January, in the Sonoran Desert, can have sudden drops in temperature that we residents cope with by adding a layer of clothing and blowing the rust out of the furnace for a few days. But visitors from the Midwest, escaping their dismal skies and frozen ponds for Mexico’s sun and cerveza, tend to break out their bathing suits and suntan lotion. They figure they made it all the way to the Sea of Cortez and, by golly, they are going to go swimming. I, on the other hand, prefer to avoid the significant shrinkage brought about by frigid salt water, and will wait until the springtime heat wave to again take the plunge. In the meantime, here are a few more questions from curious readers.


PATRICK: When we go to our favorite taco stand on Calle 13, they bring us a huge selection of salsas for our tacos. How do we know which is too hot for our taste, or not hot enough?


CAP’N GREG: Variety is the spice of life, Patrick. I have discovered if there is enough liquid refreshment at hand to quench the fire, it is best to sample all of the sauces until you find the one you like. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t assume the red sauces will be hotter than the green ones. It all depends which chili peppers were used to make them. I have had green sauces made with serranos that knocked my hat off, and greens made with jalapeños that were as uninspired as a three-term senator, and as tasteless as a Kardashian. If you are not the adventurous kind, either ask a companion to be your guinea pig, or ask your waiter.


SAM: Is it true that spaceships have landed in the Pinacates?


CAP’N GREG: There was a report on Fox News sometime back that announced, yes, indeed, a UFO landed in the Pinacate mountain range north of Rocky Point. Several days later a rancher found three of his sheep had been involved, and two hundred pesos were missing from his nightstand. Further news reports suggested the space travelers crossed the border undetected, and had arrived in Iowa for a US presidential candidate debate. The authorities think at least one of the candidates is not from this world, but they aren’t sure yet which one it is.


ANGELA: How do I avoid Montezuma’s revenge?


CAP’N GREG: Good question, Angela. First a little history. Montezuma the Second was ruler of the Aztecs in what is now Mexico, almost 500 years ago. When Spanish conquistador Cortez defeated the Aztecs, his soldiers blamed their stomach problems on Montezuma. Today we know the illness as traveler’s diarrhea or, more familiarly, the baño loco squirtfest. It is caused by ingesting either water or food that has been contaminated by what scientists call “poo-poo germs.” Experts advise that, while traveling more than six miles from home, we wash our hands a lot, drink only bottled water or soda, avoid green salads, and eat only those fruits and vegetables that we peel and wash ourselves. I know it’s a pain in the butt to do all that. However … well, you get the idea.