Mexico, July 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Finding life's delicious details in a seemingly ordinary visit to a non-touted destination, Pink Frenchie?
    Tony Bourdain would definitely approve!
    Travel is about discovery not only of place but of self.


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