Finding Funkytown is easy. It was christened by my neighbor when asked where she lived. It runs a mile from the beach community and is inhabited by Mexicans and Americans living side by side. It’s charming in a funky way displaying unruly dwellings continuously under construction. Most importantly it’s totally free from bureaucracy.
To get there pass the famous La Fonda restaurant in La Mision, Baja California, and take the Free Road south toward Ensenada, drive through the tunnel under the Cuota down the hill past the village of Santa Anita, where most Mexican families live. Make a left at the bottom of the hill at the first dirt road just before the La Mision bridge and you’re in Funkytown.
The dirt road takes you to Rancho La Pila, a favorite picnic spot with a 40′ x 15′ cool clean pila used as a swimming hole in the summer by the few families that visit, and surrounded by vintage sweet fruit trees, called, tunas. Drive a few miles further into the canyons, where hills rise in grand succession above the ranges turning blue and lavender in the distance. Never a soul insight except a cow or stray horse resting on a slope underneath a tree avoiding the burning Mexican sun. A rocky stream flows quietly during the rainy season, and high up a sheer incline is a seeping water hole encircling the roots of a huge oak, rendering water year round. It’s a spiritual place to sit quietly and watch the stallions and mares bringing their foals to water.
San Jose de la Zorra where the Indians live is a few miles further, during the winter months the roads are impassable. The locals come on horse back to shop at the market. Continue on and you’ll find The Valley of Guadalupe with its fancy restaurants and famous vineyards.
Every few months my neighbor pulls in from Los Angeles, where she decorates sets for films and TV production companies. Tall and blond, she’s of Nordic ethnicity with a trace of Mexican ancestry. Slim and muscular– she is body beautiful. It’s her temple, the most important gift in her life, and she takes good care of it.
She comes bounding down the hill to visit, her arms full of treats for my pets and me. Cookies for my stray, Pansy, a black Rottweiler mix with a long fluffy tail, and Jack, my Fox Terrier half-breed. They run toward her begging, remembering her last visit. All four of my dogs, Tootsie, a border collie and Chika, another stray are on high alert. Her dog AVA named after the beauty Ava Gardner, is my guest and runs and snaps along side her mistress, looking eagerly at one of my chickens, but they’re penned in safely. And for me, if you can believe it, she brings a favorite, dark chocolate covered potato chips.
Each time I look at her, I think damn I gotta go on a diet right now. I’d have to hide the chocolate covered potato chips that’s for sure! From a distance she looks twenty, up close she appears her age about 55. She designed her house, a tall blue mansion, with a bastardized Aztec design on the roof now faded by wear, but the original turquoise and yellow glimmer through the cut out windows on her exterior porch.
Inside it’s as tiny as a bug, three stories, a kitchen and sleeping loft with a work room in the basement. She collects skeletons found in the arroyo of horses and cows, coyotes, wild dogs and pigs. She turns them into strange and exotic sculptures covered by beads, shells and crystals, creating hanging chandeliers out of bones and chimes from the ribs of a horse or cow, polished and glistening white from weeks in the sun… Here in Funkytown life is filled with magic.
My next post planned is a portrait of a family of six from Virginia who live in the beautiful Round House (Casa Rotunda) with the most spectacular view in La Mision. The Senora’s father, a poet settled here 60 years ago. Or I could write about the Border Patrol guy who throws stones at my dogs when they bark. Or the bitchy witch who’s always complaining about something. Or the handsome cowboys who live further up in trailers inside horse corrals. Everything is alive with a story, vibrant and smelling of life!
What would you the reader like to hear about next? Post your message and let me know.