The ferry dropped us off in another world. We head for the highway going south. The roads are bigger, the trucks are bigger, and the agriculture is bigger. We pass through countless fields of industrial agriculture complete with a Monsanto plant. My image of Mexican farmland with a woman hoeing a field and chickens running around is a little crushed.
As we drive I notice how ugly industrial agriculture is, with row after row of the same thing, stretching on for miles in all directions. The ground is completely flat and there are no weeds or other deviations. It hurts my eyes. There are no farmhouses, no farm animals, and no barns. It doesn’t feel right.
I feel sorry for the busloads of people brought in to do the labor-intensive parts. I am no stranger to the joys of working with dirt and plants, but this is more like factory work. They do the same thing over and over again in a sea of sameness. I wonder how much they earn and if they have any hope for a better future or if they feel trapped. I wonder where they live, because it certainly isn’t a farmhouse.
We see a small airfield with crop-dusters. I think about the people in the fields and their exposure to the nasty chemicals. And what about my peppers? They sure are beautiful, but what toxins are they carrying into my mouth and into my body? The chemicals are also destroying the soil life and poisoning the environment around it.
I realize that this model of agriculture is what allows us to have peppers in the grocery store at an affordable price in the winter in Alaska, but I have to wonder, is it worth it? Who is really benefiting from this?
At the same time, I am already missing the Baja. With its miles and miles of open desert, gorgeous vistas, and beautiful oceans. I wasn’t so sure I was going to like it at first. The northern part was absolutely ragged after a recent winter storm. There was so much trash everywhere, it was windy and cold, and the RV parks were run down and empty. It took me a little while to see beyond the trash and abandoned concrete structures.
But as we traveled south it got better and better. The towns became more interesting, the camping spots more comfortable, and the people more friendly. We saw a lot of wildlife including 3 types of whales, dolphins, seals, fish, coyotes, turtles, an opossum, a burro, a bobcat, and tons of different birds.
In the end we were sad to leave and we would have stayed longer if we could. Now we are putting in some long days to get to Sayulita to meet some friends. As we get further south, the agricultural fields give way to smaller farms, mango plantations, and natural area. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. On to our next phase in our adventure!