Jan 1, 2012

Happy New Year, Próspero Nuevo Año, Bonne et Heureuse Année 2012

The sea isn't a place but a fact, and a mystery.
Mary Oliver 

Beer bottle chandelier and papel cortado
I wanted to start this New Year by saying I wished I were a real writer to make things more interesting for you to read but these are just my meandering thoughts or descriptions of events, places, encounters, etc

Spring cleaning in exotic locales – Boating isn’t just about making repairs in exotic places but cleaning there too! Nikki had her first bath in 2 months today – what a way to start the New Year for that little girl… She’s all fluffy and soft, the first time in several weeks since everywhere in Baja Mexico is covered in fine sand and dust.

Laundry is almost complete – 6 weeks of salty, smelly, dirty items piled up in every corner of Déjàlà are now neatly folded and stowed away. Floor mats have been taken out and washed. Stainless steel and deck have been scrubbed. Bright work is being varnished – one coat so far with 5 more to go to get to the 12 needed in tropical climates. It feels good to give Déjàlà, Nikki and ourselves a little TLC.

Possible angle fish
The day before yesterday we woke up to see what we think are angel fish while having coffee in the cockpit. Four of them near the stern of the boat, munching away. We couldn’t make a positive ID but you can see for yourselves. Admit it now; it makes it feel tropical to see things like these in the water.

Mexican resolution (not New Year) is to experiment with the various types of foods THEY eat locally, not what they serve to tourists: hominy, mole, pozole, machaca, fresh cheeses, salted fish, etc. Experimenting has been quite interesting so far.

Weird quirks seen around in the last 10 days we’ve been here:
  1. At most local restaurants (not the touristic ones) you find salt on each table but no black pepper (which we seem to take for granted in the US and Canada).
  2. Most streets are not paved so everything is dusty and bumpy. If the streets are being watered to keep the dust down, it’s usually with brown brackish water that can, at times, smell pretty strong.
  3. Few streets have lights which can make for interesting walks with the dog at dark as we cannot see upcoming dogs approaching her.
  4. Christmas is not nearly as big an occasion as New Year, which is celebrated all night long.
  5. Manpower is so cheap that there are people taking care of landscape everywhere even when not necessary. There are 3 gas station attendants when only one could handle the workload. There are guards everywhere as well although we are not sure what exactly they are guarding except that it makes places look “official”. Most construction projects don’t even account for manpower’s cost as it is so low.
  6. It is custom to tip grocery baggers as they don’t earn much. They are typically either worthy students or retirees.
  7. It seems like cow bells are only found on cows, not steers.
The “helping each other” cruising community = The cruising community reminds me a little of the 1960-70’s (yeah, I’m dating myself) where people depended on and helped each other much more. Nowadays, on land folks would rather call and pay a stranger (expert) to help them figure out or repair things. Most cruisers are very resourceful, knowledgeable, and willing to lend a hand especially since most of us end up in remote locations where few people live or where resources are limited and language can be a barrier. You learn a lot from all the cruisers as there are experts in so many domains: mechanics, single side band radios, solar energy, water purification, gray or black water systems, computers, sewing, etc. Pass it forward is very common in this community.

Nights are still in the high 50 F, days in the high 70 F however water has cooled down to around 65 F.

New lesson – it helps to be docked next to boats with taller masts as the ospreys (or fish hawks) like to perch on the tallest points to survey their domain, bring back their prey, eat them there, leaving behind many a noisy (especially when they fall from 60 feet) and smelly calling cards.

Below are a few pictures of things we’ve seen around this area.

Home entryway with bell

Palapa (inside and out) – roof made of dried palm leaves.   
If built properly, they can last to 10 years.
Unidentified white flower

Xmas decorations in the “Plaza Mayor”
Mike and Marie-France eating banana leaf  wrapped tamales at the organic farmer’s market
(a Xmas tradition in the SW in US)
Mike and Marie-France at Ali’s for Xmas dinner,
after some sangria
Gabriel (French Chef), Ali (Berber from Algeria), Bernie (German from BC, Canada),
and Mike at Xmas dinner
Cactus with cherry-like fruit on top
Horses on the beach with ocean on the left and estuary on the right
Playground at high tide, part of the estuary
Sunset at the marina
Some of these pictures were provided by Marta on Reunion.

Clever Boat Name: (although a little dark) – Fin Reaper

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