Drought After months of talking about it, LisaGreen and Assana finally make plans to visit Valle de Guadalupe… albeit still for months down the road. And what weekend do they pick? They pick the first rainy weekend in four years of drought! Good job ladies.
We spend the night in San Diego chez Bobbie Green, Lisa's brother, who is kind enough to share his beautiful home with us. Bright and early the next morning we head down to Mexico… excited to get out of the rain. Yeah, no luck. Turns out the same storm decided to grace Baja with its presence as well. Did we mention the four year drought?
Border Control In contrast to our return back to the US, we are unceremoniously plopped into Mexico. If it weren't for the half-built structure and, well, the massive Mexico banner, we wouldn't even know we had crossed the border. A complete opposite experience than when we return: we accidentally end up in a SENTRI line — Global Entry for cars — and are sent to "secondary inspection." Two hours of sitting in the car and punitively getting scolded by some loser border control dude we are finally back in the US. Thanx border control for being jerks for no reason. We love you too.
Feetos First thing first: we stop for some Cheetos for Wanda. (We hear that she is not addicted, and that she can stop any time she wants! Yeah right!) We find no Cheetos, but find some fake Méxican version... Feetos? Talking of not finding the real thing, we are unable to find any Méxican Coke any where either. Dan and Wanda remain deprived for the duration of the trip.
Blowhole Once on the road, LisaGreen is shocked at the amount of build-up since her childhood. Wanda is shocked at the abandoned state of these buildings — It is her first trip to Mexico — and since not much surprises us in Mexico, we are shocked at the rain. And, talking of the rain, as though it doesn't soak us enough, we make a detour to visit La Bufadora, a natural blowhole.
Haute Cuisine We are down in Baja for the wine, but what really surprises us is the food. The wine turns out to be mediocre — the region lacks maturity both in terms of vineyards and vintners. But we did not expect the food scene to be so amazing. The area is extremely rural and these restaurants are many miles from the single paved road. Yet, every great restaurant we eat at requires a reservation, and is full to the brim! They grow most of their vegetables, so it is super fun to sit feet from where the veggies are picked minutes before you eat them. One place is a 20 minute drive on unpaved dirt roads, meandering thru fields, with no lights or any other human in sight. And all of a sudden, boom! There is this restaurant (and hotel), with a beautiful contemporary design and amazing food.
Pods To keep the surprise theme going, our hotel which is one of the best hotels in the area and is constantly featured in all sorts of articles, delivers such an abysmal service to us that we have to have a serious chat with the general manager. Well, LisaGreen did, and the rest of us enjoyed the squirming. The building itself is also quite different. The architecture is cool — a lot of steel, concrete and simple lines — but perhaps too cool. The rooms are these boxy shipping container looking things. Though comfortable, they are teensy. Perched on hillsides, you'd think they would have great views! Not! Some of facing the hillside others have their one pane of glass pointing to something that is not the view (Dan & Assana's is facing a boulder).
Not There Yet We don't know if we would recommend Valle de Guadalupe for the wine, but we definitely recommend it for the food. And the wine, we are sure it will improve. Perhaps we will visit in a few years again.
As for Wanda and LisaGreen? They are great travel companions and we can't wait to travel with them again. (Though LisaGreen needs to practice her factmo skills... a lot!)