Thursday, February 2, 2017

La Paz, Mexico: New photo round-up

Light-hearted painting on the La Paz malecon.
Only 1481km to Tijuana! Yay! (NOT -- we're planning our bash back up the 
coast in a few short weeks.)

Chris and I have been here in the La Paz anchorage for several weeks now. 

Our view of La Paz from the cockpit of Espiritu

Remember, anchoring here in La Paz is free of charge, so we're savoring our last 
chance to do the "economy cruising" thing and just live simply on the hook
 before heading back to work in SoCal.

We know the city pretty well by now. We have our little routines, like the #8 bus -- OUR bus 
-- which takes us to the places we like to visit in our little section of town.

This is the front section above the driver on our #8 bus.  City buses in Latin America are frequently hand-me-down school buses from the states. Notice the orange sign above, which states the Oregon Department of Education rules (in English, natch) for students riding the bus. (I always find it amusing that they don't bother removing the decals -- they just put 'em into service with whatever English language directions are on there). More distinctive in this photo, though, is the Jesus with the impossibly blue eyes. This -- unless things have really changed rapidly in the Oregon Public School 
System --  was presumably added after the bus arrived in Mexico. 

After so many spectacular Mexican sunsets, it gets harder to describe 
them adequately, as this New Yorker cartoon illustrates:

Cartoon courtesy of The New Yorker

But, I'll try anyway...

A resplendent striped Mexico sunset dazzles above the La Paz anchorage

Since we'll be bashing back up the 800 miles of Baja coast to SoCal in the early spring, we 
decided to stay in La Paz through the winter, fix our ailing watermaker and generally 
prepare Espiritu for the journey ahead of her.

We may be technically in the tropics, but cold winter storms 
like this one do blow down from the north

Captain Chris cleans the brightwork while a storm blows through

He sews, too! What a guy!

There's tons of other activities to keep us busy while we're here in La Paz:


There's a weekly music jam here at Marina La Paz. I like this photo because I'm playing 
an F# minor, which makes me look like I play better than I do. (ha!) But Chris rocks!

We got a happy surprise when these fiddlin' kids showed up during one session! There's a third little sibling who also plays a really cute teeny-tiny fiddle. They're from Alameda, California, and their parents are home schooling them for a year in Mexico, immersing them in Spanish, music and culture in general. Considering they already speak perfect Chinese and English, they were pretty darn impressive. Kids like this give me hope for the future. :-) 

Scott plays a mean home-made stand-up bass, consisting of a broomstick,
 a yellow clothesline, a big magenta suitcase, and...

...say hello to his little friend...


There's free line dancing classes twice a week here at Marina La Paz.
  It's a no-brainer -- joyful, goofy fun and great exercise. 

Elizabeth of s/v Vivacia "...likes to rock it like
 a boogie-woogie choo-choo train..."

In the meeting room at Marina La Paz where we do the line dancing, there's one -- 

only one --

ship model up on the shelf:

You guessed it: The Titanic. 
(A cautionary tale for us cruisers, perhaps?)

There's an 80-something American expat named Jean who line dances twice a week, rain or shine. She reminds me of my mom that way -- she stay positive, blows off the BS and just keeps on movin.'

Me and Jean, my stand-in Mom here in La Paz

Before Christmas, I hugged Jean goodbye as she was flying to the states for the holidays.

ME: So, where are you from?

JEAN: New Jersey.

ME: Really? Chris and I have been rewatching The Sopranos. It's alot of fun. Do you like that show?

JEAN: Oh, I love it! It's my favorite!

ME: Really? Wow. So, are you Italian?

JEAN: (after a pause, she leaned forward with great intention and 
exclaimed with a proud smile:)

 100 percent!

ME: (laughing) Wow, really? Well, I guess I'll have to stay on your good side, huh?



There was a cruiser's beach party at the nearby La Costa waterfront restaurant.

Lovely La Costa 

The day was filled with competitions in bocci ball, darts, dominoes, and Baja Rummy.

Chris and I made it to the second round in Bocci Ball

Chris did much better on his own in the darts competition

You know, hanging with these retirees during our cruising adventure feels kinda like a dress rehearsal for ACTUAL retirement, which, if we're lucky, will come in about 10-20 years or so...unless they  take away Social Security and Medicare as some predict, in which case we may NEVER I  guess we should just enjoy this practice retirement now, while we've got it, right?


I was so privileged to spot this rare blue jellyfish in very shallow water

This night heron (almost a foot tall) patrols the dinghy dock for fish almost every day.
I love the two white feathers that cascade elegantly from the back of his head.

This photo of a school of fish swimming looks more like a painting, 
but I promise you it's real (I took it near the anchorage).

Sargeant Majors swim under Marina Palmyra

We spent a morning hiking the Magote, the long sandy 
spit that encircles the La Paz anchorage

Chris enjoying his solitude along the Magote beach

A lifeless sailboat hull, remnant of Hurricane Odile in 2014, still rests in the Magote 
like a tombstone. 3 sailors died in this anchorage during that storm, refusing to 
leave their floating homes and paying the ultimate price.

Palms and palapa on the Magote


An advantage to staying in one place for awhile is having the opportunity 
to get involved and do some volunteering.

Mama Bonita is locally world famous for her generosity here in La Paz.  She's opened up her home to  both orphans and older homeless locals, who pitch in with cooking and generally running the place. 

Kids at Mama Bonita's are tempted by the cotton candy, which would be sold 
by Mama Bonita later that afternoon at a street faire. 

Peppers dry in the sun on the roof of Mama Bonita's orphanage -- another little
 business she cultivates to generate income to care for the children

My friend Bill introduced me to another local program called "Kids Up," which 
provides Equine Therapy for severely handicapped local children. 

Hector, a local boy with Down's Syndrome, builds up the 
courage to feed a carrot to the patiently waiting horse

Those that are able actually ride the horses, and those that can't simply enjoy the 
experience of being around them, touching them, petting them. 

These teachers are so amazing with their severely handicapped students.
It makes me sad how little they are paid here in Mexico for such hard work --
but they are angels, and it's a labor of love for them. 

Meet Carlos. Severely autistic and unable to speak, he alternated between 
hugging me warmly, punching me violently on the arm, then humbly 
lowering his head and blowing me a gentle kiss in apology, and coming back
 for more hugs. Very poignant. 

Never thought I'd be hanging out with hay bales in Baja!

Very, very sweet

When it was time to go, the kids and their teachers climbed into the bus, we brought 
the horses up to the windows to say goodbye. Very sweet. :-) 

So, that's about it for now. 

There's a saying:

"Being connected with people means being current with them."

So, now I'm current.

What's up with YOU?

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