the road to ensenada…via london?

poolside at estero beach restort, storm approaching

Recently I was at a party and was asked if I knew of a particular location in Ensenada, a town about 45 minutes away, and one of only two ‘cities’ within that distance from the small (like 1000 people small) town of La Mision (the other being Rosarito).

I apologized that no, I didn’t know where that particular location was. Or the next one, or the following one.

What struck me, in the course of the conversation, is that I actually know London, and Paris for that matter, and even Rome—all obviously large cities and at least a ten hour plane ride away–better than I know Ensenada, less than an hour’s drive.

There are, of course, many factors for that–such as that when I am actually here in La Mision I am typically coming from traveling somewhere else and like the opportunity to stay put for a bit, not even use my car if possible, take tigger for a walk, and work in the yard. There is also the lack of many local streetlights, which makes night seem, somehow, so much darker, that I rarely venture out after dark.

But regardless of the reasons, I’ve decided that it is just not right that I don’t know more of Ensenada, which is a fairly ‘do-able’ sized city. Well, actually, I decided that back in September, and hadn’t really done much about it until yesterday, when I was, as it were, forced into it, by needing to take my two kittens to the vet. Luna had begun to exhibit some behavior that seemed to match up with the google search of ‘how do I know when my cat is in heat’ so I thought, prior to having any more animals in the house, it would be good to finally take her for a bit of surgery.

Which gave me five hours in Ensenada with no agenda, other than to wait to pick Luna back up. It didn’t seem to make sense to go back to La Mision and then return to Ensenada, so I decided it would be the day to get to know my way around.

First stop, my absolute favorite fish taco stand, which I did already know about, from having been taken there by tour guide extraordinaire, Kathy, and which I had bookmarked on my iphone when I took Buddy (the other kitty) to get fixed a few months back and had some time on my hands. There are a couple of stools, but it is most definitely street food, eaten on the sidewalk, while leaning up against the quinceañera store’s block wall.

After filling myself up with two fish tacos con todo–cabbage, salsa, lime, onion and crema–I headed south, thinking I’d go to la bufadora, a marine geyser, said to be one of the largest blowholes in North America. But on the way I got a bit distracted.

'dutch boy' at home depot, helping me find the proper sealer for the floor

First, I stopped at the Home Depot in Ensenada, just to see what I might need, and wound up with seed packets for two types of basil, cosmos (the flower, not the martini, though that would be quite a feat), marigolds (for encouraging good insects in the garden and discouraging bad ones) and dahlias (because they are pretty and, as it turns out, perennial). The seeds are distributed by a company called Los Molinos. As I typically try to buy open pollinated non-genetically modified seeds, I’d like to know more about Los Molinos, but haven’t been successful yet.

I’m afraid this post is starting to sound like some of my dad’s letters from my parents’ motor home travels–“and then we had a sandwich for lunch, and then we drove 128 miles and stopped for a bathroom break and a snack and one of the cupboard doors on the motorhome was rattling so we had to stop and wiggle it a bit…” I’m not kidding.

Anyway, lest you begin to wonder how far the apple falls from the tree, I left Home Depot and continued heading south, still planning on La Bufadora but again distracted by the Estero Beach Resort, which was empty on a Tuesday in February, but which, with its pools and jacuzzis, seemed to hold a lot of promise for a warm summer afternoon.

Since the wind was picking up, and it looked as though the rain might begin in earnest, I left Estero Beach and headed back north to Ensenada, to the ‘tourist zone’ for a cappuccino at Starbucks (I know, I know…but they have internet, and I had gone without for four hours at this point, a near record) to wait out the rain and the final hour before kitty pick-up.

I never did make it to la Bufadora–that’ll have to be next trip. But I did figure out that the vet and my favorite taco stand are on the same street, just a few miles apart, and I also found easy street parking a block away from Starbucks–both of which are key pieces of information in my goal of getting to know Ensenada. Now if they just had Boris Bikes

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