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Our trip took us to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico which is right at the southern tip of the Baja Pennisula. This area is very dry as they only get about 4 or 5 days of rain per day, and that during hurricanes or extreme storms. Outside of town, the area is covered with cactus, sage brush, etc. Not what we expected being on the coast. We were thinking wet and warm before we read up on the area before our trip.

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We stayed in a condo complex called Portofino, which was right across the street from the town square, and the main restaurant district. We could walk anywhere in town and did not need a car. When we saw how the locals drove, we also had no desire to drive. Especially when the laws state that in the event of an accident, throw the drivers in jail first and then figure out who is guilty. They recommend having special Mexican insurance if you do plan to drive as it's really a get out of jail free card.

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The structure in the foreground is the center gazebo of the town square. Looking up, you can see where we stayed. Looks nice and close.

We stayed in the Penthouse Suite. It was right on top, the highest unit. This sounded great until we found out that the unit was the same as the others with no special facilities and had the added bonus of 136 stairs. One Hundred and Thirty Six. Lots of them. Several times a day. Same number coming down as going up.

Mexican standards are slightly different than the Canadian Building Code. Handrails are optional, stair widths are different on each section and the best one was where the stairs were much narrower than the width between the buildings, but no handrails to keep you in place. Could be interesting after a night partying, drinking lots of beer and/or margaritas.

While we did complain about the stairs, it did help us from drinking to excess knowing that we had to come home to this.

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Once we made it to the room, we found that the view was magnificent. That made it all worthwhile and if we return to Cabo, we would welcome the option to stay on top again. From here, you can look down and see the town square, child care center, church, museum, baker, internet cafe, many restaurants and lots of other businesses and services. We were in the center of town.

In the area, there are many resorts out of town. In those resorts, you get to eat at their restaurants and use their services and that is it. The other option is to take a shuttle into town or pay a taxi $25 or more per trip, each way. Definitely better to stay in town.

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The view in the evening was very colourful. The sounds were interesting two with lots of singing and partying, but also dogs barking and roosters crowing. Some roosters started their crowing at 4 am, well before the sun even started to come up. It started to get light around 7 am and didn't get dark until 8 pm.

In the bottom right corner of this picture, you can see the pool. This was a very cold year, so we only went in the pool during the hottest part of the day and it was too cold in the evening.

The bright light on the bottom left of the picture is from the Mi Casa restaurant. Many people told us it was one of the best restaurants in the city, but that turned out to be a disappointment. It was crowded, noisy, and most important, the food was not that great. But not too worry, we ate at a different restaurant for just about every meal, 3 times a day and sometimes extra snacks thrown in for good. After all, there were too many stairs to pack groceries up and do our own cooking.

The price of beer varied widely, from 10 pesos up to 35 pesos per beer. There are 5.6 pesos per Canadian dollar, so that is from just under $2 per bottle to over $6 per bottle. In several restaurants, the beer was cheap than pop, so we "had" to stick with alcohol.

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Lots of cruise ships came through during the week. Sometimes 2 per day, but one day we didn't see any. When we got up in the morning, it was interesting to see what came in overnight, so this is one of the morning shots. The harbour was not big enough or deep enough for the cruise ships, so they shuttled the people back and fourth all day using small boats.

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This picture was taken from the Presidental suite of the Marina Fiesta hotel/timeshare complex. We were going to stay away from the timeshare ritual, but finally we got bribed. They offered us a sunset cruise, the glass bottom boat trip to lovers beach and coupons for supper at one of the restaurants, so we broke down and let them show us the suites.

Jean was not too happy with this, but I enjoyed sitting back and watch these people try to sell us. I considered it a show and was watching the actors. We were shown the best suites in the house and then they tried to sell us on the cheapest studios. Typical bait and switch.

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I had to admit the place looked great. As you can see, the pool is nice and the second pool on the other side had a swim up bar. Of course, every time I admitted to the salespeople that it looked nice, they got more excited. And when I said salespeople, I mean they moved us from one to another to another to another. Each asked similar questions and took lots of notes. They asked how much money we were spending on this holiday and where we wanted to go next and what we did for a living. When they found out Jean had 7 weeks holiday per year, they were even more excited.

We then got the big pitch and they asked us if we were ready to buy. I said no, I was only here for the bribes and was looking forward to the cruise. That didn't stop them from trying, however. The offer started at $19,000 US dollars for 25 years of a studio (typical hotel room) I mentioned that was a lot of money and was not something we could live with. (Had to play the game and not say no. In sales lingo, it's known as a "Grin Fuck" where you grin and say nice things but have no intention of buying.)

They asked how much our existing timeshare cost and then offered to buy it from us for less money than we paid, but also give us several other discounts. That brought the price down to $9,600 US +/-. I said the price was getting closer, but we really liked our timeshare and it was of a much nicer quality that what they were offering and we wanted to keep it. They then said they really didn't want our timeshare anyway and just wanted the equity that they could write down. They would take our timeshare's equity for write down purposes and we could retain ownership of the timeshare. While I am not an accountant, I know bullshit when I see it, but continued to grin and say no, we were not ready to buy.

I then asked them to put their final offer in writing with all the details so that we could review it while enjoying Cabo and think about it. They were reluctant to this, but did write out an offer but would not give us a copy of this or the normal contracts they used. No problem, I whipped out my digital camera and took pictures of all the documents and told them we would review it and think about it. The sales lady was shocked and didn't know what to say, but didn't say I couldn't do this. Jean was looking at her face while I took the pictures and her face was "unpleasant" to say the least. I was giggling because I knew they would not give us any paperwork as that was part of the hard sell approach.

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Took a trip on the glass bottom boat out to the arch and lands end. Came across all these sea lions hanging out on the rocks.

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Whenever we came across something interesting, everyone, including me, had to get a picture. So here is a picture of people getting pictures. With the boat being quite small, it was interesting trying to get the right picture at the right time.

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This hole in the rock was taken from the Sea of Cortez side and on the other side is the Pacific Ocean.

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This is the landmark that most people know and think of when they think of Cabo San Lucas. The arch is on the very southern tip of the Baja Pennisula and this is from the Sea of Cortez side looking out into the Pacific.

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Woody and Donna, who stayed at the same resort as us, were on the same trip. Rookie mistake in not seeing the life preserver strap or wire in the background until looking at the pictures later.

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Same arch, but from the Pacific side looking east just as a sail boat was going by.

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This is known as "Lands End" and is the very southern most tip of land looking south.

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Lover's beach is advertised as a secluded beach far from the crowds where you can relax and soak up some sun. It was the most crowded beach of all. I'm guessing that everyone wanted to get away from the crowds at the same time. The interesting thing about this beach is that it has two sides, one facing the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) and the other side facing the Pacific. Swimming is allowed and encouraged on the Gulf side if you can avoid all the boats coming and going.

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On the Pacific side, the water is a little rougher and swimming is not a good idea. If you get caught in a rip tide, you can go a long ways out to sea.

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Of course, the safest thing was to lie safely on the beach and stay out of the water on both sides.

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Lots of small 2 and 3 man bands playing in the restaurants. These guys were ok, and the best part was they stayed in their corner and did not play too loud. Most of these bands want to play right at your table and scream in your ears. Of course, they do this for money, so that is the first thing they ask for. Would have liked to listen to more music and was tempted to pay them to play from 30 feet away, like at somebody elses table.

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Lots of shopping and markets all over town. Problem here is that none of the items are priced and when you ask for a price, it's normally very high. You then has to negotiate down to a reasonable price, but it's hard to know what a reasonable price is. Often, the salespeople will ask how much you would like to pay instead of giving a straight answer.

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Vendors everywhere. This guy was annoying and would not leave us alone, so I offered to take his picture but not buy anything or pay for anything. Had to say no many times. Most of the vendors would ask once and then leave you alone, but it was a constant battle to walk anywhere in town.

After a while, we started to listen to the sales pitches and laughed and made notes. Some of the pitches were heard include:

  • Check it Out
  • Have I got a Deal for You!
  • Let's Make a Deal
  • Good Prices, Just for You
  • I've been waiting for you
  • You like golfing?
  • You like fishing?
  • You like eating?
  • Are you Famous?
  • How many would you like?
  • Which one you like?
  • Make you a good deal!
  • Liquidation Sale! (This one got as laughing the most and started our list)

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We took a 2 hour Sunset Cruise on a catameran called the Kalidascope. This ship was built in southern California far from the ocean in the desert. Once completed, they had to cut it into 7 pieces and transport it to the coast and then reassemble it. On board were two photo albums of the construction and newspaper clippings from the people that thought he was crazy building this huge boat in his driveway. In the end, he proved them wrong.

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On the sunset cruise. Drinks were free and the guys kept coming by with refills. Jean accidently let go of her glass once and it disappeared. Here you see her cuddlying it and she refused to let go for the rest of the trip.

Donna is a nurse and Woody is a pharmacist in an HMO, so they had lots to talk about.

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On the sunset cruise.

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I checked my e-mail daily at one of the local internet cafes. Here's Woody on one of the machines with the prices posted behind him. The prices were higher than in other cities, but much cheaper than $1 US per minute to use a phone back to Canada. Did not use the phone at all, just the internet.

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These guys stayed in the same complex as us and were second from the top. We met them on the second last day and visited with them at the airport on the way out. They immigrated from Denmark in 1951 and asked if I was Danish when they saw our last name was spelled with SEN at the end. Jorgen was a plumber in Calgary with up to 60 people working for him at one time. He is now retired and has sold the business and the building. His granddaughter has decided to move to Denmark to go to school. She knew very little Danish before moving, but is getting a grip on it now. When I gave them my card, he can to give me his card in return and it's shown below. We said goodbye when we got on the plane and that was the end of our holiday in Mexico.

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Pictures e-mailed to us from the Olsen's after returning home. Looks like they caught us getting onto the plane as we were leaving.

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Also looks like they got up earlier than us when they took this picture of the cruise ships.

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