Mi Baja No Hurry No Worry Chapter 8--Party Time

Baja Bernie - 12-29-2006 at 09:16 AM

Parties between 1960 and 1965 were basically men only. There were no houses in La Salina del Mar and the only people who frequented Benson’s (the Cantina) were fishermen or surfers who camped on the beach. They did a lot of drinking but without the partying.

When McLaren’s House became habitable and a few trailers were moved into camp women began to show up in ever-greater numbers. Now the parties changed from ‘work parties’ to the real thing.

The first fiesta in camp was held on the sand at McLaren’s. The Mariachi Band arrived on a Friday at about 4 o’clock. Liquid refreshments consisted of wine, rum, vodka, and beer and they all flowed rather freely. The dinner featured Art’s famous barbecued chicken halves, tossed garlic salad, and Mexican rolls. The band played all night and people from all over the mesa showed up to eat, drink, and try to dance in the sand.

The Mariachi’s ate and drank right along with the rest of us so it was not surprising that as the night progressed first one then another member of the group would drop out and crash in the sand. After a while the first one would arise and begin to play again. This went on in relays for the whole weekend. We always had music it just sounded different depending on which guy was resting. Remember what Art said about the Mariachi’s carrying the soul of Mexico around in their hearts. Well, they played all of those emotions out for us during that wonderful weekend.

Early Saturday morning several of the guys went to Ensenada to buy dinner for the day. One giant green sea turtle—it WAS legal to hunt and sell them in those days. In fact, most of the old timers had large sea turtle shells on the walls of their houses. It was a wonderful day with lots of sun, fun, music, and friends. Not to mention the beer that flowed freely all day.

We dug a huge pit in the sand and started a fire that burned for several hours until the coals were just right. To cook the turtle it was placed, still in the shell, at an angle over the coals. The cook basted it several times, first with vodka, and then with wine. Most of us thought this was an incredible waste of good booze! Dinner was fabulous! Turtle, beans, rice and tortillas. We all ate until we couldn’t eat anymore.

Yes! It was legal to eat turtle in those good old days. The Mariachi’s continued to play, eat, drink, and sleep. Over the weekend there must have been at least a hundred folks show up for the party. Some now and some later. Everyone who attended that bash will always remember it.

Sunday started out real slow with not much movement around camp until about noon. We still had some sea turtle and people began to organize—throw together—a potluck! We were down to a six-pack of Corona when someone found a couple of large bottles of La Palmas Rum. The Mariachi’s had stopped playing and were sleeping in the shade.

At about 3 o’clock a fight broke out between a family of free loaders from Angel’s Camp and the good guys from La Salina. It turned out to be quite a good fight. The family from Angel’s never did return to this part of Baja.

On many occasions what started out to be a clam raking adventure turned into a great party when it was found that enough clams had been harvested to feed everyone in camp. The call would go out, ‘lets have a party.’ One person would make chowder; another would do a clam c-cktail. The next gal would throw together a salad. A guy would bring some baked beans and before you knew it a feast awaited. If someone didn’t have any food they were sure to have some booze. The really important individual was the one who brought the ice cubes.

These impromptu party’s were the best. Later in the evening someone would bring out a guitar—once a guy pulled out a Jews-harp and had us all singing along.

As the camp became more developed the women started planning things like the 4th of July beach party. These events would last from about noon until well after dark.

One guy had a school yellow Baja Bug and he was kept busy ferrying the ladies back and forth to the restrooms. It was at one of these events that Jack Speer (the founder of La Salina del Mar) was actually seen to eat food!!!. Most people had never seen Jack partake of anything other than liquid refreshments.

These party’s were one of the major things that bound our campo together and formed its character!

Party time anyone?

FARASHA - 12-29-2006 at 09:31 AM

YEAH - T.G.I.F here for me, work finished for this Year. AND my weekly FIX already on the Board!!
HM - by the sound of it - those early Baja Parties must have been quite something. Spontaneous is always best I found. But hardly happening thse days. Wonder why??
Thanks Bernie - got to fix myself some food. after reading about all this BBQ and clamchowder - mouth is watering!!

Sorry if I offended you about your handle

Baja Bernie - 12-29-2006 at 07:56 PM

FARASHA - 12-30-2006 at 04:40 AM

NO offense taken - had a good laugh actually- I knew from where you came from, no worries;D