Friday, November 20, 2009

La Paz

[GPS: N 24° 09' 18" W 110° 19' 33"]
Here it is Friday evening – we’ve been in La Paz for just over a week, and will be leaving tomorrow morning for the islands just north of La Paz, and then crossing to Mazatlan around December 1 with the full moon. We had only intended to stay here for 4 nights – doubling our time is not as extreme as some people. Our dock neighbors on one side (Dan and Leigh aboard Afroessa) came here for a month – 6 years ago. La Paz is a very cruiser-friendly community, and people talk about the "La Paz bungie" that keeps bringing you back.

Coming down the channel toward La Paz last Friday, we decided to try to get into the Marina de La Paz which is closest to downtown. We thought it would be nice to be able to clean the boat well, and there was a norther predicted to start Sunday evening - northers are the winds that blow down the Sea of Cortez from the north when there is high pressure in the Arizona/New Mexico area and low pressure at the southern end of the Sea. We weren’t too hopeful, since we had heard the marina was booked for November – and there were a LOT of HaHa boats heading to La Paz. However, when we called in, they said they thought they could move boats around a little and to call back in an hour. We anchored temporarily just beyond (south) of the marina. While we were waiting, several flotillas of brown chunks came floating by in the water ??? (maybe we were near the sewer outflow?) – so we were happy when we got in touch with the marina again and they said we could have a slip.

It’s hard to know where a whole week went, but here are some of the activities:
There were of course the chores. Laundry – but at the laundromat here at the marina, Polly would do a load for you and fold it for 50 pesos ($4) – or you could use the machine yourself for 40 pesos per load… no brainer! Grocery – a couple trips to CCC, the local big grocery, which was a hefty walk, or an 8 peso bus ride or a 50 peso cab ride. Doug went to the main Telcel store and got a 3G data card. So now we should have decent internet connection whenever there is decent cell phone service – works well from the marina – much better than the marina wifi! And then we redid about half of the teak on the boat. We (Doug) lightly sanded and put 4 coats on the forward half of the toerail, and we (Cathy) totally stripped one eyebrow and put teak oil on it. If the oil does well, maybe we’ll switch over to it totally. The oiled finish is flat and looks like a nice piece of Danish furniture. Peter from Delphis stopped by to help us with our broken wind instrument; we did find and fix a bad connection – hopefully that will fix the problem. We went to a shop we had heard about in town where a lady (Katty) makes one piece full-body lycra suits – they protect you from the small jellyfish and other creatures in the sea. We got two custom-made ones for 450 pesos each – completed in one day! Cathy picked a bright fabric because she doesn't want to be mistaken for a seal by any sharks down here. Doug looks delicious in his navy blue suit. Stay tuned for a picture of the 2 newest action heros....that's what we look like with the suits on!

And then there was socializing and dinners. We had Michael and Laurie, and Phil and Katie over for popcorn and a movie (“Captain Ron”). We ran into Kathy and Rick on ConsumMate – right across the fairway from us - We knew them from Berkeley/Danville (small world!). Knowing La Paz well, they introduced us to 2 wonderful dinner spots – Rancho Viejo (delicious Papas Asaderras – potatoes with marinated/grilled beef - the Mexican version of Shepherd's Pie) and Bandidos (great onion rings and hamburgers at an outdoor patio where the grill was installed under the hood of an old car). Alan and Christine from BYC, having lunch at the dock café at Marina de la Paz, noticed our boat as they looked over the marina. We saw them and walked up to have a beer and later a pescado dinner with them at La Fondas. They had just gotten back to their boat in Marina Costa Baja where they had left it for the summer. We had John and Jan from Jabiroo (another IP that did the HaHa) over for dinner – they were working on refinishing their toe rail as well and we walked back and forth to each other's boats to conpare the progress and outcomes. And another visit to Rancho Viejo for more Papas Asaderras – this time with Michael and Laurie.

We ended up staying long enough to go to the La Paz HaHa party Thursday evening – at the beach location of local business Papas & Beer. It was a great party sponsered by the National Tourism Board and many local busineses! We sat at a table with Michael & Laurie, and Russ & Roz (who had just gotten back in from the islands and were staying 4 miles north at Marina Costa Baja). Only $7 per person – and the first 50 HaHa’ers (including us of course) got in for free. From 4pm to 7pm there were free margaritas and beer, and a plate of 4 fish tacos for each attendee. And entertainment – two kid dancing groups, a mariachi band, and a young adult dancing group. And prizes raffled off. When we all sat down Cathy had warned everyone that she had very good luck with raffles, so everyone should expect to win something. Out of the 6 tickets at our table, 4 were winners! We won a hand carved wooden whale tail (the symbol for La Paz), and 1 hour free electrical/refrigeration consulting. Then starting at 7pm there was a rock band and dancing.

And then today, November 20, was the celebration of the Mexican Revolution – on this date in 1910 the war to overthrow dictator Porfirio Diaz began. There was a parade down the Malecon (the main street along the waterfront), with bands and groups of dancers, martial arts, baseball, etc. Afterwards, people stayed around the downtown area, continuing with a street fiesta. The town is not really as we had expected – it never really was a fishing town so the waterfront is not that developed. But they have now lined the shore with a nice sidewalk with public art statues all along it.

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