On December 7, I set out from Marc and Amelie’s office to pick up my friend Susanne from the airport. I was excited and very happy to finally see her again after almost half a year and to hold her in my arms.
Before heading to the airport, I had an appointment at the private cancer clinic Oncotech, in La Paz. Among other things, this relatively newly founded clinic is committed to helping people who do not have the financial means to pay for cancer treatment. The goal is to expand more and more in Mexico over the next few years, networking across the country to help people.
When I arrived at the clinic, I met Lydia and her husband Gabriel. Lydia had breast cancer five years ago and was treated at Oncotech. Fortunately, the cancer was completely removed. After she recovered, she decided to start an initiative to work with Oncotech to give people who are not financially well off the opportunity to receive cancer treatment.
Lydia and Gabriel are super loving people and after the visit to the clinic they were so nice, took me to the airport so I could pick up Susanne, waited a good hour and drove us to our hotel.
The feeling of seeing Susanne again after such a long time was gigantic. Although we both had contact almost every day despite the great distance, it was wonderful to have her with me and to feel her. Since we spent the next three weeks together, we could take a lot of time and enjoy it without time pressure. Unfortunately, Susanne dragged from the freezing cold Germany and the air conditioning of the aircraft a decent cold.
During the first days with Susanne, I had another radio interview at Radio Formula in La Paz. Radio Formula is the largest radio station in the Spanish-speaking world throughout Latin America. I had an appointment for an interview, but I didn’t know what to expect and ended up sitting in the studio as a special guest for a 45-minute live interview with the two presenters.
After our interview, a staff member came and asked me to come to the entrance as soon as possible because an old lady was waiting there to give me a gift. The lady was taken by her son all over the city to the radio station because she was so touched by my interview. She gave me a medallion of the Guadeloupe, the image of Mary adored in Mexico. In Catholic Mexico, the Guadeloupe has the most important spiritual significance and so it was an absolute honor to be presented with this medallion, which was apparently also a family heirloom. The woman wished me all the luck and God’s blessings for my further journey. I was so moved that I had quite a lump in my throat and some tears in my eyes.
It is precisely these encounters that strengthen my conviction that I am doing the right thing with my tour. To inspire other people, to touch them and to give them hope. This feeling is the greatest gift for me!
A few days later it was Christmas. Susanne and I had conversations with our families in Germany and all over the world via videotelephony in the morning and went to a nice restaurant in the evening. Unfortunately, since Susanne had such a cold, she could not enjoy this evening very much.
Despite her cold, she didn’t let it stop her from exploring the beaches around La Paz over the next few days.
About 25 km northeast of La Paz is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. Playa Balandra is unique, because here surrounded by the desert between cacti is a perfect sandy beach with crystal clear, turquoise shimmering water in a gorgeous lagoon. Since this is very shallow, we could easily walk from the main beach to the other side at low tide and had a beautiful beach just for us.
One day we were riding our bikes from Playa Balandra back to La Paz and became part of an accident scene. As we rode along a narrow road, there were two cars behind us that did not want to pass us because the road was not very clear at that point. Far away, quickly approaching, I heard engine sounds of a very speeding car overtaking the two cars and cutting in so close that it came very close to both of us. The tires screeched and out of the corner of my eye I saw the car coming towards me. The driver jerked the steering wheel around to avoid it, but the car was going so fast that it lost control, slid across the road, skidded, and rolled over several times. With a loud clang, it came to a stop again several meters further down the embankment on its tires.
Susanne and I stopped immediately, put the bikes on the side of the road and ran to the car. Susanne was convinced that the man was dead or at least seriously injured, because the car was totally dented, side parts torn off and the windshield completely destroyed. The driver of the car came to relatively quickly and tried to get out of the driver’s door, but it would not open and panicked. Through the passenger door we helped the already somewhat green and pale man out of the car. Completely confused, he did not know exactly what had happened, but stubbornly insisted not to contact an ambulance. After a few minutes the man recovered a bit, said that he was a fighter and nothing would throw him off so quickly, collected the fragments of the car, got into the car and drove away slowly up the embankment and with four egging wheels. We never thought that this car was still roadworthy.
The two other cars that were involved took us together with the bikes on the loading area of their pickups and drove us back to the city. I was quite grateful for this, as I can’t deny that I had a slight shock after this incident and didn’t feel like riding my bike for a while.
I realized how lucky Susanne and I were not to have been involved in this accident and luckily to have been missed by a meter by the car.
After the first week in La Paz Susanne was feeling much better and healthy again and we were looking forward to exploring the southern tip of Baja California with the rental car. Armed with my tent and camping gear, we headed east of the peninsula via La Ventana, a famous kite surfing resort, and Los Barilles to Cabo Pulmo in the national park. Almost deserted we had beautiful sandy beaches in the midst of a beautiful natural scenery. We watched the stars at night and enjoyed the sunrise in the morning. We watched manta rays jumping out of the water and enjoyed the sea. The only downer was that there was no paved road around Cabo Pulmo National Park, only a sandy gravel road over 90 km long. With an average of 30 km/h and the feeling that the rental car would soon fall apart due to the extreme vibrations, we were glad after 3 days to have a paved road again.
In Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of Baja California, we visited my former classmate Marco and his wife Mayra. Marco has been living here for a year now and wrote me at the beginning of my trip in Canada that I would be very welcome in Mexico.
So we spent two days there with the two of them. A highlight for me was definitely the boat trip to the rock El Arco, which is the southern tip of Baja California. At this point the Californian Gulf and the Pacific Ocean meet. Here I felt connected to the elements.
Susanne’s and my absolute favorite place was Todos Santos, a small colorful artist town that has become probably the most famous town on Baha California due to the Eagles’ world famous hit “Hotel California” and the hotel of the same name that is said to have inspired the song.
Here we spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Todos Santos has an absolute charm. Historic buildings, small cute little streets and colorful paintings everywhere decorate the streets. The only building that has lost some of the charm of the old days is probably the Hotel California.
A few kilometers from Todos Santos on the coast is the Punta Lobos. A huge prominent rock from which whales could be observed well. Every few minutes we could observe how far away water splashed or the tail fin of a humpback whale could be seen. Unfortunately, the whales were all relatively far out, so we had a hard time seeing the spotting. As I tried to capture one of the whales with my camera, I heard Susanne shout that this time quite close a whale had jumped completely out of the water and she could see it very well. Somehow I’m really not lucky to see a whale so far. A few thousand kilometers still remain to me. I still do not give up hope!
The last week we spent again in La Paz, were snorkeling with whale sharks, which was totally impressive, because we came to within a meter of these sometimes 8-10 meter long animals. Absolutely fascinating was to watch one of these gentle giants comfortably eating. In all calmness the shark stretched its mouth in the direction of the water surface and filtered hardly perceptible smallest creatures from the water. On the last evening together of Lydia and Gabriel invited to the holy three kings festival. In Spanish-speaking countries, this day has a similar importance to Christmas.
In Mexico, it is traditional to bake a wreath in which two or three small Christ-children are baked. Whoever gets one of these Christ-children at the cutting has all luck on his side for the next year. I was doubly lucky this time and got two of them. But the custom also says to prepare food for the group for the next holiday in February.
The next day was unfortunately already the departure of Susanne, which was very difficult for both of us, because we had a wonderful time together. The three weeks with Susanne have shown me that it is worthwhile to work for the right relationship, to stand up for it and to stick to it, even though I am having the biggest adventure of my life right now. The three weeks were so beautiful and gave me the feeling that we have grown even closer together. Full of confidence, I look forward to the future journey and firmly believe that we will both master the time, although I will probably be on the road for almost another year.
I am mega grateful that Susanne supports me so much in my adventure and find it beautiful, but also important that the partner one, in the realization of his dreams stronger.
Of course I miss her very much and hope to see her again as soon as possible.
Thank you Susi that you exist ❤️!