Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life In La Paz

la paz boat sculpture
11/11/11 – 11/28/11 La Paz: The name La Paz means “Peace”, and for a city of 215,000 people, it manages to convey an atmosphere of the quiet and simplicity of a much smaller place. The malecon, that long beautiful walk along the waterfront with its many statues and works of art was the picturesque setting for all the early morning walks that Gina, Sydney and I took. We joined locals at a simple little makeshift  malecon gym with slant boards and parallel bars, and were greeted warmly by another group of locals practicing their Tai Chi. Our days quickly fell into a routine of boat chores in the mornings and relaxation in the afternoons when the temperature climbed and the motivation plummeted.

La Paz has a remarkable cruisers network where information about services, equipment, and all things related to boating are readily available. The morning VHF net provides weather, news about coming events and activities, and a forum for questions and answers. Our hats are off to those who provide this great resource.

Terry and I were able to get a replacement for the dinghy prop the first full day we were there. It was  quite a process to communicate to the ladies in the Yamaha shop what were looking for, but after many pesos and much laughter we emerged with our prop.

We also managed to disengage ourselves from all the red tape that is required to get Mexican cell phone service, with our sanity mostly intact. I never thought I’d miss AT&T.

We walked and walked and walked, exploring, looking for markets and restaurants and interesting things to see. We struggled to find the best places for provisions, hoping to find farmer’s markets, but were mostly disappointed. Then we were just as amazed to find a store something like a Fred Meyer, except that they had people singing over the public address system (blue light specials maybe!?) and a meat department in which none of the labels made sense to us.

Mostly what we did in La Paz was learn all about what it means to be cruisers in Mexico. Here are just a few of things covered in the curriculum in lovely La Paz:
*  We learned that in Mexico you must must must carry small bills, lots of them, or ‘cambio’ becomes a problem.
* We learned that to take a dinghy into town in early evening when dark clouds are rolling in and winds are piping up means a long dark, rainy and rough dinghy ride home later on, and that it’s sometimes best to just take a cab.
*We learned that occasionally we are  kinda stupid (see above).
* We learned you no sooner get one problem solved (dinghy prop), then others pop up—a fried battery charger and heads needing new joker valves.
* We learned about what I call the Gringo Parcel Express, the underground railroad of sorts in which cruisers and friends and family traveling to and from Mexico are obliged to transport all manner of goods, equipment  and ‘stuff’ to and from the States for cruisers.
* We learned that we are fortunate to have a Gringo friend willing  to  be our packhorse in the Gringo Parcel Express and bring us a new battery charger. Thanks Lawnboy!
*  We learned to love the Arrachera at Rancho Viejo, and the hamburgers, cheap drinks and wacky atmosphere at The Shack.
* We learned that miracles do happen when Gina located an actual ham for part of our Thanksgiving menu.
* We learned once again how blessed we are to have these particular friends to share another Thanksgiving, and that cooking Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings in Mexico is one hot and sweaty affair.
* We learned that we need to remember next time to take a picture of the feast on our Thanksgiving table (duh)
* We learned that La Paz is indeed a city of Peace and that its people are warm and kind.

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