Feliz Navidad!

lighting of the tree

We were lucky enough to be in San Jose del Cabo for their annual lighting of the tree in the main plaza outside the Mission. It was a local event, not aimed at tourists, and we felt humbled to share their tradition. The main theme this year was disability and there was a tear jerking rendition of songs by deaf children in sign language. We were watching the proud parents and noticed that they did jazz hands instead of clapping. There were children with various conditions including cerebral palsy.

sign language

After the main event everyone squeezed into the little mission church, with some standing outside, for a short service with hymns echoing across the plaza on this beautiful starlit evening. It was not a rich town but clearly closely bonded. What a lovely experience for us to have the privilege of sharing with a warm, friendly community.

Below is a photo of the nativity scene that brought back some lovely memories of my childhood at our local Catholic Church. My only comment, and it is not meant to be blasphemous, but do you think the donkey was used previously in a Shrek production? 🙂

nativity scene

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Friends

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minion ibis

We spent two idyllic days wandering up and down Estero San Jose which is the estuary that forms at the mouth of the San Jose river leading into the Sea of Cortez. It is a protected natural area and a bird migration site. I was fascinated by the egret and ibis pictured above. They were clearly companions, although different species, and wherever one went the other followed. They chattered away to each other – did they speak the same language? There were dozens of other birds so they must have chosen to be with each other. Maybe they were saying, “why is that crazy lady following us?”

As usual, I was my husband’s spotter. “Look there is an osprey, a hawk, a pink dragonfly, a moth at your feet (eek), a sand colored butterfly, a great heron”. He went on a solo vacation to Arizona recently and I bet he missed scorpions, coyotes, rare bunnies etc. He doesn’t know how to stalk properly either…I think I will just eat him in the zombie apocalypse.

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They killed the missionaries…

mission mountains

This is the beautiful mission church of San Jose del Cabo. In this shot you can just see the granitic hills in the background some of which form strange conical shapes. The estuary leading to the sea is to the right and south which gives it that beautiful light. It is a small town with a few very good art galleries in the center. Every Thursday evening there is a art walk with other vendors – the galleries offer drinks and snacks. The original mission church was falling down – it was built in the early 1700s so they rebuilt it in 1972 and made a beautiful job of it.

I had a lovely moment when I went into the church to light a candle for my mum. Unlike most tourists I changed into some conservative clothes so as not to offend the locals. The tour book said that you might get some male attention if a solo female but nothing untoward should happen. I had the usual exorcist heads (swiveling inhumanly to get a better look at my ass) from drivers, when wearing shorts, but that happens in Houston too.

I was disappointed that you had to bring your own candle with you to light – I had noticed them for sale in the local shop but put money in the box and said a prayer anyway. As I exited the church, a yellow butterfly landed on my shoulder and my husband said, “That was your mum telling you not to worry about the candle”. I can feel tears welling up now as I think about that beautiful moment.

I suppose you still want to know about the missionaries? The mission party stuck their nose in the lives of the local native people who lived on the Baja peninsula and dared to tell them that they could only have one wife… They were a feisty tribe and promptly killed not one but two interfering priests. Quite right too – they were conquistadors looking for gold and riches. This amazing tile above the church commemorates the murder.

mission tile

Back from Baha

morning estuary

There were so many wonderful photo opportunities in Baha, Mexico that I will have a week of Baha to add some sunshine to your lives! This was early morning a couple of days after a tropical storm had passed over the estuary at San Jose del Cabo causing some flooding and a new sandbar. The path we were on had been washed away but there was a lone egret fishing in this flooded little lagoon.

Since we traveled to Baja in 2015 there has been a new state warning regarding safety in Baja and other Mexican states. https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.html Unfortunately, crime has increased in Baja along with cartel activity.

You will all be glad to know that we were incredibly safe in a place where few people lock their doors. The old mission town is far removed from the main resort at Cabo San Lucas with a sleepy, friendly feel in what is becoming an art town. The food was gourmet – on the first night we ate duck, suckling pig and the best guacamole you have ever tasted.

We were oblivious to the sad news at San Bernardino, initially, but I said a prayer for the victims and their families. RIP.