Tuesday, May 15, 2012

La Paz #2

15 April – 5 May 2012 LA PAZ

The Bungee Cord hooked us into La Paz for nearly a month, once again. It’s hard to say no to an easy life of a few boat chores, provisioning and restaurants, social and cultural events and R&R. We had laundry to do, FM3/ Mexican visas and the Telcel wifi card to renew. Friends were due in as well. Once we arrived back into La Paz, we made contact with Lisa again and she became our main transport unless we wanted to get some exercise or walk the malecon.  

NOTE:FYI, We met Lisa and John Caruso several years ago in La Paz, where Lisa and John did some yoga classes with me at Palmira.  They were on s/v Andiamo. John died 2 years ago during Loreto Fest and their boat is still at Puerto Escondido; she will bring it to Palmira in La Paz this coming fall. Once when John was on our boat, he had a “light bulb” moment when he realized he knew Earl and Maria, the former owners, and that they had been on the boat before!  Small world. Lisa hasa had an interesting year between house sitting  and two hip replacements.

The FM3 process was delayed a week as we found it too early to apply. The process has been interesting as we usually do it in Agua Prieta, near home – and had a few hassles with the process there.  What we found in La Paz was a office with true and efficient professionals. We had the appropriate paperwork and pictures and the bank payment done, turned the paperwork in April 24th and it was ready in 8 days, as they predicted. Once we get back to San Carlos, we will be able to apply for our Senior Card, allowing us some actual “senior discounts” in Mexico - like bus tickets, prescriptions and such. Supposedly with having the FM3 after 4-5 years, we will be closer to a semi-permanent status in Mexico.

We were invited to attend a wonderful Blue Grass concert at La Paz’ music school.  It is an amazing place, hidden in an older neighborhood off a dirt road…a new building with a wonderful (air conditioned) auditorium and great acoustics.  Lisa drove 5 of us and there were some local school kids attending as well as the local officials…and many Gringos.  The group was sponsored by the Mexican government and from Virginia….very talented group of 4 guys that included bass, mandolin, guitar and fiddle…and voices. During the show, the cruiser’s Club Cruceros de La paz received an award for assisting local schools and children with many scholarships.

Another event we attended on the malecon (boardwalk on the beach,) was the 477th celebration of Cortez’ landing onto La Paz beaches and declaring La Paz for Spain.  They did a wonderful recreation of the event, with dancers, tiki torches, actors and gorgeous costumes.  Cortez even arrived via a ship (a fishing panga with a motor – but they did row in, LOL), strode thru the waves onto shore and declared ownership as they brought “civilization and religion” to the natives. The natives did rebel a little, burning the cross.  There was music, readings of the tale and much dancing by the “natives” in the show.  It was a spectacular event to attend!
isa and I did some serious shopping, mostly provisions. But we found fabric, a dress, some seamstress work, arts and crafts and many lunches.  We explored Home depot, the new Liverpool (like a Nortstrom’s+) as well as Walmart and Sam’s Club. I will miss Lisa down the road!  But she has promised to stop by our house and visit on her way back to Seattle in June; she’ll drive the Baja north herself as she has done it several times and feels very comfortable. The night before we departed, Lisa hosted a pool party at the house she is house sitting – a small group of 10 or so, pot luck and the pool. It was a great send-off!

We also learned about the medical system available to Gringos when Lisa decided to do a nose dive into the sidewalk as we were heading to The Shack for dinner. With two new hips, she was protecting herself as she fell and instead, landed on her left arm, nicked her forehead and ended up with a giant bruise and sore ribs.  A run to the Urgent Care center where she was declared “not an emergency”  (by the desk clerk!) and told to see the “consultant” at a the AM clinic.  So we drove her home and delivered her to the clinic the next day. X-rays were taken and she was referred to a ortho specialist, yet another appointment a week away – which turned out to be her very own ortho surgeon who had done her two hips last year – he declared her fine and sent her on her way. She is ehaling fast and sure didn’t let anything stop her driving, dancing and enjoying friends out and about.

As far as boat projects, we had fewer this year.  I did get the after head painted and it looks nice and bright and white once again.  Bill finished some wood staining on the rails and did deck cleaning.  He also pulled the spinnaker out and figured it out so we can try it next time out. Not many old friends left south, but a few. Kirk on s/v Freedom of Kirkland arrived from Cabo with his cousin and uncle.  We had a few dinners out and happy hours back and forth, meeting a few other people, as well. He was in and out for the week, hauled out at Bercovich’s marina and flew home – all too quickly!  But we had some fun evenings together. He stayed a night aboard with us when he hauled out, before the bus to Cabo and flying home to still-cold Canada. Our new slip neighbor at Palmira this year, the catamaran s/v Orion, Mike and Cathy, was also in and out several times, mostly with guests aboard.  They took off sailing again before we had a chance to visit – but we are hoping to meet them up on the Baja for a margarita.

We celebrated Bill BD at Buffalo Ribs and had a wonderful dinner – the ribs are just outstanding. Mouth-watering and perfectly grilled. We also made a point to see Alex and Sue’s new Trawler-in-progress, the new m/v Maitairoa.  They went to the darkside (sailboat to power) last year and brought the boat down this winter.  It’s big, much space and they are redesigning and outfitting it as their home.  

NOTE: We did not see Ana Hall as much as we wanted.  The first week, her niece was visiting and then she flew north for more treatments and we missed her return. We did stop by the casa once and she was having her interior walls painted – bright colors for her art work. We also saw her selling her one-of-a-kind, detailed, hand-made greeting cards at the Farmer’s Market. She seems to be doing ok and is planning the summer in La Paz. Ana lost her husband, Steve, last year in La Paz – so has had a rough year.  We all miss 
Steve, his big-bear hugs and smiles.

Daily life in La Paz becomes a routine, starting at 0800 with the AM Cruiser’s NET on the radio, catching up on what is happening, who has something to sell for “coconuts”, where the music is or a food special and locating services for Gringos. Lost and found, jokes and trivia as well as emergencies are the highlights. The radio is also our communication system – and we use it frequently to make plans.  Of course, it’s like the old-fashioned shared phone and everyone and anyone can listen into any conversation! If you are having work done, meeting for margaritas or departing – everyone knows!  Although we move from a “hailing” channel” to talk, anyone can “follow” and listen in, which we call “lurking”. If Susie is shacking with Sam, someone is having boat work done or the Jones’s are dining with the Smith’s, we all know! It’s a little cruiser Peyton Place.

With everything done, partied-out, provisioned and the boat ready, we pulled the bungee cord off and left the slip on May 6th, with reservations for next February. Sad to leave but we have great memories, many pictures and bellies full of beer.  Have to work on that last one as we move north. The goal is to move north slowly, see how far we can get, seeing new anchorages when we can and not rushing anywhere fast. We have our San Carlos slip reserved for June 1.
Onward! Linda and Bill

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