Wednesday, March 1, 2017


February 18, 2017

Friday, I had been too lazy to run, so I got up early on Saturday and made up for lost time.  Even though I was half an hour earlier than usual, it was quite light out.  It promised to be a very bright day.

I was excited because Betty and I were going to see Duende, the other half of Luna Rumba, on Saturday night.  The show was at the Octopus’ Garden, a place I just couldn’t seem to avoid that week.  The stage was set up in the courtyard and I had never seen the place so packed.  There were seats everywhere on both floors.  It seemed that Geo was still very popular.
The Octopus' Garden
Duende in Concert

                                                                                                                                    Duende, Geo’s new band, consisted of Geo, Lili (a dancer and percussionist) and Luis who played bass, cello, percussion and various wind instruments.  Geo played a five-string violin and Spanish guitar.  The new band was not as polished as Luna Rumba had been, but at least some of the material was new.  Because both Geo and Luis played multiple instruments, they made use of looping technology to allow themselves to play multiple instruments live.  This resulted in a much fuller sound than the three of them could have managed without the technology, but it was distracting to watch them constantly flipping switches and toeing pedals.  Both Geo and Luis were phenomenal musicians, but the band lacked a vocalist.  Most of the numbers were ingeniously arranged covers, including a brilliant mash-up of Steely Dan’s Do It Again and Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean.  I left in awe of Geo’s talent, but still longing for the combined passion of Luna Rumba.

It was supposed to start raining in the middle of the night and the palapa was bound to leak.  I packed up the majority of my belongings and stowed them in the storeroom downstairs.  I had been assured that the bed would remain dry and I hoped I had not been misled.

February 19, 2017

Water Pooling in the Sail Over My Ante Room
Sunday would have been a good morning to sleep in, but the rain started about five in the morning.  At first, it was cozy to lie in bed and listen to the rain pattering on the roof.  I lay there until about 7:00, when I had to venture out into the rain to use the restroom.  The toilet cubicle was mostly dry, but I had to walk across wet matting to get there.  I decided I had better check on the sail strung over the ante room.  It had accumulated quite a bit of water, so I dumped that out.  I spent the next couple of hours huddling on my bed and getting up every few minutes to dump the water out of wherever it was pooling.

The rain slowed down about 9:00 and I went downstairs and made myself some breakfast.  The covered patio area was flooded with water that had come pouring down the stairway from my rooftop.  Sodden towels were scattered about.  Zane ran up and brought the mattress from the ante room inside.

Rain Pouring Off the Roof
The rain continued to fall, on and off, until about 5:00 in the afternoon.  I spent most of the day in the palapa, reading and making sure nothing blew away or collapsed.  The town’s streets were running with water and I had no desire to go out in the storm, anyway.  By early evening, the sun was trying to come out and I wrung out the rubber mats from the bathroom and hung them out to dry.  The palm matting that was not pinned under furniture I also set out to dry.  My quarters were damp, but I had enough confidence in the weather to reclaim my belongings so that I could get dressed in the morning.  I did not, however, unpack.  I wanted to be prepared to make a run for shelter if it started raining again.

February 20, 2017

Dawn Over the Anchorage at La Cruz
It only sprinkled lightly during the night and I slept through it.  I got up in time to run before the morning net.  Betty was not feeling well, so I listened to the net from her balcony.  One of the things I had accomplished while sheltering in place the day before was researching our options for traveling to Copper Canyon, something we had both wanted to do for years.  I had received an email letting me know that there were two places open for an upcoming tour and I needed to confer with Betty before agreeing to go.

The Roof Was Due for Replacement
I spent the morning drying out the palm matting in the palapa and sweeping up the debris from the decaying roof.  Every time I disturbed a mat, I had to sweep all over again.  The roof was due for replacement during the next slow season.  Ulla and I were also conferring about my lodging.  She had managed to find a place for me through March 11th, but we weren’t due to leave for our tour to Copper Canyon until the 16th.  Fortunately, I would be able to move back into the palapa upon my return from Copper Canyon.

I spent much of the day playing the guitar and reading and then I set out to talk to my friends Jen and Gregg about renting a room from them for the time between March 11th and our departure for Copper Canyon.  I found Gregg at home and he confirmed that they had space.  I then walked back through town, got a small scoop of ice cream, and picked up a few food items and a bottle of wine from the market.  Usually, I don’t drink wine in Mexico, but the cool evenings had discouraged me from drinking beer or anything with ice.  Red wine sounded perfect under the circumstances.

Upon my return, I practiced the guitar for a bit before the music started up across the street and then spent the early evening working on my blog, which was somewhat behind.  Finally, I managed to get caught up enough to pour myself a glass of wine and relax.

February 21, 2017

Betty was mostly recovered by Tuesday morning, so we left on a shopping expedition shortly after
Bucerias Street Scene
the net.  Our first stop was Bucerias, where we had a delightful breakfast.  Betty was craving pancakes, so had a short stack and a plate of fruit.  I got a waffle with apples and cinnamon and a big glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.  Thus fortified, we walked across Bucerias to visit our banks and then went in search of the tour agency to put deposits down on our trip to Copper Canyon.  Other than the highway, the main drag through Bucerias is called Lazaro Cardenas.  Unfortunately, the numbers on that street are not consecutive.  I had recently been to #38, so hoped that #39 would be nearby.  Unfortunately, it was clear at the other end of the street.  Betty wasn’t feeling 100%, so she was pretty wiped out by the time we found the agency and made our arrangements.

Our tasks for the day were not yet complete, however.  Betty still wanted to order some eyeglasses and I needed to find some warmer clothes for the trip to Copper Canyon, so we hopped aboard a bus and rode up to the Walmart shopping center in Nuevo Vallarta.  I found a pair of long pants and a long sleeved shirt, as well as some fabulous silicone ice trays that make great big ice cubes that actually last for more than five minutes.  Then we went to the optician in the mall.

The woman at the optician’s was very competent and thorough, but did not speak English.  I had to translate for poor Betty, who was fading fast.  We finally managed to get her glasses ordered and then we were glad to collapse in a combi for the ride back to La Cruz.  It was nearly 4:00 by the time we got back.

I read for a couple of hours and then went out for a very tasty dinner at the La Cruz Inn.  Anna Banana’s was quiet for the evening and I was in bed by 8:30.   I needed to catch up on some sleep.

February 22, 2017

Having crashed early the night before, I woke up early and went for a run.  The sunrise was very lovely, but my phone was updating and I couldn’t take any pictures.

I spent the morning on my usual pursuits, dropped off laundry, and put my name on the crew list for the Banderas Bay Regatta.  Then I went back to Agave Azul where I was scheduled to get my hair cut at 1:00.  The afternoon flew by and soon it was time to go out for dinner.

I wandered over to the Ballena Blanca for a couple of tacos, ran into Dan from Dazzler with some other friends and ended up spending the evening listening to music with them.  It was a nice change of pace and I felt quite wild having stayed out until almost 10:00.

February 23-24, 2017

La Cruz Marina at Dawn
Thursday was not a running day, but I woke up early and decided to head down to the marina with my real camera to take some pictures.  I wanted to make a drawing of the dawn, but wasn’t satisfied with any of the pictures I had snapped while running.  I spent an hour and a half wandering around with my camera and got both some exercise and a number of striking shots. 
Dawn Over the Anchorage

Fishermen on Banderas Bay

                                                                                                                                                                  Betty made pancakes and, after eating breakfast and practicing the guitar, I started on a drawing of the anchorage at dawn.

Thursday was marked by a great seminar at the marina.  It was supposed to be on the subject of “When Big Things Break,” but the doctor who stopped by to comment on people’s medical kits for crossing the Pacific ended up talking for nearly two hours and the original seminar had to be postponed.

Thursday night was movie night at the marina amphitheater and I enjoyed that.  After the movie, I relaxed with a glass of wine and went to sleep once the music died down.

I should have run on Friday morning, but the glass of wine I had had the night before took its toll on me and I felt lazy.  I borrowed Betty’s radio to listen to the net, but didn’t get up until the net was over.  I spent the day working on my drawing and playing the guitar.  Then, at 4:30, Karen, Betty, and I piled into Karen’s truck and headed over to San Pancho for their Music Festival.

The Festival When We Arrived
We got there just as it was starting.  We set up chairs towards the back and relaxed.  Each scheduled band played for 45 minutes and then a particularly awful band played oldies on a second stage while the next band set up.  There were food vendors and some artisans selling crafts.  There was also a drink cart selling reasonably priced drinks.  I got a pina colada for 50 pesos (about $2.50.)  It could have been blended better, but I couldn’t argue with the value for the price.  Beers were 25 pesos.
The Beach at San Pancho
Betty and I took a walk to the beach during the first act, before it got dark.  San Pancho has a beautiful beach and it was not marred with touristy restaurants like Sayulita.  There was a nice campground adjacent to the beach and lots of young people, both Mexican and foreign, were camped there.  We walked around the part of the town near the beach and checked out some of the accommodations.  There was a nice place called Palapas las Iguanas renting palapas on stilts that were pretty cool.
Cloudy Day at San Pancho

Campground at San Pancho

The crowd was thin and mostly gray haired when we arrived, but more and more people kept arriving (although the interim band drove some away at every break) and the average age dropped as the night wore on.  At 7:00, La Patrona came on.  She plays down the street from our house every Monday night and I hadn’t seen her yet that season.  I had hoped she might do something a little different for the festival, but she did the same old songs and they didn’t sound as good outdoors.  La Cava de los Martinez is definitely the right place to enjoy La Patrona.

Betty and I had tamales (15 pesos apiece) for dinner.  She had pork rib tamales and I had bean and cheese.  Both were good, although one of hers had a bone in it.  Karen waited for her favorite taco seller to arrive, but eventually gave up and ordered quesadillas.  I spent the entire evening resisting buying a slice of flan.
The music got progressively better.  Dave Fisher played blues at 8:00 and then Maruno came on at 9:00.  They were short a member, but still played great flamenco/Greek/Arabic music on an impressive array of unusual stringed instruments.  The last band was called Caravane.  There were seven of them and they boasted a percussionist, bass, two guitars, flute, trumpet, and vocalist.  The core of the band had come from the mountains of Chiapas, but they had picked up member from other places as varied as Belgium and France.  They were eccentric looking and I didn’t know what to expect, but they were actually quite good and sang songs in Spanish, French, and Italian.  A large crowd of young people were dancing in front of the stage by the end of the set.
Maruno at the San Pancho Music Festival

A surprise band took the stage at 11:00, but they were so out of tune that we left before the end of the first song.  It was late, anyway.  It was nearly midnight by the time we got home and I got to bed.  Then the tuba started.  I put in my ear plugs and managed to get to sleep by 12:30.

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