We've had a very pleasant, laid-back couple of days.
Lulu got back from Idaho on Thursday. It was overcast and sort of cool as it had been the day before. But somehow, coming from Idaho, she didn't even seem to notice. On Friday, we met up with our friends Doug and Jody on the Westsail 32 El Gitano. We had last seen them in Eureka way back in early September. Doug and Jody, along with Lulu and I and Lee from W32 Patience all had breakfast at The Dock Restaurant at Marina de La Paz. It was sort of a mini Westsail Rendezvous. Friday was actually kind of cool, very cloudy and even spit a few drops of rain.
But the sun came back out yesterday and it was warm again today. Yesterday we dinghied into town and then just wandered down the malecon for a couple of hours. When we were here in '02, on our first afternoon out, we stopped at a little open-air place for a beer. It was mid-afternoon and hot. We were about the only whackos out walking. Everyone else was having a siesta. When we stopped for the beer, it became obvious pretty quickly that they weren't really open (closed for siesta), but they smilingly served us anyway. We've been looking for that place since we got back. I thought I had found the spot, even though it didn't look quite like I remembered it. So yesterday, we decided to stop in. It's now a little open-air seafood place so we had fish tacos and a couple of cervezas and whiled away a couple hours. There was one other gringo couple there for a little bit but usually it was just and the Paceñeros (that's what the locals are called). It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. And, everything was good and reasonable so we'll be going back. We're pretty sure it's the same place we remembered although probably under different ownership.
Today we went to town again. There was supposed to be an open-air market, advertised as being "just like in Old Mexico" "like they have in Mexico City or Guadalajara". It was sponsored by one of the local political candidates (Estela Ponce). There were some food booths and lots of handmade jewelry booths, some dancers, music and quite a few people. But that was about it. We each had a sausage on a bun (chorizo en un bolete). It was pretty good but, unlike the loaded-down hot dogs you buy from the street vendors, these had almost nothing on them. Just some watery sauce that was very good but didn't do much to keep these treats from being about as dry as dust. Needless to say, we stopped for ice cream on the way home. Needed something to re-moisten our mouths.
Yesterday, when we were at the store, I bought a 6 volt lantern battery for our anchor light. It was alkaline and was spendy, a little over $9 USD. Well, last night, when I installed it, it wouldn't work. I checked the voltage and it was 0.00. That means that something wasn't connected inside, otherwise there would be at least some voltage. So, one of our missions today was to return it and try to get them to exchange it for another. Returns in Mexico, we've been told, are generally not as easy as in estados unidos except for places like Home Depot and maybe Wal-Mart. So I wasn't sure what to expect. I was mostly worried about being understood. So this morning, I worked with my dictionary and Google Translate to come up with everything I wanted to say. Basically I wanted to say that I bought the battery yesterday. I took it back to my boat and put it in a light. It didn't work. I checked it with my meter and it showed zero volts. It's no good and I would like to exchange it for another. It is too expensive to just ignore. Not trusting myself to remember all this, I wrote it down and practiced along the way to the store. BTW, the store in question was Aramburo, a small local grocery store (at least I guess it's local, it's certainly not a biggie like Ley or Chedraui). When we got to the store I went up to the service counter and started my spiel. I got through the first line about buying the battery yesterday and it not working and then I was ad-libbing from there on out. Must've been understood, though, as they very graciously exchanged the bad battery for another. I had brought my multimeter along just in case so I took the opportunity to show them that the returned battery had 0.00 volts and the new one had 6.12 volts. I think the key to the successful transaction was my attempt to speak Spanish and the fact that I only wanted an exchange, not a refund. We had both expected the worst, which would have been for them to refer us to the manufacturer, but instead we had a pleasant and satisfying experience.
As to the transmission and water pump fixes: We had considered getting hauled out and doing a couple of other things while we were on the hard fixing the engine and tranny. However, we really don't need to do any bottom work yet so, rather than haul out or fix things at anchor (which would leave us powerless in the event of another anchor-dragging episode again), we've decided to check into a marina while we do the work. That way we'll be secured to the dock (no chance of dragging that way) and will have plenty of water and electricity to do other projects like clean the boat again. Probably do a bit of brightwork work as well. So, as soon as the rebuild kit for the water pump arrives (supposedly Tuesday according to UPS' tracking) we'll start looking at getting in to a marina for a month or so. We'd prefer Marina de La Paz since it's so centrally-located, but they usually don't have any openings so we may go to Palmira or even back to Costa Baja.