Archive for November, 2009

Where to next?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

November 10th, 2009

Three more weeks in Ensenada. Then off to La Paz at the beginning of December.

Another Day in Ensenada #2

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Another Mexico Day #2


When a morning begins like this, I can’t help but chuckle again, recalling the Retired Teachers’ offer of a Reading Club or a Walking Club for retirees who are bored.

            Up at 7 am. First try at making blintzes, using the BBQ, as that is our only stove right now. 

Lately we have had lots of fog. One of the weather signs in this location is the flag. If you cannot see it for fog, then it’s really foggy. Today the flag is clearly visible, but limp as a wet rag—no wind at all. The sunrise is crimson (last night there was a minor Tsunami warning that generated a good half hour of buzz on the VHF radio—we hear the folks at Marina Coral got treated to free drinks by the management in honour of the occasion). No such luck here at Marina Ensenada!

            The crepes for the blintzes work well on the BBQ. There is already Mexican music in the air. Our neighbour, a US vet in his 80’s is waiting for the Marina to move his boat. His dock broke up during the big surge a couple of weeks ago (Bill was out of town at the time and the Marina guys towed his boat in his absence and anchored it in the bay-but that’s another story) and they want to repair the dock. No one shows up until 9 a.m.

            We spent an hour dealing with Tony’s medications. (After days of research, we finally got them all for about half the retail price in Canada). Sorting pills into those little plastic compartments – 6 weeks worth – and then crawling around on the cabin sole to retrieve the ones that fell off the table in the surge and got all mixed up. 

            In the meantime, the Marina folks towed Bill’s boat (Tyee) to its new dock, but in the process, the towboat ignored Bill’s instructions, and there was a “prang” (Aussie word for crash). Luckily, a Mexican navy guy saw the whole thing and knew it was not Bill’s fault (we hope).

            The Cruise ship is getting ready to leave the dock, there are tugs and freighters and fish boats coming and going.

Tony builds a “fiddle” for the nav. table while I do the usual cleanup—heat up water in the kettle (from the dock hose), rinse the sprouts, put away food, re-stow lots of things. You cannot leave any food on the counter, as there are little bugs that fly around it in seconds.

            Meanwhile, another drama unfolds on VHF 21. It seems one of the cruisers has been in a car accident and has subsequently been arrested. Lots of radio traffic as the other cruisers try to figure out who it is, who knows him, and who can go bail him out. Who needs TV? We are still waiting to hear how this one turns out.

            Tony finishes building the fiddles, and heads next door to Baja Naval to check in with Ron (Gold Eagle). Ron is moving over to our Marina in a few days, so he and Tony are plotting to bring some of his stuff over ahead of time.

            Tom stops by to let Tony know that tomorrow’s trip to San Diego has been delayed one day. There is a big discussion on the dock about Insurance, transiting the Panama Canal and self-steering gear. We discuss the Mexican way of dealing with car or boat accidents. They throw all parties in jail until they sort out who is at fault. Therefore, it is important to have Mexican liability Insurance (they call it a “Get out of Jail Free Card”). Stephan, our Greek neighbour, adds a discussion of philosophy to the mix.

            By now, it is noon. Time to make some lunch and then walk up to the Microbus to go for our last Spanish lesson.

            The microbus costs eight pesos (about 50¢ Cdn). The micro is basically a large van seating maybe 18 people. You flag it down at the corner, make sure it is going your way and hop on. The big intersection where all the micros meet is really a trip. As part of their route, most of them do a big U-turn in the middle of the intersection - a routine maneuver in Mexico, but forbidden in most Canadian cities!  

Mexican intersections are fun. The light turns green for pedestrians. There is a signal that gives a countdown of how many seconds remain in the pedestrian crossing time. It’s a lot longer than you get in Canada. One other big difference: You can cross in any direction—all crosswalks are available at once, including a diagonal that goes right through the middle of the intersection in 4 directions! Then, when it’s time for the cars to go—they all go at once, too! Drivers all head across the intersection at once, and whoever gets there first, goes first. People are mostly patient and tempers don’t seem to flare much.

            It takes about 10 minutes on the micro to get to Marina Coral. High security there, so we explain to the guards what we are up to, and take a walk down to F-dock. There we meet several other cruisers and we all head down the beach for another 10 minutes. Along the way, we enjoy a panoramic view of the surf in Bahia Todos Santos.

            Our teachers are a couple of retired University Professors who teach in their own home. There are two groups-we go with the beginners, and the other group, more advanced, works in the living room. Many laughs accompany the Spanish lessons and by the time our Mexican hour is up—sometimes much more than an hour—our brains are full.

            A stroll along the beach gets us back to Marina Coral. From there, we hitch a ride back to town with other cruisers. We hop out at the OXXO (that’s the Mexican 7-11) to buy some milk—it is not easy to get fat-free skim milk (leché déscremada). It is available inconsistently.

            Just thinking about dinner when we hear our boat name on the VHF. The Gold Eagle crew invites us for another delicious Mexican meal of fish and tortillas and salsa and veggies. Yum!

            Another evening with good friends, discussing the joys and pains of cruising, laughingly working on our Spanish and English, encouraging each other in our projects. And another day of learning to slow down in Mexico! The most important lesson of all!