Damn it’s hot. My wife and I are well into our second day of sweating through the Sonoran desert in our VW Beetle when we catch our first glimpse of the Sea of Cortez. A sea doesn’t belong here: it is completely out of place in this barren wasteland; a sea with beaches, sea weed, waves and all of that other ocean stuff right here in the middle of this desolate desert.
We decide on the spot to check into a beachfront hotel. The hotel is wonderfully Mexican with lots of tile, adobe and an exotic foreign feel to it. We unpack and explore. The bathroom is totally open with a wall-less shower and a bidet. My wife had never seen a bidet before, and being a man of the world, I offer to demonstrate it. I showed her how you mix the hot and cold in the little bubbler until you get the right temperature, and then you turn the third knob until the pressure is just right to wash your bottom. She was intrigued until I made a small turn of the volume knob and the water blasted to the ceiling. She looked at me as water rained down on us and said, “There’s no way in hell you’ll get me on that.”
After my bidet disaster I suggest we go check out the beach. We got together our beach stuff and headed for the Sea of Cortez just a dune away. We reached the water’s edge and found an empty beach with a lonely unmanned lifeguard tower prominently flying a large red flag. Puzzled, I looked at my wife for an explanation. In California, the lifeguards fly red flags on their towers when the tides are dangerous and they don’t want you in the water. But that wasn’t the case here; the water was like a mirror, devoid of any waves or tidal action.
How could this still water have dangerous tides? I told my wife that this was Mexico and that the flag was probably left from the last storm or whatever and I didn’t see any danger here at all. I dove in and swam in this lovely bath-temperature water for a couple of hours. It was wonderfully calm and almost too warm. I swam further and found if you lie on your back out about 100 yards you can float in slightly cooler water with very little effort. After enough of this we went back to our room to dress for dinner.
During dinner we began a conversation with another American couple at an adjacent table. We chatted about the hotel, the food, the weather and agreed on everything until I mentioned the beach. I described my swim and how magnificent the water was. They were shocked. She hesitantly asked, “Was that you we saw swimming this afternoon?” I said yes and it was wonderful. I dropped my fork when she said, “You’re really brave to swim when the shark flag is up.”
©2007 by Bob Rockwell