Sunday, February 23, 2014

First Two Weeks In La Paz - Home"less" and Boat"more"

Saturday 22 February 2014

It took us a few days (OK, at least a week) to recover from our epic push to get here on Feb 10th. As it turns out we ended up leaving quite a few items behind for our friends to deal with. Apologies and a huge thanks to Jack, Madelaine and Rich for covering our assets! It was reported that Jack did a helluva job with our home upgrades so that the new tenants could move in...YESTERDAY! Tom and I are officially homeless for at least two years and you know what? It feels just fine. I hope our tenants Beth, Ryan and their two kids enjoy our house as much as we have.

Do I look worried?
During the past week and a half in La Paz we have been spending most of our time catching up with some old friends and seeing La Paz, and practically zero time recommissioning the boat. We are waiting for our new batteries to arrive (shipped from San Diego) and after we install those I suppose we should get serious about putting the sails back on and getting ready to leave the dock.

On our third day in La Paz I was thrilled to run into our old pal Nick from Iolanthe...
We found Nick!!
We had a great time getting to know Nick last year and we look forward spending more time with him again this summer.

Valentine's Day with the crew of Iolanthe and Rob from Tiger Beetle

So what HAVE we been doing? Most mornings I take the free shuttle into town as an excuse to have to walk back for a little exercise. Nick knows La Paz pretty well and if I can drag him along then I'm sure to discover something interesting. He turned me on to a fantastic bagel shop, the farmer's market, and the bustling Mercado Bravo. 

At the Mercado Bravo you'll find vats of beef livers for sale...

...and smoothies to cure any ailment. We ordered the Anti-Gripal (Flu) smoothies.

Nick seems to know practically everyone in town, so a "short" morning excursion usually turns into a half-day affair.

Some of the cruisers report that the farmer's market is too pricey, kind of like an upscale farmer's market back home. All I can say is they sure haven't been to the Mountain View or Los Gatos farmer's market! I picked up some lovely Murano glass earrings made by an adorable, painfully shy girl who just got her art degree, for about $4.50, a bag of delicious produce (various lettuces and edible flowers, just-picked cukes, avocadoes, and more) for about $3.50, and the big splurge, a jar of gourmet chipotle/orange marmalade for $3.75.

Kayle sells organic produce from Todos Santos at the Tues and Sat Farmer's Market

Tom spent a couple of days doing duty as tech support for the BoschAP auto pilot product being tested by Ben and Lucie on Georgia. 

OMG don't let Ben have the soldering iron!!

A couple of days ago Tom, Nick and I made a pilgrimage to the infamous Cinemex Platino, a movie theater that features Barcalounger seats and food and drink service. Press a button and an employee shows up with a menu and ready to take your order. They feature all sorts of food and beverages, including a full bar. I ordered a cold beer and drank it very slowly while enjoying Monument Men on the big screen.

Check out the deluxe accommodations!

We were happy to reconnect with some fun people we met in La Cruz last year. Richard and Amber aboard Vagabundo were the ones who recommended Marina Palmira and our boat managers Ross Marine. They know La Paz very well, in fact Amber built a house here in 1978. They took us to lunch at their favorite restaurant high on a hill with the best view of La Paz. Wow!!
Vagabundo, Two Can Play, and Cinnabar at CostaBaja Clubhouse
Life in La Paz is mostly easygoing and pleasant, but bad things can happen, even in paradise. A few days ago a popular cruiser, John from Time Piece, responded to a VHF radio emergency call about a man getting ejected from his high-powered dinghy (belonging to a charter cruiser). The man was not wearing the kill switch lanyard so the dinghy continued to careen around the marina, dangerously out of control. Unfortunately while John was saving the man's life, the renegade dinghy rode up and over John's dinghy, causing John to sustain extensive damage to his leg and foot. Long story short, John was eventually air-lifted out of here but it took a couple of days. He is in San Diego where they are trying to save his limb, but amputation is a real possibility. John is a young man who is known for his friendly demeanor and willingness to always help out. It's impressive how the cruising community has rallied to support him in all manner of ways with time, assistance, and money. Tom Brown, via radio and his SV Eagle blogas been excellent at sharing the facts with the concerned community and keeping the gossip and untruths at a minimum. Tom's wife Jeanne traveled to San Diego with John and has been at his side constantly. I heard that the vessel that caused this accident left the area without offering assistance or responsibility.

On a more positive note, Tom joined a cruiser-organized volunteer day at the local animal shelter, "local" being a 25 minute car ride into the desert. One of the concerned young girls from a family cruising boat (Del Viento) wanted to help the local stray animals and so her folks supported her drive by arranging to help the shelter. The task for the day was to build a set of bench seats out of shipping pallets, to be used by local schoolchildren on field trips from the schools as part of a community education program to promote good pet ownership, care and adoption. There were about 14 cruisers from 4 boats and about as many local volunteers. A good goal was reached - 12 sturdy benches were crafted, sanded and painted by the team. Everyone enjoyed the camaraderie of working together and helping our four-legged furry friends. Respect and care of animals is another aspect of a good community that we may take for granted from living back in the USA. 
Breaking down the pallets outside the animal shelter

Colorful and sturdy benches are completed

Doggies are healthy and thankful

Right now I am listening to the radio, channel 22 which is the cruiser's hailing channel, and laughing. Apparently there is a boat here named Flibbertigibbet (click name for definition). People keep hailing them on the radio and are totally mangling the name. Normal radio protocol asks you to say the boat's name you are hailing two or three times, then conclude with your own boat name. I am hearing "Flibbertergibber", "Flibbergibbet", "Flibbergibber", "Flippitgippit", and "Flibbe, Flibber, heck! Call "Tongue-Tied"* willya?" 

Come on, admit it, you just tried saying Flibbertigibbet three times, didn't you?

Some more pictures of our first two weeks can be found HERE.

* Name changed to protect the guilty

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Never Give Up and Happy Birthday Tom!!

Tom had a great birthday this year, February 11, 2014...

1) The perfect birthday present, back in La Paz after 7 months in California.

After a few weeks of tying up loose ends, a few days of insanely mad packing/storing/selling/donating/trashing, and missing our flight (but getting on another one shortly thereafter), we arrived in Cabo San Lucas. We had a lively, 3 hour bus ride from Cabo to La Paz and arrived late, exhausted, with a cold six-pack in hand, a warm evening, and a comfortable, clean boat at the end. We could finally relax!!

2) Tom's best pal Jay called him from Massachusetts, they had a great conversation and it put Tom in a terrific mood.

3) We went to Tom's favorite place, Harker Board, for dinner and the best beer in town from Baja Brewing Company.

Tom enjoys a cold microwbrew (rare in Baja) on Harker Board's new upstairs patio. 

4) We were joined by our bay area friend Rob, so we were officially a Birthday Party. (Rob sailed down to Mexico last November on his boat Tiger Beetle and we have been drooling over his blog posts ever since.) We ate loads of food, drank a lot of beer (it was 2 for 1 night), watched the sun set and the moon rise. 

We rendezvous with Rob from Tiger Beetle

A lot of you know it seemed to take us forever to get back down here. It was an incredibly busy summer jam-packed with some fun activities and some difficult ones. Maybe we will do a post on "What We Did During Our Summer Vacation".  

As we were sorting through our last boxes of junk, pulling an all-nighter of packing in what seemed a vain attempt to catch our scheduled flight, I came across a cartoon that our friend Stan had given to me before I raced to Hawaii in 2004 with my friend Synthia. It gave us renewed vigor...

Thanks Stan. Words to live by.

We made it Tom! Happy Birthday!!