Monday, April 30, 2018

The Magic Family’s Spring Break Escapades in Blissful Baja.

Spring Break, 2018 - Saturday March 31st - Baja Bound

The extended Magic Family manages to coordinate an all together escape to the tip of Baja over Spring Break. San Jose California to San Jose Del Cabo is just a 3 hour flight and we have an off the grid bungalow and "Dojo" on the East Cape. Our paradise is where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez. It does not depend on maid service or television. The 360 degree mountain and ocean views are captivating along with the company of our many friends, family and tequila sunsets.

Zacatitos panoramic mountain view (photo by Alisha McCormack)
We arrive in San Jose del Cabo at 1:00 P.M. but by the time we get through customs, stop at La Comer for supplies and drive the unpaved coast road to our off the grid community, it is late afternoon.  (There is the choice of a paved highway, but when not in a hurry, I prefer the dirt road that parallels the Sea of Cortez.)

Arrival margarita toast with John, Alisha and Art.
A hammock sundowner for John
Easter Sunday May 6th - Settling In

We spend Sunday leisurely settling into a Baja routine. Although we don't have a formal Easter Sunday celebration, the sunrise is glorious and we have a Baja style Easter egg hunt for Molly and Sterling.

Sunrise over the East Cape (photo by Alisha McCormack) 
Baja style Easter egg hunt
After the Easter egg scavenger hunt.

In the heat of Sunday afternoon, our family begins their table painting projects. Art's "Gecko Lounge" is a spacious studio space by day and often a margarita lounge bar at sunset.  It's a good place to escape the heat during the day and to be creative and there are inspiring and expansive desert mountain views beyond the open garage doors.

Alisha sketches out her Jack Rabbit Table.
John sketches his Dragon Table design

Marty's paints her Octopus Table

Sterling joins in the painting.

Surfer and cactus rock

Gecko Lounge Painting afternoon

Sterling paints a meditation bench
Art's beach painting of Jackie 

Sunday evening's rose buttermilk sunset is psychedelic. The close to a perfect day.

Sunday's rose buttermilk sunset.
Father and son on top of our casita's roof. (Two Sterlings)
Baja sunset bliss.

Monday May 7th - Jitsu training and a drive to La Fortuna - My husband Art has created an off the grid Dojo for MMA. He organized a Monday noon Jitsu training at his Cactus Corner Dojo. (Burros excluded.)

Art's Cactus Corner Dojo, Art, Molly and Sterling

Art and grandson Sterling 
Art and granddaughter Molly

Cactus Corner Dojo and Airbnb
Cactus Corner Dojo

After Jitsu training we take a drive up the east cape to La Fortuna, a tiny Ranchero community with a single simple restaurant where we enjoy an assortment of fresh fish, chicken and carne asada tacos.

The road to La Fortuna, East Cape

Waiting for our Tacos, La Fortuna
Molly, Cow Skull

Molly and Dad dancing
Peacefully inhaling the view and the quiet.

The beach just south of La Fortuna. Easy surfing for Molly and Sterling.
Molly and Sterling

Tuesday, May 8th- A day trip to Santiago and the Santa Rita Hot Springs. 
We begin our 2 hour drive towards Santiago and the Santa Rita hot springs stopping first at the Tropic of Cancer.

The McCormack Family at the Tropic of Cancer
We have a lovely lunch in Santiago at the Palomar Restaurant.

Lunch at the Palomar Restaurant, Santiago
A rare hamburger treat for Sterling

Alisha and Sterling "squabbling."

From there, we drive the dirt road paralleling the power lines up to the Santa Rita Hot Springs. There is small fee to pay the Ranchero who manages the Hot Springs and we sign the guest book before walking down the trail to the pristine river and hot springs.

The extended Magic Family upstream in the river. 
Marty and John, Santa Rita hot springs
Marty and Alisha, Santa Rita hot springs

Sterling soaking at the hot springs

We return home after a full day out. With limited internet, Alisha and John hurry to post photos of our day out. Sunsets and margaritas are followed by an Apples to Apples game by solar lighting at Cactus Corner. Great fun!

Alisha and John hurry to post the days photos on Facebook and Instagram.
Ocean view sunset and sundowners
Mountain view sunset

Zacatitos mountain sunset
Fun and games

Fun and games

A game night of Apples to Apples by solar light

Wednesday May 9th - A day in Zacatitos.

Van Gogh -Zacatitos' randy one eared male burro.
Burro on the beach
Burro on the beach

The McCormack family on top of our casita's roof.
Desert sunset
A Marty Magic sunset

Thursday - May 10th - Todos Santos and the San Jose Art Walk.

Festive flags along a Todos Santos street.

Todos Santos door
Todos Santos sidewalk cafe

Molly loves the fresh fish
Molly and Marty - Lunch in Todos Santos

Todos Santos photography gallery

Alisha, Molly and I have a girls day together in Todos Santos. We have a lovely lunch and wander the many galleries and shops of Todos Santos.

Benito Ortega working in his courtyard studio
Benito Ortega gallery.

I stop into the Benito Ortega sculpture gallery each time I visit Todos Santos. Benito is always happy to visit, explain his process and talk about his work. His sculptures, like mine, are lost wax cast.

Alisha and Molly at the Jill Logan gallery
Molly playing with Todos Santos puppies

Todos Santos Gallery

Graffiti art on a wall outside a graphic gallery 

Our time in Todos Santos is too short since we are  scheduled to meet the "boys" in San Jose for the Thursday night art walk.

San Jose del Cabo on a Thursday night art walk.
The Magic Family, San Jose del Cabo

One of three Sanchez jewelry galleries in San Jose del Cabo
Marty taking a glass of wine

The various art and jewelry galleries compete for business. The Sanchez family apparently owns three (or more) of the jewelry shops in town. Their P.R. woman, wearing a skirt arrayed with small servings of wine, won John's and my immediate attention. The jewelry wasn't half bad either!

Art's favorite gallery is the Frank Arnold Gallery
Frank Arnold studio
Frank Arnold Gallery

Every Thursday night during the season, Frank Arnold opens his gallery and home to the public. His white dog is always coiffed and FrankArnold serve small shots of tequila to those who choose to browse his gallery. Another gallery favorite or ours is the Ida Victoria Gallery tucked away on a side street. Dan and Laurie Hennig of Camp Climax Pottery from Boulder Creek California show their work at the Ida Victoria. Like us, they spend time in Baja during their off season and have set up a studio workshop in their Baja home.

Night view of the old town art district.
Ida Victoria Gallery

Good times at the San Jose Art Walk.
After the art walk, Sterling and Alisha treat our family to dinner at Restaurant Guacamayas.  Although there are plenty of Gringo's there, it's out of the tourist district and offers a more authentic dining experience. Aside from their strong margaritas, the house specialties are huge stuffed potatoes and a variety of "volcano bowls" overflowing with meats and vegetables.

Waiting for our table at the Guacamayas Restaurant
John at Guacamayas

Good food and good times at restaurant Guacamayas.
Friday - May 10th - Kicking back in Zacatitos. 

A beach day in Zacatitos
Art and Molly go kayaking

The rock formations at the beach.

We enjoy a relaxed beach day in Zacatitos. Art takes Molly and Sterling Kayaking and we all take afternoon siestas in preparation for tonight's party. Max and Nancy are hosting birthday party for Raven and the entire community is invited.

Guests watching the open mike performances.
Marshall plays the guitar.

Raven's birthday cake.
Molly on the diving board.

Kenny Loggins makes a guest appearance.
We love our eclectic community. The open mike performances are awesome and so varied and Kenny Loggins, a friend of Jeff and Mary makes a surprise appearance. It is a wonderful party with great food, good friends and rocking music. Thank you Max and Nancy.

Saturday - May 11th - A Jack Rabbit Morning and the San Jose Organic Market

A Jack Rabbit morning frolic
Alisha manages to take this remarkable photo of two Jack Rabbits playing tag on the road in front of Cactus Corner in Zacatitos

A delicious lunch at the Saturday organic market.
Alisha and Sterling

Which would you prefer?

Today is our last full day in Baja and I drive everyone into San Jose to the Saturday Organic Farmers Market. Alisha's husband, Sterling questions why we are going to an organic market the day before we fly home? I explain that it's a small craft market combined with local food vendors, entertainment and games.  We begin with lunch, choosing separately from the many independent food stalls. Unlike the food booths at the California Art and Wine Festivals, all the food here is delicious and mindfully prepared in small cooked to order quantities. We drink home brewed kombucha and slather our sopas and quesadillas in sauces of freshly pureed cilantro and basil. In eight years of eating here, I have never gotten sick.

The art and craft vendors
Alisha admires and buys a pair of earrings from this artist.

Waiting for  entertainment

View from behind the stage entertainment. 

We peruse the many tiny craft stalls at the show and we sit in the shade to listen to the entertainment. This "market" reminds me of the shows that I did some 40 years ago when the arts and crafts were real and not imported from China. I am blissfully happy to share this experience with my family.

Alisha and John roll the kids around in these inflatable balls
Molly in an inflatable ball

Inflatable ball play

For Molly and Sterling, the best part of the market were the inflatable balls. For 50 pesos each ($3.00)  they had 30 minutes of rolling time on the grass. Alisha, father Sterling and John had a great time rolling the kids around. The day was hot and everyone was exhausted at the end of 30 minutes.

Produce at the organic market
Marty at the organic market
John buying a plant at the organic market

Still Saturday, May 11th - A Sunset Gathering of Friends at Punta Gorda.

Our good friend Jaime is a caretaker at a property with a patio overlooking  Punta Gorda. This is a magical place to be at sunset and we are fortunate (blessed) to spend our last evening here. Both the setting and the light is magical....not to forget the awesome company and the music.

Punta Gorda nearing sunset
The McCormack family Punta Gorda

John and Gina, Punta Gorda sunset
Alisha and Marty, Punta Gorda sunset

After walking on the beach; Jaime plays music, we dance, kids play and everyone enjoys the sunset from above.

Inhaling the sunset at Punta Gorda
Jaime entertaining the kids

The kids entertaining themselves

Jamming Jamie

Art and Molly dancing

After walking on the beach,  Jaime plays music, we dance, kids cavort and everyone enjoys the sunset.

Fading light over Punta Gorda after a perfect evening. 
We must leave for the airport by noon and after a week of kids and sand there is much clean up to do. Bottles and cans need recycling, trash needs corralling, sheets and towels must be changed and bathrooms cleaned. Everyone pitches in and after cleaning the Cactus Casita, Molly poses proudly for "Airbnb" shots.

The Cactus Corner Casita
Molly posing in the CCC.

After cleaning up, there is time for the kids to say good by to Van Gogh, the one eared burro. They feed him our left over carrots and veggies from the refrigerator. Van Gogh allows the kids to sit on their backs.

Molly and burro
No, this is not Mary and Joseph

Sterling and burro
We caravan to the airport in two cars since our vehicle won't hold all of us and our luggage. Friends are also dropping off guests and there is room for Art and John to ride in with them. Art hugs and kisses us all before returning to Zacatitos for a final week. He will need to shut down the houses for the season. Our return flight is on time and we touch down in San Jose California at 4:00 P.M.

John's adventure will continue tomorrow morning when he flies to Thailand for 3 weeks. He is a lucky young man!