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Friday, December 24, 2010

12/ 24 Christmas in Puerto Vallarta

Hello Everyone!
We arrived yesterday in Banderas Bay. We are currently staying in La Cruz but will make forays into the "big city" of PV. La Cruz is a "suburb" of PV and only about a 30min bus ride from old town. Yesterday we got settled in and had a walk around town but today we will venture out and see the sights. Most of the Banderas Bay area will be shutting down by early afternoon for the Christmas holiday and wont open back up until Monday! It will be interesting to be here as everything slowly shuts down around us. We hope to catch one of the local Christmas Eve dinners in La cruz and then plan on attending a 9pm mass in a tiny little church about 3 blocks from the marina area.
Our passage here was simple and easy. Our friend Mark came along as crew and so everyone arrived rested and relaxed. The wind could have been better for the passage but we had enough air to use our Yankee poled out and out bright orange and red drifter. We made a consistent and respectable 4knots in about 6knots of apparent wind. And hey, light winds sure beat a gale force blow any day.
The highlight of the passage was the presence of hundreds of sea turtles. We can only imagine the numbers involved. Just within our line of sight we saw hundreds and they were easy to spot as far as the eye could see. They showed little interest in us as they lolled about in the morning sun. When they could feel the pressure of the water increase as our boat neared they would roll and push away disappearing into the depths.
The cruiser community her in La Cruz looks to be pretty active. Last night we attended a showing of The Santa Claus at the amphitheater on the breakwater. There were 40 or 50 cruisers there and someone arranged to sell popcorn and cocoa! Next week it is Captain and Commander....and we will definitly remember to bring our cushion for the cement bleacher seats!
Merry Christmas to you all. Kat and Bill

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cabo to Mazatlan

We have been in Mazatlan for nearly a month and it has been a lovely break. The passage from Cabo took about 35hours. We arrived tired but we're getting better at managing the watches so that amazingly a 30+hour crossing feels simple and easy. Friends form back home -Shari and Mark on Mi Casa leant us the use of their Mazatlan condo and we followed that up with a week at my sister Teresa's Pueblo Bonito time share. After seven and a half months on the go being land bound for a bit was a treat. Shari came down without Mark on the 4th so above and beyond the generosity they offered us it was a great time getting to know Shari better. We even managed a night out on the town seeing a great impersonation show - "Johnny Cash" in Mazatlan! Mark will join her in a few more days and being a long time sailor now turned to the dark side (powerboating) it looks like he is going to come along for the trip south to Puerto Vallarta. Their lovely place at Costa Valleros is right at the top of our dock at Marina Mazatlan so Bill could keep an easy eye on his baby.

My sisters place at Pueblo Bonito is pure luxury. Hot tub, two pools, swim up bar, flamingoes in the gardens and Koi in the ponds. Her family has been coming here for many many years now and having been here twice before myself it feels like welcoming and homey to me. Mazatlan is unique in its welcome to visitors. It always amazes me how many pople come back year after year after year. There is a large group of cruisers here who all seem to have known each other for years and also tons of condo owners who count this as their home. We have been enjoying the sights but mostly just relaxing and catching our breath after so many days underway.

We were fortunate to catch some of the Bicentenial Independence Day parade. It was interesting for a couple of points. First trying to get there by bus was a lesson in Mexican organization. They closed the road for the parade and so our bus was taking a detoure route. We got off the bus assuming that the parade must be close. Instead interestingly the actual parade grounds were several miles away across closed road. Not sure what all the businesses that sit along the closed off road must think having their traffic stopped dead for hours for no apparent reason but thats the way things are done. The parade was mostly marching groups from local schools. Some wore uniforms, some were in period costumes, some played instruments or caried banners but many just walked along behind a truck blaring music. There were acrobats and sweating kids carrying heavy instruments. Also occasionally there would be a truck jammed full of as much stereo equipment and people as was humanly possible. Many of the marching groups consisted soley of school age girls wearing short skirts and amazingly high heels. I cannont for the life of me imagine walking for miles in the blazing heat in 6inch stilleto heels!! But they were a big favorites with the crowd.

We also spent a day at the Juarez Sunday Market with Karen and Stewart from S/V Fantasia. The huge market is block after block of stalls selling everything and anythig one could possible want. From mexican BBQ's (a car wheel mounted on a stand with a grill atop) to bras and panties. There was a large indoor meat market, fresh fish and shrimps in hug buckets along one avenue and tables straining under the weight of fresh mexican pastries. We stopped at one stand to buy fresh fruit and after working with our meager spanish to determine the price per kilo we watched as the fellow weighed my choice and gave me a price. But at close look the scale didn't even work. He did a sort of slight of hand over the vicinity of the scale and then told me the price. My price was four times as much as the local woman ahead of me had just paid so there was more haggling to be done before I walked away with my tangerines. We ended the day on Fantasia with mariscos in sweet chili sauce, home made cole slaw and chips with the biggest bowl of guacamole I had ever seen!

It has been fun watching Christmas bloom around us in Mazatlan as the shops and hotels slowely put out their annual decorations. Having grown up in Seattle though there is something odd in seeing christmas trees, lights and jolly fat Santa's when its 80degrees out and all around you everyone is wearing shorts and sun dresses. There were evergreen trees at the Mega store before Thanksgiving. They were already turning yellow and I coudlnt help but wonder when they must have to be cut in order to make it to Mazatlan by Turkey Day?

We are having some canvas work done for us while we are here so will leave for Puerto Vallarta when that job is done. It is due to be finished on thursday but we will have to wait and see on that. We lerned here the true meaning of manana. Any spanish/english dictionary will tell you that manana means tomorrow. But in truth manana just means "not today." All a part of slowling down into this new cruising lifestyle. Will write after we make it to PV. Love kat