Subject: Cabo San Lucas - Part III
After two days in the desert sun My skin began to turn red After three days in the desert fun I was looking at a riverbed And the story it told of a river that flowed Made me sad to think it was dead (America)

I am bouncing along that riverbed, more songs running through my head or perhaps I am actually singing aloud. All around me its beige. Red bits of the river canyon wall show through the dust. The brown and green of the shrubs and cactus dot the banks of the river. The only water present at this time of year being a natural spring flowing down over the canyon rocks.

We did get our butts up off the beach and decided to rent ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) one morning. Arranged through the main desk at our hotel there are a number of companies in town with guided tours of various lengths. We chose the 3 hour desert ride from Cabo Moto Rentals for $40 per person - drive your own or ride tandem with a companion. Helmets, goggles, bandanas, soft drinks and operation instruction included.

Cabo sits at latitude 22-23. The Baja Penninsula is primarily desert. Their annual rain of 7.5 inches falls between August and October. Not a drop fell during my stay. We are following dirt roads out through this desert pierced by an occasional 'ranch'. A few scraggly goats and some scrawny cattle amble by the roadside. They must have one tough mouth and tongue I ponder if they have to resort to chewing cactus.

We stop for our first beverage break at a village church, a small adobe and wooden structure that functions for the 50 ranch residents spread out in this area. Our guide is telling us how family celebrations such as a wedding include everyone in the area and last for days.

Our small troop of 6 continues on up the dirt hill where at the top we see nothing but more dirt hills and more cactus. I keep my eye peeled for snakes but only see turkey vultures that is after I wipe my goggles with my bandana. :-)

I been through the desert on a horse with no name It felt good to be out of the rain In the desert you can't remember your name 'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain

We stopped on top of a hill looking down to the sea and the town below. Cabo has a permanent residence of about 25,000 with tourist influx averaging 300,000 annually. This is one area of Mexico where unemployment is not a big problem. Talking with Mexicans we met, many of whom had come from other parts of the country such as Mexico City just to get employment and provide for their families, we found out that most of the jobs are in the tourist industry as suspected.

Our final stop was a glass blowing factory at the edge of town. An outdoor workshop and furnace where the artisans melt down old liquor bottles and blow out the utilitarian glassware you see all around town on the dinner tables (bowls, pitchers, drinking glasses) with its characteristic air bubbles and edged on the rim in blue or green. They were amazingly fast. It seemed to take only 30 seconds to blow, cut and mold one glass.

It was noon when we rumbled back into downtown Cabo. Our original plan was to lunch in town and shop following. Huh! We were caked in that beige dirt. Back to the Hacienda we trudged still buzzing from the ATV motors. Hey, ladies want to book an activity? Oh, I see you went ATV-ing. Gee! How could that time-share hawker tell? :-)

It was shower time and lunch at a beach-side cafe for one of the area's specialties. Fish tacos here we come!

Cynthia Kilian in Woodstock, Illinois USA