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The calendar still points at 22 March, but today we stopped of at Fry’s, the magical electronics warehouse that we seem to visit every time that we are in the area. I managed to buy a DC converter that allows me to run my laptop from the car’s cigarette lighter!  That means that I can now sit on the shady side of the back of the car and write my diaries and down load images from cards. Very useful, except of course on most roads in Bahia and off road anywhere. Roll on the day that all laptops come with solid state HDs so that they are unlikely to be damaged by the heads crashing into the drive’s fast spinning disk.

After that I will of course want a satellite link to the internet so that I can check my email messages.

Back to Friday, 19th. Time had come to leave the island and go back ‘home’ or in this case, the US of A.’ It seems inevitable with air travel that there are long waits – for transport to the airport, even if it is just a small airstrip; at the airport to clear security – easily the most detailed check of luggage and papers that I have endured at any border crossing; and then the wait for the plane to arrive.

Turnaround between landing and unloading and then for our 12 strong party to board the plane was much faster of course than for a jumbo jet or similar. I was offered the chance of taking the co-pilot seat so had a wonderful view, with cameras and video in action much of the time (S1764).

After arriving at the military airport at Ensenada, our luggage again underwent a thorough search. What had these folk done wrong to have to spent their day going through other people’s dirty washing!

We were met by Francisco who had a15 seater bus, smaller than the one driven by Joel that had taken us from San Diego to Ensenada at the start of the week. Joel’s bus hade been involved in a scrap with a truck and he was delayed completing insurance claim forms. Francisco took us to a very colourful restaurant near La Bufadora, the blow hole that seems to feature in every tourist guide for the peninsula. We were more interested in getting some food and drinks (S1765) and, once the transfer of luggage to Joel’s bus had been completed, we were keen to get back on the road.

Mr Kobayashi had asked if we could drive some 50 km south Ensenada along Mex 1, where he had seen dense stands of a red spined Ferocacti, growing in flat sandy soil. That visit had been in September 2005, when everything had been very dry. Now, the desert was looking quite lush after unusual large quantities of rain during February and everything must have looked quite different.

I could not recall having seen red spined Feros growing in sand until well past San Quintin.  As time clicked by, Mr Kobayashi came to the same conclusion. Joel pulled the bus over and maps were pulled out. While plan B was being created, I took a stroll around and soon had found a small Ferocactus viridescens almost hidden in the tall grass. Everyone came running over to take its picture and with the first plant found, others soon followed. And so, Plan B created itself; a thirty minute cactus stop (S1766).

We could now head back north again. It was dark by the time that we arrived in Tijuana, where it only took some 30 minutes to get through the border.

Finally, just after eleven, we arrived in Carlsbad and after booking in at the Motel 6 there, we went for dinner at JB’s, the only place still open.

The Japanese were as usual in good spirits and I managed to get some Guinness so I was happy too.

Tomorrow was planned to be a mixture of shopping and a time in the desert – only in California.

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