South to El Sargento

It was with some regret that we left Loreto, but we knew we’d be back in a few days.
Baja California has only one main highway which runs south, zigzagging a bit across the peninsula. From Tijuana to San Quentin, we went pretty much south, often right on the coast of the Pacific and moving inland up to maybe ten miles. 
From there to Guerrero Negro, we were inland most of the time, coming back almost the coast when we go to the town.
From Guerrero Negro, however, we headed south and east crossing the mountains that run like a spine the length of the Baja peninsula. When we 
  reached El Rosario, we stayed on the Sea of Cortez in Loreto, then headed back west and south into the mountains, where we drove the high plains before cutting southeast into La Paz.
At La Paz we had to head a bit inland again for the short drive to El Sargento.  The drive from Loreto took about seven hours, and since we’re early risers, we we in El Sargento by two.
Cinda’s friends have a lovely two bedroom house on a bluff facing east across the Sea of Cortez. The house runs north-south with each room offering a stunning view of the sea. A patio, too, runs the east side, and there’s a rooftop patio that has 360 degree views. We settled quite happily into our room, then hit the beach for a short walk.
Mexico travelers, get this: their septic can handle toilet paper!!
There is a wonderful plant here called the elephant tree. In some ways it’s a little like a boojum. Both are broad at the base and taper to the top. Unlike the boojum that stands quite tall and straight with very tiny arms branching off it, the elephant tree is somewhat squat and has several thick arms that in turn hold tinier branches.
What makes the elephant tree most interesting is its brownish bark peels off. The  outer bark turns a beautiful coopery-gold color and peels off in small sheets much thinner than paper. They ruffle up loose all over the tree until they blow off, and before the blow off, they dance in the wind causing the tree to glimmer. It is a stunning little tree.
In addition to a number of elephant trees, the people we’re staying with have a sort of wild plum, a wild-looking cactus called pitaya agrla with arms that reach out every possible direction, and a number of desert shrubs totally unrecognizable to me. They’re birders, too, and the food and water they put out attract a beautiful variety. 
In one of those wonderful twists of fate, the friends we are staying with are good friends with neighbors just down the road, and the woman in that couple was Cinda’s childhood friend that she hadn’t seen for forty-seven years. What a reunion! 
Of course there was a gathering, a dinner, and lots of stories swapped.
The childhood friend works with a coil potter, Ramona, who lives in the mountains. This friend buys the woman’s pots and sells them in town, heading back to the mountains to give the woman any profits made and picking up more pots.
Or course I came away with one of the pots. It is larger than what I would like, but it is what was available. What’s interesting about this pot is it can be used on a stove top as well as in the oven. It’s perfect for making a large batch of frijoles or caldo, or for simmering mole with chicken. Again, it’s a bit large, but Cinda says I just need to have a party.
We returned home after our dinner. There are no streetlights here, and almost no one has an outdoor light on, so the stars are stunning. I lay in bed gazing out at stars and constellations that, though brilliant, were somehow misplaced in this southern sky.

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