The Travel
From D.F. to Carmel by the sea - 2010-03
Saturday, February 28, 2010, 09:12 PM - USA

The very first days of March we were in DF, in the really deep heart of Mexico. We visited Mexico City during a sunny Sunday afternoon, and we noticed a lot o people and some happening on the street.
We got the centro histórico, to know the Plaza Principal and his late XVI Century Cathedral.

CENTRO STORICO E CATEDRALE NELLA PIAZZA PRINCIPALE.

We drove along some old fancy streets and also through tall and modern buildings along the Paseo de la Reforma, the biggest DF avenue.
We stopped for a while to rest under some shady tree of a huge park facing the Modern Art Museum.

AVENIDA PASEO DE LA REFORMA EN D.F. MÉXICO.

Then we followed towards the little town of Tepoztotlán some 80 kilometres out the DF, wher we spent the night in a cute RV campground.

R.V. PARK PEPE`S EN TEPOZTOTLÁN-MÉXICO.

The morning after we drove 300km. towards Morelia, another historical town on our way to the pacific coast and we did some 40km more up to Tzintunzan where you can find some Aztecas ruin, and we spent the night parked at the edge of the big Patzcuaro lake.
The climate was quite fresh so we were pleased to use the recently bought warm blankets.

LAGO PATZCUARO - TZINTZUNTZAN.

We kept on driving 280km more to Guadalajara, the other huge central Mexican town, but we didn’t stop and we drove some 50 km more. We reached Tequila, the town where the famous liquor is produced, and it seemed us a charming place. The tequila is made with the agave, a kind of cactus.
On the hills all around, you can see huge agave plantations.

PLANTACIONES DE AGAVE EN LA ZONA DE TEQULA EN MÉXICO.

The village is quite peculiar: men are wearing sombreros, musicians are playing on the sidewalks and a number of vineyards where the tequila is produced.

PERSONAS DEL PUEBLO DE TEQUILA EN MÉXICO.

Tourist guides offer tours of the vineyards, including free tequila from morning to night.
No offense, but we found the proposal more disgusting then charming, and I must confess that during the time we spent in Tequila, we haven’t drink a little cup either, but anyway we walked pretty much and took a lot of beautiful pictures.

Instead, we made a kitchen tour, on any little street restaurant we met, doing a little stop trying the best typical dish of everyone: tacos de chorizo (sausage), enchiladas, sincronizadas de queso (cheese) and pozole, a big soup with meat, corn grains, raw onion, chile pepper end lemon juice.

PROBANDO LAS COMIDAS TIPICAS EN EL PUEBLO DE TEQUILA.

In Tequila we slept in a little hotel where they allowed Charlie to stay with us.
Paolo worked with a welder to fix the Bambi right step that was open because of the many vibrations, and bumps, and holes we met along the way. The day alter we leaved Tequila. EN EL PUEBLO DE TEQUILA EN MÉXICO.

We drove towards San Blas, a little village on the Pacific Coast. Getting down to the sea level temperature suddenly changed and in the few seconds before spread on repellent, mosquitoes bitted us.
We spent the night in the “Los Cocos” camping for 170 pesos.

R.V. & TRAILES PARK LOS COCOS EN SAN BLAS-MÉXICO.

At dawn we were driving in order to reach the Mazatlán harbour, 300 km north. The same afternoon we got the ferry that shipped us to Baja California.
It costs 350 USD for the Bambi and the three of us. That means much cheaper then crossing from Cartagena, Colombia to Puerto Colon, Panamá: almost the same time (18 hours)for some 15 hundred bucks, the Bambi alone.

PUERTO DE MAZATLÁN EN MÉXICO.

It took some 16 hours, and I slept quite all the time to fight seasickness. My body feels better travelling on the ground then by the sea, definitely.
On the contrary, Paolo and Charlie enjoyed the trip and they also had tacos for dinner, all included with the ticket.

VIAJANDO SOBRE EL FERRY HACIA LA BAJA CALIFORNIA.

We reached La Paz, the small, cute town, facing the Gulf of Mexico, in the southern part of Baja California del Sud.
After an army checkpoint with dogs and some electronic stuffs, we searched a place to platy with Charlie.
So we met a beautiful Beach, with no people, where we enjoyed the warm sun and the blue-turquoise sea.

PLAYA DE LA PAZ EN LA BAJA CALIFORNIA DE MÉXICO.

The same morning we were driving on the Ruta 1 northbound. We planned to drive some 200 or 300 km daily to cover in one week the 1.481 km to Tijuana, the US border.

RUTA DE LA BAJA CALIFORNIA EN MÉXICO.

First day we did 200 km up to Ciudad Constitución and we stayed in the Misiones RV & Trailer Park.
Paolo found out a body car garage and fixed some rusty details..

R.V. & TRAILER PARK MISIONES, CIUDAD CONSTITUCION.

Next day, as soon as we were on the road again, there was a second army checkpoint. We got out the Bambi and 2 guys entered. This time without dogs.
In the next 1.300 km they stopped us 6 times more, doing the same check 6 times more, with a rough inspection of the Vehicle and no dogs anyway… what is supposed they are searching for??? That, we will never understand.

UNO DE LOS 8 RETENES MILITARES DE LA BAJA CALIFORNIA EN MÉXICO.

230 km north, we reached the Bahía Concepción where from far away we saw a dream place: a narrow beach, like a trail into the sea, that barely links the mainland to a little island. Some RV were parked there and we decided to stop, no doubts.

CASAS RODANTES EN PLAYA LA PERLA AL SUR DE LA B.C.

It was Playa La Perla, the cutest spot we knew on the Baja California pensinsula, and was the cherry upon the cake of the whole Mexican crossing.
There was an awesome sunset, the next morning we saw the sun rising from the sea. Before leaving, Charlie and me we swum avoiding some dangerous sting rays.

CHARLIE EN PLAYA LA PERLA DE LA BAJA CALIFORNIA-MÉXICO.

Then we drove another 320 km and we got Guerrero Negro, a Industrial town, extracting salt from the sea, on the Pacific ocean.
We stayed in the Malarrimo RV Park, where right in front Paolo met a aluminium welder to repair the Bambi roof’s bars, that long time ago were broken by a lower branch.

SOLDANDO LA BAMBI EN GUERRERO NEGRO-BAJA CALIFORNIA.

From the ocean, after 180 km we reached Cataviña, a small village in the middle of the nowhere, with no electricity supply.
The camping we met, for some 6 USD provided no hot water, of course no wireless, no comfort, nothing at all. When the sun went down we were freezing in a desert of cactus.
It was an intense experience!

CAMPING SANTA INÉS EN CATAVIÑA-BAJA CALIFORNIA-MÉXICO.

The longer path we had was the 373 km trip between Cataviña and Ensenada. We drove along the Ruta 1 through mountains and cactus valleys where we though we were dead, in case of accident.

LA BAMBI Y SUS TRIPULANTES EN LA ZONA CENTRAL DE LA B.C.

In the last campground we visited in Mexico, we watched Crossing Over, an interesting movie shot at the Mexican-US Tijuana border. We were excited thinking we were just 60 km away.

ULTIMO R.V. TRAILER PARK AL NORTE DE B.C. MÉXICO.

Finally we got to Tijuana, the biggest town of Baja California, with some popular districts, higher level ones with big shopping centres and a strong tourist downtown with pedestrian only streets, full of handicraft street stores.

TIJUANA - MÉXICO.

The plan was find out a way to purchase a US car insurance and then leave México… I were already tired of it
After a certain time, the Mexican way is tiring for anybody!!! Maybe the US so close, generate a sort of  inferiority complex, which day by bay becomes boring to me.

ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS.

It seems they think themselves as the best of Latin America, but in a certain way the act as they are the worst ones!
They charge you a crazy amount, distribuited in several toll boxes, and still they have broken highways.
More over the tourist Yucatán Peninsula, in the rest of the country we saw pretty much poorness, ignorante and garbage spreads along the way…

EL MÉXICO NO TURÍSTICO.

People used to tell us that government corruption is spreading all around generating deprivation and delinquency. Between the narcos and the unsafe sensation, now we think at Colombia as a kindergarten.
Anyway, the whole day was not enough to find car insurance for the Bambi. Paolo also tried to cross stepping towards the border, in order to get one in a USA insurance agency.
Charlie, the Bambi and me, we were waiting in a Car Wash, when Paolo came back with no insurance, as the closest office was in San Diego, several kilometres over the border.

PAOLO CAMINO HASTA LA FRONTERA DE U.S.

So we slept in Tijuana, our last night in México, in the parking of the Axa insurance office where it was supposed we had a meeting the next morning.
Unfortunately, the next day Axa said they have no option to sell us that kind of insurance, as the Bambi owns an Italian license plate. So Paolo begun to find phone numbers of insurance companies on the web, and got one: Progressive in San Diego. Call 619 220 8014, ask for lovely Mrs Courtney Peterson, in case you need.

VENTAS DE ALIMENTOS Y RECUERDOS EN LA FRONTERA CON U.S.

We drove towards the border, waiting at least one hour, among thousand of cars in line for crossing.
Actually time passed fast ´cause we enjoyed watching the big number of street sellers offering a lot of different stuffs: sombreros, t-shirts, blankets, tiles, tacos, ice-creams, fruits and even tosticolos, that we didn’t know what exactly was, and maybe never know is better.
Others, less suspiciously, were buying and eating weird things to eat and suck…
That remind us the high number of gays we saw in México, je, je!

QUE SE COME ESTE MAR …CIANO???

Asking forgiving to my friends for this bad joke, I follow on.
At the border we were checked and asked questions for almost 2 hours.
Finally we had to pay 7 USD each for the stamp in the passport. We hated that behaviour in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. We always found it a lousy one, and still is.
A few days earlier Paolo filled a form on Internet to get the Visa Waiver acceptation to get to USA. Still, once at the border, it was useless. They just give him the 90 days regular tourist Visa while me, having a Visa in my passport, they allow me 180 days visit.
That was quite disappointing for Paolo: first time in US, and someone was cheating him, because he specifically asked at the Panama US Embassy what to do to get 180 days permit, and the simple answer was: “ask the officer at the border, explain your situation, he’s in charge to give you 180 permit”. Apparently, that was no true.

UNITED STATE BORDER INSPECTION STATION.

Charlie with his update passport and vaccines, and the Bambi, with her insurance coverage, they get US with no time limit.
Was quite interesting for the really first time on 5 years trip, the Bambi didn’t need no document, or authorization, or fee to pay, simply getting US just like that.

CONTROL DE LA BAMBI EN LA FRONTERA DE MÉXICO CON U.S.A.

We entered USA on March, 11. It was a Thursday and we soon arrived to San Diego.
My friend and ex yoga student Greg, who lived in the bohemian barrio of Ocean Beach, suggest us to take Charlie Bravo to the Dog Beach: the “Dog Friendly” one in San Diego. There, dogs are allowed to play unleashed and freely run and… catch the frisbee.

EMIKO CON CHARLIE EN LA DOG BEACH EN SAN DIEGO-CALIFORNIA.

The Dog Beach in san Diego is a very pleasant place, so we decided to spend the night there.
For the really first time in our trip, we met an official, perfectly set up, dog beach: There are poles hanging boxes with poo-bags over the public gardens of California.
Notwithstanding México is one of the 20 richest countries in the world. Instead, being now in California, that is the richest state in the richest country, the gap is impressive.
We are still in California, and all what we are watching, transmits to us a clear sensation of safety, wealth, neatness, and organization.

DOG BEACH EN SAN DIEGO-CALIFORNIA.

What a difference with Brazil, where is strictly prohibited to dogs playing unleashed in public parks.
We bought 2 new frisbees for Charlie, and during the whole afternoon we watched him catch it on flight, fully excited.
The next morning Charlie woke up early to keep on playing … we simply love watching him so happy.
Thanks for the tip, Greg!!!

CHARLIE JUGANDO FELIZ AL FRESBEE EN LA DOG BEACH DE SAN DIEGO.

We went to Los Angeles, where my cousin Pamela, which I haven’t seen it’s been more than 30 years, was waiting for us.
Pamela was born in Peru and when she finished the high school, she flew to Japan on holiday and she liked it so much, that she decided to stay and she lived there for a decade.
On a further vacation time, she came to Los Angeles and she found it even better than Japan, and for that reason, she moved to USA.

CENA CON MI PRIMA PAMELA YAMAMOTO EN LOS ANGELES.

It’s been 6 years ago, Pam got married with Albert Manuel, a former teacher and now supervisor in a Primary School.
She works being a manager at Coach, a well known brand in US.
Thanks to her hard working (just one day off a week) she was able to buy a beautiful apartment and a car.

BRINDIS EN EL DEPARTAMENTO DE MI PRIMA PAMELA YAMAMOTO.

I came to LA when her mother was visiting her, and so we could share beautiful moments along with my aunt Chie.
She told us stories of when we were little girls, and others smart stories about our grandma, Julia Nakano Yamamoto.
Thank you aunt Chie, to refresh sleeping memories!!!

MI TIA CHIE KAMIDA EN EL DONWTOWN DE LOS ÁNGELES-CALIFORNIA.

The first day we met her, Pamela introduced us to her closest friends: Manuel y Ashlee.
Manuel is a Peruvian guy living in USA for a long time, and now he works in Los Angeles as an engineer and during the spare time, he is a popular DJ.
Ashlee, his wife, was born in New Mexico and they are living together it’s been 10 years and she works with Pam’s sister in law, a dentist.

MANUEL Y ASHLEE EDDOWES.

Thanks to their mood and their generosity, we could live LA in a very comfortable way. As they offer their friendship and help, we could visit the huge west coast town, and enjoy it from the very first time.
Ashlee and Manuel, allowed us to park the Bambi in their yard, plugged to 110V, and with free access to their bathroom and washing machine. They live in the beautiful Rancho Palos Verdes residential town, which owns a privileged view on the harbour of Long Beach.
Always in contact by phone, although they were on work, they were worried if everything was fine for us.

CASA DE LA FAMILIA EDDOWES EN RANCHO PALOS VERDES L.A.

We were introduced to their three kids: Danica and Andres, 14 years old twins, and Dersen, 3 yo.
Danica is so sweet and smiley and she has a peculiar sense of humour, Andrés despite his young age, is already a talented DJ, and Dersen is extremely intelligent: he can two languages and think as an older kid. He use to say hello each time we meet, and is asking for us and Charlie every time we are not. More he loves play with Charlie and he’s always worried about him.

DANICA, ANDRÉS Y DERSEN EDDOWES.

We share American Style big breakfast: coffee, ornge juice, toasts, eggs & beacon, And Paolo prepared some pancakes with Nutella.

PAOLO PREPARA PANCAKES.

In addiction, we tried the best wood roasted Chicken of LA, the best hamburger of California, and the best Peruvian food of the county.

One night Paolo cooked pasta and for the first time Dersen ate spaghetti with Bolognesa sauce. And he loved it!

DERSEN Y SUS PRIMEROS SPAGHETTIS ALLA BOLOGNESA.

In her off working day, Pamela took us to know Hollywood and we begun our walk from the Kodak Theatre, where some days before, it took the Academy Award show.

KODAK TEATRE EN HOLLYWOOD-L.A. CALIFORNIA.

We enjoyed the famous names engraved in the stars of the sidewalk: Alfred Hitchcock, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Nicolas Cage, Anthony Hopkins, John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, block after block…
We shot some Pictures with some stars. Paolo wanted one with the Houdini name.

PASEO POR LA CALLE DE LAS ESTRELLAS EN HOLLYWOOD.

In front of the door of the Chinese Theatre, where the 1935 star of Shirley Temple lays, I put my hands in the George Clooney handprint!!!

VEREDA CON LAS HUELLAS DE LAS ESTRELLAS DE HOLLYWOOD.

Later Pamela, gave us as a present a tour on a open bus through Hollywood up Mulholland Road, and through Beverly Hills showing us the huge mansions belong to people like Johnny Depp….Tom Cruise….

PASEO EN MINUBUS ABIERTO POR BEVERLY HILLS EN L.A.

In a perfect shining day we climbed up a Vista Point from where you are closer to hill where the huge HOLLYWOOD letters are.
Then we went down to Rodeo Drive, where are the luxury stores of the richest and most famous brand in the world … available by the richest and most famous ones.

VISTA PANORAMICA CON LAS LETRAS DE HOLLYWOOD.

We went dinner in a japanese-peruvian restaurant, along with my cousin, his husband and aunt Chie, and they offer us a special and delicious meal!!!

CENA CON MI PRIMA EN UN RESTAURANTE JAPONÉS-PERUANO.

One other night Paolo cooked a Risotto into my cousin’s home. Due to their passion for movies and electronic games, Albert and Paolo they defied each other on a trivial movie game. Albert won.
Albert go to his work in a school that is no more than 3 blocks away from his home. My cousin Pam pulled Al’s leg saying he always use to drive his black corvette, instead of walking.
Albert pulled her leg back, telling us that she use the car to get the CVS Pharmacy, just one block away. Je, je,! 1-0 for Albert!

ALBERT JUGANDO CON PAOLO A UN JUEGO ELECTRÓNICO.

In a way, those jokes let me thinking how important cars are for US citizen: each people of a family need to have his own car to go from a place to another.
That’s because in this country car are very cheap?
That’s because distances are huge in US and, for example, to get his work place, the most of people drive for about 100 km daily?
I really don’t know why… but it’s for sure that highways are plenty of cars and there is also a line on the left carpool only, for the ones who are sharing the car.

AUTOPISTA EN LOS ÁNGELES-CARRIL IZQUIERDO CARPOOL ESTÁ VACIO.

We stayed 10 days in the huge LA and we did hundreds of miles to visit several cities… Lomita, Rancho Palos Verdes, Torrance, Downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, Malibu, Santa Monica.

SANTA MÓNICA EN LOS ÁNGELES -CALIFORNIA.

As Karan suggested us to do, we visited the Universal City and the Studios. We passed a whole day watching the Waterworld show, visiting the many set designs of several well known movies, and how their special effects are made.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS EN LOS ÁNGELES -CALIFORNIA.

Last night in LA Manuel and Ashlee and Dersen, brings us to the fabulous Long Beach, to have dinner in a fancy restaurant.

LONG BEACH EN LOS ANGELES -CALIFORNIA.

We said goodbye everyone, and we drove towards San Francisco.
First stop was Santa Barbara, the coastal relaxing town with high Palms, huge beaches with volleyball court, along with the famous Pier and lines for bicycles only. Is a pleasant town with fine architecture, nice coffees and restaurants, bookstores and museums.

SANTA BARBARA-CALIFORNIA.

We passed the night at Playa del Burro, with public restrooms, and a fine restaurant. But, most important, a dog friendly beach, where Charlie could run along with other dogs.
Next day we visited Solvang, a delightful town, in his Danish suit. Here everything speaks Danish: from the people to the building, from the signs to the food. We had lunch with Danish sausages, red cabbage and stowed potatoes.

PUEBLO DE SOLVANG EN CALIFORNIA.

In the afteroon we follow the 101 surrounded by the California’s famous Vineyards.
At Oceano, we stopped at the Pismo Beach & Dunes RV Park, facing the high dunes on the Pacific Ocean.
Charlie just goes crazy playing on the sand!

PACIFIC DUNES DE LA COSTA CENTRAL DE CALIFORNIA.

Starting from Luis Obispo we were on the terrific CA 1, the old coast road of the Central California, driving through several dream spots, lighthouses and rocks by the sea, up to San Simeon, where the William Randolph Hearst Castle invited us for a high elegance and culture charming tour.
That was astonishing, definitely!!!

HEARST CASTLE, SAN SIMEON.

We reached Carmel at night. The little town by the sea is plenty of old pines and fairytale houses. We agree is the most fancy in all California, and you may think in the world, if you don’t know the south of France.
Each and every house, store and little shops are old style cute and enchanting like the bakery or the Pet shop wher we bought a new leash for Charlie, up to the Tiffany shop windows.

NEGOCIOS DE CARMEL.

Outside Carmel the 17 Mile Drive begins carrying us into the golf world capital, with close to the ocean golf courts surrounded by villas and resorts for the delight of golf players. Fawns and squirrels all around… maybe they have the tee and even the green perfectly cut for free!!

GOLF DE CARMEL CON BAMBIS QUE COMEN EL CESPED.

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It’s clear, if a baguette all over the World cost 3, in Carmel it easily raises to 5. Anyway we decided to sleep in the Bambi parking on Ocean Avenue, the main one, in front of the public square with public restrooms.

CARMEL-CALIFORNIA.

The next morning Bambi’s engine started as usual but after two minutes warming, suddenly goes dead. Since it was not the first time, Paolo tried to pull out the air from the hoses, thinking a fuel failure, as usual. Nothing happened. We called AAA, being premier members, thanks God (and Manuel).

BAMBI, GRÚA, POLICIA, BOMBEROS EN CARMEL-CALIFORNIA.

In no more then 5 minutes, a towing truck came, and a police car, and a firemen truck as well…..
Right in the middle of the town, policemen were on the traffic, firemen were drying with sand the diesel that leaked from the filter, while the AAA guy was hooking the Bambi.
I was impressed!

BAMBI REMOLCADA HASTA EL SERVICE.

We completed March with our Bambi that is still uncranking due to a severe distribution problem.
We are now still in Carmel, without our little Rolling Home.
Luckily we met Hans, or better Hans met us, fascinated first by the Bambi then by Charlie, for he has a lovely dog too: Tippy-the-eater.
From the very first time he kindly offered us his friendship and his house, so we are now in a cute lovely room, of his magic home. And more he borrow us his car when we need.
Thanks to Hans unexpected generosity, we are enjoying this ungraceful moment, too.

COMIDA, VINO Y VELAS EN LA CASA DE HANS EN CARMEL.

So we are now living our worst nightmare … the Bambi still can’t crank. …
But despite the bad moment, we are in Carmel, a dream town where, sent from faith, appeared Hans Lehmann, our beloved guardian angel. He is helping us, as well as the team of the Salinas West Coast Diesel Service and Ale, our friend who is helping from Italy, and Ashlee and Manuel that are still in contact with us…
What can I say more… do you believe in….. Los Angeles?

HANS’ BEAUTIFUL HOME