Hole in the wall/Chocolate Clams/LaPaz

At every marina in Baja, if you speak a little Spanish, look hard enough, supply your own tools and materials; eventually you’ll find yourself a guy like Ivan. Pronounced more like E-van than I-van. If you can supervise a guy like E-van properly, while he cleans, scrubs and spray paints your twin diesels and engine room floor, I guarantee it, it will be clean enough to eat on.

On many parts finding expeditions E-van always goes hungry on me. He always refers to me as Rafa. Rafa he would say, right around the corner where we will be is this “hole in the wall.”

My favorite hole in the wall eatery that he took me to turned out to be the chocolate clam stands. One shows up with a six-pack of beer already ice-cold and now you pack in an extra ice bag you got at the local Oxxo. Oxxo is a Mexican chain of convenience stores that are everywhere. E-van tells me every OXXO keeps an open supply of free ice, for customer use, for such occasions.

And if you are at your hole in the wall waiting on your clams getting prepared or cooked; and don’t feel the need or desire to walk around the corner to Oxxo; there’s always a hanger oner around. This is a local that will run right over and buy that ice cold beer for you.

The desert air is warming up fast today I say. It’ll be closer to 90 degrees today I say. I think we need extra beer says E-van. Close enough to lunch I say? It’s only 10:15 a.m. I say. Then let’s also stop at the hole in the wall next to the wrecking yard on the way to LaVentana.

This particular hole in the wall place stays open from 10 to 6 p.m. daily.  The enterprising Korean Mexican business owner has five of these scattered about La Paz.

The cost for a dozen chocolate clams is 100 pesos.  The stuffed clams taste smoky. They are stuffed with what appears to me to be clams, ham, cheese and maybe some other mystery meat, but, I don’t ask.

Our hole in the wall is open air – they all are. This one has it’s own water source and cleaning station with lots of extra ice around to keep the seafood cold.  Some germs are good germs and we need them. Perhaps the chocolate clams deliciously flowing down your throat now, dabbed with a few drops of Cholula know this.

Cholula is everywhere. As common as the Oxxo. This is the most common Mexican hot sauce south of the border. It’s made in Jalisco, Mexico, of Piquin peppers and made to perhaps fix or repair anything that may now ail you.

Imagine growing old and never ever letting your feet come into contact with the earth, sand or salt water?  If your hands and feet are access points to the environment all around you, then you are cutting off 50% of all your senses.

Now imagine all the “hole in the walls” in LaPaz all around me! Why would I want to not eat here? Besides eating all this good food and drink my Spanish is constantly improving.

Someone once told me that cars are about the destination and motorcycles are about the journey. I say back to them “old boats” are just another avenue into finding great hole in the wall eateries anywhere we travel.

So what makes a good hole in the wall? Let’s see, you need a traditional desert landscape around you, a dirt floor, an open air and real wood fire like the kind of fires that burn from a charcoal grill.

Guaranteed that almost anything you are now wearing will need a good washing later. What’s that red spot on your ……….not to worry, it’s probably Cholula.

Need to go now? should’ve thought about it earlier. No, no restrooms here. For a must or need to go restroom, at this hole in the wall, you dash across a four-way intersection; heavily laden with full sized semi truck traffic.  

“The future is not what it used to be!”


LaPaz Baja Circa 2015