Beachcombing Part I

Trip Start Dec 17, 2005
Trip End Jan 08, 2006

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Flag of Mexico  , Baja California Sur,
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The zocalo in Cabo San Jose hums with activity on a warm evening in early January, with families and friends and neighbors, the children careening around the square while the adults gossip, relax, digest. At the head of the wide-open space, overlooking the pavilion set in the middle of the zocalo sits the Mission of San Jose.

The church was built in 1730, and it was here four year later that a revolt among the Indians shook the missionary community in Baja to the core. Above the arched entrance to the church is a tile mosaic depicting the murder of Nicholas Tamaral, a Jesuit priest butchered by the natives when he declared polygamy illegal and excommunicated one of the natives.

Some 300 centuries later San Jose is a charming old colonial town of better than average restaurants, galleries, and shops hawking fine handcrafted silverware. The perfect foil to the tourist horde of San Lucas, the town's streets are narrow, tree-lined and buzzing during the day, and at night lit by the shops, sidewalk businesses and streetlamps.

The Presidential Building, San Jose's city hall, is adorned with Christmas lights, bathing the burly, black-clad local police officers out front in a wash of festive colour. In front of the hall, set at the foot of a long, tree-lined avenue that leads to the beach, a water fountain bubbles and spits to life.

And overlooking it all, the buildings, the fountain, the zocalo and the spire of the Mission in the near-distance, is our corner table on the rooftop patio of a local bar. It's the best seat in the town, and we keep it occupied on more than one evening.

In the mornings we stroll the town, taking breakfasts of fresh fruit cups and smoothies from sidewalk and enjoying the sunshine. It's late on our second day in San Jose before Amanda and I head down to the beach, and find that we haven't missed much. Long, windswept and featureless, the beach is a poor thing compared to the ones we so far have sunned ourselves on.

Leaving the beach we trespass through a sprawling luxury hotel, its swarm of guests spilling out onto the sand, in the pools or lounging on deck chairs set close together like dominoes in the sun. A Red Hot Chili Peppers song blares from outdoor speakers. The hotel staff is on autopilot. We head for the exit post haste.
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