Before leaving La Paz a few weeks ago I met with the owner of Casa Parra to show my artwork. Claudia offers beautiful handcrafts and art for sale at very good prices. I left a few paintings with her. Some dye on wood, others oil on canvas, inspired by my time in Mexico. Look for the gallery/shop on Madero, between Idependencia and 16 de Septiembre.
Casa Parra is in the old section of town where the sidewalks are as creative as the handcrafts. Long ago roads built at odd angles may have been a military strategy that prevented cannon balls from traveling too far into town, but I doubt La Paz was that well planned. It appears to have grown organically, like a tenacious weed in a hostile environment. La Paz sits on the fence for now. Resorts are slowly appearing and golf courses fringe the outskirts of town. Bright patches of manicured lawn creep across the desert like giant green amoebas. A warning that rustic charm could be swallowed whole, overrun by expensive package resorts and wet T-shirt contests like Cabo San Lucas.
Downtown La Paz is a little gritty and well used. People are friendly. Walking around involves alternating between returning greetings and keeping your eyes on your feet. Escher would have found the sidewalks inspirational. Sections of old walls peek through crumbling modern facades, as if vandals had the foresight to arrange an architectural treasure hunt.
It rained for thirty seven seconds, just long enough to make the sidewalks billow with steam. People ran into the street to celebrate. It was the most rain the city had seen in well over a year. During summer the city feels like a sauna and cars, well they could be microwave ovens. It’s a great time to visit if you like it hot. The beaches aren’t crowded and rooms without air conditioning are definitely not taken.
I'm currently on the Northern California coast in the cold, dense fog wearing a sweater and a parka, clearly longing for a hot, dry place.