Welcome to our first blog from Mexico! We arrived in Ensenada to our Airbnb on Thursday and we have been exploring our little area ever since! We are a 7 minute walk from the beach, less than 5 minutes from at least 4 taco stands, a 10 minute walk to the grocery store, and about 5 minutes from an ice cream shop. Needless to say, it’s not a bad area to be in.
Before we came, we tried to practice our Spanish everyday. It didn’t happen every single day, but we did our best. So, when we got here, we knew a few key phrases we felt we needed to have in our vocabulary. The thing is, I am NOT one who was ever fluent in Spanish, even though I took 3 years of it in high school/college. Steve is better at it than I am, partly because he is really good at remembering all of the rules of the language. We practiced a lot on Duolingo, but there is nothing like actually trying to speak it in real life. Needless to say, once people talk to us, it is very clear that we are not fluent and that our Spanish is very rusty. But hey, we’re doing our best!
We went to exchange our money to pesos when we arrived on Thursday, but the ATM wasn’t working. The good thing is 1. We already had some food so we didn’t need to shop yet and 2. We can use our credit card if they take cards! So, we used our card until we got some pesos at a different ATM inside the Walmart here – yes, there’s a Walmart! Once we had pesos, we knew where to go for dinner. Most of the taco stands don’t seem to take cards, or at least we haven’t tried that yet since we now have money, so we’ve just used that. One American dollar is equal to about 20 pesos. So when something says it’s $200 pesos, it’s about $10 dollars. In the grocery stores things are about the same price as they are in the U.S., but there are some different foods as one would expect because of the different culture and therefore, different food preferences. However, we got gorditas at a stand near our house and paid about $7 dollars for it. We thought we only ordered 3, so we thought we were getting jipped, until we got home and realized that I had asked for 2 and then Steve asked for 3, so we got FIVE gorditas for 7 U.S. bucks! WORTH IT. So, as far as that goes, the food in restaurants seems to be cheaper than typical U.S. restaurants. And man oh man is the food GOOD.
I think my favorite part of the trip so far was this weekend. Since we got in late on Thursday and then Steve had to work on Friday, we didn’t do much exploring until Saturday and Sunday. We decided to go for a hike since it was supposed to be beautiful weather. I downloaded “All Trails” the app, which shows all kinds of hiking or walking trails near you. We decided on a hike called Punta Brava, which translates to “Brave Tip”. It was about a 30 minute drive from our Airbnb and a beautiful one at that. We were right next to the water almost the whole time and then drove uphill of the peninsula that we were on. Campo 5 was where we were supposed to park, but when we got there no one was around except 3 very cute pups, so we tried driving up. Well, we quickly realized that the road we took was not where we were supposed to be going, so as we drove back down (white knuckles on the steering wheel, mind you) we saw someone standing at the camp. We paid for parking, he told Steve where the hike started, and off we went. One of the dogs was very fond of Buoy, so they ran around off leash for a while until the other dog decided they were over the hike. It was a little steep, but we all did just fine, and Buoy was enjoying her freedom. When we made it, we knew the 30 minute drive was worth it. The blue water, the crashing waves on the rocks below us, the sun on our faces – things just felt good in that moment. We found a spot to sit, grabbed our pb&js out of our bookbag, poured Buoy some water, and took it all in. We could see a fisherman down below us on the sand, fishing nets in the water with the buoys to mark the spot, and a kayak pulled up onto the beach. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen, and I got to see it with my favorite person and our pup.
When it comes to adventure, you want to make sure that the person you’re with is someone who enjoys it just as much as you do, someone who wants to take in the sunshine at the tip of a hike and eat lunch and laugh the whole way through. Steve is that person for me, no doubt, and I am just so so glad to do life with him.
On the drive back, we knew we wanted to stop at a little shop that we spotted on our drive up. It had jars on top of jars and we just knew there was something there we’d love. The shop had jarred peppers and peaches and pears, fresh honey and food, truly anything you could’ve thought of. We got peppercinis, salsa verde, and fresh honey (all for $140 pesos, which is $7 dollars). What a steal! Obviously, we had to try the peppers when we got home and YUM, they were so good. Steve enven took a taste tester video to send to his parents. It was hilarious. The honey is delicious. I put it in my coffee in the mornings, and Steve loves salsa (I haven’t tried it yet).
On Sunday we went out for a lunch date at Santo Mitote. It was so good, and the margaritas were even better! I got a mango marg with chile spices on the rim and OH MY it was so good. Steve got a classic and we thought both were so delicious! Needless to say, we have not had a problem finding good food.
We taught ourselves how to play Canasta, so we’ve played cards a few times. Other than that we’ve taken lots of walks, whether it be to the beach or just around the block, and we’ve watched a few movies. So far, life is good here in Mexico.
These adventures are so important and dear to me. Growing up I always heard the stories of when Dad backpacked around Europe with his best friend or when Mom lived in France for 6 months, and now I’m doing those things myself. It’s exhilarating and fun and unexpected and beautiful and everything I hoped for. It’s not like we’re staying at a 5 star resort or hotel, but we are making the best of every situation and exploring every chance we get, and I think that’s kind of the point. We don’t need everything laid out for us to happen perfectly, we just need a drive for adventure and we will make the best of it regardless – I trust in that. Steve makes every walk to the store or beach stroll with Buoy another adventure, and I love that about him.
Life is good, enjoy it.
Buenos tardes, amigas.