Hello again, dear readers.
Having shared the beauty of my landlord Clemente in the last Tale, I thought it would be fair to also feature Carmen and her family.
The mom (Rosa, in pink) teaches ancient history at the university here. Dad tinkers with his enormous collection of antique clocks and watches. Yesterday, we all sat in the patio and I shared pranayama and yoga for a couple hours, while they took turns entertaining the indefatigable Alba Maria.
I am writing this from Puerto Adolfo Lopez de Mateo, a town to the north of La Paz near Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side. I drove up here in about four hours this morning, in a rented car.
As I texted my “twins” (Stephen and Tuesday) earlier, before departure:
I’m feeling like a grown-up WOMAN this year, instead of the terrified child who took this trip a year ago.
It’s hard to acknowledge the anxious “moi” who agonized about so many aspects of this same outing last year:
Whales Tale Inn –
**Will it be safe, pandemic-wise?
**Will it be outlandishly expensive to rent a lancha all alone?
**Will I even see a whale?
**Will I get sea-sick? (I am a famously crappy sailor)
**Will it be too cold in the early morning?
**Will I be able to drive in Mexico safely?
BLEAH BLEAH BLEAH… around and around ad nauseum I didn’t sleep for two nights prior to departure last year…. though I did practice very deep sweeping both nights to counteract the terror. That’s the best I can do sometimes.
The bulk of my shpetauchle (Yiddish for neurosis) was rooted in my half-century old determination to be a NOT-Tourist. Tourists go on outings. Tourists rent cars and boats.. Tourists spend lots of money and don’t actually “see” anything.
This premise, like a shaky ice floe, was thin to begin with and is now melting altogether.
To span the “NOT-tourist” shpetuachle gap last year, I rented my friend’s old car that she inherited from her father….an adorable fivespeed manual clunker and very un-touristic (555). Hard to believe, but I had never driven in the Third World, in my fifty years of hitchhiking and public transport, so intense was my fear of ….some kind of phantom.
So I was indeed a terrified child as I pulled out of La Paz last year, sleepless, in a spluttering car, and forgetting to slow down for the massive road bumps …BAM!
And of my whale-watching experience last year?
If there is a pass/fail grade for Whale Watching, I have to say:
Whereas the whale passed with flying colors.
I had contacted Jorge Botello, who has known Carmen and her family for years. Jorge and I crept out of the harbor in his lancha, long before anyone else stirred, and the day not yet awakened.
We waited in Magdalena Bay, about thirty minutes out from the dock, when an exquisite enormous Blue whale raised her head out of the water, and gazed at me with her calm huge eye, right next to the boat. It was sublime.
Next (sigh), I completely lost my mind… I HAD to get a picture of this whale! And the magic was assassinated. In retrospect, it was like trying to get a selfie during an intimate sexual encounter. The result was dismal on all fronts. I was absolutely not present, failed to get a good photo and did not SEE my beautiful friend again, though she circled around for another forty minutes. She grew more and more distant, as I fumbled incessantly and frantically with my damn cellphone.
To read the entire newsletter (with this years whale story of return to the Church of the Blue Whale) …
CLICK HERE (for newsletter pdf) and below is the video of this encounter!!
“A child and mother whale, saying ‘hi’ – trusting you😍 Those big eyes just
under water looking in your eyes, making real contact. we are definately
not the only special creatures.” says my friend Bas