[Ed. Mike writes a letter from the future (2006 - not so far off).]
From La Gringa, 2006
April 14, 2006
Mary Ann - just a short note.
I passed by Bahia de Los Angeles yesterday. I decided to go out
to La Gringa and ended up spending a week there. It's has
really changed since we were last here. I remember La Gringa
from her simpler days, the days before her contemporary, high
rise hotels were built, towering into her backdrop of blue sea
and sky; before they broke up the tan landscapes looking west
across the thin peninsula, where no one came. I remember the
sand, south of Roberto's hut - the only permanent structure then
- sand for miles; the myriad stingrays that idled and played
there in the warm shallows. This was, of course, well before
they built the first of the many piers that now house the
hundreds of shops and restaurants that draw so many of us here
today. Now we have a nice collection of tennis courts and lawn
bowling instead of the open desert.
The bay was so quiet in those years. We listened to the gulls
and pelicans working bait all night long. We were often the
only ones here, for miles. The dolphin and seals patrolled a
shore so pristine the sun's reflection was as bright and pure as
the sun itself. Now, the bay is so full of docks, moorings,
boats and ships that you can hardly see the water at all.
This morning I disposed of two dead pelicans from the tiny strip
of sand that has yet to become populated with some other tourist
attraction - the last open 25 feet of beachline on the entire
bay. The Great Grey Herons that once lived in the lagoon, the
egrets are gone. A parking lot leveled and filled that tiny
void. The green reeds and delicate water plants that were here
have been replaced by curbed and manicured planters housing
fichus that can, ignored by man, survive the heat. The old dirt
road that used to lead northward to Las Cuevitas is now an
international airport, bringing the thousands of visitors here
weekly from the north and east. It is quite an accomplishment.
La Gringa has become the new Cabo.
It's quite realistic, really; it's much closer to the border by
car or by plane than the cape. And the money has been rolling
in since the development was begun, just a year or two ago.
Property values are through the roof. The place is really
thriving. Remember back, in the early mornings, when the tide
was out, we used to sit alone, just here, and inhale the sweet
smell of seaweed, drying on the stones? Now in the morning we
are treated to the oily stench of breakfasts, prepared for
thousands, and to the rancid dankness of diesel from the
hundreds of boats that pull in or out throughout the day. It's
a good thing there's often a strong breeze here; else the fumes
would choke a horse.
The La Gringa spit, where we used to walk, arm-in-arm,
collecting small shells, is still here, of course. They've
built a concrete breakwater that is much tougher than the
natural gravel bar that had served for so long. The breakwater,
like the piers along the beach, is packed with tourist
businesses. It's rather nice, from either the beach or the
breakwater you can look toward the other front and, in the
evenings, see the thousand lights, strung along the waterfront,
reflecting off the ocean, when you can catch a glimpse of it.
The Mariachi's play in the small streets until midnight. After
that the discos rule, loud throbbing and raw music pulsing off
the dance floor, out the open windows and into the night air
where previously we had camped on smooth round stones, just
north of the old pier. There was never a sound in those days
except a few lapping melodies caused as the small waves raked
the stones. Back then we went to bed early, sweethearts,
children, friends. Only a few of us endured the hardships of
the myriad stars and satellites. Now, with all the new
activities, I am the one finding an early bedtime. Speaking of
which... On the way back to my room on the tenth floor of the
La Gringa Ritz-Carlton I spotted a single pelican, squatting
alone, along an unattended place on one of the boardwalks. He
wasn't supposed to be there, the folks here don't like the
messes they make. Doesn't he know he not supposed to be there?
Doesn't he know his place in the order of things?
I'll be home soon.
All my love,