Sea Turtles? Or Whales?

¡Día de Muertos!
November 17, 2017

Sea Turtles? Or Whales?


Sea Turtles?  Or Whales?

The minute I landed in Baja I was in love in love not just with the land, its cardones and caracaras and vistas of the Sierra de la Laguna and its turquoise waters. And this was real love… not first sight love (that one only lasts from 5 minutes to a few months perhaps…) In one of our adventures, I soon realized that even though we both spoke Spanish there was huge abyss in the conversation.  We almost got a caguama (Which is a sea turtle… in Baja) but back in my town (Mexico, too) is a 32 ounce beer.
My friend and I had adopted one of the virgin beaches. We had been in town for about a week and were just in love with La Pastora. The beach was perfect, there were only a few surfers and only early morning; after that, no one was there but you, the sand, the ocean, the waves, the whales, the hot breeze, the rocks, and mother nature! We thought we had everything for the perfect day, we have put the necessities: chucherias (snacks), beer, water, sunscreen and an umbrella. We were there enjoying mother nature for about an hour when we got thirsty for a beer. So I went to get them and, what a surprise!!! The ice chest which was supposed to have the beer in it was not there!
After five minutes of recriminations, we decided to get some, after all we have decided to spend all day there. We drove for those dusty streets with huge  homes in all sizes, colors, and designs all matching the amazing landscape. I think either we were too distracted or we just  never really pay attention of how to go back to town to buy the necessities .
We drove for 15 minutes without any sense of direction towards the ocean and back to the roads endless times… until two gentlemen asked us if we needed some help.
"Yes I want to get some caguamas" I told them.
The man stared at me and inquired again.
"What do you want?"
"I want to get some caguamas?"
"How many do you need?"
"Two maybe three…" I thought to myself “Is it that hard to get caguamas here?”… I even thought maybe they had ley seca or a weird holiday in the town, making alcohol illegal.
"Yes, please".
"I can get them for you!" he said.
"Yes, please".
"I can get them for you!" He said.
"Can you? Thank you", I replied.
"I just need to make a phone call".
He went away a few meters and talked on the phone for about 4 minutes then he came back and told us. "In about two hours you will have two caguamas!" "Two hours?" That was way too long to wait for a couple of beers.
"If you give me the address. I am sure we can go get them".
"If you got lost getting back to town, you will never get there… plus you do not have an ice chest"…
"What do you mean? Aren't they going to be cold?"
"Cold? No way, they will be fresh!”
My sixth sense knew something was not right… I felt something odd. I ask him to describe the caguamas he was bringing…
He did not say much. "The caguamas," he said, "are about 2-3 feet long, they'll be fresh from the ocean...", when I realized that we had messed up the whole thing. I beg him please to call and cancel the “business”. "I knew that catching sea turtles was illegal and wanted no part in catching real ones.  I just wanted a nice cold beer!" "I want a beer," I explained.  "A 32oz beer.  In my town they're called a caguama."
The gentleman laughed.
"Oh," he said, smiling.  "Here you want a whale.  A ballena.  That's what we call them in Baja. !A que paisanos que no saben hablar!”
He did and after that I realized that in Baja, the choyeros have their own vocabulary! So, I committed myself to learn the important things before making a huge mistake.
He had two ballenas inside a bucket full of ice in the back if his truck, cold and tasty. He shared two ballenas with us and showed us the way to go back and explained to us how to get back.
The amazing sunsets and our two ballenas crowned our day!!!



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