February 12, 2005


Baja is lovely. I am currently broadcasting from an internet-type place in Los Barilles called The Office, which in English roughly translates into the name of a type of fish or something.

It’s been cloudy (anc occasionally rainy) the last few days, but I still managed to get out kiteboarding on Wednesday and Thursday. My session on Thursday was cut short when the wind died, my kite hindenberged (that is, suddenly dropped out of the sky in a burst of flames) and I had to swim back to shore.

As I was diddling around trying to grab my kite in the surf, my board got caught in a wave and smacked me in the back of the head really hard. When I reached back to find a lump, I instead found a hole. An alarmingly large hole. In the back of my head. I hiked up the beach and found some of Wayne’s friends, who took one look and knew I would need stitches. Chris brought around the four-wheeler and drove me to the American clinic, which was closed. Instead, we went to the Mexican clinic. There were cow pies in the front courtyard, and a sign that said the doctor was away at lunch. This didn’t necessarily bode well.

Fortunately, as we were just leaving the door, the doctor pulled up in his red Pontiac Grand Am and told us to hold on a minute. He opened up shop, took me in, and proceeded to stitch my head back together. The cut was about two inches long, half an inch wide, and half an inch deep. Roman Soria patched it up with seven stitches, and gave me some antibiotics, serile gauze pads and Advil.

I am confident that he did an excellent job. Any gringo who has spent some time here has sent a friend to this clinic to get patched up. I don’t understand all the details of it, but it seems that the Mexican government plays a heavy role in training doctors. After a doctor has finished all his schooling, he is sent to a small town clinic (like here in Los Barilles) to run a general practice before he can go on to specialized areas of study. Many times, doctors enjoy GP so much that they stay with it, even after fulfilling their requirements.

I’ll be seeing Roman again next Thursday to have the stitches taken out. I am so exciteding! I’m in pretty good spirits about the whole thing. I mean, really. Far worse things have happened to far better people. Besides. Nothing breaks the ice and eliminates the anxiety about being in a foreign place, quite like putting a hole in your head. Scars are the best souveniers because they make such great stories.

In other news, yesterday it rained. Hard. All day. Apparently it’s been cloudy and rainy here for the last month. People say that this is extremely unusual, that this never happens here, but I believe that this is just a nice way of saying that people have very poor memories about these things.

Quite a few roads are flooded. Finding a way to the main street from my Casita requires navigating a maze of flooded roads and executing a few bouldering moves.

Hey, Max just dropped by The Office. Max was the fellow who drove me from the airport to Los Barilles on Tuesday. As far as I can recollect, Max was born in La Paz, but has lived in Los Barilles for more than fifteen years. He gave me the skinny on Baja politics. They had a state-wide election here last week, and a fellow from Los Barilles named Roberto got elected to state congress. Los Barilles isn’t a very large town (maybe 1,000 people by Max’s estimate) so everyone here is excited, and hopes that Roberto can help improve conditions in Los Barilles. Also, having been elected to state congress, Roberto is allowed to run for national congress in the next election.

Hmm. What else? Last night a bunch of us gringos got together and played poker. Today has been gorgeous. Yesterday’s endless rain finally cleared out the storm system that’s been dogging Baja for the last month, so today we’ve been enjoying nothing but blue skies.

Anyways. I’d better run. If the wind comes up I am to be the designated kite launcher.

No first visit to Baja/Mexico is complete without a trip to the local doc for one ailment or another. 😉 I kinda expected the tiny, almost-invisible, stinging jellyfish thingies to be the cause on this yer trip, or a stubborn case of “Montezuma’s Revenge”, but hey … a guess, a hole in the head is equally, if not more exciting… Just glad to hear though that you’re having a good time overall. Have a cerveza and a taco de pescado for me, dude. And try not to incur any more bodily indents while you’re at it…

“C’mon Ned, we’re going to Mexico?”
“Why are we going to Mexico?”
“To buy fireworks, of course.”
“Are fireworks legal in Mexico?”
“Hell, everything’s legal in Mexico. It’s the American way!”