When Pigs Fly

I'd heard the expression that something would come to pass when pigs flew. Well I've seen a pig fly; in a fashion. There was about half a dozen of us who flew to Bahia de Los Frailes at the southeast tip of Baja each February for a week of camping on the beach under the famed fig tree. Probably planted centuries before by Jesuits, this lone scrap of shade was estimated to be over 300 years old. The announced reason for flying 1600 miles from Colorado to Baja each winter was to celebrate Fred Lidinsky's birthday but the real reason was to escape the cold weather and lay on the beach, drinking beer, telling lies and farting. We called ourselves the Baja Bunch while our wives had more colorful but less socially acceptable names for the group.

We never allowed fishing to get in the way of leisure because the local fishermen provided us with all the fresh seafood and their wives with all the tortillas we wanted. However, the closest supply of certain other essentials to life, like beer, was the village of Cabo Pulmo about ten miles up the coast over a rough dirt road. The most dependable form of transportation, unless we decided to go by air, was the fish truck which took their catch to town three times a week where it would be transferred to the big truck that came out of La Paz. One morning I offered to do a beer run on the fish truck and walked down to the village where they were loading it.

The fish truck was an ancient flatbed mound of rust with a large insulated box just behind the cab in which they hauled ice and fish. It rattled and gasped along in a cloud of oil smoke and noise. In addition to hauling fish and ice, it was also the mode of transport for everything from livestock to barrels of fuel for their outboard motors. On this particular day there was the driver, a local fisherman and his wife who looked like she was about to deliver a bundle of joy at any minute in the cab. Four local men and I were riding in the back, along with a hog-tied pig on its way to market. To make room for us on the bed of the truck, the pig was put on top of the fish box. We clattered away in a cloud of smoke and high spirits, mostly as a result of a bottle of really bad tequila that they were passing back and forth while we played Uno under Baja rules. I never learned the nuances of Baja rules except that the gringo always loses.

As we lurched around one of the many hairpin turns in the road, the pig rolled off the top of the fish box and went tumbling down an embankment until a large boulder saved it from going over a cliff into the ocean. "El puerco! El Puerco!," they shouted and the driver came to a shuddering stop so they could retrieve the guest of honor at a pigroast on Saturday night. They returned with the pig and one holding its front feet and the other its back, they counted, "Uno, Dos, Tres," as the swung the pig back and forth and launched it back on top of the fish box. Fortified by good swigs from the bottle, we were back under way.

It was noticable, at least to me, that the driver was showing a bit more enthusiasm as we bounced around the next hairpin and sure enough, the loudly protesting pig became airborne again. The game of sending the pig flying and it being tossed back atop the fish box continued until we got to Cabo Pulmo.

So given enough tequila and a high enough launching platform, pigs can fly.

Links to other Baja stories:
The Cow That Ate Baja
Going Tubeless
Speedy Gonzales
The Baja Bunch
The Baja Van
Los Cabos [Free Book]

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Copyright 2000 by Jim Foreman