Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Todos Santos

This was our home in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, for two weeks. It's a lovely home with a goregeous view and plenty of decks to soak up the sun. We traded houses with a California couple who will venture to Leran in September. We had a relaxing time and spent hours and hours on the beautiful, sandy and lonely beaches of Baja.
Todos Santos translates to English as All Saints. Crowning the doorways and corners of many of the older buildings in "downtown" Todos Santos are statues of quite a few of them. Whether their job is to oversee what's happening or provide guidance to town parishoners, or just enhance photographic interest for tourists, I don't know. One Sunday, we signed up for an Historical House Tour, and our guide Christine took us through some 22 grand old restored buildings. One person in the group, when repeatedly seeing the statues overhead, asked just how many saints there were. Christine had to admit she didn't know. Neither did I except to say "a shit-load". I later confirmed my suspicion: more than 10,000.

Everywhere we went in Todos Santos, there were lots of visitors from South Dakota. We saw lots of California license plates and Baja Sur of course. A few Montana, Colorado, and other western states, but an overwheming number of South Dakotans seemed to be spending the winter in Todos Santos. The mystery resolved itself when we found out South Dakota will send you a set of plates without having to establish residency or even make an appearance in the state, hence a lot of American ex-pats have them throughtout Mexico.

One of the empty and beautiful beaches where we would walk Fergus every day. This one is San Perdito, also known as Las Palmas. Only once or twice did we see people on this beach in the afternoon.

I loved the two guys standing outside the white adobe or stucco building with the incredible olive green trim. The contrast was striking.

The Freida Khalo chair. The sports bar was in a building that was intentionally left only partially restored. The walls in one of the back rooms were in the original lime plaster, badly damaged with huge chunks of exposed brick showing. The owners commented that it retained its charm this way. So right. All the chairs were brightly painted, but Freida was the only one I recognized. There may have been Pancho Villa and Diego Rivera too.

Construction materials for the old buildings included a local brick, which dimensionally was about 50% bigger than our standard US brick. It was most handsome. Wrought iron balconies graced the 2nd floors of most buildings, and no buildings were taller than two stories. Wooden doors were painted in stunning flat colors, shades of blues, greens, lavenders, reds. No one could tell me the specific paint used, but it had the effect of a milk paint.

Outside the Cafe de Todos Santos, hidden under the cascading flowers, are Doug and Fergus. We sat there feeling like we were in a cocoon, and assumed that even on the hottest day, this arbor would provide a welcoming sanctuary.

Most of the beaches we discovered were non-swimming beaches with steep drop-offs and strong undertows. Fergus seemed to instinctively learn to keep a safe distance as the waves came crashing in. But once we found Los Cerritos, with a shallow hard-packed swimming beach, Fergus was nearly convinced to become a water dog. I say, nearly. He would venture out with us, then see a wave coming in and hustle himself back to dry sand. But he did get in (sort of) on a game a canine soccer.

To sum up, Todos Santos for us was all about relaxation. I know, most of you are thinking, isn't that what they already do? Yes, but not at a beach. In 80 degrees in February.

The other part of Todos Santos for us was catching a little sun. Until, if you can believe this, we actually started staying out of the sun and seeking the shade. We wore sun glasses and hats everywhere. On Saturday, we finally had to break the news to Ferg that we were packing up and moving on. One last beach, one last crab fight, and we left for LaPaz for the return ferry to the mainland and San Miguel de Allende.

1 comment:

Peggy said...

Only Nancy would be wondering what kind of paint might have the "effect of milk paint". Indeed, the colors sound beautiful, especially with that fuchsia flower that is providing shade for Doug and Ferg.