In November of 2014, I flew to Los Cabos and spent nine days exploring the southeast corner of the Baja Peninsula researching the setting for my novel House of the Blue Sea.
Here’s part two of what I learned:
Whether you’re travelling to another city, another country or another continent, pay attention to what’s different from where you live. And it doesn’t hurt to take note of things that are the same, like Yoda and reindeer.
Walk where your characters walk. This is el Malecon in La Paz where two of my characters take an afternoon stroll. In this case, the online photos and Google Earth images were very helpful and I changed almost nothing about this scene description once I’d been there in real life.
Sample the food. Eat the kinds of things you think your character might enjoy and take note of the flavours, textures and presentation. Again, you may not need the information for your story, but it all contributes to character building. And a bonus tip, familiarize yourself with currency exchange before you leave home, to avoid heart failure when you see the $232 shrimp entree.
Does a Pacifico taste different in Mexico than it does in Canada? You won’t know unless you try it.
Learn about the holidays and customs. Mexico’s Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) is in November and House of the Blue Sea takes place in February and March, but it speaks to culture.
Part III of Exploring Place coming soon to a computer near you…