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I’ve never driven north from Baja as late as July before, but the minor discomfort of the heat (old truck, no AC) was well worth the beauty of the desert. I’d never seen torotes in bloom before. Their subtle pinks and creams gave the landscape a soft glow. And the hope of the people shortly after the election of Morena was just as heartening.
It was the election with the largest turnout in Mexican history, won by a great margin on a platform of doing away with corruption and supporting the people. People believe him because he’s been trying for a couple decades, and working towards reform all the while. He’s modest and calm, and wants to be remembered as the president who finally did something good for the country. When the results of the election became evident, people gathered in the plaza in Mexico City. It’s usually a place of protest, but now there was dancing, cheering, and crying in joy and hope.
Friends along my drive are personally affected by the election. Sergio hopes to get his teaching position back in the tiny coastal town by Surf Camp. He lost it after calling out a local government official for cheating the residents of funds he was in charge of distributing.
I stopped often to photograph. After one foray I was waved to a stop by some soldiers who looked in the back of the truck and wanted to know what I was doing wandering in the desert. It’s their job to impede any movement of illegal substances. I grinned sheepishly and admitted to being a plant nerd, then proceeded to blather on about the blooming torote around us. They shook their heads, smiled paternalistically, and waved me on. I actually like these interactions. Mexican soldiers are always respectful. They’re young men doing their required service, usually from mainland, stuck in the remote outback of Baja, often bored, sometimes curious, and probably amused by the silly things gringos do.