Takes a Well-Earned Rest in La Paz
[Home] [About Us] [About Mañana] [Cruising Plans] [Where Are We Now] [Jan's Journal] [The Crew] [Contact Us]
Dec. 22, 2003: Jim listened to the morning weather and another "norther" was predicted for later in the afternoon. We upped anchor at 0830 bound for La Paz, but not really knowing where we would stay. Jerry (Manu Wai) hailed us to say the slips were pretty reasonable at Marina Palmira. After talking it over, the four of us decided a marina would be a real treat. Jerry made the arrangements for us, and was even able to secure a relatively good slip for Encanto to get into. The only problem was there wasn't much room to manuever. Jerry put out a call to the fleet, but no one replied. John then put out a plea for help -- the wind was picking up, and we had swells from behind us. From the time we left Cabo, boats were saying "if we can do anything to help"...so where the hell were they? There was a big crowd on the dock taking bets as to how many boats we were going to take out and Jerry was in his dinghy. We told him what our plan was and he was a real trooper. Unfortunately, as soon as we undid the bow line, John's boat headed in a different direction than we anticipated. We still had the stern line and one spring line attached. We undid the stern line (but not before it did damage to the port bulwarks, similar to the starboard side) and kept the spring line attached. Jim used that line as a brake to try to control where Encanto went. Jerry used his dinghy as a tug and pushed Encanto around, trying to straighten her so she'd get into the slip. Thankfully another guy came over in his dinghy at the very last minute and he helped push. Once we undid the spring line, we went to our slip. Jerry zipped over to it, jumped out and caught our lines. What a day (and it was only 1130)! I can't tell you how mentally exhausted we were. Jim and I collapsed in each other's arms. We knew we had done a good job. About 30 minutes later, we went over to Encanto for hugs all around. The four of us worked amazingly well together, despite the fact we're all low on sleep. Even their two girls (Gabriella, 10 and Samantha, 9) took part in this drama. Gaby could steer the boat and Sami pulled lines. Judy made us lunch, we registered at the marina (Jim and John were again mistaken as twins) and then stopped by Manu Wai to thank them once again for their help. We couldn't have done it without them. Judy had us over for dinner again (she had to use up the Costco turkey breast as they have no refrigeration at the moment). John & Lisa (Andiamo) had pulled in at 1800 and were also invited to help us celebrate arriving La Paz in one piece.
Along the Malecon in La Paz
Dec. 23, 2003: The eight of us went into town to do the officialdumb thing. There were 12 of us in a van built or 8 -- don't try that at home! The ladies sat on the guys' laps. We drove past the policia and they did nothing; I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto! We all breezed through Migracion and then the guys went to the Capitan de Puerto while we ladies went to the bank. Our numbers began at #528 but they were serving #394. The guys arrived just in the knick of time - at #524! By then it was 1330 and everyone was hungry. The decision was made to finish the officialdumb stuff tomorrow. We stopped at a local chicken restaurant and pointed to an item on the menu, not really knowing what we had ordered. Our meal consisted of 4 pieces of fried chicken, a plate full of fried rice, a huge mound of macaroni salad, and another huge mound of french fries, plus two sodas for 100 pesos (US$10). We had told the shuttle driver to meet us at 1800 so we walked around CCC (a store that sells food and just about everything else, like Fred Meyers) and picked up some groceries. Like most grocery stores, they were handing out samples of the various foods, but unlike US stores, they were also handing out shots of tequila--to young and old! The people push the shopping carts the way they drive - just barrel on through! We walked all over the city. La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur and is a good sized city. It is not a tourist destination, but is extremely "cruiser friendly". Not many people speak English, but everyone is more than willing to help us with our Spanish (Jim calls what we speak "Spanglish"). Some of the streets are paved, those that are paved are in sad shape. The sidewalks make walking a real challenge -- one minute you're on concrete, then you're in sand, the curbs and steps can be 20" high, etc. And don't try to cross a street without first saying your prayers! The Mexicans don't need to take a driving test. Stop signs are rarely obeyed and even when we were in the middle of the street, the cars still came towards us, although at a slightly slower speed. Needless to say, when we crossed the street, we ran! Got back to the marina at 1820.
Dec. 24, 2003: Jim went into town to finish the officialdumb paperwork and I finished the four pillow covers, made a pumpkin dessert for tonight (I should have done the baking first -- the inside of the cabin was as hot as the inside of the oven) and changed the bed sheets. Did not have time to start the laundry. We took advantage of the free showers and had our first shower in 3 weeks! It felt wonderful but I've never seen my legs with so many mystery bruises (how can you tell if someone is a cruiser? you look at the bruises on their arms and legs!) We caught the 1500 shuttle downtown and then walked to Marina de La Paz, where we met Boja. He ferried us out to Sowelu for a delightful Christmas Eve dinner with him and Mai. We stopped at Matarua to deliver their Christmas gift and then back to the marina, where the tail end of the nativity play was taking place. We ran into Peter & Joyce (Matarua) and some other cruisers we hadn't seen in a while. Hot chocolate and Mexican cookies were being served. The cookies were tortillas that were deep fried and sprinkled with sugar - quite good. We managed to beg a ride back to the marina in the shuttle, saving us the cost of a taxi. We put our ceramic Christmas tree up and placed the gifts under it. The locals here light fireworks. They will attend midnight mass, after which they open presents and have a big dinner. Then they visit neighbors and friends. We're told it's a long night.
Dec. 25, 2003: Feliz Navidad de La Paz! Jim surprised me by buying a Sara Lee coffee cake, a tradition that I've had ever since leaving home back in 1973. What a guy! We put the Christmas music on, had our breakfast and opened gifts. We had decided not to do any work today, but ended up getting water from Encanto because we were getting pretty low. At 1600, the cruisers Christmas potluck started. There were close to 40 people and lots of delicious food -- turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casseroles and many desserts. We sat with Andiamo and Encanto. At 1830 we realized that the phone card Jim had purchased could be used to make long-distance calls. We tried his dad, but got the answering machine. Then we got Colleen and talked for a few minutes. That only left 2 minutes on the card to talk to his mom. Both Colleen and Barbara were surprised to hear from us; Jim was disappointed that Peter wasn't home, but when we returned to the boat and polled for e-mail, there was a message from Peter saying they were going out. If only we'd read the e-mail before dinner! We returned to the boat at 1930 and watched "Monsters, Inc". It was a very nice holiday. As a funny "small world" tidbit, Andiamo is out of Seattle. Lisa's daughter, Jennifer, and Colleen are friends. How strange it is that their moms are cruising and hanging out together in La Paz!
Dec. 26, 2003: Jim talked to Eric and Scott (who's in San Diego) via SSB. Scott said San Diego had a big wind/rain storm yesterday, and that storm is predicted for the Sea of Cortez tomorrow and Sunday. I lugged the laundry up to the laundromat. The washers are very small and I didn't have enough money to do it all, so I only did 3 loads. I'm not complaining though; it's much better than having to lug the laundry into town! Jim replaced the duckbill valves in the vacuum flush system and noticed another part was broken. He was able to swap parts from the forward head. We've still made no progress in getting a mechanic on board to look at the generator and I'm becoming very upset with that issue. After lunch I wiped down the flybridge rails and polished the stainless while Jim helped John take down his tattered sail before the big winds arrive. We're taking advantage of having electricity -- we watched "A River Runs Through It" after dinner.
Dec. 27, 2003: NOAA's weather prediction said "clear and calm" but by late morning, we were seeing gusts close to 25 kts and the wind was a consistent 15-20 kts. all day. While Jim was out networking for a mechanic, I watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (Encanto has a terrific DVD library on board). Lazaro stopped by to check out the generator; he speaks virtually no English -- thank heavens one of our DeFever friends gave us the "Spanish for Cruisers" book (we highly recommend it to anyone who might be thinking of doing this). He said he'll be back on Monday to start work. After he left, Ralph (Ocean Girl) stopped by and took the parts manual back to his boat to look over. Ralph is a diesel mechanic and will be back tomorrow to take a closer look. So at last things are happening. After Ralph left, we went to the laundromat, visiting Encanto while waiting for the washer to finish its cycle. Judy had bought some Mexican doritos and made home made guacamole. They were delicious - guess I'm going to have to start getting creative and make our own salsa and guacamole (I paid a nickel for the avocado and the bunch of cilantro was a dime). There are many different fishes in this area. In the marina, we've seen Sergeant Majors, Mexican Needlefish, carp and puffer fish. Paradise Found came on the VHF saying it was having a football (did someone say "FOOTBALL"?) special this afternoon at 1500-- all you can eat for 45 pesos (I'm sure they plan on making their money on the booze) -- Seattle vs. San Francisco. Unfortunately we were in the middle of things. However, we've heard them advertise on the VHF before and I do believe I know where we'll be spending New Year's Day! We decided to splurge and signed up for another week at the marina. Originally I had told Jim he owed me a hotel room with a bathtub in Cabo San Lucas, but I've since said that 2 weeks at the marina will be fine! We went to the marina's restaurant for supper and caught the last quarter of the Seattle vs. San Francisco game (Seattle won!). It's funny watching a football game when the commentator is speaking Spanish.
Dec. 28, 2003: The wind blew all last night and today. Around noon, it was blowing a steady 25 kts. and the port of La Paz was officially closed to anyone who was crazy enough to think they wanted to leave. Ralph came by to take a closer look at the generator. He bled the line, pushed the ON switch and the darn thing started up and purred like a kitten. Jim was very embarrassed because he had bled the line when it first quit working, but hadn't touched it since. Ralph did offer some suggestions on modifications to the fuel line to help prevent a repeat failure. We went over to Encanto around 1600 to return a movie we had borrowed ("Whale Rider" -- very good movie) and ended up having drinks and appies. Judy made hand made wontons which were muy delicioso. The six of us will take the 1000 shuttle into town tomorrow and the ladies will do some shopping. John's hoping his replacement generator will be waiting for him at the DHL office. Returned to our boat at 1830 and had baked potatoes with salsa, cheese and cilantro for supper. Afterwards, we watched "A Bug's Life".
Dec. 29, 2003: Neither of us slept well because the wind was howling and making the fenders bang against the hull. The cats were both spooked and that didn't help our sleep any either. Around 0300, it sounded like someone was knocking on the boat so Jim got dressed and took the flashlight outside. No one was there, but he took the opportunity to make sure the lines were okay. The wind continued to blow 15-20 kts. all day. We took the 1000 shuttle downtown with Encanto. Judy and I needed to buy fresh produce and the guys needed to go to the local DHL office to see if John's new generator had arrived yet. We checked out a couple open air markets; I bought 7 roma tomatoes, 2 ears of corn, an avocado, one white onion and a bunch of bananas for 38 pesos (US$3.80). After that we bought some freshly sliced bacon (30 pesos for 1/2 kilo), a kilo (2.2 lbs) of flour tortillas (16 pesos) and then to the grocery store for cereal, yogurt and crackers. The tortillas are delicious but as there are no preservatives, we'll be eating tortilla everything over the next couple of days. We met up with the guys and took the 1500 shuttle back to the marina. Once again, we had a van full of people. We all decided to get something to drink at the local restaurant. One diet Coke and a beer, including tip, cost us 45 pesos. That's the reason why we don't eat at gringo restaurants. Today's lunch, including tip, cost us 88 pesos -- Jim had a pork sandwich, I had cheese quesadillas and we each had a cup of coffee. The port is still closed because of the wind storm, although it was letting up by the time we returned back to the boat. I made pork chops wrapped with bacon, mashed potatoes and cooked the corn. Neither of us could sink our teeth into the kernels...maybe we were supposed to feed it to the chickens and not ourselves! Oh well! We watched "Frida", another excellent movie.
Dec. 30, 2003: The wind finally died away and the port was reopened; many boats left the marina before the next storm comes in later this week. Jim made a big breakfast of bacon, eggs and tortillas -- urp! We were both very sluggish the rest of the day. Gordon and Ginny (Ascension) stopped by with their computer to see if Jim could troubleshoot the problem. Unfortunately it looks like it's their hard drive, and they never backed anything up. The topic of concern today was how to get the needed parts/supplies down from the States. No one really knows the procedure; in fact, it seems like the Mexican officials make it up as they go along. We've been told that although you need to get a Temporary Import Permit, Mexico does not recognize it (it would allow us to import parts that can't be found in Mexico). In addition, Mexican Customs doesn't recognize the term "Yacht in Transit", and makes no effort to move the parts along in a timely manner. We've been told DHL is the only reliable courier to La Paz, but the package has to go to Guadalajara before coming here. Then there's the issue with paying duty and customs. A few people are talking about going back to the States, renting a car and driving back down. Apparently there's no border crossing check-in. Jim is also trying to figure out the best way to get replacement parts for our toilet. Our mail forwarding service doesn't use DHL, so we asked them to send our mail to Downwind Marine in San Diego and we'll pray that someone headed to La Paz will take the bundle for the cruisers here. Supposedly the system works well. But I can see why people arrive La Paz and never leave -- it takes forever to get mail and/or parts. Chuy stopped by late in the day to take a look at the canvas work we'd like done (flybridge cover and upper helm instruments cover). He quoted us a price of US$250 for everything and said it'll take a week. We have the Sunbrella on board and Jim will supply the snaps. We were told that Sunbrella costs about $26/yd here in Mexico. We're thinking we might trade the left over fabric "for coconuts or greenbacks". We can trade for cash, but we aren't allowed to charge money. Go figure! Anyway, don't know if this means we'll have to spend another week in the marina, and I'll be very curious to see if Chuy can do it in a week. He has an excellent reputation and we've seen his work on other boats. Jim says I'm too pessimistic.
Dec. 31, 2003: New Year's Eve. This year has gone by so quickly! We took the 1000 shuttle into town with Encanto and Andiamo. Our first stop was the Ley grocery store. Shopping is a challenge since everything is in Spanish and there are some items that we look at and don't have a clue as to what they are. Brown sugar doesn't come in a box; it comes unwrapped and shaped like a cone. I think the Ley store is the Mexican Safeway store -- there were lots of items with Safeway's red S or Lucerne logos. In any case, we bought more yogurt, dried beans, two different chilis, eggs, cottage cheese and limes. Ley didn't sell margarita mix but they did sell gallons of paint. Hmmm....After that, the group separated. I had made a list of five fabric stores with their street addresses. I kept walking up one street, way past the cross streets of two of the shops, but saw nothing. I finally asked someone and was told they were no longer in business. She sent me down to Revolucion, where there were supposedly 2 more stores. I located one, but the fabric was very stiff (heavily starched?) and nothing I would buy. As I was really looking for ball fringe, I went into a store that sold ribbon and yarn, but no dice. I asked her about the last store on my list and she told me they had moved. So off I went and when I finally found it, it was a store that made school uniforms. So, yes, they sold material, but not what I was looking for. I headed down to the Malecon and decided to have lunch. I've been craving tortilla soup lately, so I stopped into a gringo restaurant and had a bowl with a diet Pepsi for 50 pesos. The soup was basically tomato soup with some tortilla strips in it, along with a few cubes of avocado -- definitely the gringo's version. Afterwards, I met up with others from the marina and we caught the 1500 shuttle back. Jim had been on his own mission, but with no luck. Many of the stores he went to had closed early because of the holiday. No one had plans for this evening -- no party animals in this group. We were all content to celebrate quietly on our own boats, and will meet on Encanto tomorrow afternoon for a day of movies and board games.
Jan. 1, 2004: Feliz Año Nuevo! Someone on the morning net said they had several books on diving in Baja that they wanted to give away so Jim went over to check them out (and returned with six books). I stayed on board and gave Mañana her first fresh-water bath in a month. At noon, we put together some munchies and the makings for margaritas and went over to Encanto for the afternoon. Judy made wontons and meatballs with a curry dip. Lisa made home made quacamole and worked the blender for the margaritas. No shortage of food! They had bought a piñata for Gaby, Sami and Lindsey (Epic V). I think it was made out of concrete -- John eventually had to cut both sides so the kids could break the candy out. However, by the time the candy came out, it was smashed pretty badly from all the whackings! Sami and I worked on a puzzle and a group played Clue. I returned to our boat at 1700 so the cats would have a chance to sit outside before it got dark. Jim returned at 1830 with Casablanca and Finding Nemo.
Jan 2, 2004: I woke in a real funk. Have received hardly any e-mails lately and feel like I've been forgotten. We didn't even receive one e-mail on Christmas Day. Part of me wants to go back to Seattle and scream "remember me??" I am enjoying this adventure, but I so look forward to receiving e-mails from friends and family. Ah, it must be the holiday blues. Jim went downtown and I stayed on the boat and goofed off. At 1530, Jim and Dirk (CC Rider) returned to the boat and I prepared lasagna for tonight's dinner. I am feeding the Encanto clan (for a change) but we'll eat on their boat because Judy is allergic to cats. I hadn't realized that the lasagna I'd purchased was "con espinaca" (with spinach), so imagine my surprise when green noodles came out of the box! The noodles themselves are thicker and didn't fall apart while I was layering. Don't know if that's because they are flavored noodles, or if that's just the way Mexican lasagna is. Judy made a salad and we supplied the wine. The lasagna was delicious -- I'll have to do it again before we cross over to the mainland.
Jan. 3, 2004: Jim said there were 5 e-mails waiting for us this morning -- yippee! People must have read my mind. Colleen sent me a note saying the Seahawks have made the playoffs -- GO SEAHAWKS!! Jerry (Manu Wai) stopped by to say he and Cerilla are moving to Marina de La Paz tomorrow and did we want to check out that marina's floating dock. As he has access to a car, he drove Jim down. For US$70/week you get the privilege of tying to a dock and the use of the dinghy dock. However, there is no electricity and you still have to dinghy to land to use the showers. We decided the extra $60 we're paying here is worth it (we can walk to the other docks, have electricity, a laundromat, free showers and free internet). We will spend a third week at the marina since we're still waiting for Chuy to stop by to template the flybridge covers. After that, we'll head out to the anchorage to await the delivery of our mail. I discovered a recipe for tortilla soup in my Women Aboard cookbook and have all the ingredients on board. Guess what's for supper tonight? Jim was talking to Don (Tackless II), who works on water makers. He gave Jim the name of a source where we'll be able to buy a new membrane for $200 instead of $500. Supposedly they will sell to anyone and you don't have to pay the middle man mark up. I sanded the upper flybridge rails in preparation for varnishing, but it was sprinkling on and off, so I'll wait until the sun shines again. Jim realized he had to do some woodworking on the flybridge before Chuy comes, so he started that project. Jim ran the generator and filled the water tank.
Jan. 4, 2004: Yet another "norther" headed our way. The wind blew at 15+ knots all day. Chuy sent word that he had to go to Cabo today so he'll be by tomorrow. Jim borrowed John's table saw so he could finish the woodworking project. John helped him put it on the boat. The planks on our boat have been "moving" and we've started taking on water while underway. Jerry and Cerilla brought Cecil by the boat for his opinion on where he thinks the water is coming in. Cecil is a retired boat builder from Port Townsend, WA who now works as a surveyor. We asked his recommendation of a yard in La Paz where we might be able to have it repaired. I think we'll wait until we're back in this area in the Spring. We had lunch at the Dinghy Dock Cafe at the marina -- expensive and not that great. Afterwards, John and Lisa came and gave us a couple of bottles of tonic water that they had on board and weren't drinking. I gave them a bottle of wine in return. They stayed for several hours. We had BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwiches for dinner and watched "Finding Nemo". Judy, Lisa and I all laugh about how many "Dory" moments we're having these days.
Jan. 5, 2004: Jim went to register for another week here at the marina and was charged more than last week. When he questioned why, he was told it costs more to keep a power boat vs. sail boat (I guess they thought we were in a sail boat last week). Now this doesn't make any sense whatsoever because we are charged a separate line item for electricity. So 38' should be 38', whether the boat is power or sail. But as we're discovering, "that's just the way it is." The wind continued to blow and Chuy sent word that it's too windy for him to come out to make a template -- mañana. Jim kept working on the flybridge and the sawdust is everywhere! I took the noon shuttle into town and got a haircut for 40 pesos. On my way to the grocery store, I walked past a store that sold ribbon. They didn't have ball fringe, but they did have dusty rose tassel fringe, which I decided would be just fine so I bought 2 meters. Then I continued to CCC for some groceries and some rosco bread. Tomorrow is a holiday down here - Epiphany. This is the day that the 3 wise men brought their gifts to the baby Jesus. Down here, the children will put a pair of shoes out, along with a tangerine, walnuts, cognac and water for the camel. In return, they get a gift. As I understand it, the rosco bread contains a small plastic baby Jesus. The bread is eaten with family and the family member that gets the piece of bread with the baby is supposed to make breakfast for everyone.That's assuming that no one swallows baby Jesus (we ain't in Kansas any more, Toto)! We had oxtail stew and rice on Encanto. It was delicious. Afterwards, Jim played some games with John and the girls while Judy and I worked on the puzzle.
Jan. 6, 2004: Chuy didn't show up as scheduled, so when we hailed him, he said he has a cold and he'll be here mañana. Yeah, right. We went to Encanto to try the rosco bread. Andiamo arrived with a rosco bread from another bakery. It was interesting comparing the two. The bread has the consistency of a coffee cake, and is ring shaped. It has candied fruits on the top. Three babies were discovered in the pieces that had been cut. Andiamo left La Paz shortly thereafter. Saying goodbye is the most difficult part of cruising, although chances are good that we'll run into them in another port in the future. Judy and I decided it would be fun to take a field trip tomorrow and go to the cinema on the outskirts of town. I did some research on how to get there and what is playing. Jim, Judy and John plan to see the latest chapter of Lord of the Rings (El Señor de los Anillos), which is in English with Spanish subtitles. That movie is a bit too heavy for the girls, so I said I would take them to see the new Disney movie, Tierre de Osos (Brother Bear). Unfortunately (?) it is dubbed in Spanish, but we'll give it a shot and hope for the best. There is courage in numbers! We called Chuy and asked him to come Thursday morning. Our fingers are crossed, but we'll give him until Friday before we write him off. After dinner, Jim went to Encanto, where they were rewatching the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie, in preparation for tomorrow's 3rd movie.
On the Colectivo
Jan. 7, 2004: We took the 1000 shuttle downtown and transferred to a "colectivo", the public bus. The bus wasn't much bigger than a full-sized van and had padded bench seats on either side. Although the seat fabric was worn, the bus was clean. We asked the driver to let us off at Soriana's. We drove through the an older part of town; there were few trees and the hillside is a grayish brown. This area receives about 4" of rain a year. The houses and businesses are made of cinderblock and painted white, but the government buildings and schools are brightly colored. The La Paz Plaza is very new and modern and the cinema was as good, if not better, than some theaters in the States. Gaby, Sami and I watched Tierre de Osos; we caught the gist of the movie but decided we'd like to see it in English as there were some parts where the rest of the audience was laughing, but we hadn't understood what had been said. But it was an excellent experience and we were all able to catch some words. Afterwards we sat outside and ate our lunch and then walked around the mall. We had 2 hours to kill before Lord of the Ring was over. At 1500, Jim, John & Judy joined us. They had enjoyed their movie, which was in English. However they said that at times it was difficult to hear some of the lines so they all read the Spanish subtitles and were happy to say they understood much of what they read. They had their lunch and then we did some grocery shopping. Soriana's is the largest supermercado we've been in, but was much more expensive than CCC. We caught a colectivo back into town; this bus was a little bigger than the one we took here and was filled with locals returning from work. We caught the 1800 shuttle back to the marina. It had been a long day, but it was exciting.
Jan. 8, 2004: I did a couple loads of laundry in the morning while Jim stayed at the boat to wait for Chuy, who did show up. He took the measurements and said he may have both covers done by Sunday. Jim told him we'll be moving to the El Mogote anchorage on Monday. Chuy was admiring our bimini cover so out of curiosity, Jim asked him how much he would have charged to make it. He said labor only would have been US$80, plus material. We paid US$1400 in 2002! Candy (Stillpoint), Sharon (In The Mood) and I attended a ladies luncheon at a downtown hotel. We had heard about it over the morning La Paz net. It turned out to be about 15 ladies who cruised at least 20 years ago, and settled down in homes in La Paz. Two of the ladies wore ridiculous-looking hats that sat at an angle on their head with one ear poking out. We were the youngest ones and the only active cruisers. Candy told me this is what I have to look forward to. I told her Colleen has strict orders to shoot me if I become too wierd. I ordered a taco de marlin that specifically said "Not Hot" on the menu. When it arrived, the sauce was so hot that my tongue and lips lost sensation! Sharon commented on how flushed I was. Whoa!! Thank goodness I had ordered a glass of cold white wine to help cool things off! One of the things I found embarassing was the fact that none of the ladies who have lived here for years spoke Spanish to the waiters. But it was an interesting couple of hours and we were invited back next month. Jim and I probably won't be back in this area until May or June. Sharon and I missed the 1500 shuttle so we walked a couple miles back to the marina. Candy stayed downtown. In The Mood leaves Monday for Puerto Vallarta and we'll be heading over to the anchorage. We talked about what it takes to make the overnight passages, how much work there is to ready our boats for the trip and how neither of us are looking forward to it. I've been hearing more and more people say they don't like being underway, but enjoy "being there." I can totally relate. Jim mounted the TV on the shelf in the aft cabin. Now we need to find space for all the stuff that was on the shelf. Doing one project always triggers five more!
Jan. 9, 2004: I slept in, making up for the fact that I didn't sleep well during the night. At 0845, Dave and Nancy (Nereid) stopped by to ask Jim's help in diagnosing a computer problem. He took off to their boat around 1030 and I didn't see him again until 1600, when he returned to the boat with 2 bottles of wine -- one for me for having given up my husband for the day and the other for him for solving their problem. I stopped by Encanto briefly to say hi and give Judy some moral support while she makes new cushions for her settee, but mainly I sat and read all day. I was reading The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy and just couldn't figure out where the author was going with the story line. Chuy stopped by in the morning to test fit the cruising cover; he's moving right along with it.
|Downtown La Paz
||Downtown La Paz
||The Town Square
Jan. 10, 2004: We caught the 0800 shuttle into downtown and walked to the Gorilla Grill for a Mexican/American breakfast. According to the morning net, the idea was for everyone to be able to practice either Spanish or English. However, there were only 4 Mexicans and 10 Americans, and the Mexicans were at either end of the table and not spaced out well. So we had a nice breakfast, speaking English. Well, it's a good idea anyway. Afterwards, we walked all over La Paz running various errands and killing time until the swap meet started. I finally got my act together and remembered to bring the camera and actually take some pictures! Jim was supposed to meet up with someone after 1300, but we didn't arrive until 1345 and Fred was nowhere to be found. But Jim found a few items at the swap meet that he couldn't live without. The Blue Water Cruisers potluck was to start at 1600, but by the time Jim was finished checking out the swap meet, I was tired and my ankle was killing me, so I decided to bag it. I carried the (very heavy) backpack and another item he'd purchased back to the shuttle stop for the 1500 shuttle back to the marina. I made myself a cold drink, had some crackers, put my ankle up and settled down with a good book. Something's going on with the DC electrical system; the ice box in our refrigerator was defrosted, which it needed, but we didn't do it.
Jan. 11, 2004: Jim went to get coffee beans out of the freezer and discovered several packages of thawed meats. In addition, we've noticed the lights are flickering throughout the boat. We called Encanto to see if they'd join us for meatloaf tonight. I took advantage of the laundromat one last time and did a couple loads of laundry. We hung around the boat and Chuy was by three times. He was having a difficult time fitting the area around the venturi screen (windscreen), so took it apart and started that section over again. Jim changed the oil, emptied the used oil and did a few other maintenance items. He also updated the web site and sent e-mail from the office. I made meatloaf and some noodles and we went to Encanto for dinner. We always have a good time when we're with them.
Jan. 12, 2004: I showered and we did last minute chores while waiting for Chuy to arrive. We told him we'd be leaving the marina between 1100 and 1200. While Jim was running some errands, I hosed down the boat. Boy, it gets so dirty very quickly. There's some sort of industrial plant just north of us and the smoke from the stacks is blown down on the marina. Chuy arrived, did another fitting and we left our slip at 1230, backing across to the fuel dock. After fueling up, Jim went inside to wash his hands and the water stopped flowing. He looked at the electrical distribution panel and all the lights were off on the DC side of things. He turned the House Disconnect switch off and on and the water started flowing again. Hmmm, maybe we've discovered the cause of the flickering lights and thawed freezer. After we left the marina, we headed for the anchorage and Jim noticed that all the electronics had lost power. He tried turning the switch off/on again, but this time it didn't work. Terrific timing! We were headed down the channel and had to cross over a shoaled area to get to the anchorage and the depth of the water was a huge concern. With no DC power, we had no depth sounder. In addition, we had the lat/lon coordinates for where we should cross over the shoals, but with no power, we had no GPS or electronic nav. chart. Thank heavens for paper charts! We'd previously been given a verbal on where to cross and I kept a sharp lookout for any changes in the color of the water (which would indicate shallow water). We successfully anchored on the first try (otherwise we would have had to pull the anchor and all its chain up by hand). Having no DC power on board meant the water wouldn't turn on, the head wouldn't flush, the propane stove wouldn't work and the refrigerator and freezer weren't turned on -- no lights, no music, no computer, no NOTHING! Diagnosing the problem was high priority but Jim had already started running the possibilities through his mind and decided he would check the actual switch. Sure enough, that was the problem. How a switch can go bad when it's always in the ON position is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, the next problem was to find another one in La Paz. He called several shops with no luck, although one said they have a switch coming in "next week." We just don't know if they mean next week in US or Mexican time. Jim was able to cross connect it, bypassing the dead switch, so we're back in business until the next gremlin invades us. We settled in and listened to the Blue Water Cruisers Net at 1730. Don (Summer Passage) is an ex-cruiser and does the weather for all the cruisers. Although he's never been a meterologist, he's very good. Anyway, he's predicting some sort of mini tropical storm heading our way tomorrow night and into Weds. He said there's a large disturbed area from Mag Bay down to Manzanilla and he's going out on a limb with his prediction. No one else is predicting it. We set our alarm so we can listen to his morning report.
Jan. 13, 2004: We slept pretty well with the gentle rolling of the boat at anchor. Woke to a cold, gray, rainy day and the wind at 10-15 kts. Don is sticking with last night's forecast, although he downgraded his predicted winds for La Paz from 45 kts. to 35-40 kts. from the south. He's also predicting bad news for the boats in Cabo San Lucas, which is wide open to the south. We hailed Encanto and asked them to run to the marina office for us and get our old slip back if possible, which they did. We returned at 0930 and caught the 1000 shuttle into town for some groceries. I didn't think my shopping cart was that full but I left the store with a full backpack and two other bags. I returned on the noon shuttle and turned the heat on -- it was raining sideways. Jim returned at 1530, totally drenched. He said the downtown streets were flooded. They don't have storm drains here and all the water runs downhill to the main drag. We secured the flybridge and settled down with a cup of hot chocolate. We had gusty winds and heavy rain all afternoon and I wondered if La Paz would get all its 4" of rain in this storm. I made spaghetti for supper and we watched "Shrek". Jay (Ceilidh) hailed us to see if we want to get together for the jam session at Paradise Found tomorrow night. We had periods during the night when the rain absolutely dumped and the wind gusted up to 45 kts.
Jan. 14, 2004: It was still pouring out when we got up and it continued to rain sideways all day. Jay stopped by and bought some of our excess copper foil and we confirmed plans to meet downtown at 1815. Jim ordered the switch we need from Fisheries in Seattle; with luck, it will be here on Friday. We met Jay and Janis. It had finally stopped raining. The malecon was a mess; backhoes were busy scraping the sand off the street and walking was even more of a challenge than it usually is. A couple of the side streets had washed out and were closed. We wanted to go to Paradise Found, but it was closed (flooded out?) so we continued on to Rancho Viejo and had a wonderful dinner of grilled beef wrapped in tortillas with a tray full of accompaniments (red onions, chopped cabbage, cucumbers, roasted chiles, quacamole, etc.) plus we each had 2 beers/wine and our total bill, including tip, was US$30.00 for the 4 of us. Definitely a repeat restaurant! We walked back along the malecon, dodging puddles that were as large as small ponds, and stopped into an ice cream shop for dessert. All the ice cream is home made, as are the cones and they had a wide selection of flavors. We caught a taxi back to the marina.
La Paz from the El Mogote Anchorage
Jan. 15, 2004: Sunny skies finally! Chuy stopped by for another fitting and took the back rest cushion to install a new zipper. We left the marina behind Encanto -- what a nice view (for a change) but we told them it felt very funny being BEHIND them! We followed them to the El Mogote anchorage. It was definitely more mentally comfortable crossing the shoals with a depth sounder and a large sailboat ahead of us! After lunch, we lowered Ruthie so we could go to Marina de La Paz and check for mail. Ruthie started right up, but immediately stalled out and refused to start after that, forcing Jim to perform open heart surgery (or open carbuerator surgery). He fixed the problem and she ran better than before. Went to the marina but no joy regarding the mail. We then went to Manu Wai so Jim could take a look at Jerry's computer. We returned to Mañana with part of the computer, had supper and went to bed early -- back to anchoring hours.
Jan. 16, 2004: Someone on the morning net needed a tow from El Mogote to Marina de La Paz -- Mañana Foss to the rescue! Actually Ruthie towed the guy's dinghy. Jim said "the big tow boat wasn't necessary". And the tradition continues...! Chuy came out and finished installing the snaps on both covers. It isn't the best job, but it's 100 times better than what we could have done, and the price was right so we aren't complaining. He returned the back rest as well and didn't charge us for the labor to install the zipper. Jerry drove us to what he referred to as the "cheap" liquor store, but I noticed that both the gin and the tonic were more expensive than at CCC and we told him he might want to shop around (they did have a choice of gins, though, which CCC does not have). He then dropped us off at CCC, where we did some grocery shopping (do I sound like a broken record?). We've been invited over to Encanto for dinner and I offered to bring the dessert. As our backpacks were full, we decided to take a colectivo downtown. We didn't know the route but we're comfortable with the downtown core so we knew when it was time to get off. We returned to the boat, had lunch and then I started baking cherry squares and Jim returned to town to start the Aduana paperwork. A thunderstorm rolled past, but no lightning and only a few sprinkles. We went to Encanto at 1730. Sami is studying different poetry styles in school (the girls are home schooled) and she wrote one poem about Jim and me, and another about our boat/us, which really touched us. We asked the author if we could publish the poems on our web site, but she wasn't sure! Eventually she said okay and I've included them below. Judy made a delicious Chinese meal; Jerry and Cerilla (Manu Wai) and Jorge (a local political cartoonist) and his 6 year old daughter, Clarissa, were also on board. Jorge speaks English well and we all enjoyed his stories. Clarissa speaks some English and German, but at one point shortly after they arrived, she came out from playing with Gaby and Sami to inform her dad that he hadn't taught her all the English words! We didn't leave Encanto until after 2130. What a great evening!
Poems by Samantha "Sami" Amberchan
Jim and Jan
don't drive a van
Jan and Jim
are very slim
Manana, Manana, Manana
A boat full of banana
Furry and funny
Like a brown bunny
John Fixing Engine
Jan. 17, 2004: Jim headed to shore at 0715 to pick up tonight's supper, which we ordered from Imelda yesterday morning. She told us she'd be at the marina at 0730, but we keep forgetting about Mexican time. Jim finally returned at 0830 with 2 chile rellenos and 2 chicken burritos for 39 pesos. He worked on the budget (ouch!) and Jerry's computer. At noon we went over to Encanto. We had planned to have a picnic lunch on El Mogote and explore, but John couldn't keep his dinghy outboard running (something contagious is apparently going around the anchorage). So we all ate on board and Jim helped John tear the engine apart. It turned out to be lots of water in the fuel -- probably from all the rain we had. (The definition of cruising: performing maintenance in exotic ports of call.) By the time they had it fixed, the girls were ready to join EJ and Lindsey (Epic V) for a while on El Mogote. We stayed on Encanto, chatting over a cup of coffee. Judy and I talked about ways we can earn a few extra "coconuts" -- Valentine's Day is approaching and we thought we might be able to promote goods on the morning net. The girls came back saying the El Mogote is very interesting with skeletons of hammerhead sharks and mantas, so we're going to try the exploration again tomorrow. Our dinner was delicious. We watched "Lilo & Stitch" and hit the sack early.
|Skeletons: Manta Ray
||Hammerhead Shark Head
Jan. 18, 2004: After breakfast, I did some laundry and "flew our colors." We don't hide any secrets from the anchorage on laundry day! Then I made a cabbage salad for tonight's dinner and Jim worked on the generator. After lunch, we took Ruthie to El Mogote to explore. Mike (Epic V) asked us if we'd like to attend their potluck tonight, which we said we would. We walked the peninsula with Encanto, looking for shells and checking out manta ray, triggerfish and hammerhead shark head skeletons. We found lots of beautiful shells -- the kind you buy in nature or tourist shops. I picked up a bag full for Colleen and some that had holes in them (thinking I can sew them onto things I make). Returned to the boat until 1745, when we headed to Epic V for chili, rice, corn bread and salad. There was a cold wind blowing 20 kts. and everyone was bundled up (are we still in Mexico?) Returned to Mañana at 2130.
Jan. 19, 2004: Jim had a list of errands to run and I only needed to go grocery shopping. Rather than sit waiting an unknown time for him, I asked him to pick up some limes and I stayed on the boat. I'm in another blue funk -- too many days of them lately. I really want to go north for a couple of weeks; I'm going stir crazy here. Moving on means an overnight passage to the mainland, which won't be fun, but I didn't come to Mexico to sit in La Paz for a month. So why did I come to Mexico? I'm so confused! La Paz is truly a nice place; I just need to alter my way of thinking. I got my quilt books and fabric out, still thinking of ideas on how to make a few extra pesos. I could make wine sacks or eye glass cases. Playing with my fabric made me feel better. I thought I'd varnish the upper rails, but Chuy put new holes in the wood, rather than using the existing holes. Jim will need to plug the old holes before I varnish. Jim received e-mail from Downwind saying our mail was supposed to be here 2 days ago -- hopefully both packages. We've decided we'll stay here until Feb. 3 or 4. The Super Bowl is 2/1 and Jim would like to take the ham test scheduled for 2/2. With luck, all our mail will be here by then so we can leave. I made a spicy chicken and rice dish for dinner and we listened to a couple of Bill Cosby CDs. In bed early.
Jan. 20, 2004: I pulled my fabric box out and sorted through it for scraps that could be used to make wine sacks and eye glass cases. I have no idea how or when I'll be able to sell things, but you can't sell what you don't have! After lunch, John took Judy and me to the dinghy dock and we took off to explore and shop. I bought a meter of white flannel (to line the eyeglass cases). We discovered the "10 pesos store" and I found lots of Hunt's chocolate pudding, one of Jim's favorites. Next stop was the bulk grain tienda where Judy bought some vanilla and sunflower seeds. They sell pistachios for 80 pesos per kilo. I'll stock up before we leave La Paz. Last stop was Ley's for groceries. We both overloaded ourselves and trudged back to Marina de La Paz. John brought us back out to the anchorage. Jim spent the afternoon wiring the generator so it can be turned on from inside the cabin. Gaby baked cookies and sent 6 Snickerdoodles over to us and one package arrived from Downwind, but it wasn't our mail. Jim fixed pork chops in mushroom soup served with egg noodles.
With all the exploring we've done, I've yet to find the following items in La Paz. (With luck, they will be available on the mainland.)
- Tylenol PM
- Tortellini pasta
- Pita bread
- Feta cheese, cheddar cheese
On the other hand, top name companies sell items here that I've never seen in the States:
- Nestles: instant latte coffee
- V-8 juice: tropical fruits
- Tang: coconut, lime, Jamaica, mango, horchata
- Lipton: ice tea with lime
- Hellman's: mayonnaise with lime juice
Jan. 21, 2004: Jim picked up our Temporary Import Permit from Aduana and ran several errands. We were hailed to say we have mail, so when he checked in with me, I asked him to pick up our mail as well as Encanto's. I did a load of hand wash. Jim returned in time for lunch and we enjoyed opening and reading our mail. Our mail package contained lots of Christmas cards, our new Roche Harbor Yacht Club membership card and burgee, a DeFever newsletter and a Women Aboard newsletter. After reading the Christmas cards, I taped them up on our pantry door -- Christmas in January! At 1730 we went to the Ciao Restaurant for the jam session. We sat with Jack and Mary Kay (La Paloma) and had the spaghetti and meatball special (50 pesos). Both the meal and the music (folk/soft rock) were very good and the restaurant was packed with gringos. They have the jam session/spaghetti dinner special every Weds. night. We returned to the boat at 2100..
Jan. 22, 2004: I straightened and cleaned the aft cabin and head. The main saloon is a disaster. I've asked Jim to pick up his piles around the cabin, but he has several projects underway and rather than finishing anything, he's starting more. His tools are going to be unceremoniously dumped in the garage soon. We went to shore and swapped books at the club house. Then I walked to the CCC closest to the marina with EJ and Lindsey. We stopped into the weaver's shop, as it was on our way. They sold napkins, placemats, rugs, clothing, blankets and some jewelry at what appeared to be reasonable prices. I had never been to this particular CCC and noticed that it was stocked with more gringo brand foods than the larger CCC that I normally shop at. I found the chocolate pudding for 23.5 pesos (I paid 11 pesos two days ago at the 11 peso store). Also found pita bread and bagels, but no feta cheese, pretzels or tortellini. The name brands are there, but for a price. Jim was waiting for me at the Dock Cafe. We had a cup of coffee and chatted with some other cruisers. Then we returned to the boat for lunch and spent a quiet afternoon reading. Jim bought a filet mignon for $5.00 from a store that was highly recommended on the net a couple of days ago. As we've never had that cut of meat (even when working, we couldn't afford it), we dug out a cookbook to see how to cook it. There were two medallion-sized steaks, each at least 1.5" - 2" thick. I made mashed potatoes and fresh green beans and it was a delicious meal.
Jan. 23, 2004: An amazing thing happened: we did not leave the boat all day! We straightened the cabin, worked on a few projects and read. It was cool and gray and showers were in the forecast, so I did not want to start sanding the lower rails. After breakfast, we watched a dozen dolphins swim slowly through the north end of the anchorage, where we are located. They spent a couple hours swimming around. Later on, the entertainment consisted of watching a tug boat try to make a new channel across the shoals. I don't know what he was thinking (you'd think of all people, he would know where the channel was), so he tried ploughing his way off. It took him several tries, and when he finally freed himself, he headed straight for the channel! The shoals are very shallow...Jim gave himself whiplash the other day when he ran aground in Ruthie. The rains started in the late afternoon, and continued throughout the night. Jim purchased some rabbit ears for the TV, so we climbed into bed and put a Benny Hill tape on. Before the movie started, we were able to watch the Simpsons cartoon, dubbed in Spanish. Most definitely, the American Homer's voice is MUCH better than the Spanish one!
Jan. 24, 2004: Decided to go into town with Encanto as we had similar errands to run. We met at the dinghy dock at 1100. We stopped for an ice cream cone at the polka dot tree first (to fortify ourselves). Then on to the internet cafe to update the web site and check our bank statement. We're running out of money much faster than we anticipated, but that seems to be the same with all the cruisers we've met. We took side streets over to Bravo, stopping at the bulk grain tienda for pistaches (pistachios) and then had lunch at Gordita's. Stopped into a couple natural herb stores looking for bitterwort (for my ankle), but not surprising, had no luck. Next stop was the Bravo public market for bacon and veggies. Finally we headed to CCC. I only had 3 items on my grocery list but Jim and I managed to come out with our backpacks full! I found feta cheese, but it wasn't cheap. We walked back to the marina and returned to the boat at 1730. And you wonder how we spend our day! I made BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwiches for dinner - yum! Jim continued to study for his Ham tests.
Jan. 25, 2004: EJ and Lindsey stopped by just as we were getting ready to head over to Encanto for brunch. Lindsey had been hoping to play with DC and Jerry. However, we swapped VHS tapes (they brought us Pirates of the Caribbean) and talked briefly of tomorrow's Australia Day celebration on the El Mogote. We headed out right behind them and joined Manu Wai on board Encanto for a brunch of crepes, fruit salad and mimosas. John was the cook which allowed Judy a chance to sit and chat. They offered crepe fillings of curried chicken, smoked salmon, an apple and bacon mix, dill, sour cream, cream cheese, melted chocolate, caramel and an assortment of jams. A 5 star restaurant! When we returned to our boat I did some hand laundry and eventually sanded the port and starboard forward lower rails. Jim worked some wiring for the generator gauges. John stopped by with a package of hot dogs for tomorrow. I fixed filet mignon and Babs' wilted spinach salad for dinner. It was interesting comparing the steak's flavor to that of the other night. Tonight's meat was not as flavorful but much more tender. We wonder if what we had the other night was buffalo. We climbed into bed early and watched the movie. The TV/VCR is now mounted in the aft cabin.
|Australia Day Fun
Jan. 26, 2004: A norther is predicted for tomorrow, but today's weather was looking good so I took the opportunity to get a coat of varnish on the prepared lower rails and the aft half of the flybridge rails. I didn't do a superb job sanding and building them back up because the sun and salt water are real varnish killers and I'm sure they'll have to be redone again in 3 months. But I'll try to get 2 more coats of varnish on -- maybe I'll just work continuously in sections! Jim reworked the wiring to the batteries. At noon he went to shore to buy some more parts and he took a shower. I made coleslaw for tonight's festivities. We headed over to the El Mogote at 1600. The wind was from the north, blowing 12-15 kts. so we were all bundled up. We were among the first to arrive so we helped EJ and Mike gather the firewood. John and Jim lit the fire as more and more boats arrived. Word had gotten out about the bonfire and almost every boat there had kids on board, which was terrific. They ranged in age from 6 - 18 and the kids had a wonderful time playing and running around the beach. Everyone brought hot dogs and we found sticks to use to heat the hot dogs over the fire. In addition, there was coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad, veggies, chips, pickles, beer, wine and juice for the kids. Molly on Gometra even brought her dog and cat with her. We asked Mike, who is Australian, if we were supposed to sing the national anthem or something, but he said he wasn't sure, so instead we just made a toast to Australia. It was fun to meet new people. We'd ask someone what their plans are and invariably their response was "I don't know." We decided the anchorage at "I don't know" is going to be very full! It's nice to know we aren't the only ones who not only don't know where we're going next, but don't know how we'll pay for it when we get there. Most everyone agreed that San Diego was not good for the wallet. The party started breaking up at 2000. Many thanks to Mike for being Australian and to EJ for organizing the party!
Jan. 27, 2004: It was blowing 20-25 kts. so we opted to stay on board. Peter and Joyce (Matarua) stopped by in the morning on their way to shore. We hadn't seen them since Christmas Day. They spent the last 3 weeks up north in the Sea and highly recommended it. Jim studied for his ham and morse tests and I read. In the afternoon, I dug out my sewing machine and started working on the burgee cover.
Just Another Lousy Sunset in Paradise
Jan. 28, 2004: We went ashore to run some errands at 1000. We went to the bank and then went our separate ways. I bought some ribbon at a small tienda and then went to Ley for groceries. I beat Jim back to the marina and joined Arthur and Susie (Jaluka) for lunch. Jim showed up about 45 minutes later and then we headed back to the boat. On our way back to the anchorage, we noticed that Boja and Mai on Sowelu were anchored behind us so we stopped briefly to say hi. We hadn't seen them since Christmas Eve. They had just returned and were on their way into town but invited us to come by for a drink later on. At 1900, we went over to Sowelu and listened to stories of their trip north with Matarua. We left their boat at 2130 with three new DVDs to watch. As our holding tank was getting full, we decided we'd better empty it. Jim had a brain fart and turned the valve the wrong way, which caused the pump to work but nothing went over board. Oh oh...
Jan. 29, 2004: Received the nicest e-mail from Colleen this morning. It simply said "I love you." It made my day! The priority of the day was to see what happened to the head pump. Jim quickly diagnosed the problem, but it was a very messy and smelly task. We tested it briefly, but it didn't appear to be pumping over board at the normal rate, so Jim had to take it apart again to see if something was blocked. Unfortunately some of the contents that was in the hose/pump spilled onto the floor of the hanging locker (I'm being "delicate" here.) P-U-STINKY!! In the middle of this project, Boja and Mai stopped by to check out our new canvas work and Jerry stopped by with a question -- a most inopportune time for company. A thorough washing with a bleach water mix and the doors and hatches open helped to clear the air, but Jim won't be having another brain fart when it comes to the head pump again! After lunch, I finished the burgee cover that I'd started two days ago and because it was relatively easy and came out well, Jim asked if I'd make a cover for the ensign, which I did. My old Singer sewing machine handled the heavy Sunbrella fabric with ease. I made a tuna noodle casserole for dinner and we settled down to watch "Catch Me If You Can" with Tom Hanks...a very good movie.
Jan. 30, 2004: It was considerably warmer this morning than the past several days -- it's about time! I took advantage of the nice weather and sanded and put a second coat of varnish on the lower forward rails. They are looking better and better. Jim went over to Sowelu at 1030 to help Boja install a modem. Peter bought the same modem as Boja and was also present to watch. Mai came by at 1130 and asked if I'd like to go ashore. She had several loads of laundry to do, as did I, so I took her up on her offer. She returned me to Mañana, but immediately afterwards, Jim returned saying he'd been ordered to bring me to Sowelu for lunch. Mai is a seamstress and has offered to make me a lycra body suit for snorkeling. Jim purchased one in town, but since I don't swim much, I opted not to get one. However, we've since learned that there are stinging jellyfish tentacles in the water and a lycra suit is almost a necessity if you're going to do any swimming at all in the Sea. She took measurements and said she'll have it ready in a couple of days. Judy, Mai and I made plans for tomorrow's great adventure to the art festival in Todos Santos. Jim cooked up our marinated tuna with rice for supper and we watched "Grumpier Old Men".
A Day in Todos Santos
Jan. 31, 2004: Judy, Gaby, Sami, Mai and I took the 0830 bus from the Malecon terminal to Todos Santos. We'd been told it was a one-hour ride, but in reality, it took one hour just to get out of La Paz and another hour to Todos Santos. The bus was modern, clean and the interior very similar to an airplane, with reclining seats, overhead storage and TVs. The windows had curtains to block out the sun. When we arrived at Todos Santos, the bus driver pointed us in the right direction to the art festival. Unfortunately, it was poorly defined; however, I did manage to find a small souvenir in the farmer's market. We ate our picnic lunches outside of a church in the shade and afterwards, walked across the street to another market, where artists were displaying paintings. There was a short exhibition of Mexican folk dancing and folk music. The dancing reminded me of a combination of American square dancing and the polka! The singers weren't that great, but one had on a terrific looking costume, complete with huge sombrero. We walked along the side streets and decided the town is quite quaint. The main street was paved, but all the other streets were dirt. The houses are all cinderblock or brick, with various cactus plants around and about, along with papaya, banana, orange and mango trees. There were numerous art galleries, all of which were open and had some beautiful pieces. We headed back to the bus terminal at 1430 for the 1500 bus. It showed up at 1520, but was full. The driver indicated that another bus was right behind, and sure enough another one came by at 1545, but wasn't taking passengers. He, too, indicated there was another bus coming. At 1630, another bus came along, with 8 or 9 available seats. We took the seats way in the back. Mai and I were in the last row and had only a piece of carpeting at our backs -- not even a back cushion. This bus was much older, but still clean. However, there were no TVs and the head didn't work. One large family got on the bus. It appeared that they were moving, bag and baggage. They had several young children, but there weren't enough seats for them. Mai and I squeezed together and I asked the teenager next to me if perhaps we could fit a small child between us. She obliged and we had a 4 year old boy sit between us. Judy offered him a cookie, which he didn't want, but I put it in his hand. He held onto it but didn't eat it. A short time later he fell asleep, so the teenager and I stretched him out between us. When he woke up, I took his cookie and pretended to munch on it (I wasn't sure he knew what it was). He happily took it from me and wolfed it down. We gave him another and again, he held onto it, but didn't eat it. Mai then gave him an apple, which he happily took, but did not eat. His family members kept looking back at him, and smiled at us taking care of their little one. At one point, we came to a spot on the roadway with lots of "topes" (speed bumps). I asked Mai if she remembered them from the morning trip and she said she didn't. It occurred to me that we all just climbed on the bus but no one had confirmed that it was going to La Paz! Eventually we pulled into one of the bus terminals in La Paz. Although the driver said nothing, everyone got off the bus, leaving the 5 of us behind. We got off the bus and I asked the driver if he was going to the Malecon terminal, to which he said "no, fin", as in "end of the line." We got a big chuckle out of that. Luckily I had a map in my backpack and we were able to figure out where we were. We walked 2.5 miles back to the marina, arriving at 1830. Boja had made enough supper for the crowd and Judy had leftover lasagna. We all congregated on Encanto (they have a huge table) and had a wonderful dinner, telling the guys all about our day and our "great Mexican adventure."
Feb. 1, 2004: Jim and Boja went to shore to check out some used diving equipment that a cruiser was advertising. John took Judy, Mai and me to shore at 1000 and the 3 of us went into town to start the provisioning process. We went into a number of small stores, eventually filling our backpacks so that we never did make it to the grocery store! Mai brought me back to Mañana in her dinghy at 1530. The wind was blowing 20 kts. and it was a very wet ride back. I changed out of my clothes and stored the groceries while Jim studied his Morse code. At 1600 he and I went to the Dock Cafe to watch futbol between the Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. There was a small crowd, but was a 50/50 mix of gringos/Mexicans. It was a terrific Super Bowl game, the winner (the Pats) being decided in the last 4 seconds of the game. We were able to listen to the American commentators but unfortunately we didn't get to see all the terrific ads that the Super Bowl is famous for. Afterwards, we donned our rain gear so we wouldn't get wet and headed back out to the anchorage. Mai had stopped by and left a plate of spring rolls with hoisin sauce on our side deck. Yum!
Feb. 2, 2004: Jim sat for his general ham and morse code tests, passing both. Way to go, Jim! I went into town in search of a haircut while he was taking his test. I've learned a bit more Spanish and was able to get a decent haircut -- muy corto pero feminine (very short but feminine). On my way back to the marina, I ran into Judy, who was headed to CCC for a major provisioning spree. We decided to go together and returned to the marina to wait for Jim. Once he arrived, we decided he didn't need to come with us, so Judy and I took off, visiting the bacon man and the tortillaria on our way to CCC. We each got a cart and then went up and down the aisles, trying to provision for one month. Boy, our carts were full!! In the middle of our shopping, a lady asked us where we were from. She was British but is now living in Mexico, and offered us a ride back to the marina, which was immensely generous of her and greatly appreciated by us. Thankfully Jim was on hand to help us unload all the groceries. Finding a home for all the food was a challenge. In addition, all the fruits and vegetables had to be washed in a bleach water solution. I've found doing this keeps the food fresher longer. Jim went to Matarua to teach Joyce and Peter how to use the new modem that Peter had installed. He returned at 1730, we donned our rain gear and went to shore to meet Boja and Mai for dinner (the rain gear was necessary because the wind was blowing 15-20 kts. and it was a very wet ride to shore). Mai gave me the lycra suit she made; I tried it on and it fits beautifully. She is so talented! We returned to our boat at 2000, and attempted to stow more of the provisions. Jim officially checked us out of La Paz -- now if our mail will only catch up with us!
Feb. 3, 2004: Lots to do today to get the boat in shape for tomorrow's departure. I wrapped all the citrus fruits in aluminum foil and the other fruits in newspaper. I'm doing everything I can think of to keep the food fresh for as long as possible. Jim had to climb the mast to see if he could diagnose what's wrong with our anchor and strobe lights. He believes the unit itself has died so we'll have to go in search of another anchor light. I cut a kilo of tortillas into triangles and baked them, giving us enough tortilla chips to fill a gallon-sized Ziploc. It's a good thing I have a lot of salsa on board! The refrigerator is stuffed, I've gathered all our trading goods into one spot, washed a bunch of clothes by hand and caught up with my e-mails. It was a busy morning! But still no call for mail. At 1430 we headed to shore so Jim could update the web site and I walked to CCC to pick up a loaf of bread and one more box of cereal. I then hooked up with him at Direct Express, but still, no joy on the mail front. D.E. made some inquiries and determined that our envelope has been sitting in Tijuana since Friday morning. They guaranteed us it will be here tomorrow afternoon, and didn't charge Jim for the use of the internet, long distance phone call to Seattle or the bottled water. In the meantime, we were supposed to have left Dodge yesterday. Sure hope the officials don't find us. We met Encanto at the Dock Cafe and joined them for dinner at Rancho Viejo. Excellent food and a bit of a Spanish lesson thrown in as well. We hugged goodbye as they are leaving tomorrow morning, and we are, apparently, stuck in La Paz for another day. :(
Dinner with Boja and Mai
Feb. 4, 2004: The boat was basically secured and we didn't want to take things apart so it was a relaxing day. Encanto hailed us to say they were ready to leave. How I envy them! I'm very happy that they have everything working, but who knows when we'll see each other again. I guess it's a selfish thing on my part. They passed by us close enough to wave and shout good wishes to each other. Judy is truly my sea sister. We've touched each other's lives and will be life long friends. Judy was there with a big shoulder when I was going through some rough personal times. Jim worked on getting Winlink hooked up now that he's passed his test. I brought my sewing machine out and restitched the hem of the courtesy flag and decided to make some wine sacks while I had everything out. Later on Matarua hailed us to say goodbye as well. They are headed north. They, too, passed close enough for a wave and shout. Hopefully we'll meet up in Puerto Vallarta later this month. Boja and Mai stopped by -- they returned to the anchorage after having boat work done at a local yard. It's good that we still have one set of good friends nearby! They will join Jim and me for a potluck dinner; we'll heat up all our leftovers and have a wonderful buffet! I made a pineapple cake for dessert and it was delicious. We had a great evening and I'm happy to say there IS joy on the mail front. Yeah!!
[Return to Jan's Journal]