One way in which beach campgrounds on the Bahia Concepcion are different from other Baja beaches is the omnipresence of vendors traveling in their vehicles to sell wares. Yesterday we counted. By the time the last one came around 3PM we’d been visited by 11 of these vendors. Ten of them sold some combination of sombreros, T-shirts, blankets, pottery or jewelry, none of which we wanted. Although we should admit we did by a blanket, straw hats and Bob’s “palm tree” here last year. Each one of these vendors was pleasant, and after a couple of “No, gracias” from Bob, they went on their way. Bob always takes the lead on the “No, gracias” because we find that if Cathryn actually uses real Spanish on them, they’ll stay to talk. One of the guys, whom we’ve seen many times over the last couple of years, always arrives in his van, gets out with a gigantic smile on his face and asks in English, “How many do you want today? Almost free!” We don’t know his name, but each time we see him driving our way, we say to one another “Here comes Almost Free.”
We go back and forth on our feelings about the vendors. We understand they’re there because they’re poor and need the income to survive. On the other hand, we’re so busy gazing at the Sea of Cortez, or reading our books, that the interruptions feel disruptive, and we have very little room in our Arctic Fox to fill up with more things we don’t need. This makes us feel bad too since it’s such an obvious “brat” response.
The eleventh vendor (actually he was the first to show up in the morning) was the same vegetable guy we bought from last year. He hits the beaches every Tuesday with his wife and infant daughter, and the back of his station wagon is full of fresh organic veggies. He even takes orders from the long-term campers for the following week. Cathryn was thrilled to see him as she was able to get snap peas for the first time since we crossed the border in October!