Update

If any of you are friends with Dave on Facebook, you know that he just posted a quick goodbye. His plan was to go through customs in Nuevo Vallarta today and then sail over to Punta Mita for the night before taking off tomorrow or maybe Saturday at the latest. I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve updated our links column over on the right (——–>>>>) to include the ShipTrak.org. The link should take you directly to our call sign page (Call sign is KE6GKT) and this will let you know where Dave is on his journey across the Pacific. Of course, we haven’t updated it since the beginning of April when we were coming back from Manzanillo…but if Dave remembers to plug in his coordinates every day or so (using Sailmail/SSB radio), then we should get a pretty good idea of how his trip is going.

All’s well in the San Francisco Bay Area. My days are now spent working and commuting. My tan has faded and I’m constantly cold. I still crave street tacos and I’m not sure that’s ever going to change.

Here’s a photo that I forgot to post when we got home. It’s my “Hasta Luego” moment with Camanoe.

Hasta Luego, Camanoe!

Safe travels Capt!

Advertisements

Back in Mexico and Getting Close to Departing for Hawaii!!!!

Steph is back at work. I’m expecting my alimony check any time. We both flew back to California on the 1st of May, and I returned on the 10th with a 100 lbs. of luggage, aka boat gear. It was a total realization of how hot it can actually become in Mexico during the summer when they opened the airplane door in Puerto Vallarta. Sacramaneto was hot, maybe 80 degrees, but not humid. We left ten days previously and it was warm here in P.V.. Now it is out right hot and humid. Almost on par with Louisiana where I worked for years. It’s time to get out of here. A good excuse to sail to Hawaii. For those of you not aware of what’s up here on Camanoe, I will be sailing to Hawaii singlehanded as soon as Camanoe is ready. It’s a 2800 mile trip, almost due west of Puerto Vallarta. Hopefully it will take three, possibly four weeks.

I’m both excited and anxious. Excited because this is the trip of a lifetime, it has the potential to be one of the highlights of my life. On the flip side I’m very anxious, this trip has the potential to be miserable and even life threatening. The boat is close to being ready to go. The larger projects are completed. Everything else required to get this hoedown going is minor. Mostly organizing and last minute shopping. I’ve done everything I can within reason to ensure Camanoe is up to the voyage. After all, 2800 miles, singlehanded, alone, possibly the worst weather I or Camanoe have ever seen, with no assistance available no matter what the problem is, can be a daunting thought. The reality of it all is finally setting in. Damn, I’m looking forward to it!

A Farewell Chope…or Seven

I haven’t been very shy about my love of Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe in La Cruz.  It will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was one of the first places we tried out when we arrived in La Cruz and it quickly became the only place we frequented regularly. 

It’s not just the convenient location near the marina or the cheap, tasty food, or even the ridiculously cheap and tasty Chope draft beer during happy hour (although, that is a big reason), it’s because of the people that work there.  So welcoming. So helpful. Our first days here I would walk up to Huanacaxtle just to have them confirm that I was heading in the right direction on the bus and that I had the correct bus stop info.

J.C., Alex, Oliver, Abril, and the owner, Manuel, became a little family to me while staying here.  I had hoped to attend my final Karaoke night the Thursday before my departure home for a farewell to La Cruz and my new friends.  Unfortunately, we had to go back to Paradise Village on Thursday morning and so we’d be too far for me to attend the weekly fun fest.  I was very sad and booed at Dave numerous times.

We went into town last Tuesday, April 25th (which, by the way, was my Dad’s birthday, so I’m attributing the drunkenness to a celebration of my dad’s bday. I’m sticking to this story…) for the last time.  First stop – Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe, of course! Happy hour Chopes are the best way to end a day.  As we’ve sadly realized lately, we were the only cruisers in there.  There just aren’t very many people around anymore.  But the owner’s family was there enjoying dinner. 

I told Alex and Oliver, our usual waitress and waiter, that it would be my last night in town and I was sad that I was going to miss the Karaoke on Thursday.  Oliver told me to come back later tonight and join his family singing Karaoke. He said it was just going to be them but that we’d be very welcome to join.

IMG_0003

Oliver and his cousin bustin out a song.

So we went and ate at our usual taco stand for the last time (Tacos de Lena) and then walked back over to Huanacaxtle for a final chope and a song.  Of course it turned into seven chopes (between the two of us…we weren’t that crazy) and quite a few songs.  Oliver even got me up to sing a Spanish song.  It had a pretty simple tune and gringo-friendly wording, so Oliver just whispered it into my ear and I sang.  It probably wasn’t very good, but everyone made us feel like family and (at least pretended to) loved every minute.

IMG_0017   IMG_0019

Alex, me and Oliver (L); the final bill (that’s in Pesos, so it’s like less than $10 USD for the evening).  Nice parting words from Alex.  (R)

Goodbye Wanna-cocktail…I mean, Huanacaxtle.  Love you guys!

-SME

La Cruz Changes

Coming back to La Cruz after cruising south for a couple of weeks was a unique experience.  It was the first time we’d returned to a port or anchorage that we had already visited.  In a way, it was nice to not have to question where and how to go ashore, where to anchor, where to eat, where to get supplies, etc.  We knew it all!

Or so we thought.

While La Cruz was mostly unchanged, it was now the latter part of the cruising season and some things had changed to adapt to the lack of people.  First of all, the anchorage was bare in comparison to the amount of boats that were there when we left just two weeks prior.  Mostly single-handers at this point, so Dave will fit right in when I return to the States.  It’s been a little sad sitting at anchor with no Charisma, Convivia, Dos Leos or Navigo sitting next to us.  Now I have to play with Dave (LOL…just kidding Capt!).

The morning net solely consists of the weather, tide information and maybe one or two announcements.  One morning we woke up at 8:45a, just missing the start of the 8:30am net.  It was already over.  It used to be that the first 10 minutes were boats checking in!

Also, we learned the hard way that happy hours at our favorite drinking holes have moved from the late afternoon to the evening. Boo.  What happens now when I want a Cesar at 4pm??  The Tuesday and Friday produce market? Moved to Thursday. (Well, maybe only for one week, but still, totally disappointed I couldn’t pick up some fresh calabacitas and jicama). 

One of the more welcoming changes was noticing the lack of dinghy dock fee enforcement.  Sometimes the guard is there to collect your daily 20 pesos, but more recently, there hasn’t been any sign of the guards.  Perhaps it’s not worth it to the marina to pay a man to sit there all day for so few dinghies.  Of course, if they see you, they will run (and I mean RUN) down the dock to collect. Even if you’ve been there all day and are in the process of starting your motor to leave.  I’m tempted to ignore the guard and just motor away, but with so few dinghies coming in, they’d probably figure out who we are and invoke some sort of fine. 

The town plaza renovations were completed during our absence and there’s a celebration going on in La Cruz this week with all activities surrounding the beautiful space.  It was a pile of dirt when we got here in January.  You couldn’t walk through, the streets were a mess with construction, piles of dirt and torn out concrete at every corner…it’s a colorful, peaceful site now. 

IMG_0021   IMG_0023

The completed La Cruz town square.

Along with the plaza is the arrival of a small Kiosko (like a 7Eleven in the states) on Langosta Street leading up to the highway.  While we were super happy to find out that we could recharge our TelCel account there instead of walking all the way up to the OXXO store (another 7Eleven type store), I’m a bit sadden that the sale of drinks and snacks there will push out the lovely mom and pop tiendas in town.  The main one on Delfin Street that has the twice weekly produce market will probably be fine, but what about the one just up the street from the new Kiosko or the one on the next street over (Marlin St.) across from Tacos de Lena? 

I don’t believe I’ll ever sail back down to Bandares Bay after I head back to the States, but I do hope I’ll be back to La Cruz one day.  It’s proven to me to be a much better place to visit than Puerto Vallarta, so I don’t think I could ever come back and stay at a big resort knowing that a quaint little town is just around the corner.  I just wonder what it will look like a year from now. Two years. Ten years from now.  I hope that La Cruz can hang onto what makes it so special to me – it’s small town, cruiser friendly atmosphere.  The marina is in the process of building…something. It’s hard to tell.  At first I just thought they were paving the dirt lot next to the marina office for a parking lot – but after an initial paving of some spots, and erecting structures for banners and signs, I’m unsure what they’re planning next.  I think it would be a shame to build up a huge complex and lose the amazing view of the bay.

IMG_0028   IMG_0030

Banner holders, concrete foundation pads…what are they building at Marina la Cruz?

The face of La Cruz is definitely changing.  People thinking about cruising down here, should hurry up.

-SME

Welcome to Paradise

As I posted here, we docked Camanoe for a little while a couple weeks ago, had a brief stint back in the La Cruz anchorage, and now we’re back in a slip at Paradise Village.  It’s pretty nice to be out of the rolly anchorage, able to hop off and on the boat as I please and take a quick walk to the store, the shower, the pool and pretty much anything else I need.

Thought I’d give you a little pictorial of what we’re enjoying here in Paradise.

Paradise Village 048

Two crocodile (cocodrilos!) slide pools. Very cool. VERY FAST.

Paradise Village 041

It’s sort of a Disney-fied Aztec architecture scheme, but still nice to look at.

Paradise Village 012   Paradise Village 014

They have a little bird habitat on the grounds.  I wish the birds had more space to fly around though; it’s a pretty tiny cage for about a half dozen birds.

Paradise Village 011   Paradise Village 009

Next door to the birds is a tiger habitat.  Diego and Daisy mostly sleep the day away, but sometimes you’ll catch them prowling around the fence line.  Don’t get too close though – they’ll come right up to the bars and sniff ya!

Paradise Village 027   Paradise Village 028

Trees every where with low hanging coconuts, bananas and mangos.  We haven’t picked any yet, but we kinda want to.

Paradise Village 005

Oh yeah – and it wouldn’t be paradise without a good lounge chair out on the beach soaking up the sun.

 

-SME

Pittial Recap

Although we’d been in the Bandares Bay area for over three months and explored all the coastal towns, we really hadn’t checked out any of the neighboring inland towns.  While we were sailing south, friends on s/v Navigo (Bob and Camelia) were still in Bandares Bay and spent a little time checking out the little towns of Jarretaderas and Pittial.  They were excited to share their finds with us upon our return to the bay.

The Jarretaderas recap can be found here.

After our wonderful evening in Jarretaderas, I was excited to check out the next stop on Navigo’s “tour.”  They really liked Pittiall and their stories about the various shops and vendors there made it sound like an excellent place to check out.

Our usual Spanish pronunciation lesson: Pittiall is pronounced as “Pee-Tee-el.”  Or, just think of it as an acronym – P.T.L.

This trip required two busses. The usual “Directo” out of Paradise Village/Nuevo Vallarta and a jump to the “Pittiall” bus at the Walmart.  Once again, without Bob and Camelia we would have been lost, so I’d advise anyone that wanted to explore these inland towns to check with locals or long-time cruisers that know the area before jumping onto the busses.  Even now, I know I’d be able to find the correct busses, but not sure if I’d remember the correct stop in Pittiall (although, if you can speak enough Spanish to ask the bus driver, they usually remember to let you off at the correct stop. OR sometimes other bus riders will jump in and help you).

Turns out, the night we headed into Pittiall, there was a large political rally being staged in the town square.  The place was buzzing with traffic, mobs of people and the night air filled alternatively with loud music or cheering.  We had second thoughts of staying since we’d all been warned at some point about avoiding political protests and/or rallies as a tourist.  But, there wasn’t any sense of unrest in the crowd, mostly it just looked like families out and about and there happened to be some guy in a suit giving a speech.  So we skirted around the square and headed for the taco restaurant Navigo wanted to go to for dinner.

Another great gem.  Honestly, you don’t need a restaurant with a lot of choices – just a place that does a couple of dishes really well.  At this place it was the standard tacos or quesadillas filled with either beef, chicken or pork and your choice of either beer or soda.  However, this was one of the only places we’ve been to with an option of El Pastor.  El Pastor is shaved pork.  In fact, it’s a big hunk of pork usually hanging above a taco stand grill and you an watch them shave your pork off and right onto your taco.  It is delicious and I always order it if I see it on the menu.

El Pitillal (9)

YUM! El Pastor!

After filling up on tacos, we walked to the churros cart that was sitting on the street right outside the restaurant.  How can you resist blobs of fried dough covered in sugar????  Unlike in the states where you get one long strip of dough, here in Mexico they give you a little baggie with six or so small strips.  They’re so crunchy and awesome.  You know they’re going to be good when all the locals are lined up waiting for a fresh baggie.

El Pitillal (6)   El Pitillal (12)   El Pitillal (14)

YUM! Churros! (I’m sensing a pattern to this post…)

Next door was a small shop that Navigo pointed out as the local spice shop.  If only we’d known weeks ago!  Sure you can get most spices and herbs from the larger supermarkets, but there are some spices you can’t find, like curry powder.  This store has it.  It has everything. And nuts, dried fruits and candy on top of that.  Dave and I were recently given curry powder from a friend willing to share their stash, so we really didn’t need anything, but Dave couldn’t resist getting a couple of kilos of dried fruit.

El Pitillal (21)

YUM! Spices…wait…um…Dried Fruit for Dave!

We really didn’t have anything in particular we wanted to do after the spice store, so we just walked around a bit.  I checked out the church on one side of the plaza with it’s very unique statue of Christ suspended from the ceiling.  The four of us poked our heads into the various clothes and zapato (shoe) stores.  At one point the boys walked over to the florist shop and both returned with a rose for us girls.  I guess they do like us!

El Pitillal   El Pitillal (17)

Exterior of Pittiall’s church (L) and the large, suspended Christ statue over the altar (R).

At some point the political rally portion of the evening ended and was replaced by people just milling about and partaking in the yummy treats being sold along the far side of the plaza.  Our favorites were the crepa lady with her decadent, chocolaty, sweet crepes and the fresa vendor with fresh strawberries covered in crema de leche and azucar (cream and sugar).  I was beginning to feel like a weeble wobble doll after all of the evening’s treats!  Somehow we waddled back to the bus stop and headed back towards Paradise.  During the first bus ride out of Pittiall, a local man asked Bob how we found out about Pittiall.  He explained that we’ve been living in the area for a few months and had some other friends that had showed them around.  The man said he was impressed that us gringos would venture out of the tourist area. 

El Pitillal (19)

YUM! Crepas!

Honestly, some of my favorite moments on this adventure has been venturing out of the tourist areas.  I might have enjoyed walking down the Puerto Vallarta malecon in the heart of gringo land, but I’d much rather wander the streets of a small town like La Cruz or Jarretaderas or Pittiall.  It’s so much more interesting and gives you a local view of life in Mexico. 

Now, excuse me while I go take a walk. It’s been over a couple of weeks since we were in Pittiall and I’m still trying to burn off all those calories we ate!  LOL

-SME

Jarretaderas Recap

Although we’d been in the Bandares Bay area for over three months and explored all the coastal towns, we really hadn’t checked out any of the neighboring inland towns.  While we were sailing south, friends on s/v Navigo (Bob and Camelia) were still in Bandares Bay and spent a little time checking out the little towns of Jarretaderas and Pittial.  They were excited to share their finds with us upon our return to the bay.

I’ll recap Jarretaderas here and post about Pittial tomorrow.

I actually wasn’t quite sure where we were heading the evening we set our for Jarretaderas – Bob was having a hard time remembering how to pronounce the name of the town, but after I saw it written down on his map I recalled seeing the sign for the highway exit during our multiple bus rides downtown.  (For the record, it’s pronounced, “Yar-A-tah-dare-us.”)  It was a short bus ride on the “Directo” line from Paradise Village to a stop along the highway.  If we hadn’t had Navigo with us, I don’t think we would have found the correct stop or figured out which dirt road would take us into the town. 

It was just another small town along Highway 200 with seemingly nothing to do.  But, if you really look, or, in our case, go with people in the know, you’ll find fantastic taco stands, wonderful plazas, beautiful churches and small, welcoming family communities.

We had a great time trying out the gorditas served at the “blue tarp” taco stand.  There were only two tables at the little corner stop, which made us wonder what would happen if a few more people showed up to eat – the owner said he had more tables and chairs in his house if he needed to pull them out.  As his wife (we assumed it was his wife…seems to be the case at most of the stands we frequent) grilled and prepared our dishes, we were entertained by their yardbird running around our table and watching the local dogs that made it JUSTCLOSE enough to the property to scare the bird and cause the owners to yell (and possibly throw rocks) at the pups to keep them away.  We asked why they’re chasing the dogs away since we’ve been at plenty of stands where stray dogs are lounging and waiting for clumsy gringos to drop some asada.  The wife told us it’s because those dogs will eat their yardbird,  Which answered my next question of how come they only had one bird (as opposed to the three or four we usually see in peoples’ backyards).

Jarretaderas 011   Jarretaderas 016

The “Blue Tarp” taco stand with it’s two tables (L) and yummy gorditas (R).

After our very filling meal we took off on a walk towards the center of town.  It seems that every town in Mexico has a large town plaza.  They’re all paved with multiple walkways lined with benches and leading up to a covered gazebo.  Lots of space for local markets, concerts, and in the case of Jarretaderas, a little aerobics class with probably the town’s entire female population.  What a sight to see!  A lot of their children played soccer in the walkways while they waited for mom to finish her exercise.  It was such a lovely sight to see; the town, out and about, enjoying the warm evening and utilizing the plaza. 

Jarretaderas 020   Jarretaderas 021  

Jarretaderas’ town square (L) and the women of Jarretaderas feelin’ the burn! Not sure if it was Zumba, but it was some form of aerobic dance class (R).

On one of the corners of the plaza was the town church.  We’ve seen a lot of great churches here in Mexico, but I think the one in Jarretaderas is hands down the prettiest.

Jarretaderas 026   Jarretaderas 031   Jarretaderas 032  Jarretaderas 037

The town church all decorated for Easter; I loved the ceiling mural and beautifully carved doors.

While Camelia and I checked out the church, the boys stayed outside and befriended a couple of the youngsters kicking a soccer ball around.  I wasn’t there, but apparently Bob accidentally tripped one kid trying to get to the ball and then, also completely on accident, kicked the ball and it hit another kid sitting on the sidelines unaware that the ball was coming at him.  Dave kicked the ball a little too hard and it soared right into a lamppost and on a second attempt kicked the ball well outside of the plaza and down the street.  Although they were smiling and laughing, I think the kiddos were probably happy to see us walk away. 😉

Jarretaderas 038

Bob and the soccer kids. 

Tomorrow…how we ate our way through Pittiall.

 

-SME

Hanging Out in Paradise

Camanoe was due for a bath. A good one.  We hadn’t been in a marina with the ability to give her a fresh water bath since we were in Mazatlan at the end of December.  Four months without a bath.  Poor girl looked a wreck.

So last week we took Camanoe and docked her at Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta.  It’s fairly cheap (about $26/day) and gives us unlimited water use, (sort of) hot* showers, close proximity to Costco so we could restock the boat and a dozen amenities including use of the resort’s pools, (semi) hot* tubs, beach and games.

Paradise Village 045   Paradise Village 046

Our other incentive was that Bob and Camelia on s/v Navigo were docked in Paradise as well and were only going to be in Mexico for another week before flying home for the summer.  This would be our last chance to hang out and it’s so much nicer to be able to walk down the dock to their boat than have to dinghy over across an anchorage or bus over from La Cruz.

We’ve been having lots of fun checking out the little towns in this area with the Navigos and I’ll touch on them in later posts – just wanted to let ya’ll know where we are and that we’re immensely enjoying our time in Paradise. 🙂

Paradise Village 001

* hot = luke warm at best for both showers and hot tubs. Maybe Mexicans don’t like hot water at their resorts????

-SME

Tenacatita Recap

Our guidebook said Tenacatita was a cruiser’s dream come true. Turquoise waters, white, sandy beach and lots of fun beach activities.  Well, it was a bust for us.  The skies were overcast during our time there, the waters were murky, and with only a couple of other cruising boats hanging out, there weren’t ANY beach activities or really anything to do.  We thought we’d be able to take a bus over to La Manzanilla across the bay, but apparently you need to either anchor your boat over there and endure a rolly anchorage or motor over with your dinghy, which was impossible with our dying motor.  Tenacatita is simply a beach. Not even a town. Just a small patch of beach.  And unless you have warm weather and nice water, there’s nothing fun to do.

We were there for Palm Sunday, thus, no church services available for me.  Guess I didn’t plan that so well. Would have been nice to see how the Holy Days are celebrated by the locals.  However, what we did see were dozens of local families camping on the beach for what we assumed was their equivalent of spring break.  They were all just hanging out on the shoreline of the lagoon and in their tents – we kind of felt like spectacles when we were walking around the shoreline – obviously we were the only gringos in town.

The guidebook also recommends taking your dinghy into the lagoon and exploring the nearby estuary.  We figured we could do this with our motor since you don’t have to go fast or deal with waves in the lagoon.  We got through the sandbar into the lagoon during high tide, but we weren’t sure how long high tide was going to last, so we just kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn’t have to drag the dinghy back when we finished our little self tour.  We ended up being fine and motored all the way back out.

Tenacatita 014

Starting out on the estuary tour. Wide open and peaceful.

We spent a good couple of hours heading into the jungle, admiring birds and keeping a watch out for any cocodrilos!  No crocs to be found, but no other people or pangas either. We kept going farther and farther and deeper and deeper and everything looked and seemed okay until the pathway REALLY narrowed.  The guidebook said it would narrow towards the end, but that there should be enough space for one of the big pangas to get through…at one point, we crossed some low-hanging branches that would have seriously hindered a panga and I told Dave, “That’s it, we’re turning around.” Our little dinghy could barely fit into the space.

Tenacatita 011     Tenacatita 027  Tenacatita 030

Birds in the jungle (top photos); and the pathway narrows (bottom).

We knew were hadn’t missed a turn-off or anything, but we couldn’t figure out where the estuary tour stopped.  We were told it would empty out into a small lagoon where there would be pangas and a place to tie up your dinghy and go ashore to explore the small town of Punta Hermanos.  We were looking forward to grabbing a few produce items before heading back towards Tenacatita.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  Dave wanted to press farther, but I just didn’t have a good feeling.  About halfway back to Tenacatita we came across the first panga we’d seen in the estuary.  It was a large boat with lots of Mexican tourists and a guide.  We asked the guide if they were heading to the lagoon and he said “No. Closed.”  Well, I guess that explains why we couldn’t find it and why everything was so overgrown heading in that direction!  (The tours only go looking for birds and jungle animals now instead of going all the way to Punta Hermanos.)

Oh well. We must just have been too late in the season, because other boats we’ve talked to said they really enjoyed the relaxing and fun activities in Tenacatita while they were there earlier in the year.

The highlight of our Tenacatita experience was Dave climbing a palm tree (albeit, a short one) to get two coconuts.  We took them and made a yummy coco rum drink for our daily happy hour and gin rummy game in Camanoe’s cockpit.  Too bad no one else was around to enjoy it with us.

Tenacatita 010

Capt with his cocos.  The tree he climbed is directly behind him – he was so quick about it I didn’t have time to get my camera out!

-SME

Santiago Bay Tiangui

I was excited to see in our guidebook that the weekly Tiangui (or flea market) that comes to the small town of Santiago was going to be on Saturday when we’d still be in town.

Santiago Bay 006

Lagoon Juluapan entrance from Santiago Bay.  Camanoe is anchored in the background.

We’ve missed a couple of these kinds of markets while on our sail south.  Not that we really need to buy anything, but they’re a lot of fun to visit and spend a day wandering around with the locals.  Usually there are good tacos or bebidas (drinks) to try and lots and lots of randomness to photograph.

We’re anchored in Playa la Boquita on the opposite side of Santiago Bay from the town of Santiago proper.  The day before the market we thought we’d check out the town and get our bearings. We wandered down the curving, dusty road that snakes behind the beach and through the gringo vacation home area.  It was probably almost two miles of walking up to the highway where we could catch a bus into Santiago.  We hopped on the first bus that said Santiago – it was route #3.  We ran into a vacationing Canadian couple later in the day at a restaurant that recognized us and said they saw us boarding the bus and realized too late that they should have told us to wait for route #1, which is much more direct.  But where’s the fun in not getting lost EVERY TIME we get on the dang bus..??!?  Sigh.  Anyway, route #3 DID get us to Santiago and the bus driver stopped at the town square and made sure we got off since this is where we’d asked to be let off.  Route #3 takes you up and around a mountain and then down into Santiago while Route #1 just follows the main highway that runs along the beach.  It’s about a 20 minute difference.  Doh.

Santiago Bay 009

Dusty road was not the best option.

Our other mistake that day was the walk on that dusty, windy road.  We were trying to avoid walking the beachline as we had done in Melaque trying to get to Barra de Navidad.  We’d had such a hard walk on that beach that I think we were a little intimated to try to do a similar walk in Santiago.  But fellow cruisers, David and Roz on s/v Barefoot, told us that the beach was an easy walk, with really compact sand. After about 20 minutes you come to a large, white staircase that leads you directly up to the highway and the buses.  Totally cut down on almost an hour of walking!  We really need to ask more people for their suggestions before we start exploring!

Anyway, Saturday morning we were all prepared for a shorter beach walk and a faster bus ride to the flea market. (I’m going to note here, since no other blogs or mentions of the Tiangui online or in the guidebooks tell you the hours of the market.  It runs from 9am to 6pm.)

Size-wise, this market is the biggest one I’ve seen.  Quality-wise, it’s not great, but it is entertaining.  A lot of the clothing vendors are just Goodwill or Salvation army clothes. Some people look like they’ve just rummaged through their garages or sheds and brought out whatever crap they want to get rid of.  But some of the Mexican crafts, pottery, ceramics, rugs, tablecloths, jewelry, etc, were very nice and I liked looking at the various items.  I picked up some necklaces and even Dave picked up some souvenirs.  I still haven’t been able to find a Mexican tablecloth that I like enough to purchase or that is at a reasonable price.  There was one in Barra de Navidad that I probably should have bought; it had most of the colors I want (brighter the better!) and was only 120 pesos.  The tablecloth vendors at the Santiago Tiangui were all asking 300 pesos or more and wouldn’t barter lower.  Total rip-off.  I’m going to have to check out one of the Puerto Vallarta markets again when we get back to Banderas Bay.

Santiago Bay 017  

Plastic toys galore…

Santiago Bay 016

Locals trying to find a bargain on clothes…

Santiago Bay 012

Easter dresses?

Santiago Bay 010 

The largest bowl of pico de gallo I’ve ever seen.

  Santiago Bay 014 

Dave’s new sunglasses. Spiffy.  Hope these don’t go overboard like the others…

  Santiago Bay 018

Pregnant Barbie dolls…??????????

We ran back into s/v Barefoot while we were eating some yummy burritos and they recommended that we check out one of the carnecerias up the street.  Up till now, Dave and I have avoided purchasing meat from the meat markets.  We look and ponder and then end up going to one of the regular grocery stores to purchase any meat.  I’m the same way back home; I don’t know what to tell the butcher, so how am I supposed to do it with a language barrier??  But we’ve both been craving ribs.  We found ribs back in Mazatlan at Sam’s Club, but since then, we haven’t recognized beef or pork ribs at any of the markets we go to.  We thought we’d check out the carneceria and if they had ribs then we’d bite the bullet and go for it.

Dave had to use a little gesturing on his body in order to get across that we wanted ribs, but the butcher understood, pointed at a slab of beef hanging from the ceiling and said it was 70 pesos a kilo.  DONE.  Dave asked for two kilos, which I thought was a bit much, but it gave us two, good-sized racks of ribs, so two dinners worth at about $12 USD.  Nice.

Santiago Bay 022   Santiago Bay 023

Carneceria (top) and dinner on the scale (bottom).

We pressure cooked the ribs, along with some fresh corn on the cob that we grabbed at the produce market next to the carneceria, some rice and the last of Dave’s pressure cooker bread.  This type of cruising isn’t doing anything for my waistline.  LOL

We’ll head out tomorrow for Ensenada Carrizal just five miles north and then probably up to Tenacatita a day or two after that.  Looking forward to it!

-SME