Saturday, April 9, 2016


March 31, 2016

I got up fairly early and had time to run three miles and still get showered and dressed before the net.  I spent a leisurely morning and then Betty and I went to the marina to meet Nick to go see the Cal 31, Aleutian Light.  Nick took us out to the boat in his dinghy.  The motor was a little electric trolling motor.  It wasn’t tremendously fast or powerful, but it was quiet and didn’t smell bad like most outboards.  The real downside, as I saw it, was having to lift the heavy battery in and out of the dinghy.  Getting onto the boat was tricky enough as there was no boarding ladder.
Aleutian Light

We took Aleutian Light out for a short sail.  She sailed like a dream and it was great to be back behind the helm of a Cal.  Unfortunately, she required too much work to get her into the condition we required and I was put off by the prospect of having another old Volvo Penta engine for which parts were not available.  I already had one boat that needed a new engine.  I needed one with a reliable power plant.  We did enjoy sailing the boat, however.  It was nice to be out on the bay and there was good wind. 

Betty had an appointment, so we had to get back by 15:00.  We didn’t even have a chance to talk about the boat before she scurried off.  I went up to the Gecko Rojo to play darts for an hour or so.    Then I went to the marina to watch Spotlight at the amphitheater with a group of people from Agave Azul. I wasn’t very hungry, so I had a hotdog for dinner.

April 1, 2016

I slept late, but still had time to go to the market to buy apples and cheese to take sailing on Klaus’ boat.  The Mar y Sol market buys cheese in big wheels and then cuts off whatever you want.  I bought a quarter of a kilo of good white cheddar, the first I had had since leaving the U.S.

Betty and I met Klaus at 11:00 to go sailing on his boat Sea Otter.  Our housemate, Martin, was also invited so that Klaus could have someone with whom to speak German.  Martin had never been on a sailboat before.  Sea Otter was a Freedom 30, interesting in that it had an unstayed carbon fiber mast and a self-tacking jib.  It was comfortable and spacious for its size and sailed quite nicely.  It wasn’t actually for sale, but Betty and I fantasized about buying it or another like it.  It would have been a better choice than the Cal.

Sailing on Sea Otter
We sailed out towards Yelapa and passed quite close to the Marietas Islands.  Martin, who spends a lot of time at the beach, was interested to see the coast from a different perspective.  We sailed for most of the afternoon in good winds.  We started with a reef in the main, but shook it out when we reached the far point of our sail.  We returned at a good clip.  It was a perfect day to be sailing.  When we returned to the dock, we broke out snacks and had a drink before we left.

I hadn’t been to play Mexican Train dominoes in over a month, so I headed up to the Poolside Deli to join the domino game.  I was a little late, but got there just as a second table was starting up.  We played, talked, and drank margaritas.  Somehow, the subject of my Santana 35 came up.  Mike, from PV Sails got very excited at the idea of my bringing the boat to Banderas Bay.  The conversation became very animated.  Somehow, I managed to win the domino game and my prize was another margarita.  With all that tequila in my bloodstream, sailing the boat down sounded like a good idea.  I was up until three in the morning thinking about it, but the boat requires a lot of crew and the list of things I would need to add to make it safe and comfortable enough to get people to sail 2000 miles in it grew longer and longer.  It became clear that barring an affordable way to ship or truck it to Puerto Vallarta, the boat was going to remain in California.

April 2, 2016

I was out of cash and needed to pay the rent again, so I hopped on a collectivo and went to Bucerias
Ferreteria Todo
to visit the bank.  The Gecko Rojo was having a Kentucky Derby themed end of season party the next week and I wanted to make a paper mache horse to enter in the race.  I needed to find some steel wire to build the framework.  I went to my favorite hardware store, Ferreteria Todo, in Bucerias, but they didn’t have any.  By then I was hungry, so I stopped at El Pollo Feliz for some roasted chicken.  Then I headed back to La Cruz and stopped at Todo Vela where I managed to buy a lifetime supply of seizing wire for 65 pesos.

El Pollo Feliz
I dropped my clothes at Sonia’s laundry and bought a couple of tickets to go see Luna Rumba the following week.  Then I spent the afternoon building the framework of the horse out of wire and a coke can.  I was so full from my giant chicken lunch that I had ice cream for dinner.  The band at the Gecko Rojo was battling the Mexican band in the plaza where the entire native population of La Cruz seemed to be celebrating Semana de Pasqua.

Saturday Night in the Plaza

April 3, 2016

I had a leisurely morning and then Betty and I met some friends of hers for brunch at Oso’s where we
Oyster Festival Madness in Bucerias
got eggs benedict.  The whole gang from Melaque was there, too.  After brunch, Betty, her friend Jeff, and I took a collectivo to Bucerias where they were having an oyster festival.  We got there about 14:00 and the entire beach was mobbed with Semana de Pasqua celebrants.  It was too much for us, so we walked back up the beach to the Breakers and had a drink.  One of the bands from the Gecko Rojo was playing and some other friends from the bar were there also.  We stayed for one set and then returned to La Cruz.  I spent the rest of the afternoon constructing the paper mache portion of my horse.
Swimmers, Red Flag or Not

We had plans to go eat dinner and listen to music at the Octopus’ Garden that evening.  Sarah, a new guest at Agave Azul, and Klaus joined us.  I had my dates mixed up and they were closed.  We went to Casa Hule and had very tasty thin crust pizza instead.  It was a very pleasant evening.

April 4, 2016

I was excited to get up and run because daylight savings time had begun and once again I could enjoy the beautiful sunrise while running.  I ran three miles and came back in time to listen to the net.  Then I made myself a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, and a smoothie.  Some of the people in the house were trying to go a whole day without spending any money, so I joined their effort.
Running at Dawn

I spent the bulk of the day writing, reading, and playing the guitar.  My horse was still drying.  I did leave the house to retrieve my laundry from Sonya, but I stayed in and ate leftovers for lunch and dinner. At 17:00, I went over to the Gecko Rojo to play darts.  There were dart games on Mondays and Thursdays. 
Darts at the Gecko Rojo
I was so sleepy that I had to drink a Coca Lite to stay awake, but then I was wired.  After dinner, I heard laughter coming from the kitchen.  I went in to get something to drink and discovered a game of Rummy Cube in process.  Sarah had just dropped out, so I took her seat and played until midnight.  Games were always popular in La Cruz, but gained in importance as the tourist season activities wound down.  La Cruz was starting to feel like a ghost town.
La Cruz Was Very Empty

April 5, 2016

I spent the morning lounging and playing the guitar between putting coats of paint on my paper mache horse.  He needed two coats of the base yellow and then two rounds of detail colors.  I finished him off with a mane, tail, and reins made of orange plastic twine and glued him to a base of blue plaster I found in a pile of rubble.  He looked like a piece of Mexican folk art, which was the look I was after.

My Paper Mache Horse
After lunch, I went back to the dentist to get my teeth polished.  The dentist had deemed my gums too irritated to do it after the cleaning.  He did a nice job and charged me a whopping 100 pesos ($6.)  Iguanas were chasing each other through the trees next door as I walked back home.
Iguanas in the Trees
I lounged until I got hungry and then convinced Betty and Sarah, a visiting bear biologist from Alberta, to go out to dinner.  Betty wanted ribs, so we decided to go to the Ballena Blanca.  They were out of ribs.  After some deliberation, we decided to go to the new restaurant on the glorieta, Langosta Diez.  The food was nicely prepared and the ambiance pleasant.  The tables were set with gorgeous glassware.  The menu was a rather strange fusion of different cuisines, which didn’t always work.  Before dinner, we were served some lovely focaccia accompanied by four sauces (pineapple habanero, caper mayonnaise, olive oil sesame, and peanut), none of which belonged on focaccia.  We were all looking for cheese, tomato, or garlic.  Still, my cannelloni were tasty and the deep fried spinach garnish was interesting.  I didn’t have one, but the margaritas were rumored to be good.

Sara and Betty at Langosta Diez
La Cruz had a baker by the name of Mike that provided cakes to many restaurants in town.  His cakes were exceptional and I am not a big fan of cake.  Langosta Diez did not serve them and Betty wanted Sara to try one, so we returned to the Ballena Blanca.  They were also out of cake.  We had to go back to the coffee shop near Philo’s to find a piece, which was plenty large enough to split three ways.  We went our separate ways when we got home and I spent the evening reading and watching Netflix.

April 6, 2016

Having been unable to get to sleep until 3:00 the night before, I did not get up in time to go running. 
My Kentucky Derby Hat
I made myself a big breakfast and then practiced the guitar.  My one real task for the day was to make myself a hat for the Kentucky Derby party.  I started with my utilitarian sailing hat and then added flowers made from newspapers.  It was silly, but I was pleased with the effect.

Off to the Races
I worked on my blog for a bit and then took a nap in the afternoon in preparation for a busy evening.  At 18:00, I set off to the End of Season party at the Gecko.

The "horse races" at the Gecko were a hoot.  The "horses" varied from a zombie teddy bear to a horse made from inflated condoms.  Each "race" had six contestants.  A racecourse was outlined on the tile floor.  One die was rolled to see which horse would move and a second die to tell how many tiles it would advance,  Any horse landing on an obstacle had to move back two spaces.  The first horse to cross the finish line was the winner.  Of course there was betting.  My horse didn't win, but we all had a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, I had to leave early because Betty and I had tickets to Luna Rumba.
The Contestants
Race in Progress

The Betting Window

Once the races were over, we barely had time to walk over to Philo's before the concert was slated to begin.  Still on a quest for ribs, we ordered a full rack and a salad to share.  I only went to Philo's when Luna Rumba was playing, but I always enjoyed the atmosphere when there was a full house, good music, and twinkling lights under the palapa.  Luna Rumba was fabulous as always.

Lights at Philo's
Luna Rumba at Philo's
April 7, 2016

Once again I slept too late to run.  The mornings got very warm as soon as the sun came up because there was little breeze at that time.  I visited with Betty and Sarah until it was time for Sarah to leave for the airport.  Then Betty and I went out for breakfast at Cafe Shulet, our favorite place.  I was craving pancakes, or hot cakes as they now call them in Mexico.  I remember when they were referred to as "panqueques," but languages evolve.  When they came, I hardly ate any.  I like my pancakes with butter and I had forgotten that all butter in Mexico is unsalted.  Between the sweet flavor of the pancake mix and the tasteless grease they called butter, I just wasn't interested.  That was better for me, anyway.  At least my latte was good.  I should have stuck with one of their fabulous omelets.

Cafe Shulet

We went back home after breakfast and I spent the early afternoon working on my blog until it was time to head over to the marina for a seminar on summer boat management.  It was an interesting seminar covering summer weather patterns, available yacht management services, and hurricane preparedness. Banderas Bay almost never gets hurricanes because they are deflected by the Sierra Madre mountains just to the south.  However, the seas can be affected and it is always possible that a hurricane might find its way into the bay, especially with global warming spawning monsters like last year's Patricia.  Since Betty and I were considering keeping a boat in the marina year round, we wanted to gather as much information as possible.

I had just enough time after the seminar to confer with Don about our departure plans and then come home for a swim and a quick quesadilla before it was time to return to the marina to watch the movie Room which was that week's selection for the marina's movie night.  Blatant film piracy made it possible to buy DVDs of almost any film for a few bucks, but I had not been able to find the latest Star Wars film anywhere.  Half our house went to the film and we met up with Don and Kathy there. Due to daylight savings time, the film couldn't start until 20:30.  It was late by the time we got home.

April 8, 2016

Despite having lain awake until 1:00, I got up early to run.  My time in La Cruz was slipping away
and I didn't know when I would have access to the shore again once we left.  The dawn was exceptionally beautiful.  I ran nearly four miles, but kept stopping to take pictures.

I listened to the net after running and then took my dirty clothes to Sonia before making breakfast. We were heading into unfamiliar territory and I wanted to start with a full complement of clean underwear.
Sonia's Laundry

After breakfast, I was so sleep deprived that I lay down and slept for two hours, waking to a dream about an incredibly loud motorcycle that was no doubt based on reality.  I made some lunch and worked on my blog for a bit before retiring to my room to practice the guitar.

With summer hours having taken effect at the Gecko Rojo, they were closed on Thursdays and darts had been moved to Fridays.  This created a conflict with  Mexican Train Happy Hour at the marina.  I considered my priorities and elected for dominoes.  My friend, Blair, had arrived from San Diego to crew on Unleashed.  I was playing dominoes with the owners, so he came up and joined us.  It was nice to see him and catch up.  Everyone comes through La Cruz eventually.

Ana Banana's at Night
Nothing was happening when I finished playing dominoes.  The Gecko Rojo was dead and no one was home at Comet.  There was nice country music emanating from Ana Banana's but I didn't want to drink on an empty stomach.  I went home and made myself a nice spinach, bacon, and cheese omelet and then lay in the hammock on the porch, listening to the music, and drinking the last of my wine.

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