Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday February 3, 2013 – La Cruz

We spent less than 24 hours in San Blas, but it was enough to explore a part of town we had not seen and to find a fabulous place to eat.  There is a nice old hotel called Garza Canela which has a restaurant called Delfin’s.  We had one of, if not the, best meals we have ever had in Mexico all at a relatively reasonable cost.  From the appetizer of shrimp aquachile to the desserts, all was beautifully presented and delicious.  We all had different dishes: a mixed seafood, marinated flank steak with mushrooms, shrimp with dark mole, and pork loin with mango mole.  Earl also had a cup of a fish soup that he raved about.  Desserts were equally awesome.  Earl and I shared an almond tart with pears poached in red wine, and Clark and Joan had a trio of home make ice creams – chocolate, ginger, and liche.  All fabulous, including the setting.

We were having a peaceful run south the next morning, reading, etc and listening to the radio which was playing “I am in deep water now”. Ironically, Joan went down stairs only to reappear moments later in a panic to tell us there was 4 inches of water in the front head. Apparently the water had been turned on in the sink and, after filling the grey water tank, had poured out onto the bathroom floor.  We had been making water, and, as fast as we had made it, it had run out.  We now have a very clean floor in the front head.  

Later it got lumpy and I was downstairs lying down.  A particularly big wave washed in our open bathroom window.  Clark commented that it was only right that we filled both heads with water.

We arrived mid day in La Cruz which has a lovely marina.  

I have been in email contact with a wonderful Furuno repairman named Victor.  In addition to the alarm going off every minute, the rudder indicator is no longer working.  We are quite worried that this is a sign of things to come, and we don’t want to be left without an autopilot.  We have arranged to meet Victor in Mazatlan on Friday, so after Joan and Clark leave on Monday we will take off. 

We took a bus to Puerto Vallarta to rent a car.  Instead of the old buses which were delightful in their way but frequently dirty and not air conditioned, the new bus is a 14 person van, very clean and new.  Happily, It is still as cheerful as the old version!

The rental car is very small.  Both Joan and Clark are over 6 feet and we have to fold them to fit them in.  On the way home, we stopped at Zaragoza’s Marine store to get some hardware for Earl.  Clark was impressed by the store, but even more by the prices which he said were at least twice those in Seattle.

The next stop was Mega where we filled up with fruits, vegetables, cheese and liquor. As I put them away I was struck with how lovely the fresh produce it. My fruit dish has 6 huge avocados, 5 mangos, 4 pears, 8 tomatoes, bunch of bananas, and a pineapple – for a total of about $13.  In addition we got 7 kilos of oranges, 15.5 lbs, for $3.75.  No wonder I get sticker shock at home.

We really like the Puerto Vallarta area.  How clean and nice everything in La Cruz looks compared to Mazatlan!

Yesterday we drove to Tepic, capital of Nayarit.  It is about 90 miles away on a excellent but narrow two lane highway with no shoulders and lots of traffic.  Many cars and buses sped by us, only to eventually come almost to a halt behind a large truck overflowing with sugar cane and travelling about 5 miles an hour.  The countryside was fascinating.  It is quite hilly, fields surrounded by volcanoes.  Tepic is about 3,000 in elevation and although warm was not as humid as the coast.  

Before we got to Tepic we figured out why everyone stopped for gas before the climb started.  The was no gas for at least 60 kilometers and Earl had the red light on for half that distance.  When we finally found a Pemex and filled up, we were not surprised to find others where in the same condition. Earl and Clark helped push in a van that had run dry.

We first stopped in what turned out to be the little town of Xalisco rather than Tepic which is about 10 kilometers further on.   We walked into a charming little church with more flowers per square foot than any other church I have ever visited.  It smelled like a florist shop.  The square in front was set up with chairs.   We questioned a parishioner and she told us it was the fiesta of the Virgin of Candelaria and there was to be a mass at 4 outdoors because the church was not large enough to hold everyone.  

She recommended a lunch stand in the public market for lunch as being very good and cheap.  It was delightful.  The older lady cooking, four feet tall and as friendly as could be, repeated the available dishes several times for us.  Joan had quesadillas, but the rest of us had pork in red sauce and beans - absolutely delicious.  For drinks we were served huge glass bottles of coke and sprite which we could not finish.  The entire bill was about $10.  

We continued on to Tepic and a massive traffic jam.  We finally arrived at the cathedral with its lovely spires and, after a thrilling drive through city streets, found a parking lot. We could not really get a view of the front of the whole church because the square in front was full of vendors. 

I was on a mission for some Huichol yarn paintings.  The Huichol Indians who for years were not assimilated have a very special form of art, done either with beads or yarn.  They inhabit an area near Tepic. Some years ago, Earl and I had bought a couple of pieces, now over our bed in Anchorage, and I wanted more.  We eventually found a street full of Huichol vendors, one of whom had some of the wall art I wanted.  We were probably the only 4 gringos in Tepic so the price we paid was a quarter of what we would have paid in La Cruz.  I am happy, and one of our boat neighbors is green with envy.