In a busy street in southern China, a merchant treasures a product as extravagant as clandestine: dissected bladders of totoaba. The frenzy over this delicacy, known as ‘cocaine de mar’, threatens marine species of the Mexican Gulf of California, sparking a feverish battle between authorities and traffickers. The ‘sea cocaine’ is not a drug but its
One year ago, we jetted down to the western tip of Baja California, Mexico so tugboat man could surf a giant winter swell.
This is where I was presented with the gift that kept on giving: XOXO From Mexico and went batshit crazy when a stupid girl put the moves on my hub. HERE: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband Part One and HERE: Part Two: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband
(Because I was so traumatized, I have yet to write about our encounter with Machete Man…THAT was one of the scariest episodes of
our my lives.)
Before I became too sick to move more than a foot from the toilet (TMI?) we took a day off from surfing (him, not me) and drove to Todos Santos, home of the famous Eagles’ album cover featuring Hotel California.
As we drove out of Todos Santos, we got lost, which was something we had been doing on a regular basis. Street signs that make sense must be a precious commodity south of the border, because we had a tough time navigating. If you venture off the paved road for just one second, you enter potholed dirt paths that have no end and twist and wind their way to what I was certain would be our deaths.
This time, however, it was fortuitous, because we saw a sign leading us to the Sea Turtle Sanctuary.
Tortugueros Las Playitas A.C.
Environmental Conservation with Sea Turtle Focus
From their website:
“Our mission is to protect, conserve and replenish the fragile marine eco-systems of Baja California Sur, Mexico. In addition to our Sea Turtle population recovery program we place special interest on Habitat Protection, Environmental Education and Community Outreach in Todos Santos, Las Playitas and Agua Blanca.
One of our goals is help restore the Critically Endangered Pacific Leatherback population which is on the verge of extinction. Our Incubation Greenhouse stabilizes sand temperatures creating an ideal nest habitat, where hatch rates are maximized and gender ratios are balanced. We invite you to join us as a volunteer, event participant or sponsor and help balance the fragile marine eco systems of Baja.”
All the darling little turtle eggs were covered in palm fronds. It was as hot as a Bikram yoga class in the plastic covered hut. Babies!Squeeeeee! More babies! We weren’t able to stay until sundown to observe their release and watch them march toward their destiny. Hopefully, they all made it safely down to the sea and out in the world for long and happy lives. And then back we walked. Not one single seashell. NOT ONE.
How to get there:
There’s another side of California that you might not know about.
Sandwiched between the manicured lawns of upper middle-class residential subdivisions in SoCal, there’s a microcosm of humanity living in the shadows — migrant laborers from Mexico in makeshift camps.
In my own neighborhood, just minutes from the beach and overlooking chaparral-studded canyons, hidden behind purple sage and giant coyote bushes, we recently went for a hike and found evidence that suggests there are still active encampments.
Mostly these men are invisible, ignored by us as we speed up and down our streets, shopping, caring for our families, and only sometimes do we notice these shadow people standing on the roadside waiting to be picked up for day work or at the local liquor store buying twelve packs of beer and money orders.
Like the crows that fly in and out of our trees in a raucous cacophony, there’s an exodus out of the canyons at dawn and back at sunset.
Whatever side of the undocumented worker discussion you’re on, it’s a blight on our supposedly civilized society that in 2015, in this country of overabundance and excess, men and women live in the bushes without benefit of safe shelter or even running water.
When you scratch off the thin veneer of Pilates classes, weekly mani-pedis and facials, that fifty dollar bottle of pinot noir, and glance beyond Anthropologie and Sur la Table, in the hills behind The Forum, and probably most of the other open spaces that are clinging to life — that’s where you’ll find them.
It doesn’t seem quite fair for us to have so much while others are living in squalid conditions.
It’s sad, don’t you agree?
We especially liked the misspelling. There’s a certain poignancy.
There were several white rags hanging from trees along a certain path; we assumed it was to mark the way when it was dark.I think this is a creek, or it could be runoff from all of the developments.
Hard to see the turkey vulture among the clouds.
Do you know who and what lives beneath the surface in your neighborhood?