Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image The view of the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean from Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

March 20, 2014
Perhaps, it’s just that I like to be on vacation

I need to learn Spanish. It would be a good thing for somebody who likes to visit Mexico so much.

I just returned from my latest excursion to the country south of my homeland. A friend’s sister invited us to spend five days at her condo at Rosarito Beach in the state of Baja, California about 10 miles south of Tijuana.

My first thought: How could a place so close to a Mexico border city be very good?

My final thought: This is a great place to stay anytime of the year. I should return for a longer visit.

The problem was that I had been to Cancun in the state of Quintan Roo a few years ago and figured that was the best place in Mexico for a vacation. Most people I talk to rave about Cancun. The Caribbean waters there are indeed warm and clear, the snorkeling is a delight, and the deep southern Mexico location is near fascinating archaeological sites.

The waters are colder on the Pacific Ocean side of northern Mexico, so I knew swimming would probably not be as enjoyable. But temperatures were in the mid 70s when we were there, which is the way it is most of the year.  Swimming in the Pacific and cold pool (the heater was broken the first day) was quite exhilarating. Surfers were out every day to enjoy the consistent wave action of the Pacific along the west coast of Mexico.

Our accommodations were right on the beach, and sunsets were exquisite. We ate lobster dipped in butter, fish tacos, fish quesadillas, sea bass, and of course, rice and beans. Our group of six, which included three who live year-round at Rosarito Beach, went to a restaurant called Charly’s Place on the second night. I suppose one could call it singing and dancing along with fresh seafood. That night was a highlight of the trip.

As we rode back to the San Diego Airport through the streets of Tijuana lined with vendors, I realized that I have spent quite a bit of time in Mexico over the years.

The first experience was the obligatory walk across the border at Tijuana as a young kid with my family to look at the people and all the merchandise.

My second trip to Mexico was with a pair of high school friends. We went to Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco. We swam, played tennis, golfed, ate, and went to some disco joint one night. You know — back in the day. I think I had hair.

The third trip was several years later with my father, brother and nephew. We drove from Grantsville to El Centro, CA., then to Mexicali through Calexico down to San Filipe — a seaport village on the east side of the state of Baja California next to the Sea of Cortez, which is also known as the Gulf of California.

This third excursion was just a one-day drive from El Centro down to San Filipe. Our car was searched about three times on this journey. We three amigos must have looked suspicious. We got lost in Mexicali late at night en route back to El Centro, but eventually found our way back into the USA.

Trip number four was just a short experience with my father about 10 to 15 years ago. We drove from Las Vegas to Tucson, Ariz., and then the next day drove south to Nogales, AZ on the border. From there we walked across into Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

We were on a fact-finding mission to see about riding a bus from Nogales to a place we had just learned about — San Carlos — also in the state of Sonora. Prices for riding the buses varied, but it seemed like the lady said we might have to ride with chickens and other animals on one of the lesser expensive bus lines.

A couple of years later my father, brother, nephew and I did go on a trip to San Carlos, but not on the bus. We ended up on a direct flight from Salt Lake International to a small airport near San Carlos, and then we spent about three days swimming, golfing, playing tennis and shopping in nearby Guaymas, a city of about 150,000. San Carlos is just a small port city on the east coast of the Sea Cortez with a population about 6,000. Waves there were non-existent, but it’s a major fishing destination. It’s known for sea lions, whales and sharks.

I heard so many good things about it, so about three years ago, my dad and I did visit Cancun. It’s a fascinating place.

Trip No. 7 to Mexico was last week to Rosarito Beach with some friends. It was much better than I suspected. I certainly would like to investigate some long-term stay possibilities in this location.

I suppose I could forget about Mexico for a while, but my experiences there have always been fun. Perhaps it’s just that I like to be on a vacation.

Instead, I could plan at trip to Australia sometime — revisit the Land Down Under after a 36-year absence.

That way, I wouldn’t need to learn Spanish; I already know how to speak Australian. 

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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