Home for the Holidays - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories by Lynn Campbell

 
Family Picture
 Pam, Owen, Shannon, Greg, Julia, Don
We spent the Christmas Season with family and friends in Calgary. We were very busy, and the time just flew by. We did lots of shopping, visited with many friends, and had a variety of appointments to attend to.

We went to Shannons' Navy Band Concert, went skating at the Olympic Oval, tobogganing, visited Owens school, met with our tenants, and before we knew it, it was time to leave.

We spent our first day back unpacking and finding homes for all the stuff we brought back from Calgary. We washed down the deck and stocked up on groceries.

On Friday, we rode down to Marina de La Paz and had coffee at Club Cruceros. We checked out their library and met a few folks, including the woman from s/v Ursa Major who had sat beside us on the plane from LA.

Pam and Owen at Olympic Oval
 Pam, Owen, Shannon, Greg, Julia, Don

We didn't go far from the boat for the next few days, as I was fighting a really nasty cold and was not feeling very ambitious.

When I was up and about again, we had many missions to accomplish. One of which was to get a new tourist visa as our was taken away when we left the country to go home at Christmas.

Because we are going to be in Mexico for more than 6 months, we understood that we had to have a FM3, which is a temporary-resident passport type document which allows you to come and go in and out of Mexico as often as you like.

This involved several trips to immigration, one to pick up the forms, the next to return the completed forms, the third to return with a letter of request, this time in Spanish, the fourth to get the forms to take to the bank to pay for the visa, and the fifth trip to pay for the visas, and the sixth trip to actually pick up our visas.

Had we known in advance that this was going to be such an ordeal, and so expensive (over $300Cdn), we would have just kept buying the $20 tourist visa.

With our poor command of the Spanish language, we didn't ask enough questions, and by the time we figured out what the cost was going to be, it was too late to cancel our request ... unless of course, we wanted to leave the country again. Anyhow, we did get our visa's ... we live and learn!

Next, we went on the search for some fabric and foam for cushions. Our first stop at the Mattress Factory was unsuccessful, except that they were able to tell us the word for foam in Spanish.

I'm finding that your standard edition Spanish-English dictionaries don't really have many of the words that we have needed ... especially when it comes to grocery shopping.

Anyhow, they directed us to an upholstery shop around the corner who had some good prices on fabric, but only really cheap quality foam that wasn't cheap.

We stumbled upon another upholstery shop, a really tiny place doing mostly repair work. Anyhow, I thought I'd try my luck at explaining to him in my poor Spanish what I was looking for and surprisingly enough he responded to me in perfect English.

The upholstery shop wasn't his only business, he was also a tour guide. We got some foam, and worked on cushions off and on for the next few days, in between our visiting with s/v CroquePomme, Timeline, The Realm, Spirit of Sidney and Content.

Malecon mural
 Malecon mural

In one of our many trips into town, we also ran into young Pedro from Turtle Bay, the boy who watches the dingies. He recognized us, and introduced us to his mother.

Another day, as we were biking down the Malecon, (the boardwalk) I saw a couple who looked familiar, someone I had seen on TV, but couldn't quite place him. Don pulled up beside me and said, "wasn't that Preston Manning?".  Guess we really are hob-knobbing with the rich and famous.

 

 This was one of the many statutes along the malecon
Did lots of other boat chores over the course of the next few days in preparation for leaving on January 31st.

However, Don had been in discussion with the marina office almost everyday regarding the damage that was done to our boat before we left at Christmas.  They had been telling us continually that someone would be around to assess the damage and do the repairs.

Since no one really seemed to want to do the work, Don asked if we could just have a credit for the cost of the repair, and they quickly volunteered to give us a free week. So, I guess we'll stay put and do a few more boat chores ... like side curtains for the bimini.

Even though we have still been having lots of wind, the sun is very hot, and you really do need some shade in the middle of the day.

 
Lucy the goose
 Lucy the goose, the resident mascot of the marina
While we were busy sewing one day, we had some unexpected company. Lucy the goose, the resident mascot of the marina, thought she would try to help. She jumped up on the toe rail, lost her footing and fell down between the boat and the dock. That was the last we saw of her for a few days.

One of the other long time residents of the marina said she was probably coming to give us a gift ... apparently, from time to time she lays an egg on someone's' boat.

 

 Irish Dance performance
One evening, we rode into town to the Muelle Fiscal (Municipal Dock). I had heard someone on the net in the morning talk about an Irish Dance Performance, so thought we go for ice cream and check it out. I was expecting to see some local kids dance group getting some practice, however, it turned out to be an excellent, very professional show by the University of Tijuana Arts and Drama Dept.

They not only did the Celtic Dances like River Dance, Lord of the Dance etc, they also did several performances of different styles of traditional Mexican Dance.

Some were a little like our square dancing or line dancing, with lots of foot stomping, and one performance with depicting the sights and sounds of the State of Jalisco, with the girls wearing very full colorful skirts.

This was a Jubilee Auditorium type performance that would have easily charged $35.00, and they put it on for free, and didn't even pass around a hat for gratuities.

We thoroughly enjoyed the concert, that lasted over two hours, even though it was outside, and the night was still a little cool. We found it a little strange as we peddled our bikes back to PSS, we passed some young people on their roller blades, wearing parkas!

Celtic dancers
 Celtic dancers

 

State of Jalisco
 State of Jalisco
We enjoyed many beautiful susets at Marina Palmira in La Paz
 Enjoying beautiful sunsets at Marina Palmira in La Paz
Our stay in LaPaz has been an interesting experience and a learning experience. I am starting to feel like I know my way around a little, and our shopping excursions of late have been a little more productive than at the beginning of our stay here.

You really do need to have your eyes wide open when shopping here, not only because the sidewalks are so uneven, but a store specializing in upper end ladies wear, will also sell Playstation machines. A high end jewelry store also has breadboxes in the window. What looks like a toy store from the outside, will also carry stationery items and tools. You just never know what treasures you might find and where.

Guess if I had realized this before we left for Calgary, Christmas shopping would have been a little easier.

We are almost ready to head to Mazatlan, on the mainland where we hope to take in some of the activities of Carnival. When we visited Trinidad a few years ago, we arrived a week late, so we missed most of the parades etc. Maybe we can catch up on some here, as the Mazatlan Carnival week is reported to be the third largest, next to Rio de Janeiro New Orleans. It will take us a few days to cross the Sea of Cortez, maybe, with any luck, we will have the winds in our favor, and might just be able to sail all the way.

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