Jun 14, 2013

Stone Island, Pizza, Goats, and Coconuts

All travel has its advantages.
If the passenger visits better countries,
He may learn to improve his own.
And if fortune carries him to worse,
He may learn to enjoy it.
Samuel Johnson

Horse readying for a day of taking care of tourists
After a thirty hour upwind sail, we spent a couple of nights just south of the man-made jetty that protects the entrance to the old port/harbor of Mazatlán, a place called Stone Island.  

As we learned the history of Mazatlán, we saw pictures of that island before they blasted it to use the rocks to build the jetty.  About 2/3 of the island is now gone to protect the old port/harbor and enough of the island is left remaining to help shield the anchorage and offer a very accessible beach devoid of major surf from the ocean.

Departing Isla Isabella - we were given a leopard grouper by SV Blue Moon - great dinners!
Tuba drink container - famous drink of Colima/Comala - in previous post
Collecting palm tree sap for the making of tuba
Serving tuba from gourd
As much as the Gold Zone beaches on the north side of the old port/harbor are visited by the Norte-Americanos, the south side beaches are mostly visited by Mexicans – it creates a great difference in prices, choices of food or music, and atmosphere.

Last year was a particularly bad one for thefts of outboards and dinghies off vessels that anchored here so the Port Captain decided to close down the anchorage of Stone Island (Isla de la Piedra) only leaving the one in the old port/harbor open.  This is a way for the authorities to wash their hands off of these thefts – they can always reply to the complaining people to whom this happens that they are in a closed anchorage… 

We didn’t have any problems for the two days we were here.  For once we followed our cruisers’ guide and went to the pizzeria (Benji's Pizza) they suggested ordering the shrimp and garlic version.  It was good, and while eating we had a good view of our kayaks and Déjàlà (just in case)…  Since they have goats on this island, I think it would be a great addition to offer a goat cheese based pizza as well.

While finishing our dinner watching the sunset adding orange hues to the bay and mountains across from us, we were entertained by watching 10 young teenage boys trying to get coconuts off some palm trees.  Each country has its own rites of passage for the young.  Here I suppose your first freehand climb up a coconut tree to release a ripe coconut is probably as close as it gets.  The whole event took about 30 minutes with each kid trying hard or giving lively instructions to others on how to do it.  Whoever made it quite high up the tree was cheered louder the higher he got.  They even started using a 2x4 to help gap the distance but that got a little out of hand for they couldn’t control it well. It nearly fell on the dining table of some onlookers who quickly moved out of the way rather than ask the boys to go to another tree (there were many to choose from).

Eventually one brave boy got 3 or 4 coconuts and they were quickly opened and their water drank.  This was followed by a well deserved dip at the beach then a ride home in a back of one pick-up.

I was trying to compare this event with boys back home and what would they be doing?  What are the rites of passages for early teens in the US and Canada?  Or have we extinguished them all?

Of note – we have been in Mexico for nearly 20 months and have never witnessed fights between boys of any ages.  We have also seen very few beggars – and the few we have seen were all in a town known as the government seat of one of the states, not sure if there is a relation to the money made by the government workers and begging….

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