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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Back In The land of Grocery Stores and Sidewalks


Our seven months in the Sea of Cortez are almost at an end. We are currently at anchor in the “Magote” (the anchorage in La Paz) waiting to meet friends and also for the big Thanksgiving Day cruisers party. It feels somehow odd to be back in the land of grocery stores and sidewalks. La Paz is definitely jumping. By the looks of all the people out and about and the arrival of a giant new Mega grocery store and the opening of the new Liverpool Mall it looks like the economy is truly picking up -a real culture shock after the slow pace of the North Sea.
We came specifically for the chance at home cooked turkey. Club Cruceros at Marina de La Paz organizes the yearly event that is likely to attract nearly 200 cruisers for which they roast 25-30 turkeys! Amazing in that just a few weeks ago there were only a handful of boats in La Paz and now the marinas are all full and the Magote is filling up by the hour. I guess we all love our traditions even if we are far from home.

We arrived yesterday, spent a quiet night at anchor and this morning we were awakened by the sounds of music rolling over the water. Mexican LOVE their music. The louder the better and there are no qualms over multiple sources or overlapping noise. First thing in the morning still bleary without even a cup of tea to jump start me and I was assaulted with loud, simultaneous tunes including the Mexican version of Achy Breaky Heart. I didn’t like Achy Breaky Heart even when Billy Ray was warbling it. Well it turns out today is Independence Day and at 7:30 am the Malacon was already filling up with droves of waiting marchers and the audience was filling in along the parade route. So we grabbed the camera and our shoes, dropped the dinghy from the davits and headed into town.

The parade was not actually parading when we arrived on the Malacon. Instead there were tons of school age kids staging for the event. There were marching bands, dancing groups, traditional costumes and school uniforms. One group interestingly devised giant fabric balls: green, red and white for the colors of Mexico that opened up to disgorge the platoon of marchers. Then the ball closed back up and turned into the skirts of three girl who underneath were sitting on strong shoulders. The girls I think were supposed to look like they were wearing big skirted ball gowns but the idea I think was better in theory than in practice. The gals atop the hoop skirts were having trouble staying balanced and the boys below looked tired out already and the parade hadn’t even started along its two mile path.

There were also horses, lots and lots of horses. All dressed up with everything from traditional costumes and side saddles to one exceptionally gorgeous black stead decked out in silver saddle with and equally impressively clothed Caballero astride. The horse was right out of a picture book and the Caballero sat astride quietly running the horse through some very advanced moves all while holding a tiny tot in his lap.

The Military had a big contingent including both Navy and Army and of course two sparkling fire trucks along with the local Bombaderos (firemen are cute all over the globe by the way.) We actually had a great viewing spot right at the head of the parade route. We were able to watch as each new group assembled. Their truckload of speakers and blaring music would start up and off they go. A great way to start our week in La Paz!

After the parade it was time for a cruisers swap meet where we were able to catch up with a few people and see quite a few familiar faces. It is the start of a brand new season and folks are spilling in from all over. This year’s winter fleet is filled with lots newbies along with the part timers who start their trips from here in La Pa. Along of course with the local La Paz contingent who seem to stay here in Baja for the entire season. By lunch time we were back on La Paz time and a bit more in the groove with the local fleet.

Being at anchor rather than on the dock means the week will be pretty light. The big pre-Pacific crossing jobs mostly need power and dry land so there will be nothing much to do other than wait for our friends and do a few boat chores. A few trips to the grocery stores looking for the things we couldn’t find up north will fill some empty places in the boat and in my menu choices and I will have a chance to hit my first English speaking AA meetings in months. Then if we can get some internet out in the Magote I can finally sift through my back log of Blog posts and get caught up with everyone back home. Maybe I can even get some pictures posted?


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