lost in paradise


Our upcoming visit to El Pescadero in January is all about escaping one week of New England winter weather in exchange for sunshine, ocean views, tasty food and great music. But there’s also an element of personal redemption: my goal to navigate the back roads of the pueblo without getting lost.

We’ve stayed in El Pescadero once before, and managed to find Osprey San Pedrito without issues. Granted, we didn’t explore much in the area, spending much of our time in Todos Santos and in between. Still, to see El Pescadero on a map, it’s a fairly limited area, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, an arroyo to the north, Highway 19 to the east and Cerritos Beach to the South. On paper it seems difficult to get lost, but during our last trip to Baja in March, we managed to get lost in a profound way on our way to visit friends in Pescadero Heights. As if that wasn’t enough, we got lost on the way out as well, and part of me believes that if Mary hadn’t spotted the highway we might still be meandering up and down dirt roads and past menacing shadows.

There’s only about a mile and a half between the highway and the ocean, but it consists of a maze of dirt roads through fields of peppers, tomatoes and basil, twisted cacti and the occasional private house. There are quite a few ex-pats in El Pescadero, but unlike Las Tunas, which is largely populated by gringos and their contemporary ocean-view homes, Pescadero finds farmers living side by side with hardy ex-pats. It’s a unique and refreshing mix, but also a recipe for intimidation when lost. So naturally in my dream the other night, we became so lost that I succumbed to that kryptonite of true manhood and stopped at a strangers house to ask for help.

My Spanish is admittedly poor, but this family spoke neither English nor Spanish. It was instead some indigenous language I didn’t recognize. Even my flailing gestures were part comical, part pathetic. Somehow I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

So here’s to learning every pothole and blind curve of Pescadero over the next five and a half months. Either that, or I’ll just have to stay there until I get it right.

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