For the past three weeks I was in Baja California Sur. I went down for the first annual Baja International Film Festival as they were screening a film I’d recently made, Julio Solis, A MoveShake Story. The film festival was like nothing I had ever experienced. They flew me down from Los Angeles and put me up in a nice resort on the beach. They brought in the likes of Edward Norton and Gael Garcia Bernal. I even bought a pair of high heels at a local thrift store to try and fit in last-minute — a hilarious sight. It was my first experience staying in a resort in San Jose Del Cabo, a place where I had rented an apartment last winter for four months. The beaches of San Jose are lined with massive all-inclusive resorts, and I always wondered why anyone would travel that far just to be closed off from the rest of their surroundings.
I opted out of the film festival’s free flight home on Aero Mexico and stayed in Baja for a few weeks to visit old friends. I stayed in Cerritos at a friend’s amazing little bungalow village that is walking distance from the beach. I got into my groove of cooking with fresh basil, avocado, and lime on everything. It seems Baja is the only place I have figured out how to feed myself. Tiny grocery stores and ceviche stands are the best places to practice what little Spanish I know.
On my last weekend there, I spent some time at the local Sunday market in Pescadero. If you’re ever near Todo Santos, it’s worth the drive to come to this market. Some of my friends were selling their “Hecho en Mexico” surf clothing line, RIPPA, and I got my favorite mango habanero jam from Kate, a local expat. Walking around the market, I was filled with that familiar sense of community, and I started to look forward to being an expat in Baja myself one day.
On the plane home, with sand still on my feet and a bit of salt water in my ear, I sat next to a shiny young couple who were on their way home to Phoenix after staying in one of the resorts in San Jose Del Cabo for a week. Their friend in the seat in front of them showed them a map he had found in the airport of the downtown area of San Jose Del Cabo. He asked if they had ever been to the downtown, and the couple said they’d never even heard of San Jose Del Cabo. I felt my jaw drop in surprise that this couple were so removed they didn’t even know where they were for the last week.
Looking out the plane window and watching the beaches and towns I love slowly fade out of view, I became thankful that my life of living on the road and jet setting from location to location is never a vacation. I hope I never vacate life, but jump in and experience what every place holds, taking time for unique food, scenery, and most of all, community, for these are the pieces that give a place its soul.
All photos by author
Early morning Surf at Cerritos Beach
I was staying in a bungalow walking distance from the beach and tried to get out most mornings to practice shooting surfing. Only problem is now I owe a lot of locals photos. My favorite phrase: “I never see myself surfing! Will you send that to me??”
Locals catching fish
It was so impressive to watch this guy throw the net into the oncoming swell. It seemed like a game of luck as he pulled the net back in immediatley after every toss. When I showed him the pictures I was taking of him he was pretty excited but a bit embarrassed. This is one of the only shots without a complete plumber's crack.
Filmmaker, photographer, and designer Brenda Barrera at Cerritos Beach
There is such a strong community of ripping surfing women in the Cabo area. Brenda, a multitalented rippa herself, was the co-directer of Julio Solis, A MoveShake Story. This day she had to leave the waves a bit early to direct a photo shoot for Acuarela Swimwear.
Sunday morning market opening outside of Baja Beans Roasters in Pescadero
It was a slow start this morning, but pretty soon it was packed. I never got the feeling there were too many tourists. There's a strong creative community in Pescadero, and there was a lot of trading of goods between the sellers going on before and after the market.
Local folk art
There's a mix of Mexican, American, and Native art at the Market -- sometimes the styles blur into one.
Hecho en Mexico
I am absolutely addicted to Kate’s Mango Habanero Jam
Expat-made, but Kate knows what she’s doing. People walk up to her stand jokingly upset that they have to buy yet another jar. Kate’s doing it right with a jar exchange and discount for her repeat customers -- which are plentiful.
Local surf clothing company out of San Jose Del Cabo: RIPPA, started by Brenda Barrera
Denise Diaque and Ivonne Arambula. The line is taking off faster then they can make clothes. An exciting endeavor for these Baja locals, and I am so inspired by their drive to turn their passion into a booming business. It’s just another example of “Do what you love and the rest will come.”
RIPPA on the racks
RIPPA clothing can really only be found at these local markets for now, all the more exciting for the few that get their hands on these beautiful yet completely functional designs. My favorite are the pants, which I wore almost every day I was in Baja last winter.
Rippa owners Brenda Barrera and Denise Diaque with Linzy Smith, owner of Acuarela Swimwear. Surfers, entrepreneurs in Baja Sur, hardcore and dedicated in business and in the water.
Evening surf sesh in Cerritos Beach -- another rippin Canadian
It’s impressive how many people I meet who have practically grown up in Baja but who are originally from BC.
Denise Diaque wraps up the day after tackling a huge north swell
I love the backlight on the waves in the evening here. After this shot, Denise and I grabbed some Pacificos at Tortuga’s bar for my last day in Baja. Can’t wait to get back to this beautiful place that feels like home.
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Founding the production company Red Reel in 2009, Alexandria has concentrated on short films with character driven stories. Her 2012 film series MoveShake features real life stories and lessons of people dedicating themselves to environmental and social issues. Believing in the power of storytelling, Alexandria’s work is defined by her ability to get to the core of passionate characters with the intention of shifting perspectives and igniting change.