I’m from New England, land of snowdrifts and icy roads. Because I’m retired and my husband works only part-time, we’ve made the judicious decision to go somewhere, anywhere where it’s warmer and easier to navigate for part of every winter. A guy I’ve known for years suggested Baja California, Mexico, as he’s lived in La Mision for eight years now and loves it. We checked it out, and it’s just what we were looking for.
Now, three weeks later, and calling ourselves the next thing to natives (“Buenos dias, Oscar,” I chirp with authority as I enter his store) we’re starting to check out the places Al’s told us about. Our first sojourn was to Puerto Nuevo, land of shawls, jewelry, and lobster. It took me by surprise, nay shock, when I stepped through that archway.
In the first store I came to, the colors and textures assailed my being, as the reds, greens, and yellows called my name. “Real silver, Senora,” he said. My Yankee skepticism kicked in and I demanded, “Show me the ‘925’ stamp that makes it REAL silver,” subconsciously patting myself on the back; he did and I was stunned. Price was a bit higher than I wanted to pay, but the ring for my granddaughter was just what I had been looking for. Then we started negotiating. Let me tell you, if this shop owner could be put in charge of the Middle East peace talks, all would be sharing a Corona at the end of the day. I bought the ring, a bracelet, and earrings.
Moving down the hill, I saw beautifully embroidered dresses. The store owner must have been named Job, because he had that much patience. He displayed 20 or more dresses before I chose just the right one for my grandson’s wife. She’s tall and thin and will look regal in this beige dress with the colorful accents. We toasted our sale with a tall jigger of possibly Tequila, and for just a moment I lost my sight and part of my hearing. Then it all cleared up, and I crossed to the opposite side of the street.
I didn’t realize that this was the famous 35 restaurants of lobster. A charming young man named Diego said, “Come in, we cook lobster the best, with wine and herbs. You’ll love it.” “It’s only 11 in the morning,” I said. “Si, Senora, come in quickly.” Never before have I eaten a meal like that in what I consider the morning, but by the time I left the table, at close to 1 p.m., I was thoroughly stuffed and satisfied.
Puerto Nuevo, easily accessed from the free road around K45, is a must see for the Baja visitor. It’ll perk up your spirits, give you a few laughs, and allow you to purchase some truly beautiful gifts to take back to the U.S.