Our last post left us with the heroes facing a difficult situation, now to continue…
“Lisa, you don’t have the car key, do you?”
“Did you put it in the trunk?!”
“Is the rest of the car locked??”
At that point, the crying commenced. Bryan was more upset than he had been in a very long time, but he was relieved that Lisa didn’t seem to want to kill him. He decided that despair was better than rage. Lisa couldn’t believe that someone would think the inside of the trunk was a good place to set down the car keys. However, she decided to hold her tongue since she knew Bryan already probably felt bad enough (after all, he wasn’t even telling her not to worry).
We decided there was nothing more to be done that night, and went to sleep as best we could, a cloud of despair filling our tent. The one saving grace was that we could hear whales breathing in the lagoon, and the sound of ocean waves lapping on the shore about 20ft from our tent.
The next morning, we were sad to realize that the events of the previous night were not, in fact, a bad dream. Despite these circumstances, we were momentarily distracted and cheered up when we exited our tent and took in the awesome view from our campground. Due to our longer-than-expected journey, it had been pitch black when we arrived the previous night, so we had no idea just how spectacular our surroundings were.
Bryan very sheepishly went into the main office to explain what had happened. La llave a dentro el auto. Although they clearly thought it was hilarious, the staff were quite nice about things. Next thing we knew, there was a crowd of 6 workers around our rental car trying to break in. They asked how far they could go in pursuit of recovering the keys, and we told them they could try anything, because if we couldn’t get it open then we were going to have to break the window.
One guy found some wire and jammed it in through the top of the driver’s side window, trying to hit the unlock button. Another guy pried at it with a screwdriver. Another couple of guys tried to drag the window down with their hands. And one woman, who seemed to be the most knowledgeable about breaking into cars, jammed some wire into the door at the base of the window to try to hook the latch. But apparently the lock was electronic on the car, which made it very difficult to break into. This was the first time in our lives either of us had lamented the security features of our car and wished it was easier to break into. Hopefully, it will be the last time as well.
Soon it was time for the morning boat to set out for whale-watching. One of the women working at the camp told us not to worry. She said that we should just go out and enjoy the whales, and someone would be able to figure out how to open our car while we were gone.
As we sped out on the boat, feeling like dumbass tourists, we spotted our first blowhole spouts. Whales ahead! The driver slowed down the boat as we entered the protected area, and next thing we knew, we were in amongst the whales. Whales here, whales there, whales everywhere! Bryan felt that this must be what heaven was like (and Lisa thought it was pretty cool, too). This was enough to distract us from the fact that we were locked out of our car – and hey, even if we were stuck here forever, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad?
After taking in the amazing cetacean experience, we headed back to camp. When we arrived, much to our relief, the car was unlocked. They had done it!
Our minds clear of worry, we were able to really relax and enjoy the evening whale-watching trip. This included some really magical moments, which we will never forget. Giant whales surrounding us on all sides. Blowhole spouts everywhere. Whale heads rising vertically out of the water. Whales slapping their fins on the surface. Whales waving their tails. Whales swimming right under the boat. We barely even knew where to look! Just as one whale did something awesome off the front of the boat, and we turned to look that way, another one popped up behind us, or beside us.
Bryan became so befuddled by all of the action that he had to stop taking photos and just enjoy the experience. This was fortunate, as a large mother soon swam right up to the boat and passed underneath us, rolling on her back as she went by. As we both looked down in awe, Bryan was able to reach out and touch her flank (yes we were allowed, as long as we did not touch their eyes or fins). It was amazing. One of the coolest things he has ever done! Surely, this was heaven.
The next morning, we had more amazing encounters. This time there was a mother with a friendly baby, and we were one of two boats hanging out with them. Multiple times, the pair headed towards our boat, and we readied ourselves for the ultimate gray whale experience. And each time, they didn’t quite reach us. But they went right up to the other boat twice, each time allowing its lucky passengers to pet the mother’s and baby’s head as it popped out of the water! We were so close, and yet…not quite. But it was still amazing.
After coming so close, it was time to leave. We grabbed lunch and headed back along the terrible dirt road. It was certainly nicer driving during the day, but we still had to crawl our way across the worst of the washboard surface. At that point, Lisa was feeling a little under the weather (we figured she just got too much sun on the boat). But other than that, the drive back to Loreto went smoothly. Even the army checkstop.
As we arrived back in Loreto, Lisa was hit with pretty violent waves of nausea, and her stomach started gurgling like a witch’s cauldron.
Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
As soon as we parked the car, Lisa rushed to the bathroom. There it quickly became clear that something bad was happening to her insides. Something really bad. And making it even worse: the AirBnB was a one-room affair, with the bathroom three feet from the bed, separated only by thin walls and a door that didn’t really close properly. There was nowhere to hide.
During the night, Lisa’s angry digestive tract woke her up at least once every half hour. The worst part was that even small sips of water were vehemently refused by her stomach and immediately and violently forced back out. We had planned a scuba diving trip for the next morning, but by the time the sun came up, it was clear that such an activity would be a very bad idea.
Bryan delayed the scuba reservation by a day in hopes that the symptoms would pass by then, and went out to get Lisa some stomach-friendly food and liquids. It took him three grocery stores to find Gatorade, ginger ale, white bread and apple sauce. And what did Lisa do all day? She just got to go back and forth between the bed and bathroom, again and again (maybe it was good the bathroom was so close, after all).
The next day, things were no better for Lisa. But since the scuba diving had already been paid for, and it was our last full day in town, Bryan went diving. It was cold and the visibility was not very good, but fortunately the first dive was at a sea lion colony and he got to have fun playing around with some friendly and highly energetic individuals.
Lisa, meanwhile, experienced a particularly unpleasant case of Groundhog Day. Good thing the AirBnB was so nice, because Lisa ended up spending a good portion of the trip cooped up in there.
Lisa’s stomach gave her a partial reprieve on departure day, so we made it to the airport without incident. But then we had to return the car. Imagine what the window and door of a car would look like after having 4 or 5 enthusiastic individuals shoving screwdrivers and wires into all kinds of nooks and crannies for at least an hour. Yes, it was not pretty.
The car rental guy laughed at the state of the door, and charged us for repairs. Fortunately, this was Mexico, and the total repair bill was only $300 CAD. Not bad, considering how much that would have cost us in Canada!
The flight home went well, and we started to think that Lisa was on the mend. But a couple of days after getting home, the symptoms returned with a vengeance and this time Lisa actually ended up in the emergency department requiring IV fluids. Overall, she was sick for about two weeks. And the culprit? A combination of campylobacter and cryptosporidium. Yes, they are as unpleasant as they sound. We still aren’t sure how Lisa got infected; we ate all the same things, and Bryan was totally unaffected.
However, we have a theory for how this might have happened: Bryan may have a better-developed immune system, due to repeated exposure to a wide variety of germs. Why? Because Lisa somewhat obsessively avoids potentially contaminated foods, while Bryan will happily eat food off the floor, off of a restaurant table or out of the sink, or food that has been left out without refrigeration for extended periods of time. And we have very different handwashing and dishwashing philosophies. More on that later.
So how would we sum up this trip? Scary driving. Whales. Teeth rattling roads. Nausea. Vomiting. Upset stomach. Sea lions. It was like a Pepto Bismol jingle mashed together with an off-the-rails Griswald family road trip and a tropical vacation getaway. Our overall verdict: awesome. Ish. Awesome-ish. And we’ll never forget it.