Monday, November 21, 2016

From One World to Another

Mt. Tetakawi towers over the main drag of San Carlos, Mexico 

Chris and I put Espiritu in dry dock in San Carlos and went from One World to Another -- to Southern California to renew our visas and reconnect with family and friends.

Fallen oak leaves accumulate on the water at our Green Valley Lake Home in 
Southern California's San Bernardino Mountains 

It rained not once, but twice during our fall stay. Every drop of water is a blessing in 
drought-ridden California -- especially during autumn!

We went provisioning in nearby Big Bear and saw this crazy sight in a parking lot:

If only that dog could talk...

On election day we walked to our polling place in our little mountain town. 

We were told we had requested mail in ballots (we hadn't). We were told the mail in ballots were mailed to us (they weren't.). We were then told we could not vote.

After an emotional appeal, we were given "provisional ballots." (whatever those are).

We got "I voted" stickers, although I'm not at all sure our votes were ever counted.

And yes, we were (and are) devastated by the election result. "God help us all" is my
 stock answer to every election related question from here on out. :-/ 

We shook off our malaise and shock with a musical jam in town. 

So grateful for music and good friends. Love you guys... XOXO 

It was an eventful month at home. We went to a wedding and a funeral, and
 I got to meet my niece Charlie for the first time. 

Babysitting baby Charlie with my sister Kirsten 

Hanging out with my 81 year old mom as she tinkles the ivories

This is a giant chunk of my SoCal family (but not all of them, by a longshot). 
I got to see almost everybody, so color me grateful. 

But soon it was time to return to Mexico, and to Espiritu, who was patiently 
waiting on the hard in the San Carlos boatyard.

Next up: two days of planes, trains and rental cars to get from SoCal to San Carlos, Mexico. 

San Carlos, Mexico. #wearehere 

After crossing the border in TJ, we had a very early flight to Hermosillo (near San Carlos).

Our flight was so early ("HOW EARLY WAS IT?")... was so early that the airport Starbucks was closed 
when we arrived at 4:45 for our flight.

A dark airport Starbucks at 4:45AM = heartbreak

Chris loves his fiddle so much that he insists on carrying it with him rather
 than checking it when we travel. 

Chris and his fiddle on the tarmac

We always get one or two jokes about his "rifle" from airport workers. Not sure if this makes us safer or more likely to arouse suspicion. Ah, well. We've had no problems so far. 

After a couple of days of travel, we arrived at the San Carlos dry dock where Espiritu waited.

We're in there somewhere

Life on the hard in dry dock is not glamorous. There's no running water so you can't cook or do dishes. And you have to walk like 200 yards every time you want to use the ladies room.

Regardless, we were happy to climb into the v-berth our first night back.

The sound of thousands (millions?) of crickets chirping in the desert surrounding the yard was deafening that first night. 

Then, later that same evening, I was awakened from a deep sleep by the eerie calls of an Owl.

 WHO? WHO? WHO? Has ever heard of an owl in Mexico?

Actually, in Mexican lore, an encounter with an owl is considered bad luck. 

The Mexican Owl, bringer of death and bad luck
 (according to Mexican legend)

OK, swarms of locusts and haunted Mexican owls...good thing I don't believe in such things ...although if I wanted to I could connect these things to the Trump presidency, but I'll restrain myself...I'm TOTALLY hoping he's really gonna make America great again! (It could happen, right?)

The next morning Chris got to work sanding Espiritu's bottom.

Captain Chris, AKA the Smurf

He ground and buffed down all of the blisters and patched the bad spots, preparing her for a brand new paint job. I thought some of the buffed spots looked a bit like modern art:

"The Scream"

"The Kiss"

My favorite: "Earth's Surface From Space"

"Crouching Virgin Mary" -- I don't know...I THINK I see it. You?

The next day, he did the paint job.

Left and right, before and after

I basically made sandwiches and delivered fresh water to the skipper while he did his work.

We have good WiFi here at Marina Seca, so I watched alot of old TV shows on YouTube. 
Mary Tyler Moore rocks, by the way. 

Meet Roger, the very salty sea dog on the boat next to us in dry dock.
The oceans are filled with these guys -- braving the sea alone.
He's the real deal. 

By the way, Chris doing the work on Espiritu himself saves us tons and tons of pesos.

Since I can't cook aboard like I always do (and love to do!), we were forced to eat dinner out.

Dinner #1: El Pollo Feliz (Happy Chicken)

There are places like this in every town in Mexico. Note the green peppers and 
potatoes roasting under the rotissierie. #yum 

This embroidered display of a chicken-with-his-head-cut-off
was on the counter at the Pollo Feliz AKA "Happy Chicken."
 Well...I don't know if he's HAPPY, exactly...I guess you could 
safely say that he's not UNHAPPY...not anymore, anyway. :-/ 

Dinner #2: The Sunset Grille 

OK, this was just lovely. We're really back in Mexico again. And with good
 food at about $5 a plate, you can pinch us -- we're in heaven.

The crews of Due West, Notre Isle, Slow Flight, Wind Charmer and Espiritu 
for a fun dinner out at Sunset Grille 

Dinner #3) Hammerheads Bar and Grille

We had an early NFL-watching dinner with Seahawks fans Trevor
and Kimi of Slow Flight. Seahawks won, and our Rams lost. 

 I took the mile walk to the grocery store.

On the walk to the store

I passed this pretty house on my walk

Right now, avocados are about $1.60 each in the states. Once inside the grocery store,
 I hoped against find...


Mexican avocados are still 3 for a dollar!  

 Back in the land of the cheap, delicious, plentiful avocado. Back in the beautiful weather, on an amazing sailing adventure with my handsome husband who is also my best friend.

I practically skipped out of the grocery store in ecstatic glee. The Mexican Owl of Death and the swarm of locusts were wrong! All is well in the world!

As I exited the market, a Mexican man saw this tall, blonde, 
Gringo (me) approach and gave me this salute:

"Heil Hitler Trump!" he called out sarcastically.

Oh, for the love of God. Here we go...

I stopped, humbly told him that I did not vote for Trump, that I voted for Hillary.

 I know that the next thing I did will make Trump supporters angry:

I apologized. Humbly. For the fear and anxiety Trump's presidency is now causing around the world, and especially in Mexico. 

I then crossed myself and said: "Dios Ayudamos," which means:

God help us all. 

You know, this post is titled "From One World to Another," and it doesn't just mean from the U.S. to Mexico. It means from "Pre-Trump Election to "Post-Trump Election."

Late on election night, when it became evident that Donald Trump would become president, I wasn't sure what to do or where to turn. 

Headache pounding, I eyed a pile of a couple of weeks of newspapers and newsmagazines (TIME and Newsweek) my family and friends had given us. My plan was to read them over the next few weeks, or even take them back to the boat with us to read at my leisure.

Impulsively, I picked up the big pile and dumped them into the trash can.

Any news or opinion written "Pre-Trump" was worthless. That was the old world.

We now live in a new world -- a world where no 
one knows what will happen. It's a world without rules -- where the new rules are currently being written by the new president. 

So far, it's not looking good. He's assigning war-mongers and white nationalists into his top cabinet posts. The Washington Post reports he's declining daily security briefings with a wave of his hand.

Holy crap.

Here we go... 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

San Carlos to Hermosillo to home

Back home in beautiful Green Valley Lake, CA

Well, we hauled out Espiritu in San Carlos, Mexico and stuck her in the yard on the hard
 for a little vacation from Chris and I. 

We were only in San Carlos for a few days before returning to The Other World (the states)
 to make sure our home was still standing,  but we 
did get to see a bit of the area before heading out: 

Mount Tetakawi towers over the San Carlos anchorage

I took this photo of the water's surface from Espiritu's cockpit in the San Carlos anchorage. 
What you're seeing is the morning clouds reflecting off of the surface.

A cactus grows through the roof of an abandoned San Carlos building

Our friend Bret of s/v LeaHona shows off his "Captain's Cockpit Pee Cup." 

 Guys use these while sailing on night watch so they don't have to hang 
over the side in adverse weather to "take care of bidniz." Countless men have fallen to their deaths this way (they fall in, the boat goes on without them, nobody notices...).

Chris helps protect a caterpillar crossing a San Carlos street 

Lovely hotel and restaurant at the San Carlos anchorage

It was time to fly home for a short spell.  Mexico now requires foreign cruisers to leave the country every 6 months to renew our visas. Of course we hate this inconvenience, but I gotta say I understand why they do it.

Cruising Mexico is so beautiful, comfortable and inexpensive that if they didn't have this rule, many/most of us sailing gringos would simply never leave, and the gorgeous anchorages with 3 or 4 boats in them would look like this:

What Mexico's anchorages would look like if they didn't get rid of the riff-raff

We took the bus from San Carlos north to Hermosillo, home of the nearest international airport.

We tucked into a little hotel in Hermosillo as we would be flying north early the next morning.

Our hotel in Hermosillo near the airport

The hotel had a nice, all you can eat buffet. We decided to splurge and
 pop in for a nice dinner before hitting the racks early.

These signs were on the outside of the restaurant. I get "no weapons," and "shoes required," but...



When I'm sailing/cruising in a tropical locale, you will nearly always find me wearing shorts and a tank top with my bathing suit on underneath.

It's my UNIFORM. 

Chris and me (wearing a tank-top) crewing aboard s/v Callisto in Portugal, 2002

So, I was a bit insulted by the "no tank tops" sign at the restaurant. When we saw the price of the buffet (180 pesos each -- about $9.00 per plate), that was the deal breaker. We walked out.

I know, in the states, $9.00 for a nice dinner is a deal, especially for a buffet.

But what people don't realize about the cruising lifestyle is this:

 People assume we cruisers are independently wealthy.
 But the truth is, most of us are living on a budget below the poverty line.

Being consistently frugal is the answer to the question:

How can you afford to quit your jobs and do this?

By walking away from $9.00 buffets, that's how.

We headed up the street and started exploring this part of Hermosillo on foot. 
                 A few blocks away, we found an adorable little taco stand that sold us healthy 
servings of shrimp tacos for a little more than a buck.

We found our little outdoor Hermosillo taco stand.
#Happy.  :-) 

The next morning we arrived at the Hermosillo airport for our flight to Tijuana.

Boarding the jet, we saw what appeared to be a crashed airliner in the bushes off the runway.

Crashed airliner off the end of the runway?

I dunno. Crashed jetliner? Maybe this is where they were hiding the missing Malasia Airline flight 370 airliner? Who knows...we boarded our jet and took off.

We arrived in Tijuana and then walked across the border lugging our stuff.

I had to laugh sympathetically at the "Tijuana Duty Free" shop (actually, there's an "e" missing here, so it's "Duty Fre_"). No $100 bottles of scotch here, no way, boys. That's the Geneva Duty Free. Here in TJ, it's just really really cheap looking plastic flower headbands. Not sure how the "Duty Free" aspect is much help with this merchandise.

We hucked across the border, and just like that we were in The Other World:

The San Diego train station

After visiting with family in the OC, we made our way up to our cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains to make sure she's still standing. She is! :-) 

We took a long walk around the lake and visited with locals we hadn't seen for more than a year.

Autumn leaves float on the surface of Green Valley Lake

We were thrilled to see the town has added an adorable
 little teeny-tiny book exchange in the town garden!

We went down the hill to a pumpkin carving party at my sister JoAnna's house.

As is the tradition in our family, there would be a pumpkin competition -- with prizes such as the prettiest, most original, scariest, etc.  After much thought I 
decided I would do a Donald Trump jack-o-lantern. 

My niece Lindsay thought it sounded like a good idea. "And besides," 
she added, "he's already orange!"

First I drew the plans for my pumpkin:

My plan for my Donald Trump pumpkin carving

And without further adieu, here it is, the final product:

My Donald Trump jack-o-lantern. 

It won the prize for the "weirdest" pumpkin. I'd say there's a certain synchronicity to that.

Happy Halloween, everybody!