The crowds are just driving me nuts. Trying to stay positive though!!!
Dinner later at the shrimp camarone taco place on top of the deck with Carolee, Jay and a new friend Doug, retired down here from Seattle 2 years ago. Great food, lots of fun and laughs and great company all around. Failed in the picture taking department but it was a gorgeous view and a fantastic meal. Went back to Carolee and Jays for some great intellectual discussions and cocktails. Love these guys. So much fun! Life is good mi amigos 😉
Got a knock on the boat about 8 this morning and it was Jeff wanting to buy me breakfast at the place he had eaten at the day before. He had raved about it all day the day before when I first met him. I’ve been in a pretty ease into the day mode pretty much ever since I had gotten here but I had woke up early, was starving and figured I’d learn something from the old guy. We start walking and it was the same route that I had taken the bus the bus to town on a couple of times before. We crossed the bridge with the small river I’d mentioned in an earlier post and in one of the pictures you are actually looking up towards the beginning of the Sea of Cortez. After crossing the bridge, we followed the road to the right same as my bus ride to Soriana’s but crossed over to the other side and walked about a block. He starts heading into the back of this parking lot and I have no idea what I’m in for.
We walk into this place and I’m just astounded! This is the Tropicana Inn. This is one of the most picturesque, beautiful, artistic, aesthetically serene settings I’ve ever seen in my life. Just absolutely breathtaking. Only one shot turned out inside the restaurant because it was so dark and I’m really disappointed because it was truly indescribable ! The one shot is a curio I think you call it recessed into the wall with a figurine in the style of art the Mexicans use to decorate and celebrate on Día de Muertos or the Day of the Dead. It’s celebrated around Halloween and I unfortunately just missed it when I arrived in Ensenada. I love the artwork and you see it all over the place. After a $20 breakfast which was worth every penny of it in this setting and the food presentation and flavor were like heaven in your mouth I was feeling pretty good about the start of this day. The backside where we entered was a boulevard with a few businesses of a various nature and more a thoroughfare. Jeff told me when we walked out the front that we would walk into a whole new world and did we ever! Out front was the city center with several government buildings spread about around a huge beautifully decorated plaza and towards the end of the tourist section with it’s many different varieties of shops. A lot of silver, pharmacies , t-shirts and literally hundreds of knick knacks. All the stonework and cobblestone is just amazing and even at tourist prices you can find some pretty good deals. It’s early in the season and will start peaking around May from what I understand. Jeff is slow but a walking fool! we branched off away from the tourist section and walked up the hill into where the locals lived. It appears to me and from what I understand that there is actually a middle class growing here that wasn’t always present as the tourist industry continues to grow and provide so many people with jobs. Almost all of the buildings have some rebar sticking out somewhere and Jeff explained that was how people avoided property taxes. Apparently it’s a commonly accepted loophole, because the more I looked the more I saw it everywhere! How much did you pay in property taxes last year?!? Haven’t confirmed this but it actually appears to make sense. Here’s some pictures from the walk.
Jeff was obsessed on finding pastry. He speaks way better Espanol than me and asked a lady on the street and she told him the Mega Store was the place to go. We checked Google Maps and it was about a 37 minute walk. I’d already walked further than any of my ventures out prior but was feeling pretty good so off we went. It was a beautiful day and I was really enjoying the adventure. I can be pretty shy and cautious until I become familiar with an area and having Jeff dragging me along really helped as well. He’s got all kinds of medical issues and by the time we go to the Mega we were both pretty pooped and his hips and ankles were starting to get to him. It’s the first time I’ve really noticed my hip in months so I’m guessing we covered 5-6 miles. I know that’s not very far but for a guy that is on a no pain, no pain exercise plan, but I was starting to feel it. We finally made it to the Mega and decided since we’d gone so far that we’d buy some groceries and splurge on a taxi ride back. The Mega chain is a huge modern store similar to a Walmart Super Store. The selection, variety and quality was a sight for sore eyes. They have just about anything you could want. It’s located just down from all the large resorts and high end condominiums that lined the streets on the walk up. We got Jeff’s pastries and I picked up a couple myself, some milk, a 1/2 kilo slab of the most beautiful tuna that we planned on cooking later that evening, some veggies, Coke Zero and a few other items and checked out. We found an air conditioned cab out front that wanted $25 to take us back to the marina which was about 3 miles but Jeff got the guy down to $20 so we split it and back to the marina we headed.
I had planned on a shower and a shave that morning until Jeff had interrupted that plan and after the long walk on a warm day I was feeling pretty gritty and headed back to the boat and took a shower, while he went up and took a shower in the marina facilities. I fired my rice maker up, grabbed a delicious cucumber and tomato and headed over to Jeff’s boat. His boat is over 40 yrs old and doesn’t have a lot of the amenities that mine does but he’s done a great job of making it functional. We were going to barbecue some of the tuna and make sashimi out of some of it as well but Jeff had some issues with the grill. We ate the sashimi with wasabi and soy sauce while he pan fried the tuna steaks instead in butter, garlic and lemon and some green herbs while I made the salad and served the rice. The meal was simple but the tuna couldn’t have been more than a day or so old and it was such a delicious meal.
I’m worn out so probably going to hit the rack early. Another shot at radar installation tomorrow morning, wind cooperating. Jeff is really anxious to go out sailing with me and I can’t wait. I’ve been pretty much self learning most of the way and having someone knowledgeable teach me would help my learning curve exponentially. Pretty excited about that and had actually hoped I’d run into someone just like him. His plans have changed and he plans to head up into the Sea of Cortez until May or June and it would be really nice to have someone to buddy up with to watch over each others boats and safety in numbers. I think he was kind of hoping for the same. We may take my boat up together and then take the bus from La Paz back and take his up. I’m really looking forward to getting to know him better. This man is 67 yrs old, has a prosthesis and has seen things in Vietnam war as a young man that would mess anyone up. He sails his boat by himself and I would love to tell his story but it’s not mine to tell. He has survived it and is starting to thrive and just amazes how the human psyche and spirit can adapt and actually thrive in hardship and strife. I knew I was going to meet some amazing people but I couldn’t have dreamed up some of the stories of the people I’m meeting. I know I’ve just met a lot of these people but they are so genuine and real and the more I’m around them I’m convinced their stories are true and real. I’m also learning more and more in myself that hardship and strife make you stronger. Yes there are risks but I’ve never felt more alive in my life. This has been one of the most fascinating experiences of my entire life and I can’t wait to see where the adventure takes me next. Steve(The Puffer) Pierson will probably factor in there somewhere because he will be in Cabo on Feb 4 and I know that’s an adventure I do not want to miss nor do I have any idea where it will take me but once again I can’t wait and still say the best is yet to come!!
A boat pulled in one slip over a couple of days and I didn’t see anybody for a couple of days but I was walking back from a trip I had made to meet Greg, the guy replacing my radar and he wanted to show me his home. He’s renting a place right on the ocean for $1100 us a month. I really should have taken pictures of it because it was large and open and they had done a beautiful job of decorating it, but I forgot. He has a garden that he’s planted in the back that was thriving. It had obviously been planted 2 or 3 weeks earlier in the middle of January if that tells you anything. He has a lovely wife Mary and they live there with their 6 month old daughter Cassandra and Mary’s Mother lives there as well. We had planned on him to work on my radar but the wind was howling out of the north and the boat was rocking pretty good so we’re waiting for a better window.
He had work to do so he dropped me off at the marina and on the way back to the boat I see the guy out doing some work on his boat the slip over and I walked up and introduced myself. His name is Jeff and he’s 67 yrs old and had just sailed from San Diego, anchored off of Cabo the morning before he sailed into San Jose. Greg has a prosthesis on his right hand up to the elbow. His boat is an older boat but he has customized it to accommodate his prothesis. Jeff has been sailing for over 20 yrs an it’s obvious he knows his stuff. We got tot talking and we were both getting hungry so we headed up to the La Marina Inn which is a restaurant/motel in this beautiful setting that I had had my first meal with Carolee and Jay. Unfortunately, they had built the large white La Gonzo hotel directly in front and it completely blocked the view of the ocean. This had to be a truly idyllic setting prior to the hotel. It still has a great atmosphere, the food is delicious and the staff is super friendly and courteous. We both had green chile, chicken & cheese enchiladas that was delicious. $21 us with tip, not cheap but once again the presentation of the food was beautiful and the food was delicious. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture before I destroyed it.
We ate and left and walked out to where the charter boats bring the customers in to hang the fish they’ve caught so the customers can get a picture with their catch and get their catch cleaned and filleted. A couple from Portland, OR had about a 30-35 lb yellowfin tuna and about a 25 lb dorado. They had way too small of a cooler to keep all the fish in and there just wasn’t any room. Jeff and I were hoping to get a good deal on 4 or 5 lbs of fresh yellowtail but the guy was worried about getting market price even though they had way more than they could fit into the cooler and eat. I have no idea what became of all the leftovers but we didn’t wait around. On the walk back down we saw 2 other groups coming in with fish but one had a small bottom fish and a couple of triggers and the other was a lady with a small dorado.
After our walk we headed back to our boats. Jeff is really knowledgable and he asked me if I’d be interested in crewing for him on a trip to Mazatlan. We would head north to Frailes Bay which is a 5 hr sail north and a beautiful frequent stopover to break up the trip to La Paz drop the anchor and spend the night. The next day we would sail to Los Barriles Bay another 5 hr sail north and spend the night there as well. The next day we would make the 2 1/2 day crossing to Mazatlan. The reason Jeff likes to do it this way is because it’s a better angle to the wind and swell and would make up for the extra days sailing in comfort and speed going downwind as opposed to upwind. I seriously considered it but my radar installation is supposed to begin on Saturday weather permitting and I want to be here while that’s being done. Jeff’s main reason for going to Mazatlan is that on Feb 2 they have the 3rd largest carnival in the world according to him. One of the guys working on boat next to me the last couple of weeks that I’ve befriended, Miguel made the comment that carnival in Mazatlan could be dangerous. So factoring that into the equation and the radar installation and that there is one period where there is the potential for 35 kt winds on our crossing from Baja to Mazatlan think I’m going to pass. I think these kinds of opportunities are going to be available more than I had anticipated. He’s very experienced and I know how much I could learn from him but the timing just doesn’t seem right. Mr Steve (The Puffer) Pierson is heading down to Cabo on Feb 4 and I really don’t want to miss the opportunity to see someone from home. The Puffer and fRiEdfiSh do Cabo! I know from past experiences with Steve that this will be an adventure I don’t want to miss. Really looking forward to it!! Until next time………..
Started getting low on supplies so I headed back into town once again which requires me to navigate all that is new and in Espanol. I know where to get on the bus and I know where to get off the bus and that in that location I can get groceries, exchange greenbacks for pesos and can eat at a Subway. Passed on the Subway since last time it cost me about $7 us and I’m gonna save my peso’s for these guys below. It’s like food pornography for the mouth!!
The best camaron tacos yet!!
Ok enough about the shrimp tacos……mmmmmmm.
I headed up and sat down on the side of the road and waited for the bus to come along. I thought I had the whole routine down and I had timed my trip for around 1pm thinking I’d miss the crowd. The last time the fare was 10 pesos, this time I gave the bus driver 10 pesos but I could tell it wasn’t the right amount but the bus driver told me to go ahead figuring it was easier than us trying to habla things out. There was standing room only so I walked to the back and grabbed hold of the hand rails and off we went. As we were going along I noticed that the fare was 12.50 so at the next stop I went up and offered the driver 20 pesos to make up for my shortcoming but he impatiently waved me off. The ride takes about 15-20 minutes. There were a lot of children on board and I swear they are some of the cutest little kids I’ve ever seen. Getting off the bus at my stop I told the bus driver muy amable (very kind of you) and I finally got a positive reaction.
The last time I went to town I tried to exchange money at the bank, they told me I needed my passport. This time I was fully prepared! Navigated the take a number machine and got to practice a little of my Espanol with an english speaking assistant. He helped me understand that when my number was called I was to go to the teller window displayed with the number which I did. There was a tremendous communication gap between myself and the teller but I did successfully exchange $200 us for $3,360 pesos at an exchange rate of 16.8. This is an area I’m going to have to learn more about because the current market rate is 18.5 which would make my dollar go a little further.
Off to Soriana’s I went to get eggs (unrefrigerated which will last a long time if they are never refrigerated). Go figure! I also needed bread, bacon, veggies and a few household items like clothes pins. I’ll try and take pictures of the grocery store next time but I was so focused on finding all the items I was looking for and trying to find things I might not have seen last time that I didn’t even think of it. The fruits and vegetables look so good and are really inexpensive. Once again a quart container of pre cut pineapple, papaya and watermelon is $2 us! I was going to buy some shrimp to fry up but by my calculations it was $10/lb. Have to research that again because it seems really high. I got everything I needed and headed back to the bus stop. I saw a couple of taxi’s and I enquired how much the fare was. They told me it was $12.50 us vs the 75 cent bus ride. I’m assuming I could have negotiated that but also sure I’d have never come anywhere near the bus fare. Off to the bus I headed. I had to wait for about 20 minutes but that’s the price I pay for learning to be more economically efficient.
Here comes bus #5
I received a text from Greg, the guy replacing my radar on the ride back. Him and the marina had not come to an agreement so as it stood he wasn’t allowed to come into the marina and do the necessary work. He requested that I go talk to them which I had been planning on doing if it got to this point. I headed up to the office and requested a meeting with Enrique the marina manager. The secretary asked me what it was in regards to and I told her that when I came into the marina they had recommended him and even given me his card. She admitted they may have made a mistake, which I replied was going to cost me around $700 us if things stood as they were. If you haven’t read the previous post they want him to pay a 25% commission for any work he does in the marina which would have added $500-700 onto my bill. She went and talked to Enrique and though he wouldn’t meet with me did acquiesce and allow Greg to do the work in the marina. Otherwise it was anchoring out in the open ocean with a guy 40′ up in the air with the mast swinging to and fro trying to mount and install my radar. Obviously not a good situation so I’m pretty happy about that. It was only 76 for a high, 59 for a low and partially cloudy so it’s kind of cooled down a bit. It really sucks but I’m trying to stay positive!! The forecast actually said there was a .04 chance of rain tomorrow and I see it has risen to 1% so there’s another emotional blow I have to deal with but I’m a positive guy and I’m sure I’ll get through it somehow. 😉
Warm regards literally and figuratively!
After my picture taking session earlier in the day I came back to the boat and got my Spanish for Cruisers book out and started working especially hard on my Espanol common courtesies. Rhonda says I’m just trying to find out how to use my southern manners on them and she has nailed it! I can see the reactions of surprise whenever I’ve been able to remember the proper phrases to be polite, considerate and ask how someone’s day was. I really am falling in love with the Mexican culture. The people that I’m somewhat kind of getting to know here in San Jose del Cabo are just like all of the other warm, genuine, family orientated fun loving Mexicans I’ve met all along my journey. I believe this whole experience being good or bad depends on me becoming somewhat bilingual. Now that I’ve got the boat in pretty good order I have a lot of boring time I have to kill. It really sucks, lemme tell you. The good part is it gives me a lot of time to study. The only Spanish I ever took was 1 semester in the 9th grade and it has shocked me how much that has helped just knowing those basic phrases I learned there. But sitting out back in the boat surrounded by these beautiful turquoise colored waters, with the sun glistening off of it, numerous varieties of seabirds flying around, hawks riding thermal rises which requires them to never have to flap their wings, while beautiful palm trees and palms and numerous varieties of cacti decorate the landscape is a pretty nice setting to study in. So I don’t think this will be a problem.
There was still one known shrimp (camaron) taco place that I hadn’t tried yet and that was where the quest for THE king of camaron tacos continued. Anybody that really knows me knows that when I find something I like to eat, I will eat it for a fairly long duration until I’m sick of it for some time to come. I know I’m not the only one. The good thing about being on the move like I am, I’m not in one place long enough to get burned out on it. So off I went to The Drunken Sailor.
The staff was super friendly! One of the waiters was born in Brazil, had lived in Vancouver, BC for 17 yrs and had just moved to San Jose del Cabo a year ago. I had several phrases that I wanted to practice and he and the two waitresses were really helpful. The book I’m using, Spanish for Cruisers to learn most of my Spanish was given to me by Nick Lee, a single hander I met in Ensenada and I’m so grateful he did because it really is going to be a lifesaver. It so helpful the way it is laid out and the way it presents the pronunciations. I have to use the phrases numerous times and more importantly find someone to verify my pronunciation before I really start to retain them. so I really appreciate it when I can find someone to practice with. I’m finding that not everyone wants to give spanish lessons though. That’s why it’s so good to find someone who will take the time to help and I really appreciate it. Usually the ones that are helpful are bilingual and understand your predicament or the others know some English but want to learn more and need to practice and check their pronunciation as well so it’s win/win. A few of the phrases I’ve been working on are muy amable (very kind of you) and le agradezco mucho (I really appreciate it), disculpe la molestia (sorry to bother you) and they gave me pretty good marks but I messed up on muy amable.
After dinner I had planned to walk to the local Oxxo. It’s basically a 7/11, except the prices are 20-40% cheaper than the states on most items! When they had bagged up my things and I was headed out, they called me back because they hadn’t bagged and given me a couple of items and I replied without having to really think about it muy amable! Felt pretty good about that! Pictures from the walk back below on an absolutely stunning evening.
Not really sure what’s happening tomorrow but know if it’s been anything like the past week, it’s going to be good. I’m narrowing down the competition for the best camaron taco so that’s factoring in somewhere. Night!