Bahia de Kino: Part II, "The Realization"

 

kinoConsidering the way that we came to hear of Kino, from a Canadian miner in Mongolia, our expectations of the place were lofty. We were ready to explore, taste, and find paradise.

After eating breakfast while taking in the lovely bay, Perry, the co-owner of Casa Tortuga, joined us and said in a matter-of-fact tone, “I’m not busy this morning – you know, being retired and all – and I would be more than happy to take you on a tour of the area.” Since we did not have wheels but did enjoy his company, we immediately accepted the offer.

Perry first drove us to the northern side of Nuevo Kino, an area with great ocean views, volcanic landscapes, and a white church perched atop a hill. The area is no doubt being built up; a gated community is under construction as I write. Unfortunately, the cool morning air and overcast sky hurried us back into the comfort of Perry’s vehicle. We drove through the desert viewing volcanic peaks that I yearned to scale ,as well as a humorously-situated desert golf course, without grass but not devoid of small synthetic putting greens, all punctuated with numbered flags.

golfWe then headed to the fishing village of Kino Viejo,. There I was disappointed as the town appeared somewhat ramshackle and run-down. The local pier had vendors selling the daily catch and a few trinkets and the village was mellow but not beautiful. Even the beach in front of old Kino leaves something to be desired. The sand is more rocky and shell-laden than Kino Nuevo; boats line the sand leaving no room to walk along the shoreline.

We passed a few restaurants, checked out an art shop, and ate a couple of beef-head and bean tacos. We decided to walk along the beach back to New Kino. On the sand we met a few young teen boys who were playing on the beach. They were freaking out as thunder and lightening began to fill the distant sky. Still, we managed to get them into a rock- throwing competition to determine who could keep a rock in the air the longest.

My job was to be the counter. The winning time was eight seconds. With more roaring thunder, we continued back to the Casa Tortuga, attempting to avoid the rain. It eventually caught us and we spent most of the rest of this Thanksgiving Day under the veranda of our patio relaxing and reading books. Later that night we went to the closest restaurant, Pargo Rojo (Red Snapper) . We enjoyed excellent fish dishes and garlic chicken. The waiters were friendly and the ambiance basic.
The following day we woke up and headed to hike to the surrounding peaks. We turned from the main road where a painted sign read “Mariscos Judy” and continued inland until we reached the base of the mountain. As we walked further into the cacti-laden desert, we could not help but picture imaginary views from make-believe windows of nonexistent houses. We then headed upward. Two peaks became four and we were surrounded by volcanic detritus. We enjoyed the view and then headed back to prepare lunch.

We relaxed the remainder of the day and decided to join the local expatriates at Club Deportivo, followed by dinner at La Casa Blanca. When we arrived at Club Deportivo, we were shocked. Over one hundred retired North Americans were playing cards, socializing, and consuming very reasonably priced cocktails. Unsurprisingly, not a single person had ever met or even heard of Maury, the miner in Mongolia who’d told us about Kino. An emcee was on stage getting everyone revved. The place had a little bit of a Club Med feel but this was no all-inclusive resort. We met several friendly people that evening. First I spoke with Lee and Diane Ackerman, a couple who began their world trip after retiring but never made it past Kino. Lee served up stiff rum and cokes along with fluid conversation. I also spoke to John and Judy Hazen, a couple from Oregon who have a daughter working as a teacher in Thailand.

After the events at Club Deportivo, yet another couple, Hilda and Valentine invited us to join them at Jorge’s for dinner. We learned interesting things about one other and shared a love for Indonesia. The garlic fish was tasty and the margaritas proved powerful. Later we retired to our patio and enjoyed the beautiful view with the wind rustling through our hair and the moonlight gleaming off the tranquil ocean.
kino3The following morning Perry once again came to our aid. He gave us a lift near Kino Viejo where we embarked in one-man kayaks to circumnavigate Albatros Island. I was excited; as someone has mentioned that blue-footed boobies could be seen on the west side of the island. As we neared the island, the stench of bird crap was unavoidable.

Thousands of birds, mainly pelicans, inhabited the island. We slowly circled the island but never caught sight of a booby. We did see a couple of sea lions but the main draw was the bird life. We then headed back toward the coast and steered north, toward our guesthouse. But the seas suddenly turned lumpy and we paddled ashore. I dragged the kayaks across the sand toward our rental, figuring that we were only about one kilometer distant. As I pulled on the boats, a man in a hat approached us. He said, “Hi. I remember you two from last night.” Then I realized that it was John from Oregon who had invited us to watch college football at his friend Lee’s house. At first I declined his kind offer to heft the kayaks into the back of his truck and haul them back to Perrys. bBut when he explained that we were at least five kilometers away I gratefully accepted his help. Apparently, people in these parts take care of one another, including visitors.

kino2After our aquatic sports adventure we developed a huge appetites. We went to the local supermarket and purchased a few items for sandwiches and snacks. We then went to Lee’s house to watch football and eat chili with corn bread. The food was excellent but I was already stuffed. The combination of football, American food, and the style of the house sort of made me feel that I was already home, and quite comfortable.

We departed Lee’s place late in the afternoon to catch our last Kino sunset. We were scheduled to return to the States early the next morning. We packed our bags after watching the sun quickly set. Perry came by with two cocktails, sunset mango drinks that fit in perfectly with the local setting. We had made plans to have a last dinner with Perry and Caroline.

They served up an excellent meal including a salad with ingredients from Caroline’s garden and ate pasta, washed done with fine wine. We partook in pleasant conversation and played a few games before we went to sleep.

The Kino experience had ended too fast. Yet we’d passed enough time to see what we came to see. Was it what we expected? I’m not sure. In fact, I do not even recall if I expected anything at all. The brief trip to Kino Bay was relaxing, lovely, yet with enough activities to keep us moderately busy, when we chose to be.

Be warned though. We were told time and time again that during Semana Santa and Summer, Kino turns into a party village. As for the remainder of the year, tranquility and peace here reign supreme.

 

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Article first published as Bahia De Kino: Part II, “The Realization” on Technorati.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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