Monday, February 20, 2017


February 11, 2017

The Palapa at Agave Azul
I woke up early, but lay in bed and dozed off a couple of times before getting up and taking a shower.  I had no groceries, so I walked up the street to the market to buy coffee supplies, bread, and fruit.  Sarah and Alfredo were tired and took their time, so I had a chance to play a little guitar and do some writing.
The Ante Room of the Palapa

Sarah and Alfredo showed up around 2:00 and we went over to the Eva Mandarina Beach Club and had drinks and enjoyed the view.  We walked along the breakwater and eventually headed to the plaza where there was a fundraiser to help build a library for the local primary school.  The event was supposed to begin at 6:00, but there wasn’t much going on.  We sat in the park and played with an adorable puppy until the band started up just before 7:00.

We managed to get fried tacos for dinner, but the real food didn’t come out until long after we had given up and called it a night.  We were all exhausted.

February 12, 2017

Sarah and Alfredo at the La Cruz Market
Sarah and Alfredo arrived about 11:00 to go to the Sunday market.  We strolled through all the stalls so they could see the market.  We stopped for glasses of cucumber, kiwi, lime juice and I bought
some strawberries for later use.  When we stopped at Agave Azul to put the berries in the refrigerator, Ulla the innkeeper suggested we go for brunch at Las Palapas.  Since we were planning to go to the beach after breakfast, anyway, that seemed like a good idea.

We walked through town as far as we could and then completed the journey along the beach the last couple of hundred yards.  Las Palapas had a nice buffet brunch for a reasonable price and there was live music.  I had an omelet made to order with beans and chilaquiles.  Sarah and Alfredo had Mexican food.  Sarah and I had micheladas made with just lime, salt, and ice.  The upended the beer bottles into the glasses and one couldn’t remove the beer bottle without causing a flood.  We had to raise the bottles and gradually ease the beer into the glass.  They looked cool, but were a real nuisance to drink.
Alfredo Clowning at Las Palapas

Sarah on the Beach
We spent a long time over brunch and then walked the rest of the way down the beach to La Manzanilla.  On our way back, we stopped at one of the actual palapas on the sand at Las Palapas.  We had only planned to have a drink, but then Alfredo ordered fish and we ended up spending the entire afternoon lounging in the shade on the beach.  Sarah fell in love with a brightly painted fish mobile, but couldn’t bargain the price down to what she had in her pocket.  The vendor came back while she was in the bathroom and I bought the mobile for her for the price she had been able to negotiate.  It was only 140 pesos (about $7.)
Playa La Manzanilla
 We walked back through town a different way and stopped to visit my friends Jen and Gregg.  It had seemed like we had time to kill, but suddenly we had to hurry back to Agave Azul so that I could change clothes and dash over to the former Philo’s where we had tickets to see Gypsy Rumba.  My favorite band, Luna Rumba, had broken up since I had last visited La Cruz.  The singer and musical director, Cheko Ruiz, had started his own band called Gypsy Rumba.  I had played a recording of Luna Rumba in the van on our way to La Cruz, so Sarah and Alfredo were eager to see Cheko live.
Gypsy Rumba
The former Philo’s had new owners and a new, Country and Western theme.  The menu was much reduced and much less expensive than before.  I was disappointed to see that the show was not sold out, as Luna Rumba had always been.  While many of the old groupies (like myself) were there, Geo’s fans were absent.  Geo had been replaced with a violinist and a guitarist who, while talented, just didn’t have the spine-tingling delivery that Geo had.  Cheko was still wonderful, energetic, and passionate and put on a good show.  Sarah was very impressed and cornered Cheko and talked to him about her son, Steven, who was a songwriter.  He seemed pleased that I was still a loyal fan and had brought my family.  Sarah and Alfredo were ready to move to La Cruz by the end of the show.

February 13, 2017

Sunrise at the La Cruz Marina
Monday morning was my first day completely at leisure in La Cruz.  I got up and ran a couple of miles around the marina as the sun was rising.  I had never seen a sunrise as beautiful as the ones in La Cruz, where the sun rose from behind range after range of mountains and glistened on the water, making the boats into dark silhouettes.  Every day was different and I had posted a hundred photographs of the dawn over the years.

After my run, I showered, dressed and made breakfast and coffee.  Unfortunately, my handheld radio did not receive the morning net, so I had no idea what was happening.  I needed to go to the grocery store and wanted to buy some warmer clothes, as the temperature in La Cruz was unseasonably cold once the sun went down.  Unfortunately, I was chained to my telephone because I had only two days to correct an error I had made in paying for my health insurance before I would be cut off.  I had talked to them on Saturday and managed to reinstate the account, but the payment department had been closed that day.  They were supposed to call me Monday.  When they hadn’t called by noon, I asked Scott to call them and have them call me.  Unfortunately, he didn’t look at his phone until he was done with work for the day.  I spent the day practicing the guitar, writing, napping, and reading, never leaving my phone for a moment.  I was very annoyed.

By 7:00, I figured it was too late to get anything done, so Betty and I headed up to Enrique’s for fish tacos.  The tacos were not on the menu, but they were 25 pesos each and two of them made a fine meal.  We were just paying the bill when Blue Shield called me.  I couldn’t hear anything in the restaurant, so left Betty to handle the bill and went out on the street to talk with them.  The woman claimed my account has just been reinstated, but she couldn’t take my payment over the phone.  I would have to pay it online.  When I got back to Agave Azul, the Blue Shield website was down for maintenance.  I lay on my bed and listened to the music from the bar across the street until it was time to go to sleep.

February 14, 2017

I woke up early and, after several attempts and detours, finally managed to pay for my health insurance.  I set it up to be paid automatically so that I wouldn’t need to worry about it again.  Betty lent me her handheld radio so that I could listen to the net, but there was nothing too exciting.  I made breakfast and drank my coffee while chatting with another of the residents.  Then I practiced the guitar for a couple of hours.  It was best to do that in the morning before the music cranked up across the street and I could no longer hear myself play.

About 1:00, I headed out to go to the store.  Betty decided to come with me as far as Bucerias.  Our first stop was the Octopus’ Garden, where we bought tickets to see Duende, the other half of Luna Rumba, the following Saturday night.  Then we took a combi to the Little Bee, a bulk food store, where we bought nuts and semi-sweet chocolate, which is called semi-bitter chocolate in Spanish.  It was far sweeter than any chocolate I ever bought in the United States, but I had had no chocolate for weeks and it was quite welcome.  A new Chedraui supermarket had opened in Bucerias and we walked up there, but they had very little in the way of women’s clothes and nothing for cool weather, so I decided to continue on to the Mega.  Betty left me and headed back to La Cruz.

I decided to walk to the Mega after waiting unsuccessfully for a combi for several minutes.  It was a bit of a hike, but had been made easier by our stop at Chedraui.  I managed to find a long-sleeved T-shirt and a couple of pairs of cute leggings at the Mega, as well as picking up the few food items and toiletries I was lacking.  Betty needed a cable to link her telephone to a remote speaker and I managed to find that, as well.

The Closed Torta Ahogada Shop
For several days, I had been craving a torta ahogada (drowned sandwich,) which was a pork sandwich on a roll, slathered with a thin tomato broth.  There was a shop on the far side of Bucerias and I stopped there, only to find that it was closed.  I was ravenous and broke into the box of Oreos I had purchased at the Mega.  One should never go grocery shopping when hungry.  I waited several minutes for a combi but, when it came, it stopped at the back of the line so I ended up being left behind.  I had to take one of the big buses back to La Cruz.

It was late afternoon when I returned and, after a short visit to deliver Betty’s cable, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and writing.
Romantic Lighting for Valentine's Day

Being Valentine's Day, the marina had organized a concert in the amphitheater.  The Kids' Club had made luminaria to decorate the stage and the lighting was quite effective.  Sonny played guitar along with his CD.  He had a nice voice and the CD was well produced, but it was a little too New Age for my taste.  Betty and I left just before the encore.

February 15 -17, 2017

Not much happened for the rest of the week.  I got up, ran, breakfasted, practiced the guitar, wrote, read, and studied Italian.  Sometimes I went out for dinner.  La Cruz seemed dead to me, but it was probably just the lack of familiar people.  With the Gecko Rojo closed, there was nowhere I could just drop in when I felt like socializing and I missed that.  I had often stopped in there for happy hour or to play darts or dominoes.  Happy hour would sometimes lead to dinner and that formed the basis of my social life when I was in town without a boat.  This year, I was at a bit of a loss.

The Courtyard at the Octopus' Garden
Wednesday night, a group of us from Agave Azul went to the Octopus' Garden for dinner.  They had all you could eat ribs, but none of us wanted to eat that much.

Thursday, there was a meeting of Women Who Sail at the Octopus’ Garden.  The speakers were Dani Peters, Eugenie Russell and Tamiko Willie.  I really wanted to hear Dani’s presentation on having been shipwrecked on the big island of Hawaii.  I had heard Eugenie and Tamiko speak previously.  Dani’s presentation was emotional.  Knowing both her and the owner of the boat, John, a blind skipper, I could imagine how difficult it must have been for them to abandon ship and attempt to swim over the reefs to shore, tethered together so that John would not become lost.

Dani Speaking at the Women Who Sail Gathering

                                                                                                                                              Tamiko’s story of her first Coast Guard rescue was also engrossing and different than the first time I had heard her speak.  They had ventured out in towering surf to rescue some Navy Seals who had capsized their boat during a training mission and found themselves in the water.  All were recovered and the Coast Guard then went back out through waves taller than the boat was long to retrieve the broken Navy inflatable boat.  Sometimes the Coast Guard is truly heroic.

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