La Ventana ~ a conflicting mix of emotions will forever come into play when we hear that name. For La Ventana is perhaps both the best and worst of our time in Baja. It is fair to say that the town itself was not our favorite, yet our two weeks there were two of our best in the company of wonderful family and friends. And while the day to day took on a comfortable pattern, La Ventana is also where we said our final goodnight to Porter. La Ventana will always be bittersweet.
We first breezed through town on our way South, curious to see this place where we would be spending some extended time in one spot to meet up with Jim’s sister Wendy, her husband Ken, and their good friends John and Bertie. Upon first glance lets just say we weren’t overwhelmed. The town runs long and narrow and seemed just fine and the spot that would be our home at Kurt-n-Marina had a great common kitchen, beachfront locale, and super friendly staff. But the town itself didn’t speak to us. So we continued South, waiting to explore further when we returned with friends and family, sure those in the know would create a great time to be had by all.
Six weeks later we returned to find our social calendar already full. Enter Bertie, i.e the social queen of La Ventana, on a roll. Our hearts were already feeling the stress of a declining Porter, and the near constant activities were welcome to keep our minds off the fact that the antibiotics didn’t seem to be making him feel better.
What commenced was two weeks of more social activities than we have experienced in months, lol, perhaps years! We shared multiple dinners out and about, we ladies headed to a ladies only happy hour at the lovely home of one of the ex-pats in town, and it seemed nearly every night there was an invitation somewhere.
John and Bertie, well established pickle ball players, introduced us to the sport, a wonderful mix of tennis and wiffle ball. Wendy and Bertie took in Oula dance classes, we all spent mornings kayaking and SUPing the bay, and trampsing to Baja Joes for coffee, smoothies, and breakfast sandwiches or to catch the Ducks game.
Jim and I fed the gang a few times with our dutch oven; chicken enchiladas, tequila shrimp, and spaghetti lasagna and John and Bertie’s bestfriends Harold and Karen joined the group the 2nd week, making us eight. On our final night in town the boys brought home some fish after a day on the water resulting in what may be the best potluck Baja beer battered fish taco night in known history.
The 2016 installment of what is sure to become a yearly event; The La Ventana Wiener Crawl, was a highlight! What the wiener crawl proved was not only that we are easily amused, but also that all you need to have an incredible evening is the willingness to head out on the town in search of wiener perfection and $5 per couple! While pictures will surely convey some of the general conviviality of the evening, I do wish we had taken video so we could share with all the demanding criteria in the search for the best wiener! A little too much tomato here, this one has raw onions not caramelized, is the bun steamed? I assure you, if you ever get to do a wiener crawl in Baja jump at the chance!
But then tragedy occurred. Only four days after our arrival Porter took a decided turn for the worse and could barely be coaxed to walk as far as the beach to do his bathroom business. He slept nearly all of the time. His arthritic hips were actually doing better with a daily Rimadyl dose, but he simply was losing the battle. Six days after our arrival, a trip to La Paz confirmed the worst, and left us a party of three.
To say these wonderful people rallied our spirits would be an understatement. They aggressively pulled us out of our mourning funk to engage us in the daily routine and get us out and about, arranging snorkeling trips, parties, and dinners out at restaurants Aspen could join in on. We will forever be grateful for their kindness
Our final week continued to be a flurry of social plans, not fixing our broken hearts, but surely distracting us from the immediate hurt. Jim’s birthday involved a festive dinner out, followed by homemade cupcakes a la’ Bertie and a rousing game of Mexican Train, our near nightly ritual.
In the end, the memories are about the people in them. Our time in La Ventana was special, not because of the place, but because of those who shared it with us. We hope you all know how special you are to us.
We drove away in tears, having said yet another goodbye to those we love, but also with the feeling that by leaving we were somehow leaving Porter. We headed North, in silence, knowing that we had left a little bit of ourselves behind. R.I.P. sweet boy…. you are still with us in our hearts.