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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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. 

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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).

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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. 

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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.

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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. 😉

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Bob and the soccer kids. 

Tomorrow…how we ate our way through Pittiall.

 

-SME

Yelapa Fun

After almost two months anchored in La Cruz, we FINALLY weighed anchor and headed to our next port.  It was only just across the Bay (Banderas Bay) to the small town of Yelapa, but at least it was SOMEWHERE.

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Goodbye La Cruz! We’ll see you in a couple weeks!

Yelapa is unique in that you can only get to the town by boat or an animal along the horse or donkey variety.  It’s also known for it’s great hikes ending at waterfalls.  We convinced s/vs Charisma and Dos Leos to come along for the hiking fun.  This would be our last hurrah with both boats as Charisma plans to start their puddle jump journey to the Marquesas before we return to La Cruz and Dos Leos will be heading back north to La Paz before heading back to California.  We know we’ll eventually see these wonderful people again back in Cali, but this was our last port in Mexico with people we’ve been cruising with since the HaHa last fall.

Our little trio left La Cruz mid-morning and made good time motoring across the bay and made it into Yelapa’s little alcove by early afternoon.  While you can anchor at Yelapa, it’s quite difficult to find a spot that’s shallow enough and not in the way of all the panga rental moorings, so it’s just easier to pay the 200 pesos a night and tie up to one of the moorings.  The panga drivers come out as soon as they spot you (we couldn’t even see the moorings yet when a ponga came out to greet us) and lead you to their mooring, help you tie up and then give you a ride to shore. 

We had a quick lunch and then decided that since it was only 3pm or so that we’d attempt to do the longer hike up to the bigger waterfall.  Our waiter said it was about an hour and a half hike, pointed us in the right direction and we went off on a pretty clear path through town, over a bridge and up through more town before we hit the real hiking up the mountains.  Early on we were taking photos left and right of the houses, roaming animals, rocky landscape and even broken gates (ahem…Bob on Dos Leos).  But after a good hour and a half of walking, we started getting serious about just getting to the darn waterfall and making it back before the sun started to set.

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Crossing the bridge (top left); One of the hundreds of dogs we saw along our way, just chillin’ (top right); River bed (bottom left) with one of the palapa houses along the shore (bottom right).

We got to our first river crossing probably a little over an hour into the hike and we ran into a couple coming back from the waterfall.  The man said to keep going up and we’d come to a gate.  He said we could go left and the trail would bring us down and then up to the big waterfall. Or he said we could go right and continue to smaller waterfalls that culminate in a lagoon area.  We asked how much farther and he said, maybe 15 more minutes.  Sounded correct to us, so we kept going, crossed another river and then hiked, and hiked, and hiked.  Up and up we went, and no gate.  We had passed locals with mules that you can rent to take you up to the waterfall (which, we thought we didn’t need) and so we followed the hoof prints through a third river crossing and up to where there were a couple of very small waterfalls (really just cascades) and a lot of flat rocks that looked like a nice place for a picnic.  Dave ran ahead to see if he could find this infamous gate, but it had been at least another half hour since we’d seen the couple back at the first river and getting close to 5pm.  If we had two hours of hiking back down to the town, then we needed to get going.  Dave came back and said he thought he found the gate, but couldn’t figure out where the waterfall would be from there, so we headed back, a bit disappointed that we’d gone so far and not found what we had set out for.

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Bob from s/v Dos Leos makes the leap over the first river crossing…no problems here!

On our way back down the mountain, paying more attention the trail and less on our picture taking, we came across a gate that was parallel to the trail.  It had a small green arrow on the bottom board and etched, very small, into the top board was the word “waterfall.” 

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Um, I’m sorry, the broken gate was our turnoff point???  Yeah, can’t believe we missed that! 

Feeling even more disappointed that we missed our turnoff and now didn’t have time to explore this new trail before dark, we kept heading down towards town and back to the boats.

The original plan had been to stay for one day and night in Yelapa and then in the morning take the shorter trail through the other side of town to the small waterfall (only a 20 minute walk), and then Charisma and Dos Leos would head back to La Cruz in the afternoon while Dave and I prepared for our sail around Cabo Corrientes and out of Banderas Bay.

Since we only had the mooring until noon the next day, we all decided that maybe we should spend another full day checking out Yelapa and stay another night.  We walked through more of the town and up to the small waterfall, which really was only about 20 minutes of walking, and then all of us agreed that we’d gone too far yesterday to not go back and find the darn waterfall.

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Dave at the smaller waterfall in town (left); The whole group at the smaller waterfall (courtesy of Charisma) (right).

So off we set again.  Passing through town, passing all the same dogs and horses and cattle that were there the day before, passing all the pretty stones and gates and homes and just passing everything as we marched straight ahead to that darn gate.

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This time going THROUGH the gate.

Good thing we hadn’t tried to find the waterfall after we found the gate the day before because we still had a good 45 minute hike in front of us after we went through the gate.  My feet and legs and rear end muscles were all screaming at me to stop and rest, but we just HAD to get there.  Finally (after a small detour down a trail that ended up not being a trail), we heard rushing water and after we cleared some rocks and brush we found ourselves in front of a lagoon with a very powerful waterfall coming down in the corner.  We had the place to ourselves and wasted no time jumping in and enjoying the cool water. 

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Bigger waterfall and cool lagoon (left) with Dave claiming the waterfall for Camanoe (courtesy of Charisma) (right).

So, two days, probably about 16 miles of hiking (eight miles the first day and maybe a little more than eight the second day), and two waterfalls.  Yelapa – we came, we saw, and I feel like we conquered.

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Safe travels to our buddies from Charisma and Dos Leos – we miss you already!

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Some fav shots: Bob from s/v Charisma with Deanne and Bob from s/v Dos Leos at the bonfire in Muertos back in November (top left); Bob with us on the dock in La Paz after Thanksgiving dinner (bottom left); the whole crew (minus Bob) on Charisma for a potluck and a mean game of CatchPhrase in La Cruz (bottom right).  [This trio of photos courtesy of Charisma]

-SME

Escapees Board Camanoe

This story has been sitting in the back burner of my mind for about three weeks.  Not sure why I keep failing to tell it here because I’ve already told it to all our friends here in La Cruz.  (And if Convivia is reading this – HOPE YOU DON’T MIND ME SHARING).

So, Dave and I were working on boat projects one day (like every day).  Dave was outside on deck and I was down below figuring out how to make the sewing machine work in my favor.

Dave yells down to me, “I think the Convivia kids are escaping.”

I look out the hatch and sure enough, the cute kids from s/v Convivia are in their dinghy, but the dinghy is getting farther and farther away from Convivia. 

This doesn’t seem right to me.  While their dad had recently told me he showed Ruby (7…and a half. Can’t forget the half) how to start the dinghy motor, I was pretty sure that since neither parent was on deck supervising this dinghy adventure that perhaps they weren’t supposed to have left the boat.  Plus Ruby was trying to start the outboard while it was already in gear – so they’d float while she pulled and pulled on the cord and then it would eventually kickstart and send Ruby and Miles (4) flying back into the stern.

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Have you seen these escapees?  They’re armed and very cute.

I ran back downstairs and called for Convivia on the radio. No answer and by this time the kids had floated/half-motored their way over near our boat.  I ran back up on deck and waved them down and invited them on board for a game of Uno.  Of course, this was just a ploy to get them safely tied to us and out of the water.

Miles was enjoying squirting me with his water gun filled with salt water and Ruby was excitedly talking about taking the dinghy for a ride.  Dave at that point had resumed calling Convivia and let their mom know that the kids were safe and that one of us would take them back in a bit. But for the time being, we decided to have a little fun. (Their mom later told me that she was glad for the break because she was able to vacuum the whole boat without interruption. Glad I could help!)

We played a couple games of Uno and then Ruby taught me how to play Crazy 8s before Miles started getting restless and wanted to go back home.  Ruby invited me to come back with them to color and Miles wanted me to “come shee my towys.”

So I got the kids into their lifejackets and put them into their dinghy.  I got in, and like I do with our own dinghy, cast off so we could start the motor without hitting any of our lines (we have a flopper-stopper line that could definitely foul up someone’s engine).  But, since they have a different motor than I’m used to and Ruby wasn’t able to get it started either, I soon realized we had floated quite a bit away from Camanoe and in the opposite direction of Convivia.

They have oars on their dinghy, so I just started rowing.  But unlike Camanoe’s dinghy, their oars aren’t really made for rowing in the strong current that had picked up that afternoon.  The only good part about the oars and my rowing was that at least we were treading water. Thus, NOT ending up on the rocks on the beach.

At that point both Dave and Tucker from Convivia had noticed our little problem.  Tucker couldn’t do anything but watch, but Dave jumped into our dinghy and started heading towards us.

Dave got their motor started and soon we were flying over towards Convivia.  Unfortunately, Ruby cut the engine a little too soon, so there I was again, with two small children, desperately trying to row them to safety while all their parents could do was watch.

Eventually we made it close enough to Convivia that we were able to toss them a line and secure the dinghy.  We headed downstairs where I got the royal treatment…literally.  Ruby and I played dress-up where I was the queen, complete with tiara, and she was a princess. Miles kept wanting to show me his Legos and other toys.  All three of us sat down to color and before I left I got to read them some stories in hopes of getting Miles to take a nap/have some quiet time.

It was a really nice day not spent in front of the sewing machine and I’m so glad I didn’t lose their children to the sea. 

-SME

Tacos in the Backyard Forms a Band

Have I mentioned Tacos in the Backyard yet?  (Not to be confused with Tacos in the Street.)  Tacos in the Backyard is our nickname for a little backyard taco stand called “Tacos de Lena.”  (Funnier…friends on s/v Deep Playa said they call Tacos de Lena, “Tacos in the Barnyard.”  Same difference.)

We found this little gem through friends on s/v Bella Star and s/v Ventured.  Best. Recommendation. Ever.

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“Tacos de Lena” – AKA – Tacos in the Backyard – with s/vs Bella Star, Ventured and Jace last month.

They serve tacos for 10 pesos. That’s less than a $1 USD per taco.  We each have four to five tacos, plus GRANDE beers for under $10 USD total for the two of us.  Best. Place. Ever.

We’ve been there often; at least a couple times a week since we got to La Cruz.  We’ve made friends with owner Pedro. His daughter recognizes me when we see each other out and about in La Cruz.  Small town. Gotta love it.

So we took s/v Navigo there for our last dinner out in La Cruz since they hadn’t been there yet.  It was everything we promised them and more.  The tacos were the usual yummy, cheapo goodness.  We were enjoying the evening when all of a sudden a van showed up outside the backyard fence and locals with various instruments started piling out.

“Che es esto??”, we asked Pedro.  He said something in Spanish, but we couldn’t figure out what his reply was.  The cerveza he was sipping might have had something to do with the translation problem.

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Anyway, drums, a guitar, an accordion and a tuba start to jam in the backyard.  Pedro sees how much we’re enjoying the music and tells the tuba player to go out to our table and serenade us.

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He does.

Soon there’s dancing and then the locals also eating there invite us gringos to dance with them.  I tell Camelia I’ll go if she goes. We march right up to the band and then they make us dance in the middle of their circle.  Um….we didn’t want to be the center of attention.  But it’s all in good fun. 

I ask Pedro in broken Spanglesh…”Celebration?  Um…Feliz…???”  And he says, “Si, si!  Mi amiga!” And points to a table of girls nearby.  One girl yells, “Mi cumpleanos!”  So I started singing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish, except, I know it in Italian better and kept getting “te” mixed up with “tu.”  Oops

I asked her…”Venti Uno?”  She looked about 25, but thought I’d play it safe and ask her if she was 21.  Thank God I did! She was turning 22.  Oops.

We tell Pedro goodbye, promising we’ll return in “un mes” (one month).  I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to find a better taco place. We’ll be leaving for Yelapa and towns south soon, so we figured that night was a great way to end our time in La Cruz. 

-SME

La Cruz Moments – Part Dos

As we prepare to weigh anchor and head south towards Barra de Navidad, here are a couple more La Cruz moments that we won’t be forgetting any time soon.

DOCK DRAMA:
While we do LOVE La Cruz, there was a bit of drama a couple of weeks ago when the marina here decided to impose a dinghy dock fee to those of us anchored out.  This isn’t a horrible thing; we’ve been to numerous marinas along the coast and baja and while most have been free, the occasional, and very nominal fee does pop up.  Nominal meaning somewhere between 10 and 30 pesos.

So here we are, listening to the morning cruisers’ net and the marina spokeswoman announces nonchalantly with her other daily announcements, “…and lastly, today is the start of a new dinghy dock fee. $5 (USD) in order to tie up to the dock. Thanks.”

Oh, the uproar!  At $5 USD, or 67 pesos, that’s twice the amount of the highest dinghy dock fee we’d had prior (in Cabo).  It’s also the amount we spend for one of us to have dinner at our favorite taco place (food AND large beer). In La Paz in the Sea of Cortez, the dock fee is $15 pesos daily and that includes garbage drop-off and potable water and security for our dinghies.  La Cruz wasn’t going to provide any of that with this new fee.  We were afraid we’d have to move on from La Cruz, because we couldn’t afford to pay $5 USD every time we wanted to go ashore

After much complaining and then gathering together as a group and talking with the marina owner and manager, both sides agreed to 20 pesos for a 24-hr period (including garbage drop-off).  Everyone listened to each sides’ concerns and reasoning and things seem to have settled down. 

In hindsight, Dave and I are unhappy with the way the marina treated the cruisers.  We don’t have a problem with a fee being imposed. A FAIR fee. But the way the whole thing was handled was really shady and made us feel very unwelcome.  We had considered going into the La Cruz marina for a couple of days to stock up and power up the boat, but we really don’t need to, and if we do, there are a couple of other marinas in the area that we’d rather patron first.

This hasn’t changed our opinion of La Cruz or the wonderful locals we’ve met and we’re glad that the marina’s politics haven’t affected the economy of this small town, which is what surely would have happened had the $5 fee stood.

HAPPIER MOMENTS:
OK, so onto happier memories…With other cruiser friends in town, every night can turn into a great party.  And as a cruiser…pretty much everyone is your friend.

Bob and Camelia on s/v Navigo sailed back into La Cruz a couple weeks ago. We hadn’t seen them in over a month and we were so happy to get to spend a little time catching up with them.  One of their first nights in town I joined them at Ana Banana’s – a restaurant in La Cruz that Dave and I had somehow skipped our first month in town.  They always have live music and there have been rumors of free tequila shots.  So I tried it out with Navigo on a Monday night when the band Pacific Rock Company was playing.  This band was awesome.  Someone told us the band has been playing there every Monday night for eight years.  Not sure how this is possible when the guitar player looks like he’s 15….but it doesn’t matter, because they rocked it.  We danced and sang along until midnight.

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Pacific Rock Company before the crowd hit the dance floor.  Three guys; awesome tunes.

ATTACKING TREES:
Dave and I checked out Ana’s later in the week just for dinner because it really is quite nice on their patio under all the trees.  Too bad the trees started attacking us. 

We’re sitting there enjoying the evening and our dinners when all of a sudden I feel something fall onto my forehead.  I quickly brush it away, but I accidentally brush it INTO my food.  Lo and behold, a small, but fast, centipede.  He quickly crawls to safety under my french fries. I shriek.  I practically brush all the french fries to the floor trying to get the little buggar off my plate, all the while, people at adjoining tables are looking.  I smile; situation now under control and everyone returns to their conversations.

Not even a minute later and something falls from the trees onto our table right beside both our plates.  I shriek again.  A small piece of fruit or nut from the tree above has crashed onto the table and then rolled onto the floor.

I still like Ana’s, but every time we go now, I pick a spot clear of the trees.  Now I’m just waiting for a bird to come crap on us.

 

Spotted on the Street:
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Gremlin.  Me Gusto.

 

Girls Destroy Guys in Catch Phrase Marathon:
With tequila shots on the line for the losers of each round, things were definitely tense onboard s/v Charisma the other night.  As you can tell from the photos….

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C’mon! You know, the thing, with the thing…”

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Wha…??”

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“Who’s team am I on?”

J/K guys…you were good sports…especially when Ann was dealing out your medicine.

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AND IN OTHER NEWS:

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Nice hat.

 

-SME

Puerto Vallarta Photos

Now that friends on s/v Charisma have joined us in La Cruz, we’ve had more reasons to go explore Bandares Bay.  Well, I haven’t needed reasons, but with friends along to explore it’s easier to convince the Capt to abandon his projects for a day for some tourist fun.

Charisma posted a great entry on their blog about our PV adventure…I’m feeling bummish today and will just post pics…so take a look at the story HERE and enjoy the visual story below. 🙂

All photos are also posted up on my Flickr page (see column to the right >——->——->)

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Huichol artist (pronounced Witch-hol) at the open market in downtown Puerto Vallarta.  Beautiful pieces where the artist sews each little bead one at a time to create wonderful patterns and designs.

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Lunch break: Bob from s/v Charisma with one of the quesadillas we bought from a street vendor. Came with full pieces of green onions.  So delicious, and no one wanted to sit next to us on the bus.

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Malecon statues.  Each one very unique.

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One of the churches we checked out. 

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Here’s what’s happening here; five guys climb up a tall pole so one guy can play his flute while the other four fall off the pole backwards and spin downwards until their rope unravels and drops them to the ground below.  What??

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Suspension bridges over the Rio Cuale.  More seasick here than on the boat.

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The empty bus and our bus driver.  Something got lost in translation and we ended up very far from where we wanted to be.  See Charisma’s post for the full story.

All in all…a great day exploring Puerto Vallarta!

-SME

La Cruz Moments (in Brief)

As I mentioned in my long post about being long-term cruisers in La Cruz, we love it here, and yet, at the end of the day, I don’t feel like there’s anything that I NEED to blog about.  It’s all enjoyable and when I think back on all our taco outings and late nights at Huanacaxtle Bar and various amusing happenings around town, it makes me realize that I SHOULD be posting these random thoughts.  If not for your entertainment, at least for my own benefit when I’m back to normal life and want to remember our wonderful time here.

In no particular order…here are some of our most fun times.

Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe Fun:
Every Thursday night is live music followed by karaoke at our favorite local spot, Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe.  We’ve gone a couple of times while here in La Cruz but for some reason, two weeks ago (also s/v Charisma’s first night in town) they announced that the karaoke would be a contest with some sort of prize at the end (I never figured out what the prize actually was).  We were with s/v Charisma as well as s/v Journey and had a great time singing and laughing and of course, drinking their cheap draft beer.  Tami from s/v Journey and I were chosen as two out of the dozen finalists (basically, anyone that sang became a finalist).  In order to chose the winner they had all the finalists sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” together while the karaoke host stuck a mic in our faces throughout the song.  It was both ridiculous and very fun.  Neither Tami nor I won the contest, but we had a good time anyway.

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Huanacaxtle also has a weekly all you can eat buffet on Saturdays with live, local music.  We hadn’t planned to drop in, but after some cocktails aboard Charisma and dinghying to shore, I had to use the bano and Huanacaxtle was very convenient.  I stopped in and when I left the bathroom our clan had already decided that the buffet and music was a better option than the taco place we had originally set out for.  What a night.  Live music turned into dancing, turned into a conga line, turned into a “play along with the band with these random percussion instruments.”  The two margaritas per person included with our buffet dinner didn’t have anything to do with the fun at all.

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(Top to bottom) The band at Huanacaxtle Bar…yes, that’s a harp; Dave shaking it; Conga dancing with Charisma bringing up the tail end; Oliver from Huanacaxtle with another round of margaritas for Ann and me.

Free Cocos

These pictures just say everything.

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Ash Wednesday:

Being good Catholics, Ann from s/v Charisma and I went to the La Cruz church last Wednesday to get our ashes.  We had been told that there would be masses at 8am and 8pm or you can just go to an ash service either at 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm or 3pm.  We got to the noon service about 5 minutes late and noticed that there were only a handful of people in the pews and all of them already had ashes on their foreheads.  Did we miss the whole service???  That didn’t seem right, so we just sat in the pews for a couple minutes to see if maybe the last service had gone long and the next one just hadn’t started yet.  Then a mother and her two small children came in the church and went straight up to the alter, bowed and then proceeded to administer their own ashes.  You ash yourself?!?!  Ok, we thought. So Ann and I got up, blessed each other with the typical “Remember you are dust and from dust you shall return,” and applied the ashes.  Quickest Ash Wednesday service I’ve ever been to.

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Ash Wednesday…help yourself.

Hecho:

There’s a sweet dog that roams the streets near the Huanacaxtle and Ana Banana bars.  Last night we stopped at Ana’s for a couple beers and to listen to the rockin’ band.  Lo and behold here comes the cute dog.  He followed us back to the dinghy dock that night and we sadly left him behind.  Dave and I want a dog.  If this one keeps coming around, we may just have to persuade him into the dinghy and up into Camanoe (although this could prove difficult since he doesn’t respond to any commands whether in English or Spanish).  We don’t know if he already has a name, but we’ve nicknamed him Hecho.  What’s “hecho” you ask?  It means “made.”  As in, he’s made in Mexico. 

La Cruz 155

Siéntese Hecho. Siéntese. Buen Perro.

I’ve got a couple more of these random stories…more to come.

-SME

Good Times in La Cruz

Yes, I need to update the blog on San Blas, Chacala, Jaltemba and now La Cruz, but we had fun last night (our first night in La Cruz) catching up with cruising friends and I thought I’d share a little video.

Karaoke in La Cruz

 

Singers include Nicole and Aaron from s/v BellaStar, Jenn from s/v Ventured, and Ben and Mickey (lead singer) from s/v Chase.

Awesome. I liked the “whoo-ing” the best.  I’m sure the natives in attendance got a big kick out of the gingos.

-SME

Oceanside, CA

I’m beginning to think that I’m causing the non-existent wind patterns.  When I was taking my classes at OCSC in Berkeley, the wind would always fade away as soon we I hit the bay.  I was a curse!

Poor Dave. All he wants to do is sail (instead of motor), but it really just isn’t working out to our advantage.  We tried to sail out of Dana Point.  There seemed to be wind.  But as soon as we left the harbor, whatever wind was there completely died.  We attempted the spinnaker sail again now that we have a proper whisker pole (thanks to Dave’s multiple trips to Minney’s in Newport Beach), but we were barely making a knot.  So down it came and we turned on the motor again.

Our friends on S/V Way She Goes had to hurry and get to San Diego for work stuff, so we sadly bid them farewell and hope to meet up again either in San Diego in a few days, or, if not, we’ll try to meet down in Mexico at some point.  S/V Navigo stayed with us and followed us to Oceanside.  They were a good mile or so behind and seemed to be able to catch what little wind there was.  Bob radioed to us that he was making about 3 kts with his spinnaker.  We thought about raising our spinnaker again, but at that point we spotted the break water leading into Oceanside marina, so we figured there was no point and just motored the rest of the way in.

Oceanside yacht club has a nice dock in the marina that we were able to tie up to and Navigo rafted up next to us.  With power, water, hot showers, WiFi and laundry facilities, it was like a resort!  All for free because of our yacht club membership.

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Dave did a bunch of projects on the boat while I handled the laundry and called my family…I’ll see if I can get him to write a post about what he’s been up to.

Today we took a LONG walk with Bob and Camelia over to the Oceanside Pier.  It’s supposedly one of the longest wooden piers in  California.  Dave and I thought the Berkeley Pier was MUCH longer, but there were some entertaining sites along Oceanside’s pier.

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We had a very nice time wandering around the city.  We stopped in at some various thrift stores and Bob found a music store where he bought a new Ukulele.  I’ve been helping him with his music theory and as soon as I finish this post I’m going to go next door and see how he’s doing tuning up the new toy and see if he’s learned any new notes.

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Bob from S/V Navigo with his new Ukulele. And a Hawaiian print shirt bought at one of the stores we went to.  Fun times!

Tomorrow we’re bound for Mission Bay (just north of San Diego) where we plan to stay for a day or two before heading to San Diego until the Ha-Ha festivities begin.  Wish us luck and some good wind tomorrow!!

-SME