We’ve been in Baja for a little over 2 weeks now and we’ve collected some notes on completely weird, unusual and why does that happen? Stuff that just doesn’t make sense to us Canadians. Let’s start with the roads – again – I know, I talked about them and posted a couple of videos but there are just so many weird things that randomly happen, like:
- 40 km to 100 km for no reason and vice versa, on the middle of a stretch of highway and there is nothing around and no oncoming intersection to worry about.
- Your driving along the highway and all of a sudden there is a steep cliff with no guard rails, no lines on the road, with hairpin turns, either climbing or descending at a rapid pace for 5 km with no warning signs about anything, and then you hit a straightaway on the highway and there is a random sign warning you that there is a right curve in the road! WHAT! we just drove through 5 km of hell, and now you are warning me that there is a right turn coming up? WTF?!
- The quantity of speed bumps in use, again for no reason, is ridiculous. Sometimes they post a sign warning you that it is coming, and then you go over rows and rows of grid bumps and they get faster as you approach the speed bump, and then you get to the yellow line AND THERES NO SPEED BUMP! WTF?! OR, you’re driving on an dirt road and they randomly put a speed bump in – like WTF?
- Almost all the roads inside towns or cities have no lines, so you have no idea if it’s a 1 or 2 lane road
- Every set of traffic light we encountered from Mexicali down to La Paz did not work. We finally saw working traffic lights in La Paz, but I think they are only on during certain times of the day. The rest of the time, they act as a STOP sign and many times there is a STOP sign at the lights (that don’t work). Stop signs are the main control for everything and we finally figured out that they are basically yield signs, unless there is an actual car approaching from the right or left, then you treat it as a sort of yielding/stop sign. But it works, and everyone makes it work and its cool to watch the traffic when you figured it out.
- We measured the bus width against the road lane width – Ruby is 101” (body width, which is 8’ 5”) and from mirror to mirror is 120” or 9’ 5”. The highway lane width varies in size (by 6” smaller), but most of the time it is 9’ 5” (shoulder to middle line). So yes, its tight when being approached by oncoming semi’s.
- There is a passing etiquette that took us a bit to figure out. If someone wants to pass us and they can’t see because we are big and roads are curvy, its our responsibility to use our left signal light to tell them when it’s safe to pass and to also slow down a bit to make it easier for them to pass. We figured this out after we used our left signal light, because we wanted to actually turn left off the highway, and as we were slowing down, someone passed us, seconds before we turned left off the highway! EEK, that would have been a catastrophe and was so effing crazy!
- The quantity of Virgin Mary statues that are randomly placed on the highways is very odd. She is usually placed inside of a mini type of temple/shrine with candles at the base.
Another bizarre thing to me is the quantity of garbage that is everywhere, except national parks (on the beach) and the city of La Paz (So far!). When we crossed the border at Mexicali and drove through the city – it was like we were driving through a garbage dump, and it stunk the entire time we were driving, of burning garbage. We continued to consistently see garbage strewn throughout the Baja until Loreto – it was a bit cleaner (as that is a tourist town). Apparently, it’s a cultural thing and the government has now realized that they have to teach it to kids in the schools, since they aren’t being taught this anywhere else. Sad really, Baja is such a beautiful place and would be even better if it wasn’t full of garbage. Also, the only thing they recycle is aluminum cans and everything else goes to garbage. So hopefully over the next couple of decades this will greatly improve.
There are A LOT of abandoned houses in Baja, half a million of them actually and I think we’ve seen them all. This seems, again, so bizarre to us, but its all because of the 2008 US economic downturn and the drug media frenzy and people walking away. The government is taking them over (based on area), fixing them up and turning them in to low income housing.
We had read that there were creepy bugs and snakes down here too. So far, we’ve seen some big beetles, a cricket and a scorpion! Yes, that is what I said. Todd was cutting a tree down in Jacinto and a scorpion crawled out of the branch with his tail end in attack mode! EEK!
All in all, the weird and bizarre make it memorable and we continue to say, “Pinch me, am I really here?”