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Old 02-07-2013, 02:18 PM
cmac2012's Avatar
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Location: Berkeley, CA
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My Baja trip

Oh man, what a trip, what a drive. Todos Santos is a sweet little town. Sort of an artsy ex-pat community and a sleepy little town. My friend’s house and estate is sweet. She’s planted trees and shrubs of various sorts and made a small green oasis. She operates a small nursery, selling trees to locals and expats.

The photos are a tad big - a tool I just learned of helps - if you press Ctrl - (Ctrl miuns) makes it all smaller, Ctrl + (no need to include shift key) makes it bigger. The first photo is of her new bodega, or store, where she plans to sell a variety of products – health items and organic gardening products. It served as my guest house for now. The second is just to the left of the bodega, showing some of her nursery and her carport. The rest are of the main house, of course. The Toyota RAV4 (’95) is a dandy little rig. Surprisingly fast for a four cylinder automatic and it gets 28 mpg highway. You really want a high clearance rig for the streets around town.

The highway was a trip – two lanes with no shoulder about 99% of the time. Kept me on my toes. Is a lot more scenic that way. More primitive looking. Most all of it recently repaved. Good thing as the several portions not yet repaved were pretty rough, and thankfully short. Traffic pretty light until we got about 100 miles south of the border. Often we’d pull over and it would be several minutes before another car went by, and this on the main highway. Quite a few semis and they all seemed pretty well driven. The scenery was unlike any I’d seen. Big cactus, palm trees an some trippy rock formations. I saw several huge mounds of rocks, standing in sharp contrast to the earthen clad hills nearby. It’s been a wet this year, a hurricane last fall – she said she’d never seen it so green. Quite green close to the border.

All in all, I want to drive it again. I’m starting to understand the ex-pat retiree thing a bit better. I may well do it. I’m seriously amping up my efforts to learn Spanish.























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Last edited by cmac2012; 02-07-2013 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:19 PM
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Very cool. Thanks for posting. What's the cost of living down there?
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Very cool. Thanks for posting. What's the cost of living down there?
Not as reasonable as you might think. Baja is sort of like an island, especially the southern tip which is about the only part that has much water, except for the northern border areas. Everyone told me that the mainland is cheaper, but then it's more crowded also. The good restaurants are about 70% of what you would expect here and the places where locals eat about 50%.

Seems like you can build a house for about half of what it would cost here, owing to the low cost of labor. But you have to be careful. Some of the finishing work is rough. I speak as a finish carpenter so my standards might be a bit high but I'm telling you, a lot of the tile work I saw was attractive at first glance but rough upon closer examination.

My friend's shower has a couple of chronic puddles in it - which lead to mildew - from the lack of attention to that detail. Not hard at all to make a gently sloping floor and then tile that. A friend of her's kitchen has really uneven tiling on the counters and generally poor quality control. I'm almost tempted to try to start a company where I use local labor that I coach on better standards. Would need to watch them well though.

Probably not the best idea as about as many people leave as come in so there are a lot of places on the market. It's an attractive scenario though my take is that people often find it more difficult than they thought. I want to get high proficiency in Spanish before I try it. And then work on my Spanish with the natives.

My friend is cool, but we've been platonic for too long for anything to take off and she's 7 years older than me anyway. Some of the local ladies however, whoa, ĦAy, caramba!
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:05 PM
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Sounds like a nice trip. The whole area is a bit touristy for my taste. I love Mulege, the Oasis up the eastern coast. Not many expats, although there are a few. La Paz, the capital, has a fair U.S. population, great services and lots of historic architecture. R.E. there is still in a huge slump. Way under 100K will buy you fine home. Two ferries to the mainland too. One to Mazatlan and the other to Topolobampo. Great way to weekend on the other side of the water.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:34 PM
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Mulege was interesting. Really funky dam that looks like it was handmade from bricks. It looked like a dam, not sure. Incredibly lush. My friend said they got hit hard by hurricane action recently. I went into a store that caught my fancy. Had a promo on an outside wall in English and one in German. Inside it was sparse. Not much inventory. Kinda painful. The guy had novellas on TV with poor reception. Looked pretty bored.

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