Saturday, February 26, 2011

The family visits!

Apologies for the lengthy time between posts but we’ve been pretty busy.  Andy’s parents came to visit for a week and since they’ve left we’ve been running all over town looking for last minute parts and trying to find decent internet connection to take care of some of the administrative details of crossing the pacific (more on that later).

We had a wonderful time with Mac and Merle.  We showed them around LaCruz the first few days and then we took them over to Yelapa, a small town across the bay.  Here’s what our guide book says about it…

Yelapa is part of the Indigenous Community of Chacala, in which land was legally deeded to the indigenous people who have lived there for centuries.  King Philip II of Spain granted the property rights of this territory to the indigenous people of the governing town of Chacala and its neighboring villages… Land here is owned by the community collectively, and no one person or family privately ‘owns’ the piece of land they live on.”

Enjoying the beautiful sail we had going over.

Before we even arrived in the small bay, we were met by a panga trying to sell us a mooring.  The depth in this anchorage is well over 100 feet so we opted for the mooring for $20/night.  Kind of steep in my book, but they know our options are limited so who can fault them for capitalizing on that?

The water taxi came to pick us up the next morning at 9:00 as we had planned the day before.  After a dicey landing we had breakfast at one of the many restaurants lining the beach.  This is the kind of place where you go to pay for your bill and they tell you not to worry about it, come back when you’re finished sightseeing and you can pay for your whole day all at one time.  This is a pretty ingenious marketing strategy if you ask me.  They know you can’t get back to your boat without them (i.e. you won’t skip on the bill) and now they ensure you come back to their restaurant and no one else’s when you decide to have lunch/snack/drinks.  And that’s exactly what we did. 

Jake bombing one of his sand castles.

Mac and Merle doing some serious bargaining with one of the vendors.
We met a French couple and their kids doing some traveling of
their own.
A lady carrying a pie on her head while trying to cross at low tide.
(She made it!  We bought a piece later in the day)

One of many para-gliders landing on the beach.

It’s a strange, but pleasant, little walk up to the local waterfall.  A little bit of beach, stairs, town, mules, hills, trees and then there you are.  It wasn’t the most magnificent waterfall we’ve ever seen but if you put the whole experience together, it was well worth the effort.  One of the mules decided to relieve themselves right in front of Andy and Jake…. The look on their face alone was worth the time.

We spent two nights in Yelapa and just as we got out of the anchorage Merle called “WHALE!”  Wouldn’t you know it, right next to where we were anchored a humpback whale was breeching!  So we turned around and headed back for a closer look.  We spent a good 20 minutes watching the whales – there were two – and then headed back to La Cruz.

We wanted Mac and Merle to enjoy the bus experience we have grown so fond of (truly we didn’t think a trip would be complete without it) so later in the week we took them to Bucerias.  Luckily, we got on one of the newer buses both there and back so it didn’t beat everyone to death.  As I’ve mentioned before, Bucerias is a small little town with restaurants lining the beach.  It’s a little more touristy than some towns we’ve been to as was evident with the many vendors stopping by our table throughout the day.  I’m not quite sure how any of us had the discipline to pass up the onyx pigs they were selling  (Colby, you can thank Merle for not having one of your very own) or the tatoos and hair braids (really, wouldn’t Mac look cute with braids in his beard?).

You can never fit everything in that you want to do in one week, but we’re thankful we got that week with them.  Now it’s back to preparing to leave for the South Pacific.  Our VHF Antenna is broke and we still don’t have all the parts to get our email up and running on our SSB (yes, it’s been a  year now).  Our head seems to be leaking (for all of you non boaters out there, that’s our toilet – yep and that’s  gross).  We’ve eaten a good portion of the food we bought at Costco so of course there will be at least one more run. The list goes on and on, but the days don’t!  We have less than 3 weeks until the big voyage…  I’ll try to be better about posts but bear with me if the content is scattered as that’s how my brain is these days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Home again

Andy and I were talking one day about what we missed the most from living on land and in the States.  My answer (aside from the obvious family and friends) was the simplicity of everything.  I’ve often talked on the blog about buses and hauling around groceries and walking miles and miles…  it just seems like things were easier in the States.

When I went home this past week to see my parents, I discovered it’s just the ILLUSION of simplicity.  The first clue was the fact that my parents didn’t have a home phone or the internet due to spending weeks arguing with Verizon about what kind of service to get and when someone could come out and install everything (again).  I personally witnessed an hour long phone call.  At least I get intermittent service in Mexico.
The second thing was one of Jake and my many trips to Chick-fil-a., one of my favorite fast food restaurants.  They didn’t just screw up my order, they gave me someone else’s order entirely.  I know this happens all the time but when traveling in another country you seem to forget that and think it’s because you’re in the middle of nowhere dealing with foreigners (even though technically, I guess we’re the foreigners here).

I was finally convinced the “simplicity” I was looking for was an illusion when we were at CPK having lunch and I discovered they had taken EVERY SINGLE THING I ever ordered off the menu.  When we finally decided what we wanted, the pizza crust was still doughy.  So they put it back in the oven.  Then it came out burnt.  When it was time to get our bill, it took forever.  In Mexico, getting your bill is a time consuming event but it’s not because they forgot about you, it’s because they truly don’t want to rush you through your meal.

I’m not writing all of this to complain about the United States (I’m a big fan), but only to point out that living in a different country really isn’t all that different.  I needed this little reminder.

Walking to church with Papa and Gigi...
(I can't believe this is the ONLY picture
I took of Jake and my parents)
Overall our trip was fantastic and Jake and I had a blast seeing our family and some of our very closest friends.  Luckily we were in CA and missed the extremely cold weather everyone else is getting up there.  I’m not sure we had the clothes for it anyway…  I was able to get in some shopping (only a slight understatement), had dad help me with my taxes and enjoyed some rest and relaxation (because you know I don’t ever get any of that on the boat).

Some pictures from our trip....

Jake with his long lost buddy Jett!  One of my best friends, Jennie
flew all the way out to see me (well, technically her grandmother, but I know it was me
too :) ) and brought Jett up to play with Jake.  Two peas in a pod.
Jake with our good friends Eric and Nicole Tilford.
Can you tell he LOVES Nicole?
Jake and Eric arm wrestling.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2/3/2011 - The latest happenings in our world

I think the paint fumes have gone to his head.
No one smiles that big when they work that hard.
"Daddy, you need to quit working so hard and have more fun!"
All work and no play has made Monica and Jake bored.  Andy has been working so hard on the boat that he hasn’t gotten to partake in any of the fun Jake and I have been having.  He’s repainting the entire deck as well as our cockpit and I have to say it’s looking fabulous.

To keep from getting painted into the cabin by our overachiever Captain, Jake and have been hitting the town.  We finally made our way to a little town close by called Bucerias.  It’s a short bus ride from La Cruz and well worth the hassle (can you tell I don’t like the bus system here?).  It’s full of fun little shops and a Mercado as well as tons of restaurants right on the beach.
The various booths at the market are always so tempting!

Jewelry making is a huge business for the locals.

The light sabers are always the first toy to come out.
The kid scene has also picked up here.  There are two little boys close to Jake’s age that pulled in last week…Matero and Shondro.  Matero had his birthday today at a local housing development site that happens to have a fabulous pool.  Unfortunately, today was the coldest day we’ve had in Mexico since we left and the kids didn’t actually do much swimming.  But they had fun anyway just getting to be together. 
Vallarta B - beautiful pools (and bushes?)
On a hunt to look for a stray crocodile.
The kids had to hide from the wind to keep Matero's candles from blowing out.
A nice surprise sailed into the anchor a few days ago…some friends we spent the summer with in the Sea…Eyoni.  Zada and Jake talked on the radio for a few minutes promising to get a date going soon.  There are also some older kids here and we found a babysitter for tomorrow afternoon while Andy and I go to a special party for the folks crossing the Pacific this season.

Tonight we ended our busy day watching a couple from France put on an acrobatic show on their boat.  We had no idea what to expect but it turned out to be pretty darn good.  They’re doing another, different show later tonight.  As good as the first one was, I’m sad to say it’s just too cold and too late to go see the next one (we’ve gotten soft out here).

Looks like fun, right?
Jake and I are off to CA to see my parents one last time before we head to the South Pacific, so the blog posts might be scarce for a week or so.  We fly out Sunday leaving Andy for a week to finish up his projects (and enjoy his time alone).  When we get back, Andy’s parents are coming to visit for a week so we’ll have plenty more stories to tell I’m sure!  We’ll be doing a lot more exploring with company here. We’ve been here for two months but have really just been working on the boat and doing day to day chores…not the usual exploration we normally do.   But we’re looking forward to learning more about Puerto Vallarta with Mac and Merle and can’t wait to see them!