I had reached saturation. Some things were full to overflowing, others were empty and dying. It was critical that I find a place to recharge. On top of all that, I stunk. It was time to find one of those full-service establishments (aka Full Hookup RV Camp) were I could take care of crucial business. The Bible of Baja Camping, Traveler’s Guide to Camping Mexico’s Baja by Mike & Terri Church, listed a place in Bahia Asuncion that met all my most pressing desires: dump station, water, laundry, internet, library, hot showers, and electricity. In addition, the town was located at the northern end of the back-road to Punta Abreojos. I thought it would be fun to get off the beaten track and take the road that runs along the Pacific Ocean.
It was a pleasant 3½ drive from Laguna Ojo de Liebres. Only once, in Vizcaino, did I drive the wrong way down one street. Despite the funny looks I got, I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
I arrived in Bahia Asuncion, took a little trip down Main Street, and stopped at the market at the far end of town. I took it as a good omen that they had one last six-pack of Indio, my favorite Mexican beer. With my Indio and a few essentials in hand, I drove back the way I came and pulled into Campo Sirena. What a shithole!
There were three RV’s in the lot, occupying the only three “beach front” spaces and the only reliable-looking power outlets. Fortunately, one of those occupants pointed me in the direction of the camp host. He was a soft, dumpy looking boy of about 25, with a straggly beard and dark hair pulled into an unkempt ponytail. Despite living in Baja, he had the pasty white complexion of an Oregon computer programmer. He was very nice, but I sensed that he was starved for human interaction. All I really wanted was to dump my shit (literally), wash my nasty sheets and five days worth of stink off my body, then relax with an icy cold Indio and some freshly caught and smoked yellowtail. I was not interested in hearing the slow-motion life story of a lonely gringo in a quintessentially Mexican town.
He showed me where the dump hole and the water hose were, he explained exactly how to use the washing machine, then he showed me the office where the library, shower, and toilet were, and the only somewhat reliable internet connection. The dump hole looked like it bubbled up a few feet down the line and the washing machine was riddled with rust. The office was furnished with a broken down desk, an uncomfortable metal stool, a lumpy futon that was covered in a tattered Mexican blanket and appeared to be the bed for all the neighborhood stray dogs, and hundreds of moldy, trashy romance novels and mysteries. Also in the office was an amazing collection of mosquitos. I was eager to leave but I had a hard time extracting myself from the one-sided conversation with the camp host.
Those who know me can attest that I am not a prima donna. Squatting behind a tree, wiping my behind with a smooth rock, bathing in the ocean, and using another handful of conditioner as an alternative to shampoo are not uncommon for me. But an shithole claiming to be and RV park, charging premium prices (American prices) for a site, then nickel and diming for everything that should be included in the price of admission? That chaps my hide, especially when you can find beautiful places with all the amenities, and a pool, for a whole lot fewer pesos. I would have moved along but it was the only place in town. I was even more incensed when the lonely camp host told me that all he got in exchange for taking care of the place was $2.00 off the daily rate, but he had to pay the utility bill for the entire park. Sadly, he didn’t see that he was getting royally shafted. I sucked it up, paid the price, and eventually got down to business.
Bahia Asuncion felt like the first real Mexican village I had visited. It also looked like their economy was booming. They were plowing new streets that were lined with houses in various states of completion. Fishing boats were zooming in and out port. I wandered past the Cooperativo Social Club. The featured happy hour entertainment was a titty show. The parking lot was packed.
Around the point I wandered, past the lighthouse and the seafood processing plants, and down to a sweet little beach nestled into the rugged headlands on the north side of town. It was there that I met another local gringo who seemed starved for English language interaction. It was from Richard that I got the lowdown on Bahia Asuncion village life. The main catch is abalone and spiny lobster. Sadly, for the past two years the catch has been anemic. He described this years lobster catch as “abysmal.” The cooperativo has the approval to catch just enough sardines to use to bait their lobster traps. But because the abalone and lobster catch has been so slim, they are catching boatloads of sardines to sell, resulting in a scarcity of sardines. These problems are compounded by the influx of fisherman who arrived when the fishing was good. That explains the profusion of new houses, in varying states of completion – big booms and bigger busts.
The other thing I learned was that beisbol (baseball) is hugely popular down here. Every village builds a beautiful stadium to house their collectivo team. The teams from all the villages travel up and down the coast competing against each other. They often bring in a ringer, a minor league player from the USA, who both teachers the school age boys how to play, and to compete against the other teams.
The last tidbit of information, and most valuable in my eyes, was regarding the condition of the back road between Bahia Asuncion and Punto Abreojos, the little driving adventure I had planned for the next day, 39 miles of unpaved road that hugged the coastline. I wanted to be sure it was passable in mi Casita. He assured me it would be fine, “just follow the power lines.”
I wandered back to camp just as the light was draining from the sky and the town was coming alive for the Friday night fiesta. My laundry was dry on the line, so I made my bed and headed into the office for a nice, long, hot, shower. The pressure was good and the water was hot, but the spiders, cockroaches, and mosquitoes that joined me for my nice shower precluded luxuriating. I returned to mi casita just as the band across the street was ramping up. I figured in typical Mexican fashion the party would rage until dawn, the volume of the music escalating as the hours ticked by. I prepared myself for a raucous night with little sleep.
As it turned out, the band was pretty darned good. Even better was the feel of my clean, nice-smelling body crawling between freshly laundered sheets. I drifted off to a little night music to the left, the sound of the waves crashing to the right, and sweet dreams of Nick Cave in my head.