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BOATBUMMS LOG

The cruising adventures of Sid and Manuela

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Merry Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

As this horrible Virus saga continues and still controls our life, it’s been hard for me to even think about sitting down and update my blog. After all we are all in the same shithole and who wants to hear more of it! We feel lucky we are where we are as Mexico had a little bit of another approach then most countries and sure glad we are not in Panama anymore, seems they had the toughest lockdown I have heard of.

We may have had a little more lee room living on a boat than most people have or had, especially being at anchor. Most countries closed the ports to any boat traffic. Mexico kept the ports for new arriving boats open, but then the northern Ports in the Sea of Cortez went on shutdown. There was no mandatory 14 day quarantine, social distancing and masks were recommended and the little stores were shut down. We self-isolated for 2 months in Zihuatanejo, actually thinking back it was very peaceful to be alone just the two of us and no other boats around. This peacefulness stays imprinted in my mind.

Puerto Penasco Port was the first to shut down and Italian friends that had to return to Italy, had to leave the boat within 3 hours after the boat was on the hard and were even escorted by the Police to the airport. Our cruising plan was to sail to Guaymas, San Carlos and Penasco to check out the yards to see where we would like to haul out, but that plan was wiped out. Another option was La Paz but then the report came that they were on total lockdown, although they allowed boats to come in to provision but then had to leave again. All the island in the Baja are now national parks and the government shut all down. Some regions encouraged us not to visit at all, especially in the Baja area North of La Paz all the way up to Bay of LA, as they did not get the food deliveries as usual so they didn’t want us to buy their food, which is quite understandable. Some villages didn’t want any of the boaters as we were blamed for the virus. Some boats were hit with rocks and had to leave. In Loreto boaters had to call the port captain on the radio to ask for permission to go ashore shopping, then an official would take your temperature when you arrived ashore an you were allowed 1 hour to go shopping and had to report back when back on the boat.

Then Guaymas closed the port, you could haul out your boat but then you had to leave.

So not knowing what the future held we decided best to settle in Paradise Village Marina not knowing how bad the lock downs would get. So here we were and the first 6 weeks we definitely felt a little odd and almost depressing to see this normally lively Resort so deserted and shut down. The only thing open was the marina, that still charged the high season fees even though none of the amenities were open, no WiFi either. We all questioned the virus rules the WHO obviously told the world to follow: Beaches were shut down, nobody was allowed to be on the beach and breath in the clean onshore breeze. With all the Gyms and beaches closed the public was allowed to go run along the street with traffic and breath in the unhealthy car exhaust fumes?! Pools were closed, doesn’t chlorine kill bacteria?! All small stores were shut down, the big stores all the non-essential isles were blocked off? Imagine I tried to buy a citronella candle as this area has a high dengue risk and since the resort was shut down nobody was spraying insecticides so we had a bit mosquito plague, well the citronella obviously is a non-essential item, but get this, they sold the pretty smelling candles for the bathroom, that’s very essential isn’t it?! Restaurants were shut down, at least they were able to sell food to go. Most cruisers went home and left the boats here so there were only a very few people around and most stayed cooped up inside the boats. Good thing about that we practically had the beautiful tropical resort gardens to ourselves. Very rarely did our path cross with any boat dwellers on the dock and after they gave us the “do you have a mask on” look, they then quickly look the opposite direction while walking by and not even a slight hello or hi came through their masks and our friendly hello was ignored. That really started to bother me, why can one not say hi with the mask on, common!!! To the day we left Paradise Village we still had a few neighbors we have no idea what they look like and never heard a hello or how are you out of them. Once the governor opened the tourist season to 25% capacity, it started to get more relaxed and we finally met some cruiser that were not too afraid to have a BBQ potluck once a week. That was refreshing and it felt like normal life was returning.

Another thing that we questioned was that once the little stores and non-essential stores were opened again they were allowed to let in one person at a time, but Walmart and the big grocery stores were allowed to have hundreds of customers inside. For a while only 1 person per family was allowed in the stores, we snuck in anyway as every other family did. The isles had arrows on the floor you had to follow, wonder if going the wrong way you get a ticket. Actually most people didn’t pay any attention to the arrows and as I said the one person rule applied also to Walmart but they still had tons of people in the store. The good thing for us was the little grocery store at Paradise Village was open so we did not have to go shopping at the busy places too often.

That the beaches were closed really bothered us but that didn’t stop us having a cocktail by the locked fence that blocked the us getting on the beach, there we sat every evening and watched the sunset. The fun part was some of the hotel employees, 6 of them, maids and nurses for the owners and the guy taking care of the tigers and parrots, were usually there and fun was had by all.






this is the photo

These two took the previous photo and surprised me at my BD with a printout and some chocolate. How sweet.

In our last report I told you about our visa dilemma and can happily report how lucky we are that they renewed it for us. Not just that we received the visa the last day of the visa extension program, June 29th, yeah we were good till November 29th. Also lucky as not every Mexican State did that.

My 60th Birthday approached and with the lock down going on and no restaurants open it took the fun out of it. I just wanted to forget about I had a BD. Guicha made sure I had one. They picked us up and drove us to the area where they live, and to their favorite restaurant just a minute away from her house. The restaurant is really just allowed to get food to go, but since these two are preferred customers they always had a table and eat their meal there. Today was no exception and it was oooohhhh soooooo nice to be able to sit a restaurant table and being spoiled with drinks and food by the waitress. Last time we had a meal in a restaurant was in Zihuatanejo before the flue hit. This restaurant still to this day is our favorite in the Banderas Bay area and we returned many more times. 



The owner




Shrimp Burger

Shrimp Zarandeado, slow smoked shrimp

Fish Chicharron

Shrimp Ceviche




 
Restaurant pets

 The following weekend we went to another restaurant by a river:


Shrimp Tacos

Stuffen Poblano pepper







Zarandeado Shrimp




Sangria

Strange eatable thins that grow on tree
 

Since our sunshade was shot, front piece ripped off, I had to sew a new one. Question was are the fabric stores open and was sunbrella available. The cruisers here have a pretty good FB page including a list of all the store and sure enough when I called the fabric store they were open. Patrick and Guicha drove us there for another fun lunch experience. Although only 1 person was allowed in the store we bought enough sunbrella for a new shade. Since the resort was closed down, I used the abandoned stage as my sail loft, just had to time the sun between the palm trees, so between 2 and 4pm I took a break as the sun was blistering hot above the stage. Took me 2 ½ days to finish the project. And since our slip was along the dock where everybody walked by and could look right inside the cockpit leaving us with no privacy I stood in line at the fabric store for 2 hours before it was my turn to enter and found, well not what I really wanted in material, but it matched the color of the shade. I felt like a being in a fish bowl but the curtain sure helped, people could not see us in the cockpit anymore. 

 








New jerry jug covers
 

Out of placemats made an insulating cover over the freeze, on underside are 2 ironing board materials


Another fun sightseeing trip with Guicha and Patrick went to Guayabito, across from Jaltimba, we had anchored in Jaltimba in 99 on our way to Paradise Village. Food was wonderful and I have to say the fish chicharrones are by far the best here, but Adame still wins with the food.

 



bacon wrapped shrimp

Coconut Shrimp


Mixed seafood ceiviche

Passion Fruite Margarita




In 99 we were anchored across from here

On the way to Gayabito we passed many fruit stands and I questioned what the huge fruit was that almost looked like a breadfruit but was at least twice the size. Yaca she said, so we stopped at one of the stands and were able to taste it, wow amazingly good, so good on our way back I bought one. Later I looked it up on the internet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackfruit. It’s called a tree vegetable and is a super fruit with lots of benefits. I experimented with it, made a wonderful curry, also marinated it in my Italian eggplant marinade, froze it to see how it worked. Didn’t change a bit, still has the same texture and flavor so my freezer has several packed LOL.

 

Among the fruit stand lots of copper and art stuff









On one drive back to the marina Guicha and Patrick stopped at the Paradise Golf Course entrance where there was 2 tigers, not sure if it is the same that were at Paradise Village in 99 but the now really big and fat croc was moved over there as well. And the third cage housed some ducks and flamingos. On the other Golf Course gate there is a lonely Jaguar, his mate had died and he’s been alone for 2 years. We only saw his silhouette once in the doorway of his cave.





Paradise Village in 2000 had a big zoo with a variety of animals. The croc, 2 tigers, a tame caracara flacon that wanted to be pet, black swans, Ostriches that got to mingle with the hotel guests on Saturday/Sunday, coatimundis, 4 uncaged macaws of which Solo became my parrot. He used to whistle when he saw me and would run across anything even through the tiger and croc cage to get to me. Then he would sit on my shoulder and together we would go for a walk and even a swim in the lap pool. When he was thirsty he would say agua, so I would lower him on the floor by a water faucet, turned that on and he drank. When done he would say agua and the walk continued. Right next to the marina office was a pool with 2 seals, Felipe and Manico. Autumn was the trainer, her and I became pretty close and Rena the dog did many walks on the leash with me and Solo on my shoulder. Btw all the animals were rescues. A baby raccoon was the latest rescue and so I ended up not just walking Rena on the leash but also Zoro the raccoon and of course Solo on my shoulder. Rena was part of the seal training and when she would not eat together with Manico I was called in and had to feed her and Manico together, also the parrot that belonged to this setting refuse to get out or back into the cage so that was my job to help out too. The best was when Autumn started training Manico to give a kiss to a kid, I was the person Manico had to learn to kiss. That was huge fun but oh so fishy LOL. Anyway, with the resort having been shut down my highlight was the 12 macaws and the 2 tigers. I spent a lot of time talking to them. One of the macaws just hearing my voice would spread her wings for me over and over as she got closer to me. After a while her babies started stretching their wings when they saw me. Duke and Daisy the tigers would approach the cage and sniff my hand and coo and at times stretch for me. Duke at times would start playing, we both ran along the cage back and forth, at times he would excitedly jump in the water after cooing and sniffing my hand, playing with the coconut in the water then turn around and stock me, sneak out of the pool and slowly in stocking mode finally run and jump at me. Then back into the water and repeat. He was awesome. Guess I was his property as on several occasions he tried to mark me, luckily each time I was faster than him and escaped the spray LOL.

 





When we realized we were stuck here for the summer as the hurricanes started making their way up the coast and the Mexican summer heat set in we went searching for a 5000 btu  manual AC. We drove to every AC store there is in Puerto Vallarta all the way to Busceria, no manual, but I think we know every single AC store, any street and alley in this area but no manual and not many window units. A few days later I called Woolworth as Patrick had mentioned they always have old models of anything, sure enough they told us they had the manual AC. So we rented a car again and drove down town, as we started entering the store this security guard looked at me and said how old is he, pointing at Sid, “65” I lied (I should have told  him don’t know ask him). He said “nah can’t go in, old folks get to shop from 10 to 11”, it was 11.11 missed by 11 minutes and new rules we did not know of. So I asked him very friendly if he happened to have a chair for my poor OLD hubby to sit down and wait while I shop, he possibly can’t stand there that long in his age. The guard looked very puzzled at me then Sid and me again, thinking hard, then a stern “NO” came through his mask. I just laughed and he realized I was just having a little fun with him. Came out the AC was at the other store. There Sid had no problem entering, I was ready to say “60, he is 60”. Well of course they did not have the manual AC so we were force to order a digital. You probably wonder why manual, if there is a power outage a manual will start automatic, most digital you have to reset. We found out a couple weeks later, that ours starts up again slightly different setting but starts, yeah, happiness is good.

Another cruisers we had met in 98 in Santa Rosalia and cruised together all the way to Costa Rica is still here. Scott had separated from his then wife Sharon, came back to PV and fell in love with the local vet and is happily married with twine, now teenagers. We had a fun BBQ with his old CA friend Terry.








The mall here was still closed except for the grocery store, so one time I happen to see the owner inside the store I drooled the most onto the window. So I went in and asked when the mall was going to open. She said she did not know yet but hoped another 2 weeks and if I wanted to shop. Me shop? You bet!!!

 




Just before we got the AC we had quite a scare. At 10pm I was just going to turn my light off when I smelled the strong odor of gasoline, first I thought maybe a leak in our tank which is under my bed, but that is diesel and the smell was gasoline. I rushed outside and there was a commotion behind our boat. About at 8 pm they tide up a little 20 foot boat gasoline operated boat. I walked by it at 9pm it looked fine but now that boat was half filled with water and tilted and gasoline was being pushed out of the tank, not a good situation knowing how flammable gasoline is. Our boat was in a deathtrap of gasoline and its super dangerous fumes. Dick the dock master was on the dock deciding what to do. I told him tow that thing out of the marina before it blows. He yelled at me “if I tow it, it will sink completely and spill more gasoline” and walked away. No these toy boats don’t just sink like that, plastic bottles don’t sink. I ran back to the boat and woke up Sid, took him a while to wake up but when I told him we were sitting in a pool of gasoline he was right awake and on the dock. Now Dick had returned, I had to tell all the spectators not to use their phones or take photos they did, nor smoke nor anything and to get off the dock as it was a dangerous situation. Listen to this stupidity, Dick throws these white oil soak pads on top of the gasoline, obviously he is oblivious that these pads now are like a wick and would burn endlessly. Sid approached Dick and told him to tow the boat out and away from all the other boats. He yelled at Sid “get off my dock”. Then the dock boys lowered down one of those orange power cord so Dick could plug in the water pump. One spark and we all are flying through the air. I raced back to our boat and grabbed all boat paperwork and important things such as money and passports and I headed up the dock. Well the gate was locked and on the other side a tiny female guard looked through the slats, I asked her to open it, she said “no”, I think I may have raised my voice a tiny bit and ordered her to open it that this place could blow up any time and we boaters needed to have an escape route which was this gate only. Actually it wouldn’t have been an escape route as the gasoline was under the ramp and the fumes burned your nose standing on it. This time she said she can’t open it it’s stuck. I lifted that gate out of its track and in 2 pushes it was open. Looking at the tiny guards eyes I think I scared here (amazing the power of adrenaline LOL)Then she walked onto the ramp to which I warned her to step back that she would be a little fireball shall this explode. All this happened within a short time, takes longer to write this down. BTW the door was fixed 2 days later, it now opens very nicely. I yelled down to Sid to follow me to the lobby, but he stayed behind. I was sweating bullets not knowing whether I was going to be a homeless widow, not a good thought. Now and then I went to check what was happening. Dick tried for almost 1 ½ hours to pump the boat, before he finally decided to tow it to the launch ramp. Then he just disappeared leaving our Paradise in the puddle of gasoline with about 30 soaked white pads surrounding her. The smell was still too strong, so I told Sid I would get us a room no matter how much that would cost because it was going to take hours until the tide was receding and was going to take the gasoline with it, he agreed.

It was almost midnight when I asked for a room at the reception the guy behind the counters said “1 minute I need to talk to my supervisor”, ok?!!!!….waiting….. Supervisor came out and said he needed to check?!!!...... So a few minutes later he said: “Dick Markey said you don’t need a room!” Say what??? And he repeated it “Dick Markey said you don’t need a room. His boys are cleaning up around your boat. So I went back to the boat and all I saw was Sid pulling the 30 some gasoline soaked pads out of the water, no guy showed up until after Sid was done. I was pissed. I went back to the lobby to wait till the gasoline was gone. I was thirsty so I asked the desk if I could order a water and maybe a beer, you know what he answered??!!! “Call Room Service” really, I don’t have a fecking room nor a phone for room service, oh I was so pissed, especially at Dick for taking it up on himself to deny us a good night sleep. Sid and I sat in the lobby until almost 4 am before it was safe enough to return. Nice to treat your paying guests with such respect!

One of the security guards contracted Covid (his buddies told me it was not covid and he was back at work 8 days later), so Dick the dock master organized a mandatory meeting one week after the guard fell ill, hmm 1 week later?  All cruisers and dock workers had to be present and HIS rule was we all have to wear masks on the dock whether somebody is around us or not, day or night including on our own boat whether in cockpit or foredeck. That didn’t sit well, many spoke out to that, especially the ones with no neighbors. All Dick yelled at us is that we are less than 3 feet apart from each other. I have never seen a cruising boat that has only a 3 foot beam. We were told first time offence we get a warning, second time we get stuck on the boat for 10 days, third he will disgust with us what our future in this marina is. Well that meeting didn’t go over well, everybody was pissed and Dick earned the title: “Welcome to the People’s Republic of Paradise Village Marina run by the Dickmaster and Dicktator”. In the meantime people came up with more names Dickhead……Nobody wears the mask on their boats, it’s our home, our property not his. And a few people were warned. You’d think the guard would tell you to put the mask on before ratting you out at the office, but nope, the marina just sends you an email you are warned. How fair is that getting a warning without proof where and when and if you really were caught without a mask?!!! In his great speech he brought up the fact how lucky we are to be in a hot country as the virus on a surface gets killed within seconds by the sun, then he said that the guys sanitize the lids of very dock boxes several times a day, so guess the virus refuses to die in the sun on dock boxes. His other new rule is that every new boat coming into the marina will get sprayed with disinfectant including the passenger, that’s crazy spraying people with chemicals. BTW every room, chair, beach chair, corner of the property gets disinfected several times a day, we felt pretty safe here. Although after our return from Florida we found out 4 of the crusiers had covid. 1 was very ill for 4 weeks the others had it just a few days and all are fine.

Then the beaches finally opened, yeah great, ahhhh weellll only at the water’s edge we were allowed to walk, but no sitting down or stopping anywhere and how dare you go inside the water?!!! Hmmmm, guess the virus is in the water along the beach. A few weeks later they opened but we have to sign paperwork for responsibility and we received a colored paper bracelet we have to wear if we want to go to the beach and also to use the beach chairs, but no swimming. The darn virus is still in the water and we always worried about sharks and crocs. 





When the hotel finally opened I was shocked that they had only one pool open and I counted at least 50 adults in the pool not to mention all the kids. The beach wasn’t open yet but you’d think that they would open all 3 pools so the social distancing will spread the people into 3 not just 1 pool. I guess they read my mind as the following day they opened all pools. 

Incredibly big lobby

view from the top floor








Condo building acroos belongs also to Paradise Village. In background you can see Puerto Vallarta

Cruiser's Palapa


How about this for a jacuzzi





Walk from beach towards our boat






Finally the beach is all open


We met several Texan groups that escaped the US virus chaos and enjoyed some liberty. Then I met a mother with 3 kids from Minnesota, her hubby is a doctor and she is a nurse, both frontline. She told me what a BS these virus rules are, the virus is real but so politicized she said. Further she said Doctors are frustrated as with every death whether heart attack, accident, cancer, stroke, you name they were forced to file the death certificate with “died of Covid”, or lose their license, so it’s not a rumor after all! Neither is it a rumor that doctors are not allowed to prescribe Hydroxychloroquine not even for patience that used this drug for years already. Another couple we met from CA they own a company with 340 employees, 33 of them became ill, and infected the owners as well. She said her hubby was not as bad as herself and it was just like a bad cold. Their doctor insisted to weekly test them, in all they had 5 tests each, the 5th one they were cleared. Then she told me that each time they tested positive it was counted as a new case which means 2 Covid cases are counted as 8, now you do the math with the 33 employees that got tested several times as well. Plus she said each time the doctor took a test he was rewarded with 100 dollars per test.

Enough of the demonized flue. 

In the meantime hurricane season has started with a few tropical waves, one turned into Tropical Storm Elida was harmless for us, but one system after another followed and  then NASA’s data confirmed that the tropical depression became Tropical Storm Genevieve and within just a few hours she grew to a category 4 hurricane. Luckily she was way off shore heading NW , but we would get some feeder bands and most of all some heavy swells. When she was parallel to the opening of Banderas Bay, we didn’t even get a puff of air and if it rained it was a slight drizzle, w



ow, how lucky can we be.
Blue dot is us

BTW we asked for the offered underwriter by our insurance shall we get stuck in a hurricane area, which we did. The offer was declined as we are in Paradise Village, reason: too close to the ocean! Aren’t marinas close to the ocean? The other explanation was that if we were in La Paz they would insure us, really La Paz that gets hit pretty much every year several times which marinas getting destroyed and boats lost. Go figure!

Right behind Genevieve was another depression that built into Tropical Storm and was on its way. The sky over the mountains filled with clouds stretching higher and higher into the sky which now were powerful enough to bring us thunderstorms. The weather report didn’t sound bad, only that we would get some feeder bands with rain and gusty winds. Well, for just a TS verses the Cat4 we had some pretty good wind for a few hours, the wind was so strong when standing on the dock it pushed me backwards. It got a little rolly in the marina but the breeze felt really good as the summer humidity and heat had set in, but the rain drops did sting the skin and eyes. The swells stayed for several days.

I haven’t told you about our neighbor Nora yet. The day we arrived we had just tied the lines onto the dock when a couple Chinese kids brought this elderly woman to her boat, we could see she had walking problems. So when the kids left I questioned them about her. Comes out she just got back from the hospital after her now 3rd stroke. Of course we immediately cared for this lady and we exchanged phone numbers with the kids and so we got to know Nora. She is 91 years young and living on the boat for 20 years in Puerto Vallarta. Her and her hubby where on their way to sail to Australia when he found out he had cancer and lost his battle here in PV and Nora has stayed here ever since. The history of this lady is amazing, born in England then going through WW2, moving to Canada with her then husband and son, from there they went to Los Angeles where she became a very famous and well to do Hollywood agent. She had a little sailboat and her son and her loved to go sailing, her hubby did not, so eventually she divorced him, there is some pieces in-between missing but she has been here in PV for the last 20 years. I think I remember her name from 20 years ago when she was still in Nuevo Vallarta and every time she came back from a sail somebody would announce on the VHF radio that Nora was returning and the entire marina scrambled on deck with bumpers in their hand, LOL.


Anyway, she is a feisty and tough lady and her stories are amazing from her WW2 time. We helped her as much with everything, Sid even fixed this and that on her boat. Her shower drain pipe had broken off and a local repair guy quoted her 10,000 pesos which is US $ 5000, said he had to remove the engine to get to the drain. Sid looked at it and realized it was tough to get to it but having to take the engine out was nuts. So many hours involved, fixed it for her, she now can take showers in her bathroom again. He fixed many other thing. She tried to pay him for it, but we kept telling her, that we would do this for our moms and since they are not here we are doing it for someone elses mom.

She is not just feisty and tough but very, very stubborn. She needs a walker to get to her scooter and decided that the 3 wheel walker was not good enough she needed 4 wheels so she took her 4 wheeled shopping basket cart out and started pushing that. Seeing that I told her she’d be better off using her 3 wheeler as it had brakes, this one if it should take off on her she’d fall down and break something. Well she insisted it was fine and after using it for a couple week we heard the commotion on the dock of dockworkers calling Nora, Nora Nora. Uh oh, we knew what was up and immediately jumped on the dock and there she was sitting on the dock, blood pouring from her totally skinned nose. The Chinese kids just happened to show up and called their dad who rushed over with the car and we took her to the hospital. I saw her wrist swell up so guessed she broke it. By the way this wonderful Chinese family has been taken care of her for quite some time and even pick her up every evening to eat at their Chinese take-out restaurant, lunch they delivered to her. Wonderful family. X-Rays revealed a hairline fracture on her wrist and since she is unsteady on her feet the doctor decided to put a cast on all the way up to her upper arm so she could not fracture it completely etc. After 4 weeks he would cut it below her elbow. Well let me tell you what we all had to deal with her stubbornness, got bless this old little feisty lady. She tried anything to get the key to the scooter, plus the shopping basket she fell with. We hid it from her and told her the wind blew it in the water, well it did that already and Sid fished it out with the dinghy anchor. I am still laughing. The resort staff is so amazing to her, since she was not able to get on the boat, they set her up in a 1 bed room apartment and charge her only for a studio. Gabriela at the Concierge counter didn’t just organize the room and a wheelchair but she starts her work day by going to Nora’s room and making her breakfast. And contacted Nora’s son and he agreed to pay for her room. Nora protested and wanted to get back on the boat, Sid told her he can’t lift her into the boat with his bad back and Manuela can’t do it either. I told her if someone will get her into the boat she would be stuck inside until the cast came off there was no way we could get her on and off the boat. So she was fine in the room but did complain. I spent most time with her pushing her around in the wheel chair the hotel is letting her use. The kids picked her up in the late afternoon. Between the 3 parties we convinced Nora she needed someone to take care of her. So she did and we just helped out at the off hours. The help didn’t last long and neither did the second help, she was pretty rough on them and started getting tough on all of us, so we backed out after her cast was cut off below her elbow. The day the cast came off she moved back on her boat and hired the first helper that is living with her now. We left so have no news on her but hope she is doing well, and eventually come to her sense that her life on a boat is over.

Poor thing at hospital




The wonderful Chinese family cooked us some dinner


Little bit of entertainment




One evening sitting out by the palapa a cute Mexican family with 2 boys came by and we started chatting. One thing after another was talked then the question how we could afford cruising, I still have goosebumps just thinking about it, when Sid told him he retired from LAPD 27 years of service, the guy straightened up saluted Sid went over to him and gave him the biggest hug. Comes out he is a cop in Leon, Mexico. Wouldn’t you know the police departments here are going through the same shit as our cops in the US, getting de-funded, attacked and killed, so sad. My mom told me a few days later that in Switzerland Police officers and Ambulance drivers are getting more and more attacked and beat up. If you ask me this whole “name changed flue”, demonstrations, police beating, statue demolition not just in the US, are all somehow connected, I  think that should be a concern for every country.

Guicha called and told me they would pick us up to go to Tequila, which I knew was 4 hours away by car. She didn’t say we were going to spend the night but I had a hunch and packed an overnight bag just in case. Wow what a wonderful time we had. It was a long 4 hour drive through the most beautiful green scenery of mountains, valleys and even a volcano. Actually Tequila was on the other side of the volcano but it was still another 1 ½ to drive around another mountain to get there. What a charming village and yes you guessed it Tequila is the Capital of the Tequila liquor. Unfortunately with the virus precautions most distilleries were closed and Tequila tasting was not allowed.

We walked through this beautiful little town, visited the Tequila museum and took photos in front of the Cuervo Crow, of course. Their store was worth visiting. Then we had a wonderful lunch across the street. The hotel was nice and simple but the sofas and chairs in the lobby were all taped off, there was NO where to sit down, not even a chair in the room. Just good we just drooped our stuff off and took the scenic and history bus tour around town. There was a limited on how many people on the bus, Sid and I were not even allowed to sit next to each other. They made us take hand sanitizer and I am so glad I have my own with me at all times. FDA warned about hand sanitizers made in Mexico containing Methanol, wood alcohol that is pure poison and there are 9 brands here. FDA added now up to 100 on the list not just Mexican. Blumen is one that Costco, Sam’s and all the store sell most. Bad!!! Please make sure you read the ingredients of your hand sanitizers or made your own. I brought it up to the guide, he just said it’s the owner’s decision and squeezed it into every body’s hand. Imagine you do that at least 10 plus times per day. 


Beautiful Mural

Cuervo














Made at the table

Wonderful Guacamole

Tequilla is famous for this cold Poblano pepper with a sweet pomegranet cream sauc, definitely idfferent



At the Teuquila Museum

















The tour was so much fun and we did get to do a tour at a distillery, very interesting, now I see Tequila in another light. Oh and the fields of blue agave are so beautiful. After the tour they told us they would bring us to the country side to see a farm. A little mini bus showed up and like sardines in a tin can on top of each other we were driven to the farm, what happened to social distancing, at least the bus was all open with no windows. Shaking heads! 

our Tequila bus






Agave






Great door






We did buy a souvenir plus a few bottles of Tequila
 

For dinner we went back to the same restaurant it was that good. Guicha came up with a new plan for the second day to go to Magdalena which is about 25 miles from Tequila and is known for its opal mining. We stopped at the town square plaza and walked around a little then the smell of food hit our nostrils we followed the smell and our empty breakfast stomachs got filled with the most wonderful goat birria, which is a soup. It was yummy. 

We decided we can’t just stop here and not visit an opal mine so we went back to the jewelry store and did a tour with them. It was a hoot, we drove over at times rough terrains until we reached the owner’s farm up in the hills. He outfitted us with a hard hat and handed us each a special rock pick hammer they use in the mines and we followed Carlos on a 5 minute stone path to his mine. There we sat and mined for opal. We did find some but do to the hammering they all broke in pieces. Since I developed blisters I gave up but walked along the path we came on and imagine that I found several opals. 

 










 





Lots of Obsidion as well

After one hour Carlos came back and took us to another part of his property  to search for Obsidian. On the way back Guicha took us to her seafood market and I loaded up on Shrimp. They had a funny looking piece of fish filet on the ice so I asked what it was. Manta Raya and never having eaten it but knowing Sid did catch a stingray 3 decades ago in Santa Cruz that fed the whole anchorage and everybody there loved it, I bought 1 package. It was a learning curve as the meat from the ray is all membranes and you have to get each meat piece out from the tough skins holding them together. I remember Sid told me that. It’s an easy and tedious but so rewarding job. The pieces now of course where too small to do anything but bread and fry. OMG one of the best tasting meat out of the ocean I have ever tasted, so good I went back and bought some more.  

 







With the political mess in the US we decided we needed to vote, but were told we were too late to get a mail in ballot at the US Consulate, so we decided to go vote in person. Since we had to register to vote we needed to be there at least 29 days before election to do so. At the same time we decided to start our procedure to get Mexican Residency which has to be started outside of Mexico at any Consulate. We already had our appointment which had to be obtained online. Everybody we know that tried this was unsuccessful, I got the appointment at the first try. Since the consulate was in Miami and our mail forwarding company in the Keys we decided to settle in Homestead. For the Consulate we left at 5 am to miss the morning traffic, which turned out not to be bad at all, due covid lock down. We got there 2 hours too early for our appointment plus found an empty parking lot, all was good. Unfortunately the consulate had us down for passport renewal, we wished, and told us we had to make another appointment. This time they gave us an email address including a website we had to file paperwork. I found out since we had a joint account we needed an apostilled marriage certificate which we only could get it done in Sacramento CA since we got married in CA so we UPS it over night with an already prepaid overnight return from there. We were told it would take 10 days but with virus probably an extra 4 days, no worries we got another appointment for 3 1/2 weeks later, all good right?  From here we drove to Key Largo and registered to vote, we found out that there would be early voting on October 19th yeah, no need to hang out for almost 2 months. Our plan was to buy a truck, visit all our friends between Florida, Georgia and Tennessee then drive to West Coast visiting all our friends on the way including CO, AZ, NV and CA. But with the political situation, we decided to take the advantage of the early voting, not to by a truck yet, changed our flight and canceled our out of Florida trip. Which turned out wonderful as some of our friends understandably were afraid to have visitors, some of them haven’t seen their own family since this pandemic hit. Especially since we are the travelers and a potential risk. We picked up our mail, Sid got his driver’s license eye doctor document to be filled out, found most vision centers closed due to covid and the one we found open told us that Sid needed to present new glasses at DMV in order to get the license, but that would take 10 days to get the glasses. No problem we had at least 3 weeks in Florida.

So glad that all our friends we already had made plans to visit, still insisted to do so. Besides the 3rd day we were in the Miami area the Florida Governor opened up Florida that was wonderful to see the frustration of the Floridians melt away and see the sunshine coming out again.

First stop Jim and Nancy ex “Windance” near Stuart, we had met in Sea of Cortez in 98, a must visit every time we are in Florida. The red carpet is always laid out when we arrive and there is never a dull moment with these two. Well we never had a dull moment with them cruising that’s for sure, each time we did something together it turned into an adventure no matter what. While we were in Paradise Village for the hurricane season in 99, we had to walk by their boat every time getting off the dock. Well we found out we had the same small TV with a remote, that was luxury in those days as we never had one before LOL. So while walking by at any time we clicked that remote to either turn TV on/off, change channel or sound up/down or mute their TV, especially during Football games. At potlucks Jim would ask all the cruisers if they all had those problems. Everybody knew but they played along. It took a long time for Jim to figure it out LOL. 

most comfortable bed, sucks you right in
Nancy got the touch. Didn't want to use the towel  it looked so pretty
Jim's yummy french toast, what a treat
Corn Beef and Cabbage another treat. We were so busy visiting we forgot to take more photos LOL

After a few wonderful days catching up and good food we departed for Coco Beach, were Chuck and Kathy ex “Sea Fury in years” embraced us. We met in Mexico and also in Portobelo Panama before they sailed back to the US in 2000. More great food and catching up and a visit to the October Fest Restaurant in town, oh wow what fun that was with a live German Folkloric Band, wonderful food and of course German beer. While Kathy took me shopping the boys did a walk around the neighborhood and when they were on the edge of the waterway the water erupted with a big pod of dolphins playing and numerous manatees checking Sid and Chuck out, wow!

The Oktoberfest food was out of this world!


Even Pretzels with mustard sauce yum





We all had a wonderful time

Lots of Ibis in their parking lot


Our next stop was near Orlando area to visit with Becky and George on C Level, we call Clevel, we met them in the San Blas, great memories but we were always together with other cruisers so for the first time we had one on one time which was wonderful to get to know them both even better. Becky showed me all the good shopping here and on one of our shopping trip the boys watched bears play around their house, I missed it again LOL. Yes bears in Florida, lots of them, deer and raccoons and bunnies.


 
Beautiful big garden







Too cute her granddaughter insisted to make us French Toast for Breakfast. Delicious!

The fun didn’t stop there, Fort Walton was our next stop. We were supposed to meet Don in Milton but haven’t heard from him in a while and when we finally did he was in the hospital with a bad infection he got from standing in the flooding water of the last hurricane, so we postponed his visit for later. As we drove to Fort Walton another hurricane was on its way but looked like it was going to miss Florida Panhandle. Another Jim and Nancy “Laughing Buddha” (for sale in Annapolis)­­­. We share super fun times in the Sea of Cortez in 98/99. Our last dinner together was on Paradise in Mazatlan anchorage enjoying a farewell Fondue Bourgignonne as they parted for the South Pacific and we headed towards the Panama Canal the following day. And here we were again for the second time in the last 15 years in Ft. Walton Beach catching up. Both are military pilots and so they took us to the flight museum, wow, too cool. Even better when they took us to the shooting range wow how cool is that.  Of course Nancy’s cooking was as outstanding as ever. I have to say I have not met one cruiser yet that does not cook good gourmet stuff. We definitely have eaten well in Florida so far. Jim and Sid’s BD are both on October 13 but changing the visit with Don we just had to celebrate it 2 days earlier. Amazing in all these years cruising and knowing them we finally celebrated a BD together. BTW her BD is 3 days before mine.

Nancy, started playing guitar so her and











My Favorite

I had fun playing together. told her I needed to buy a capo so she took me to her guitar store and I walked out with 2 capo and this:








Awesome Yamaha silent guitar, the sound is beautiful


As Don was recovered and back home our next stop was just a little under 2 hours away. It was so good to see Don after 5 years in Portobelo at Anita’s where we met them two years in a row. Unfortunately Teri was still in Italy teaching so we did miss her. In the mean time she retired and is home since Thanksgiving. We enjoyed catching up with Don and loved the beautiful view over the marshland to the ocean, which was flooded all the way to his house during the hurricane.



Imagine this was all flooded all the ay to his house

Do you see wha I see?



When we left Windance and C Level we had to promise to stop on our way back, which we did. Becky and I didn’t catch up enough so we had another 2 days of quality time together and oh so much fun, we definitely are partners in crime. 

What's missing?


That's better!

Dumped for a cocktail

Sid the handyman LOL

Fun time!!!


She also is a fabulous cook


Found my Huijol Salsa for my special Shrimp



Digging for the septic tank.

Same with Jim and Nancy Windance, stopped for a few more days, never a dull moment. We just have such a good time with them we forget to take photos.

There was some other dear friends we were supposed to visit Jerry and Mimi in Boca Raton, but since we changed our agenda to get back to MX earlier, we missed their return from their vacation north. But we will see them again on our next FL trip.

One more stop, to our surprise Adrienne from Isla Contador in Panama was in town in Dania Beach so with her help we found a cute studio right on the Hollywood Beach and had another 4 days of nothing but fun. We met her daughter and one evening went to “doggy beach”. That was kewl, dogs are usually not allowed on the beach but once a week, every Thursday there is a beach area where all the dog owners meet on the beach with drinks and poopoos. Social distancing was definitely practiced but the dogs ignored it. Too much fun to literally watch dozens of dozens of dogs having beach fun. 

 



dozens of dozens of dogs having beach fun.

This photo needs and explanation. Sid and I hadn't had prime rib or rack of lam in ages, so we decided to have dinner at the Outback. Guess the Outback owner didn't get the memo that Flodia is open 100%. If you have been to an Outback you know how big they are. 4 tables were seated with 2 guest each, wonderful right plenty of room no wait. The receptionist wrote our name down on the waiting list and asked for a phone number. So Adrienne asked, how long the wait was, 20 minutes was the reply. Ok we will sit at the bar and have a drink. No said the girl bar's closed. Yep sure enough the bar as all taped up. She told us to wait in the car and they will call you. Really? We did go into the car but left and went to Adrienne's favorite restaurant where the bar was open and we spent a fun evening eating at the bar. About 45 mintues later her phone with a text message from Outback that our table was ready, the photo was our responds and we ordered another round.

Scored with the food!!





Fun Beach Shirts





Doggy Beach







What a great way to close our friend’s visiting tour, thank you all sooooo much for having us, it sure was nice to see you all and to get spoiled with your hospitality.

For our last stop we decided to stay in Coconut Grove to pick up Sid’s new eyeglasses, our mail and Sid’s driver’s license and voted. And the following day we had our appointment with the Mexican Consulate. Sacramento did not come through, it’s been 3 weeks since they had our marriage certificate and had not touched it as of yet. 

View from out hotel, this Mariott just opened.

The immigration officer took our paperwork and interview us separately, there were two things missing. Our 12 months account printout with proof of Sid’s pension and SSC didn’t have a letter head on them neither our names, neither did I have the apostilled marriage certificate, we didn’t think we would get it anyway, but went there anyway. He kept our passports and said to come back at 2pm and to get 1 print out from the bank with letterhead and account number and name plus the apostilled letter. We called the bank they sent us the letter via email within the hour but the Sacramento office after many tries to call them finally answered and were told they will work on it that day, well a little too late. I was just hoping that at least Sid would get the residency visa. When we returned we handed the officer the bank statement and I told him that Sacramento due to covid hasn’t even gotten to our marriage certificate yet, so…. To our surprise he brought our passports out with already the visa stamp in it. Sid received permanent and he gave me temporary, yeah, we both passed. I think I was lucky he gave me the visa. When he interviewed me he asked if we had applied for residency before, told him no then oh yes, we had the FM3 card for 2 years in 98/99. He wanted to know what happened, told him nothing we left Mexico to cruise other countries and it was taken from us, and in the 22 years of cruising we realized Mexico was still the best place to be and came back. Maybe that helped.

We spent the night at the airport hotel and flew home the next morning. Arriving in Mexico they went through our luggage and found 2 boat parts and scolded us that we now are residence and have to declare any parts for boats we bring in, ok, no problem. We paid 25 dollar duty and we are finally home. 


Coming back early gave us a huge advantage to get underway towards Sonora before the cold fronts started in Sonora where we should have arrived 3 years ago. Proof again cruising plans are all written in sand at low tide. But that story I will post later.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, may you be able to spend it with your family and may next year bring nothing but happiness and good health.


 
Here a view random photos:

Kianga, daniela and Beat from Switzerland, gave them my masks I made for their flight back to Switzerland. We met them in Golfito when they returrned from home, she was so sweet when she found out I was from Switzerland she brought me a plate with B├╝ntnerfleisch, wow and yum.


We went for seafood dinner. Zarandeado fis

Daniela without mask

During beach closure we enjoyed some bubblies for sunset



Thi was funny we had dinner on Kianga and Daniela brought a French bubbly out that was given to her, so she wanted to send a photo to than them again. So we had a little fun with the phot. Her Friends never figured out the 3 arms LOL


 






This guy came onboard several times. Through him a plantain but he was not inerested

An this little birdy was in love with it's mirrow image in our stainles stell hatch





BBQ with a Canadian Couple that  stayed in MX for the covid.




I spoinled them with caviar dip, stuffed Jalapenos, Cheese stuffed bacon wrapped shrimp



No we are not just eating but food sure is good here besides Restaurants are open

Guicha spoiled me with mangoes from her tree