That picture of a Loretana wearing a t-shirt with her own face on it was the last picture I took before returning to Los Angeles after six months abroad. I couldn’t have asked for a better image to usher me out.
Loreto is an incredibly amazing place, with craggy red mountains that resemble Sedona and parts of the Grand Canyon, and its situated on the Sea of Cortes, which is home to dolphins, sea lions and a whole lot of delicious seafood. I don’t have anything snarky to say about it, and that says a lot.
My last day in Loreto was spent snorkeling near a pristine beach on Coronado island. I ended up getting stung by some microscopic jellyfish all over my body. Our panga captain said, “Shit, you need some vinegar.” As the deserted island contained no Oxxo, I just had to enjoy my hives.
My misadventure didn’t stop me from enjoying an early afternoon of strolling downtown Loreto. Calling that place charming is like calling Mexico City crowded – way too much of an understatement. I ran into face shirt girl at a quirky fruit stand that was decorated with coconuts carved into the shape of pirates. She willingly posed next to a pile of calbazas and told me she had the shirt custom made at the town’s last big fiesta. I need to come back and get my own shirt.
I ended up arriving at the airport way too early and had time to grab a beer at the improvised snack stand. My companions were a Mexican-American fight promoter and a gringo with a fresh golf tan. When the gringo asked the bartender for another shot of An-eh-ho, and if he had change for a $100 bill, I couldn’t help but interject.
“It’s An-ye-ho,” I said. “A very important word to know.”
I had forgotten that this man was on his way out of Mexico, and not just arriving like most of the other paisanos I’ve met over the past six months.
“And, why do you know how to say it?” he asked.
“Because I’m La Chilangabacha!”
Just kidding, I didn’t really say that. I just told him I’d been there for a while. The fight promoter flirted and probably judged me in all sorts of ways for being a single female drinking alone at a bar.
When it came time to board, it was incredibly hard for me to put down that dos x and and follow Mr. An-eh-ho on to the plane, but I did. It was a pleasant flight and I kept wanting to ask the flight attendants questions in Spanish. After I walked through customs at LAX, I was expecting a parade of blonds to greet me in the arrival lounge, but instead found the waiting rail to be lined with people shouting into their Blackberries in Chinese. Oh L.A., how I’ve missed you.