|Mulege, BC Sur – Feb 20 – 22
Mulege is a really interesting town/city. As most places down here, it was accessible only by boat or plane until the 1970’s. Although there are quite a few souvenir shops, and the like, it seems to retain a small town friendliness that the bigger places don’t.
Apparently John Wayne loved the place and was a frequent visitor. We went to Hotel Serenedid Saturday night for the weekly pig roast, and the owner (in his eighties), was a consul to Mexico years ago. He was said to be friends with “Duke”. Right next to his Hotel is an air strip where people can fly in, stay for a few days and out again. We talked to a group who had done just that from New Mexico. While we were waiting for the pig to be done we wandered around the patios and air strip, and watched a plane touch down. The military was there immediately. I guess they are serious about the drug stuff.
The manager of the place was dismayed because of the reputation Mexico has from the drug problems. It is her opinion that that severely reduces the number of people who come here to visit. Obviously that impacts her bottom line, but the community and the whole of the Baja is so striking and lovely that if the reputation of Mexico and the Baja was better, there is no doubt that tourism would increase tremendously. I’ve mentioned before that we have passed through four or five military checkpoints, and I have yet to be treated with anything other than respect and restraint. Of course the fact that we are a caravan or mostly seniors may play a part, but still…
The town of Mulege, as many communities down here started off with the Jesuits establishing a mission, then going on from there. Mulege sits on the only river in the Baja, the Santa Rosalita. Quite a contrast from the palms brought by the first priests, to the cacti just a few feet away. Sometimes palms and cacti co-exist. There are literally hundreds of palm throughout Mulege. Apparently the Jesuits brought dates to eat, and disposing of the seeds started the palms growing. There must also have been deliberate plantings at some time, as there are also fan palms used to thatch roofs. Lots of oranges as well.
One of the proud moments of the town’s history was defeating an American force in 1846. They set up a fake army at the mouth of the river, and let the invaders blow it to smithereens, then attacked as they came up river. It was successful as the Americans withdrew, and they also abandoned several other towns they had taken earlier.
The pig roast was a great way to celebrate leaving the Bay of Cortez. Tomorrow, back across the peninsula to the Pacific, then north to the border in the next few days.
Chuck & Janet