Our Buena Vida in Buena Vista Newsletter Editor, Ann Hazard, is the author of this year’s Christmas Letter. Her family has been coming to the resort since we opened. Ann and her husband Terry moved to Buena Vista last year and made it their primary residence. Here, at this special time of the year, they share their love of the East Cape with all of us. May we see you, our most valued guests in the New Year, if not before that. And on behalf of all the hotel staff and the Valdez Family, we wish you the happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons!

 

Abrazos!

 

Chuy and Imelda Valdez

Esaul and Lety Valdez, Liliana and Vanessa

Axel and Gina Valdez

Felipe Valdez

From There to Here—Living La Buena Vida in Buena Vista

Written by Ann Hazard

Photos by Terry Hauswirth

The air is soft. The light ripples across a jade green-dark blue sea. The sky is soft too. The puffs of clouds that hid the sun as it rose over the Sea of Cortez all fiery red and molten gold are gone now. The sky has colored itself a perfect pale shade of periwinkle, spreading endlessly overhead until it’s confronted by the jagged mountain range of the Sierra de la Laguna. Layered back in rows, shaded dark to light, the edges of these mountains captivate me, begging me to paint them. They are green this year, unbelievably so after two years of ample rains. Hidden in their nooks and crannies are streams, natural hot springs, waterfalls. There are rancheros scaled up the steep sides of their peaks where every variety of tropical fruit and flower grows in abundance.

 

As I walk along this beach, my feet crunch against the coarse sand. A warm wave splashes over them and snakes up my legs. It’s December, yet it’s warmer than most summer days in Southern California, where I used to live. I scoop up the tennis ball and toss it into the waves so my dog, Cassie can fetch it. A tiny thing, she flings herself into the face of the wave with the determined force of a dog three times her size. I smile to myself. How blessed am I to live here.            

 

I snorkeled for an hour this morning. I saw three eels, a sea turtle and two stingrays, along with the usual bounty of parrotfish, needlefish, pompano, triggerfish and so many others I couldn’t begin to name them all. I swam further today than I have before, alone in the sea, delighting in the warm-cool softness of the water, the push-pull of my arms against it, enjoying the tension in my legs as I kicked along. My mask leaked—a lot—but it gave me the excuse to stop every so often, to look again at the mountains rising up out of the desert—stark and adamant against sea and sky. 

           

For years I dreamed of living in Mexico. It began on a vacation to Puerto Vallarta in 1983. I was 30. My boyfriend and I were at a restaurant named El Set, terraced down the edge of the Pacific to the beach. It was, of course sunset and we were sipping margaritas and nibbling on guacamole. At a table near us sat a group of 12 expatriates. They were close to our age. I stared and eavesdropped shamelessly. My boyfriend was appalled, but I couldn’t help myself. I had traveled often in Mexico, particularly in Baja while growing up, but it had never before occurred to me that I could actually live here. It was a revelation and the images of that golden group of expatriates never left me. It amazes me still that I became one myself—20 years later.

 

In October 2003 my husband Terry and I moved to Buena Vista, 45 minutes north of the Los Cabos airport. We’re on what’s known as the East Cape—one of the premier sport fishing, windsurfing and diving destinations in the world. This is my father’s favorite place on the planet. He spends a week a month here every year fishing, and he’s 82. My son comes about five times a year with him. My daughter and her dogs fly in frequently. Family holidays are spent here.

 

             

 

 My mother’s ashes are here. When we sold our homes in San Diego and La Bufadora—just south of Ensenda—last year, it was a no-brainer that we would move here.      

 

Visitors compare the East Cape to Los Cabos a generation ago. It’s growing and it’s home to a burgeoning community of Americans and Canadians, but the resorts are still small, the restaurants few, the lifestyle easy-going and peaceful, and the scenery spectacular. People don’t come here expecting upscale spas, world-class golf, shopping, raucous nightlife and gourmet cuisine. They come for the outdoor adventure experience, for the pristine beaches with perfect swimming water and of course for the fishing—which is even better than in Los Cabos. Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, guys like Chuck Connors, Desi Arnaz, Fred Astaire, and Ray Cannon came here. They came, the word got out and the East Cape was on the map.

 

I am not a city girl. The life here suits me. Where I came from, we had eight lane freeways and 20-hour-a-day rush hour. Here we say that three cars in line at a tope (speed bump) constitute a traffic jam. In San Diego I had constant claustrophobia. To quote a Jimmy Buffett song, I found myself always “pacing the cage.” Here I am deeply content. There is a view of endless sand, sea, mountains and sky from our living room window. The beach is steps away. I am free, and I am connected to my community in a way I never felt before. Everywhere we go, people know us and we know them, Mexicans and expatriates. Everyone who passes gives a smile and the flat-handed Baja wave—modeled from the Native American “how” gesture. My Spanish improves daily as I plactico (chat) with Mexican friends and acquaintances. Sometimes I find myself going back and forth between the two languages so quickly I don’t even notice the transition. I love it.

 

We frequently travel in our RV, just as my parents did from the early ‘70s to the early ‘90s. Next month we will take the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlán. From there we will explore exotic tropical and mountain places and historic colonial towns. I will write; he will take photographs. Thus we will be able to share our adventures.

 

I always felt more at home in Mexico than in the USA and for years I pondered why. Now I know. It’s simultaneously simple and complicated, like the Mexican culture. It’s also a bit esoteric and more than a bit spiritual—like the story of Mexico’s Virgin of Guadalupe. I now know that my heart is Mexican. Mi corazón es Mexicano. That is why I am here.

 

 

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