It’s easy to spot those who come here from places with more rain than sun. I was enjoying a platter of shrimp tacos and a frosty bottle with XX on the label, when a pale-faced creature entered the crowded seaside cafe. I introduced myself, offered the chair across from me, and she gladly accepted. A waiter took her order, and we made small talk.

CAP’N GREG: What brings a North Country girl like you to this beachside paradise?

RAMONA FROM TACOMA: Is it that obvious where I’m from?

CAP’N GREG: I doubt you have had a tan line in the last decade.

RAMONA FROM TACOMA, LAUGHING LIKE A HYENA FEASTING ON A ZEBRA LEG: You are quite observant, Cap’n Greg. What brought me here is relatives in Tucson who asked me to join them for a week at the ocean. Since I practically live on the Washington Pacific Coast, I wasn’t all that excited. But instead of eight hours west to San Diego, this morning we drove four hours south to Rocky Point. Wow, am I impressed. Has it always been like this?

CAP’N GREG: Only the last six million years or so. That’s when tectonic forces split Baja from the mainland to create the Sea of Cortez.

RAMONA FROM TACOMA: What? No, I mean, how long has this been a resort destination?

CAP’N GREG: For less than 30 years, actually. What you see now started in the early ’90s. Before that, for many, many years people camped on the beach, and a handful of RV parks attracted fishermen, families, retired folks and spring breakers. People from the States began to build vacation homes here. A handful of hot spots were where all the action was. But then a resort hotel and condo towers popped up, and now there are bars and restaurants and hotels and developments booming in town and up and down the beaches in all directions.

RAMONA FROM TACOMA: Sounds like an early Cancun.

CAP’N GREG: Yet, Peñasco, for me at least, still has a small-town feel. Also, it’s a great place to work on your tan lines.

RAMONA FROM TACOMA: And that’s exactly what I plan to do this afternoon.

CAP’N GREG: If you come in here tomorrow, I won’t even recognize you.

RAMONA FROM TACOMA: I’ll be the one wearing a bathing suit and a smile.

CAP’N GREG: Same here, Ramona. Exactly the same here.