Friday, November 30, 2012

Roy hates plumbing!

Yesterday we aired out the boat and unpacked the car.  By late afternoon it was time to quit so we called Linda and Bob of Tahoma on the radio.  We had heard from Rob and Linda that they were back on their boat after a three year absence.  We got together with them for an early dinner and had a nice time catching up on all we've done for the past 5 years, since we hadn't seen each other since 2007.  We loved hearing about the beautiful home that they've built in Washington.  Before heading home we stopped at a grocery and picked up papaya, limes, oatmeal, and milk.

After we returned to Damiana we readied the boat for bedtime, hoping that we'd be able to sleep even though there was still a slight odor from the mildew retardant.  Uh-oh -- our toilet didn't flush -- a new problem!  Well, we're lucky that our catamaran has two toilets, so for the night time visits, we had to use the other one.

First thing this morning, Roy squeezed oranges (bought on the highway between Pto Escondido and La Paz), prepped papaya and cereal, and made coffee.  I cooked oatmeal so we had our first breakfast aboard -- it feels so good to be back in the swing of things!  Roy made fixing our toilet the priority and after grumbling and working all morning declared that it was back in working order.  I, in the meantime, got most of the rest of the galley back in shape: dishes and silverware washed, pots, baking pans and bowls put away to be rinsed before use.

Tortas (sandwiches) from the small convenience market here in the marina for lunch -- they were excellent -- and then a ride into town to visit Telcel and regenerate our internet card so we can connect directly and faster than using the marina service.

Before signing off we must mention that dinner tonight was spectacular: Mediterranean salad for me, Greek salad for Roy, we shared a ceviche at our favorite restaurant here at Costa Baja Marina.  So good that we could eat it every night!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Arrived in La Paz at 5:30 tonight

We left El Rosario yesterday morning, hoping to reach Loreto, not only did we get a late start but we spent an hour or more in Guerrero Negro having a nice lunch before continuing on.  We spent last night at El Morro Hotel high on a cliff just south of Santa Rosalia.  The scenery all day long, yesterday, was breathtakingly beautiful.  Cactus of all varieties, more than you'd ever see anywhere, boulders of all sizes, palo verde trees, and mostly gently winding roads through hills and valleys.  The steep valley just before Santa Rosalia is named Cuesta Inferno.  There doesn't seem to be an understandable translation, but we think it must be something like Hell's Valley or Canyon.  The road is steeply curved for maybe 4-5 miles, from the top of a mountain down to the shore.  And the view was breathtaking, all the way down.

Today we had a special treat.  Our close cruising friends, Rob and Linda on Cat'n About, are anchored at Puerto Escondido, just south of Loreto.  We stopped off to visit them -- it's been almost two years since we last saw each other -- and after an hour of non-stop talking had to say goodbye for now so we could drive to La Paz before nightfall.  They'll be back in La Paz in about a week, just enough time for us to get Damiana back together -- so we'll have lots of time to visit, play cards, and enjoy La Paz with them.

Dusk set in around 4:30, so we didn't make it into La Paz before nightfall, but we're so familiar with this area that we continued on, drove through town to Costa Baja, the marina (and resort) where we keep Damiana.  Roy got on board and opened the hatches, removed the mildew retardant bags that were still hanging, and without any further delay drove up to the hotel on premises where we are now.  We'll move onto the boat tomorrow.

For those who were worried about our driving down, we can assure you that we saw nothing worrisome.  We were waved through 3 or 4 military checkpoints by smiling Mexican soldiers, seemingly happy to have American visitors in spite of all the negative publicity.

We have finished off another bottle of Tempranillo with Manchego and Goat Cheese and crackers, so off to bed for a good night's sleep.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cactus Motel and Mama Espinoza

We stopped at the Cactus Motel in El Rosario, stayed here during our driving days with Jellybean.  Same gorgeous room with artisanal tiled bathroom, king bed, total cost 390 pesos ($30 US).  Next door at Mama Espinoza's we had Lobster Burritos for an early dinner, delicious as always.  Breakfast this morning at Mama's, then back into the car heading for Loreto.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day Two - Shopping in Ensenada

Last evening we ate almost all the cheese we bought so today we decided to head over to the local Costco, hoping that they'd have Parmesan, which we forgot to bring, as well as some goodies for tonight's wine and cheese.  Found the Parmesan, some wonderful goat cheeses, a Manchego (sheep's cheese) and also added to our cracker supply.  The woman at the winery we talked with yesterday highly recommended Manchego as the perfect cheese to accompany Tempranillo.

We were disappointed that we didn't have a group here to party with so we could buy a roll of Proscuitto interleaved with Mozzarella.  OMG, they were selling them for somewhere around $8 US.  They were made in the U.S. and labeled "for export only."  But they were bigger than the two of us could eat and we didn't think it would fare well in our insulated lunch bag "cooler" that we have with us.  Although we hadn't planned to visit the Costco in Del Cabo we might have to go there after all!

The photo was taken at lunch today.

~~~ Marlene and Relaxed Roy ~~_/) ~~

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day One - 1012-2013 Cruising Season

All went according to plan.  Thanksgiving at Roy's Mom's home in La Habra, a quick ride to San Diego on Friday to pick up our watermaker supplies, spent the night at the Holiday Inn in SD, then crossed the border into Baja California Norte this morning.  After traveling on the toll road, passing through three toll booths, we arrived in Ensenada around 11:30 a.m.  The most unusual sight along the way was the low, white fog that complete covered the water near the shore and crept 1/2 way up the cliffs along the way.

We have a room at the Casa del Sol -- stayed here several years ago -- right in the heart of the tourist area in downtown Ensenada.  We walked up to the Santo Tomas Bodega and Cheese Shop, about 1.5 miles, bought a bottle of a varietal new to us: Tempranillo.  A very lovely bottle of wine deserves nice glasses, so we purchased 2 red wine glasses with the winery name on the base of the glass. We also bought some cheese, walked back to our room, and had our before dinner wine and cheese with crackers from our stash in the car.  After that small but delicious repast we walked along the malecon, lovely evening, fog gone, and eventually ended up at our favorite restaurant.  We ordered the most spectacular French Onion Soup (every bit as great as what we had in Montreal so many years ago) and our favorite: Caesar Salad.  We chose this restaurant because we had the Caesar Salad last year and could hardly wait to have it one more time!

There was one blip along the way.  When we crossed the border, we got the green light (meaning that we didn't have to stop at customs) but noticed that there was no sign for Immigration.  So we continued on our way to Ensenada, knowing that there is an Immigration office there.  The Immigration official issued our 180 day tourist card, but admonished us for not stopping at the border.  We told him we didn't see the sign, he said "yes, there isn't a sign, you just have to go in the line to declare customs and then they'll send you to Immigration."  We'll we didn't have anything to declare and told him we probably wouldn't ever have -- but no matter, he said, you still have to do it that way.  If we drive in again without a tourist card the fine is $220 per person.  Not only that, but they now expect visitors to turn in their tourist cards upon departure and have an office at the exit at the border.  Big changes!

We'll stay in Ensenada tomorrow and on Monday morning head down the highway, stopping at Valle Santo Tomas to visit the winery and pick up a case!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~