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Saturday, March 5, 2011

3/5/2011 - Not much to report

As the title says, there's just not much to report although I feel like I ought to check in anyway.

Let's see, my last entry was on 2/28. What's happened since then?

On Tuesday, March 1st, we went to the optometrist to get an eye exam and some new glasses. We had been led to believe that she spoke English and, if you would describe me as able to speak Spanish then, yes, she spoke English. But it turned out OK. Lulu went in first and I could hear the doctor asking her questions that Lulu was having a hard time answering. So I stuck my head in and helped out. I felt like quite the bi-linguist. Until it was my turn for the exam. All of a sudden I couldn't understand anything she was saying. But now Lulu could. Funny how, when the questions aren't directed at you it's pretty easy to understand Spanish, but once you're the object of the questions, you suddenly become a blathering idiot. But, it all turned out OK. Lulu's prescription (for reading glasses) hasn't changed at all and the total damages for her came to a whole $30 USD (frames, exam, lenses, case). Mine, on the other hand, was a little more complex. First off, each eye needs a different prescription. Then, I wear bifocals. But, I really like the blended lenses where there isn't a line, essentially making them trifocals. And, especially with the sun down here, I need the transition lenses that turn dark in the sunlight. Needless to say, my specs were a bit dearer than Lulu's. I'll be out of pocket about $300USD which is probably less than my share would have been after my health insurance covered the rest back home. I'm feeling pretty good about it.

We toasted our successful optometry trip with a couple more carnitas y papas empenadas (fried pies with shredded pork and potatoes inside - did I already explain this before?).

Wednesday, March 2nd was our total gadabout day. Our friends David and Carolyn from s/v Aztec, just down the dock, wanted to go out to Costa Baja for the weekly cruisers' breakfast and asked if we'd like to go along. Well, even though we weren't overly impressed by the first, and only, cruisers' breakfast we attended out there, we said, "sure". So, we piled in to their car and headed out. The breakfast was as bad as expected but we did meet a couple of other interesting cruisers and had some good visits. When we got back, we had just a little bit of time before we were to meet Doug and Jody from s/v Gitano (a Westsail 32) and Greg and Joyce from s/v Otter (another Westsail 32) for ice cream at the polka dot tree place (La Fuente). After ice cream we walked down to our new favorite fish place and had a couple beers and some fish tacos while we visited and compared notes. Greg and Joyce came down on the Baja Ha Ha and are soon heading north into the Sea. I believe they're going to put their boat on the hard in San Carlos. They're from Scapoose, Oregon. Doug and Jody, from Sedro Wooley*, WA, headed down about the same time we did. We've crossed paths in Newport and Eureka but other than that, we've been on two completely different schedules. Like us, they're planning to spend the summer in the Sea. I suspect we'll see more of them over the next few months.

Later that evening we met up with Chuck and Linda from s/v Jacaranda for "street tacos" at one of their favorite stands. This place is about a block up from our beer store and is only open in the evenings. We all had various types of tacos as well as a bowl of frijoles charros each. I had tacos with carne asada, puerco al pastor and chorizo. Lulu, on the other hand, decided to venture further afield. Besides her carne asada taco, she had a lengue (tongue) taco. Said it was really good. Then, she and Linda decided to get brave and have a cabeza (head) taco. I always thought that cabeza tacos were filled with brains but I was wrong. Apparently they are filled with the meat that is boiled off the skull. Except for the cheek meat. That's something else and the waitress told us the name but neither of us can remember it now. So, Lulu ordered a cabeza taco and Linda ordered a cheek taco. And the they each ate half of each one. Both seemed to agree that they preferred the fattier cheek taco. Personaly, I tasted a bit of each and would go for the leaner cabeza taco although I wouldn't order it instead of my carne asada. So, now I think we've tasted all the various tacos that La Paz has to offer: carne asada, arrachera, tripa, cabeza, lengue, "cheek", pescado and camarón.

On Thursday we did a few boat chores. We've actually been doing a few chores everyday. Thursday evening we headed down to the opening of Carnaval. It was a typical street festival except really long, stretching for probably half a mile or so along the malecón. The crowds were pretty mild since it was fairly early when we went and it was the first night. We wandered along, taking in the sights and smells. Lots of good looking street food but, unfortunately, my cold (my 3rd since we've been in La Paz!) had robbed me of my taste buds. Crappage! At least it waited until after Wednesday's taco night. We watched the crazy kids riding thrill rides that we wouldn't ride on a bet. Watched a couple of blanket hawkers armed with head-mounted microphones sort of like the boy bands and Britney Spears wear except that these looked more like nasal cannulas. Kind of distracting. Anyway, these guys kept up a non-stop rap about their blankets (I assume). Very loud and very obnoxious. We stopped at one of the many, many beer stands along the way for couple of cold Modelos. Lulu spotted a cowboy hat she kind of liked (she's finally realized that she NEEDS a hat for this summer), but we thought the $200 (pesos) they were asking was bit on the high side so we passed.

One of the things they do on opening night is the "burning of the bad humor" effigy. This is the symbolic way of banishing all the grouches from Carnaval. The burning was supposed to happen at 6:00 PM but hadn't yet happened by the time we were strolling through. We did get to see the effigy at least:

See all those little white things around his shoulders and waist? Explosives. Sure would have liked to witness his immolation but alas, we're just not night owls.

You might remember that we applied for our extended-stay visas awhile ago. They have this totally modern set-up where they issue you a number and a password and you can then go online and track the status of your application. Only it doesn't seem to work. Everyday, I check the website and everyday, it says it can't find that number in the system. I finally sent a query to recent applicants on the LaPaz Gringos Yahoo group forum soliciting recent experiences. I got two answers that both essentially said that I should really go back to the office and check as it's been two weeks. So, on Friday morning, I got up bright and early and headed to the immigration office (INM). When my turn came, the agent checked and said that my visa was all ready to go. I gave him a couple of thumb prints, signed the card, he laminated my photo to the card and off I went, legal to remain in Mexico for a year before I have to reapply, which I can do 4 times without having to leave the country in between like you do with the 6-month tourist visa. I headed back to the boat, had breakfast and then headed back to INM with Lulu in tow so she could pick up her card, too.

Afterwards we headed to the Mercado Madero to see if we could find Lulu a hat in one of the booths near where I found mine. And we scored. Found a hat that fit her better than the one at Carnaval and only cost $120 (pesos) instead of 200.

We went back to the boat, did a few chores and then kicked back. I was walking back down the dock about 4:00 when I saw David (s/v Aztec) on his boat. I stopped for a chat and told him that it was officially time to knock off for the day. He didn't take much convincing and next thing you know we're having an impromptu sundowner party on his boat. He has the most comfortable cockpit in the marina. Hell, he might have the most comfortable cockpit in La Paz! We sat around drinking adult beverages and telling lies with Dave and Carolyn as well as Liz (Land-Ho) and Greg (s/v Detente) and Dave and Margie from a boat whose name I didn't manage to commit to memory. Finally, about 7:30 or 8:00, hunger trumped thirst and we all went our separate ways to get some food. Lulu and I had sort of planned to go downtown and eat carnaval food but opted instead for our old faithful Taqueria Super Burro, only 2 blocks away. We both had tacos and frijoles charros. Did I mention that my tastebuds were back? They were serving a new habanero salsa that night and warned us that it was HOT. Guess they don't know us that well yet. Granted, it was hot and I got a serious mouth burn going. But that didn't stop me from piling some more onto my next taco. By the time we left, my mouth was totally on fire. But I knew that it would pass and, sure enough, by the time we got home the flames had pretty much gone out.

And that brings us to today, Saturday. The plan was to go have coffee on s/v Jacaranda with Chuck and Linda. Chuck was going to help us learn some stuff about fishing in the Sea of Cortez and Linda had a couple of cookbooks to loan us and we had some recipes for her as well. However, my cold was at that particularly annoying state where all I do is cough and blow my nose. ALL THE TIME!!! So, I begged off and Lulu went over on her own. Chuck and Linda were appreciative that I hadn't come over and filled their cabin with noxious germs and we made plans to get together when this stupid cold goes away. Later in the morning, David (Aztec) said he was going to Home Depot and Chedraui and would I like to ride along. I didn't really have anything on my list but, what the heck. Picked up a couple of paint brushes at HD and managed to get a few heavy groceries (beer, club soda, yogurt, granola) at Chedraui.

Lulu and I did a little more work on our project list and then knocked off for the day. It was pretty darn warm today (mid-80s) so we spent the late afternoon not doing much. She read through a bread cookbook she borrowed from Linda and I read through a pressure cooker cookbook that was also on loan from Linda. The bread cookbook was available in Kindle format so I bought it and downloaded it for Lulu. Unfortunately, the pressure cooker cookbook wasn't available in Kindle format. Crud!

That about brings you up-to-date with our incredibly interesting lives. Tomorrow, we plan to do more of the same.

*Sedro-Wooley, not to be confused with Sheb Wooley of Pruple People Eater fame.


Anonymous said...

I for one am happy that you checked in. It is always good to hear from both of you that all is well and you are still enjoying yourselves. I like Lulu's hat. Love, Mom

yawlnoemar.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for the comment on the Noe Mar's blog...and for someone that didn't have much to say...you did great. I head to La Paz tomorrow for projects etc. Need to get a crew together to sail the Noe Mar to Hilo next year. Seems like I am tied up during April and May...not sure about the 1st of June...weather systems...etc