| Travel Photography Desert Mexico > Baja California Sur
the elephant seal, once slaughtered to the brink, the gray whale is a
triumph of Mexican environmentalism. I walked for a mile before finding
Father on the top of a dune, where we walked across another half-mile
of sub-quicksand; a kind of happenstance of the tides which left a consistency
of wet mushroom. I found Brother Hans some time later, sitting on a dune.
He said, ""There are four elements here.sand, wind, sunlight, and philosophy.
Watch this." I followed him to a crescent dune where he inserted his hand
at its base and dug out a handful of sand. A few particles of sand began
to fill the gap, and in a matter of minutes, the entire dune began to
readjust itself until the rim caved in and reacquainted itself a few inches
is history accelerated, a model of geology, and everything they taught
me about in physics," Brother Hans said: limestone had deposited in these
broad, flat coastal plains in times of flooding, and loosened in a constant
Aeolian depth of time to form stretches of barren dune-lands.
walked along the shore, the three of us, until I stepped into a sand that
quivered and shook like jello. "Uh, I am afraid this is quicksand," Brother
Hans said. "We better watch where we step." So instead we walked the rest
of the way along the dune-ridges. At night, we cooked for hours as the
mist of the sea turned into a deep fog. Everything turned to black, so
we opened the truck doors, played Ennio Morricone's soundtrack 'The Good,
The Bad, and the Ugly' at high volume.
The inherent creepiness of this
album was enough to scare us out of our being frightened, of being in
the middle of nowhere, so we finished the last of our bottles of tequila.
In the morning, in a thick Pacific fog, we packed camp and headed north.
Everything was green here - the goofy datilillo's, which extend above
everything, and the coastal agave's were in full bloom, the sands were
covered with Checkerblooms and Devil's Claw and yellow pricklypoppy, a
carpet of yellow and violet.
the immigration checkpoint north of Guerrero Negro, we were waved by a
triplet of Officiales. "Immigration papers," one said, peaking in the
back window of the truck.
"Oh, shit," Father said.
"We don't have any immigration papers," I said.
"No immigration papers?" the officialle looked angered. "Okay, park
your car, go in that room over there."
We complied, and seated ourselves in a dimly lit,
gray room filled with forms and stampers. I have always been prejudiced
against people with stampers, ever since going to the library. "So,
you have no immigration papers?"
I said, "they are supposed to give us the papers at this checkpoint.
But nobody gave us any."
The Officiale was not happy. He was droopy-eyed, and looked more Spanish
than Mayan, which meant he was probably imported here from Mexico City.
Punishment for poor service at a higher post, perhaps?
is very bad," he said, stamping papers with his stamper like he was
the most important man in the world. And not just stamping, but thrusting
his stamper on the paper with the force of a psycho with a knife.
expression on Father and Brother's faces suggested they thought he was
"What do we need to sign?"
"You need to fill out this form, and this form, and you need to go
to Guerrero Negro and pay the bank 180 pesos for each of you
would come out to a total of about sixty-three dollars. The amount sounded
familiar. Looking at our passports, the Officiale stamped some more papers,
and sent us on our way. I told Father that we already paid our immigration
fees to some corrupt cops in Tijuana, and that we weren't going to pay
we passed again through the canyons of El Rosario, where a plentitude
of white bags had been freshly stacked along the highway. Later, passing
the modern vineyards in the pine and scrub backlands south of Ensenada,
we saw them, the truckloads of white bags headed for the United States,
still dripping with seawater.