A bandito land siege while waiting in paradise for a part.

BUENA VENTURA, Baja California Sur, Mexico — Time has its foot on my tail, and I can’t go anywhere. Me and the thumper.

At least within a 50-mile radius. I’m waiting for a $60 part for the intake manifold from my BMW motorcycle dealer in the States. Without it, the bike won’t hold an idle and basically dies the second I let go of the throttle because there’s no or very little air making it to the engine. Indeed, suffocation sucks. I realized it was going to take a while and was prepared for five to seven days, according to the dealer, not 12 to 14.

The more infuriating part is the bike currently runs, and I still have to wait. I was fortunate enough to run into a talented mechanic, and he had the problem diagnosed and cured, insofar as the bike running, before I even showed up to the garage the next morning. He patched up the broken part with JB Weld, reinstalled it into my bike, and that’s how I’ve been riding it for the last almost two weeks, four of those nights in Hotel Mulege (a nice air-conditioned room), four nights tent camping on Playa Santispac, and the last five here at Playa Buena Ventura about 30 miles south of Mulege. I’ve now upgraded my digs to a camper. I suppose I could have chanced it and ventured off with the mended part instead of a new one. But…peace of mind in your machine, especially when it’s your home, is important.

The terrain around here is jaggity as hell. Like giant piles of every-size rocks, from silt-like sand to boulders of every size and texture, dropped from an enormous dump truck in the sky. One hundred foot cliffs around-the-next-corner unforgiving. Then there’s the heat. Somewhere between 105-115 of muy caliente. There’s a thermometer, but I’ve stopped looking. I seem to handle it better when I don’t know how hot it is.

Right now, I’m completely alone in this restaurant except for Bertha, who cooks me meals. I use the WiFi and drink waters and Tecates all day. Usually I’ll go into the water once a day, but thanks to three failing pairs of leather sandals I bought from a Mexican-run shop in Mulege, both feet have a few blisters on the mend, and it stings in the salt. I still go in though…with my fourth pair of sandals…these from an American-run store, a comfy pair of Reef-like flip-flops . I also scratched the bottom of my big toe on a barnicle whilst towing my kayak back to shore after tipping over multiple times. Clearly I don’t know what I’m doing because I took the two-man kayak (figured longer was better for a guy my size) instead one of the many one-mans. The surf was getting heavier and it became difficult to control from my rear seat, so I got out and pushed.

Hey, at least I got a good workout, and Mark, Olivia, Nathan, and Savannah got a funny show. They’re the family that owns and runs this little nook in paradise. Mark and Olivia are in their late 40’s/50’s. Nathan, 21, is their son, Savannah, 19, their niece/cousin.

Paradise for these four–Mark and Olivia especially–has come at a price. They’re hopefully near the end of a 10-year land war with this bandito named Rafael Munoz, whose henchman have been coming around the property attempting to take it by force. By force! I kid you not. Guns firing off like cowboys chasing off Indians in the Wild West type of stuff. Only replace horses with the banditos’ red pick-up truck. I have to give Mark credit for keeping his wits under pressure…he snapped a picture of a gun pointed in his face! That was just one of the nights the couple was under siege earlier this year. Munoz’ thugs wouldn’t let them leave for days at a time.

The epic bout has spilled over into the courts, as well, but it’s interesting to see how matters get settled with a little extra O.K. Corral in Mexico. First, Mark was asked to pay the local cops money for gas to come all the way out to his beach to address the situation. Umm, never heard of it working that way. In any country, third-world or not. Then, the cops apparently got a little jilted when Mark asked them to remove the banditos from his driveway. The cops did nothing, and instead acted like immature brats! Brats I tell you! When Mark brought a U.S. Consulate Officer into the mix, the locals complained that Mark didn’t respect them and asked him to apologize.


Whether he did or didn’t respect them, the word in Mexico is that local cops are the most corrupt. Mexicans and tourists alike routinely drop 200-peso notes on them to stay out of jail for ridiculous reasons like towing a trailer that is “too big” (true story!) The cops get their pesos and they magically change their tune. Hilarious! Until it happens to me.

It’s a good thing the Mexican justice system has been treating Mark and Olivia a bit better. In the end, there’s a good chance Mr. Munoz will be in jail for his alleged crimes throughout all this…from home invasion and attempted murder to forgery and other “paper” crimes in this multi-front conflict.

It’s been fun hanging with this crew, but now they’re gone, and I’m forced to practice my Spanish with Bertha. Which isn’t bad at all. She’s such a sweet lady. Funny, too. But it’s not like I’m at the level with my Spanish where I can engage in any kind of meaningful small talk beyond the basic stuff, which we’ve already covered.

Time, go ahead. Inflict your will on me. I’ll have a margarita, a Tecate, two pina coladas and forget you’re even here.

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