Sunday morning rolled around and Peter not only locked his keys in the car, but bent them in the ignition. I was of course asked to remedy the situation and finding a locksmith who works on Sunday in Baja is like finding a sober ginger on St. Patty’s Day or a self motivated millennial. However, being the host with the most I pride myself on the fact that I only have solutions, not problems. After a multitude of phone calls, I finally found someone willing to make the hour drive from Ensenada on their day of rest. The Yin, was they were able to jimmy their way into the car. The Yang was that they would have to come back Monday to take apart the steering column and make a new key.

Unable to expedite the locksmith situation, Peter had two options:

Option 1 - Loose your mind and throw a fit because you will not be heading back to America with your family, nor will you be going to work on Monday.

Option 2 - Say thank you to the universe for giving you another day in paradise with your family.

Baja has taught me that control is a coquettish cunning mistress that the wealthy and privileged often times court in an attempt to make themselves feel powerful and above the universe. I have tried for many years to make her mine, but after myriad failed attempts I realized that the only way control will ever truly be mine is if I add Janet Jackson to my playlist or if I learn how to shift my perspective and treat every curve ball as a gift. For the only thing I can truly control is ME.

The next day José Raul, aka the locksmith, came a few hours later than promised. After seeing how beautiful the view was behind the stranded vehicle on Sunday, he figured Monday should be bring your family to work day. His car opened and out piled his mother, wife, kids, a few cousins, a couple chickens and a giant picnic basket. Ok there were no chickens, but there easily could have been.

Peter went off like a gatling gun, “Who are all those people? How long does he plan on being here? Why can’t he just punch in the serial number and have the machine spit out a new key? Seriously? No, Seriously?”

I laughed and laughed at the idea of this Máquina Mágica existing in Baja and when José Raul laid out his file kit and began to hand file each tooth of the new key I thought Peter was going to have an aneurysm. Now considering that the closest hospital is quite a ways away I recommended that he grab a cerveza and join his family by the ocean.

Instead Peter started to do the “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror, but Baja Style:

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the lack of trust
That really drives you insane
Let's do the Time Warp again
Let's do the Time Warp again

The car was ready around sunset and by that time la abuelita had amassed quite a collection of clippings from my mother’s succulent garden and the kids had become the mejor-est of amigos. Peter looked out on the horizon as the ocean caught fire in one of the most amazing light shows mother nature has dared bestow upon our little slice of paradise, lifted up his bottle, shook his head and chuckled GRACIAS.

The Beginning

I often times refer to Baja as my Buddhist teacher. Life in Baja has taught me more about the universal principles of Buddhism than any other type of meditation or galangalanga gong and incense filled workshop or sweaty Bikrahm yoga fart box. Ever since college I have tried to read and learn about as many spiritual disciplines as possible in an attempt to find peace and happiness. I even fell in love ewith a Kabbalist in hopes that he would help me climb the Tree of Life, unfortunately I had to break up with him to get down. I have tried to quiet my monkey mind in countless different ways. I have tried to embrace the present and accept the impermanence of it all. I have tried to separate my mind and body from my soul. I have tried to be happy and grateful while embracing suffering as an inevitable human construct. I have tried time and time again to live a good, productive, compassionate life and just as soon as I think I have finally figured it out the universe places a giant stinky pile in my lap. Of all the spiritual practices I have tried, it is living in this remote wild wild west known as Baja that has taught me to sift through la mierda and find that blessing in disguise. For it is Baja that has revealed to me that the stinkier the pile, the bigger the diamond.

By sharing these tales of triumph and tragedy I hope that in some little way they might impart a hint of wisdom or insight that this magical transformative place known as Baja Mexico has bestowed upon myself, my family, and the myriad guests who have dared cross the border and driven through that purgatory known as Tijuana. The names have been changed except for my own and my mother’s and permission has been granted by all included in these prophetic tales which are as true as the Bible.

Within every parable, prayer, and prophetic poem lies a seed of truth that has been planted, cared for and fertilized with some sort of shit. My apologies if my candid and often times crude form of communication evokes any form of hurt, pain, or discomfort. Just know that the intention is unconditional love and complete acceptance. I challenge you, the reader, to ask yourself in those moments of exasperation and lewd guffaw to find the catalyst of that enzymatic truth which resonates throughout your being and to stay open to the idea that whatever query your psyche poses, the answer is and will always will be love.