Baja Mexico: The Journey of Almost No Return – Chapter 10: Framping Comes Alive!

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Day 04

Guerrero Negro, BCS > Mulegé, BCS

Monday, August 29th:
The Rio Mulegé, winding in from the west, threads its way through forests of palm trees before crossing under the highway and feeding the Sea of Cortez.
(photo by

Though Their Course May Change Sometimes, Shit-heads Always Reach the Sea

Hours of monotonous, high-speed desert swelter end abruptly when out from a long, unbroken, and forsaken corridor of cactus and scrub brush we emerge onto the royal blue shores of the Sea of Cortez, aka the Gulf of California, at a little town called Santa Rosalía.

We chug south along the shore for another 30 miles before reaching the small tourist town of Mulegé, where we decide it’s time to pull over for a proper drink. Espying a festive-looking beach bar sitting along the placid shores of Bahía Concepción, we drive out onto the sand and pull up to the edge of a modest-looking thatch-roofed bungalow advertising beer.

Hey, Bungalow Bill

We saunter on in under the protective shade of the structure’s straw roof canopy, and are immediately greeted by a friendly American expatriate named Bill, proud proprietor of this laid-back establishment. He starts making our margaritas before we even order them.  Because he knows.
He’s the all American bullet-headed Saxon mother’s son.
(image by

It’s the kind of place that makes you start questioning every decision you’ve ever made, as it reveals to you all at once just how obvious and easily-attainable the good life has been all along, despite the colossal botchery which you have called “living” for all these years. Makes you just want to hang it all up, throw in the towel and leave the game of life in the more capable hands of whoever knew to do this instead of whatever you’ve been doing with your life.  It hurts.

Sweet pain, though, at least. And the Margaritas can only help with that.

"Deek, I thought you said you guys had margaritas at this bar?" Go fuck yourself. (image by bajanomad)
“But Deek, I thought you said you guys had margaritas at this bar?”
Go fuck yourself.
(image by bajanomad)

Picture a Spinning Toy, Laden With Adventure

The space is flanked by television sets- the first we’ve seen in days, shining down upon us from the upper corners of the room. One of the TVs is showing a soccer game from somewhere else in the world; and the rest are all showing footage of some third-world disaster zone.

The images have no mercy, and do not relent. Miles upon miles of  devastated floodlands; entire, vast neighborhoods inundated; desperate people – aspiring refugees- stuck on isolated rooftops; cars floating down rivers that once were streets; rowboats bumping into second-story windows; downed power lines floating this way and that; the buzzing of helicopters in high-decibel surround-sound; the bodies of lost dogs and cats bobbing on the surface of the foul , polluted, brackish water.

When the levee breaks, Mama you've got to move. (image by
When the levee breaks, Mama you’ve got to move.
(image by

I ask what country this is all happening in.

“New Orleans,” Bill tells me, and goes back to wiping down his already-spotless counter while I process this information.

Holy fuck- this is New Orleans? At once we perceive that what we are looking at is the dire aftermath of that hurricane that the western world was so up-in-arms about in the days leading up to our exit from civilization: Hurricane Katrina.

We sit, rapt, deep into our margaritas, and watch with shock and disbelief the madness unfolding on the screen before us. It’s like some kind of Mother Nature’s 9/11. This is a level of chaos that I have never before seen occurring on American soil- that is, if you can even call a world under fifteen feet of water “soil”.

Picture a spinning toy, laden with adventure. (image property of U.S. Coast Guard)
Picture a spinning toy, laden with adventure.
(image property of U.S. Coast Guard)

Sweet Leaf

Okay, well this is all a lot to process. We begin to collect ourselves to leave.

I think for a moment, then speak. “Heya…Bill?”

“Lemme guess- you want to know where you can find pot?”

Wow. This guy gets it. “Why yes, actually.”

Bill gives us some very elastic directions to some random-ass roadside shack a few miles south of here, instructing us to ask specifically for “mota”, but not to use any of the other terms by which we know the magic plant. He says the guy’s cool, and is well-accustomed to hooking jonesing gringos three days into their withdrawal.

Hmm… sounds sketchy as fuck. Let’s do this.

Are you, or have you ever been, a cat? (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
Are you, or have you ever been, a cat?
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

No La Tengo

After rolling up on several ramshackle buildings, none of which are the place we are looking for (but one of which has the corpse of a hard-luck cat laying in its dusty driveway), we finally locate what we firmly believe to be the spot Bill was talking about. I walk in, and am immediately greeted by a haggard and suspicious-looking Mexican dude, whose expression (more “What do you want?” than “Can I help you?”) suggests that we are in the wrong place, and that that is a problem.

But we’re seriously dying to get baked. It’s been days. I take a chance.

“Tienes alguna mota a la venta?” (Do you have any marijuana for sale?)

His response conveys no ambiguity or indecisiveness whatsoever:

No! No la tengo”, he declares, with an expression that clearly demands “And what made you think I would?”

I pause for a moment, having not anticipated this curveball. Visions of mass graves and wanton disembowelment at the hands of indiscriminate cartel death squads rush into the mental space that moments earlier contained hopeful visions of unmolested hours of smoky retardedness on quiet, sandy subtropical beaches. Shit. I hadn’t practiced this particular play.

Before I can muster a response, he speaks again- this time in English:

“How much do you want?”

Mota City Madhouse

Classic. You gotta love this country, I think to myself.

Any semblance of suspicion or wariness on his part has utterly vanished, as though I have just passed a test of some kind, even though all I’ve done since I walked through the doorway is blatantly ask for illegal drugs. But I don’t know how to render proper fractions in Spanish; so I launch a hail Mary and hope for the best.

“Veinte dólares?”, I offer, with a hopefulness tinged by terror.

He takes my twenty bucks (U.S.), promptly whips open a large floor-mounted freezer containing nothing but shit-loads of weed, arranged and wrapped in satchels of all sizes., and hands me the fattest sack of anything that I’ve ever acquired for twenty bucks- the thing is the size of three tightly-wrapped Italian sausages.

Being completely unversed in the local etiquette for such a moment, I issue a hesitant and apprehensive “Gracias”, before crotching the package and ducking out the door.

Well...that certainly perked the cat right up. (photo by
Well…that certainly perked the cat right up.
(photo by

Take My Cat, Please

We stop at a pull-off along the highway to take a better look at a lovely little beach we have espied from a rise in the road. There’s a trio of locals, a man and two women, sitting there at the pull-off, trying to give away- get this- kittens!

As much as I love kittens, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a better example of a situation in which I should most definitely not be acquiring new pets. But at least these cats are alive- unlike that one we saw a little while ago. Nevertheless, I manage to summon the restraint to turn down the offer.

Framping Comes Alive!

The beach is immensely inviting: completely empty of people or vehicles, situated peacefully at the innermost curve of a large, placid bay, and lined with cute little palapas- challenging us to find a better place to camp for the night. Testing us to see if we are stupid enough to pass it up.

We might be stupid enough; but nevertheless we do not pass it up. We roll up on the beach and find, to our immense delight, that there are no posted fees, rules, or restrictions of any kind. It’s a free-for-all!

What happens in Mulege...ends up on some dude's blog, apparently. (photo by D. Speredelozzi)
What happens in Mulege…ends up on some dude’s blog, apparently.
(photo by D. Speredelozzi)

We select a palapa, park the car, and both stumble into the sea to wash the desert from our bodies. When we get out, Chalk starts rolling fatties while I drag the cooler out of the car.

After ripping into the frigid beers we’ve been carting around all day long, we smoke two joints, before we smoke two joints. And then we smoke two more.

This place takes free camping to a new level.


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Next: Chapter 11: El Conejo Done Died