Baja vs SoCal


foto por Bajadock Feb 2016, Colonia Puerto Escondido, sur de Ensenada

Bajadock: As a full-time resident of Ensenada and frequent visitor to SoCal, this article got me thinkering of my top ten differences between Baja and Socal, in random order:

10. Open air spaces, lots of dirt and dust vs. endless strip malls and concrete.

9. Washboard, rutted roads v. perfect pavement

8. Open road w/ little traffic vs. gridlock(why is every Friday in San Diego and OC clogged?)

7. Limited grocery choices(but, everything needed) vs. 451 choices of ice cream and 212 choices of yogurt.

6. Interesting and limited coffee choices(exception is large city cafes like TJ or Ens), including instant coffee in Baja, vs oozey/frappawhutchamacallit/mucho-ato/candyfomada/mokalokayaya $7 in a paper cup.  WTF comes up with this stuff?  And if you see an orange collar on a coffee carafe in Baja, that does not mean it is decaf.

5. Full service gasoline attendants, and lately approx $1/gallon more in Baja vs. DIY, do you want a car wash?, If yes, which of the 12 different wash options feels good for your precious chariot today?, Our card or debit card only, Is the $.35 charge okay with you this fine morning?, NBC talking heads during giggle talk “news” yakking at me on a monitor at pump while pouring, Do you want a receipt?  And remember that the green handle is DIESEL in USA, not regular like in BAJA!

4. Going to a fabric store and get clerk #1 to assist you with your choice, clerk #2 to write up the choice, take your order ticket to clerk #3 to pay for your order and greet clerk #4 who has bagged and delivering your order vs. the simplicity of U.S. retail.

3. The genuinely “happy to see you” attitude of merchants, even if your Spanglish is limited to “Bonus Dye Ass” vs. why are you interrupting my cell phone chat and do you realize how brilliant I am, this job sux and I deserve a VP of Marketing job at a Fortune 500 company, of which I was protesting last month for its corporate f-ing greed, pursuit of profits and ruination of my ideal view of Utopia.

2. Low taxes and fees vs. neighborhood/state/local/fed/infinite taxes and fees of the bloated bureaucracies of the tangled web.  Corruption is more blatant in Mexico vs. USA’s bleeding heart warm fuzzy smiles while reaching into your back pocket corruption behind the OZ curtain.

1.  When in Baja, if you break down on the road, someone will be by within an hour or less with tools and expertise to help you limp to the next town for parts, if not fix you on the spot and refuse your money.  When in SoCal you will wait hours on THE 5(wtf came up with the definite article nonsense to identify your highway???) for your tow/fix and it will cost you 2 arms and your first born.

1A.  And why do so many call it THE Baja?  Is it THE San Diego, THE OC, THE Yosemite, THE Balboa Park?


Transition From Mexico To California

By  John Derby , mercedcountytimes
Times Publisher
April 14, 2016

There is a big transition when living half the year in Baja, Mexico, and the other half in the Central Valley of California, and it is not only the switch from the dollar to the peso and back.
Food in Mexico is totally different. There are fresh fish and vegetables brought daily to the front door, or you can catch your own fish.
The only reason to go to the nearest town for many of the Gringos is for pure water and beer. Some people in our beach park have set up water filtering systems so they don’t need to go to the town of Mulege for their water.
If they don’t drink beer or smoke, then they can live on the beach from morning to night.
Ours is a laidback lifestyle.
There are several beach communities like the one where we live and about seven beach restaurants which serve from passable to good food and any given day.
One restaurant we went to last weekend for breakfast had no bacon or chorizo, which is a sign that most of the tourists are leaving to avoid Baja’s hot and humid summers.
Most Gringos bring a certain amount of food supplies down with them, especially if they come down to Mexico by vehicle.
About a quarter of the people in our area fly down from Canada or the northwest via Alaska Airlines.
This is the major airline serving our area of Baja Mexico, however, a new Mexican airline has started service from Loreto to Tijuana; and a Canadian airline now has flights from Calgary. Loreto is an international air terminal.
There are daily flights from Loreto to Los Angeles which take about 3 hours and they run from $500 to $700 round trip.
We almost always come by truck as we love to carry certain supplies, particularly California wine, which is hard to find and expensive compared to wines from Chili, Argentina and Australia. We drive slowly and not at night. The roads are narrower and there is no apron at the road’s edge.
There are also many unfenced areas where cows, horses and goats graze beside the road. There have been many accidents with drivers who do not see the animals in the roadway until too late.
By now we have a dozen or more places we like to stay on the way back to the California, depending on which road we take. Some of the hotels are excellent by American standards, and their cost is surprisingly cheap (normally less than $50 a night).
There has been a marked improvement in the Mexican economy in the past few years since the free trade with Mexico started, however, the recession in the United States has slowed down the number of tourists coming to Baja.
The bad press coming from mainland Mexico has also brought on a fear factor which we feel is unrealistic considering the amount of crime we now have in the Central Valley of California.
Weather in Mexico has been incredible in recent years, improving as the winters become warmer.
By mid-April, our beach community is heating up. Daily averages are above 90 degrees F and most homes have no air conditioning.
While the swimming and other water sports is now best, there are some of us who miss the spring season in the Central Valley.
We pack up the toys (boats, kayaks, fishing gear and offroad vehicles) and head north.
Someone described life down here as a school recess without a teacher.
Now we go back to real life.


foto por Bajadock, 15 Abril 2016



  1. bajadulces
    Posted April 16, 2016 at 10:36 | Permalink | Reply

    Could NOT resist . . . all in good humor . . . this post is great!

    8. Gridlock going into Ensenada getting more and more frequent.

    5. Sharky’s car wash for 120 pesos, major detailing, all well done. And at Pemex, they’ll check gas and oil, air in the tires, not to mention cleaning windshield, sometimes all windows, etc. Small tip brings big happiness, sometimes one has to buy gas here.

    4. Joanne’s can be a nightmare — things seem to move more smoothly at fabric stores here.

    1. Who knows why it’s called THE 5; it sets us apart!

    1A. Because they’re dumb, who knows why. And it’s either Baja California or Baja California Sur.

  2. Mike
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 07:01 | Permalink | Reply

    If you’re a reality show watching yuppie living there, it IS the OC.

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