Friday, December 31, 2010

Feliz año nuevo

It's especially cold today and very windy, a few raindrops even fell.
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Tonight about 14 people gathered in the cruiser's lounge for a litle party as we waited for midnight to arrive. Eight of us made it all the way, feeling quite proud that we could stay up so late. Most cruisers seem to be in bed at least by 9 pm. By 12:05, we were all headed back to snug-up in our berths under a pile of blankets.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Algunes tareas finales

Some final tasks. Dick worked on smaller tasks this week while we wait for Orasio to come back from vacation.

Making spreader boots:
Quite a nice sewing job:

Filling small indentations with epoxy:

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas to all. This is our very little tree on top of our only wrapped present - the sum total of our holiday decorating.
Our very own Christmas elf came over in the morning. Elke is going to repair the sunbrella tape on the sail that goes on the roller furling. She has an industrial sewing machine, work begins early tomorrow morning.

Elke is NOT drinking beer - this was the only container we could come up with to give her water to drink from.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We were invited to a Christmas Eve cioppino pot luck at Gabriel's boat yard, which is across the bay.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trabajar en el barco - actualización

Boat update. The work area underneath the boat has been cleared away. Much of what goes back onto the boat has been cleaned and stored inside the building, some was thrown away. All the storage lockers have been cleaned.
The mast has been refurbished: all stays and lines have been reattached, all lights have been reconnected and are in working order, cardboard protection has been shrink-wrapped onto the mast in preparation for being restepped (put back onto the boat where it belongs, but that won't happen until the boat is back in the water).

With lots of manpower, the mast was moved about 6 feet away from the boat so the Travel Lift has enough room.

Cleaning the engine - a very messy job.

Bottom paint has been purchased, but applying it has to be finely timed with going back into the water and stepping the mast. Orasio, the "big boss" in the yard will be on vacation until after the new year. We're getting ever closer - we do not plan to become permanent Guaymanians. Or is it Guaymaneros?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Buenas tardes, pasajeros"

"Good afternoon, passengers." This young entrepreneur gets on the bus and rides for only a few blocks. He moves quickly through the bus giving every willing passenger a very small packet of Chiclets gum. Back at the front, he welcomes everyone onboard, sings a short song, and walks back down the aisle collecting money from those who buy the Chiclets or get the packets back.

I asked if I could take his picture, he said no. I offered $5 pesos and he agreed. As he came down the aisle, I raised my camera, but he wagged his finger to say "no." I had to sneak to take the above picture. I wasn't sure what was going on, but shortly he came to sit beside me and posed rather nicely so I could take this picture:

Then he wanted to take my picture. He asked where I was going ("¿A donde va?") and I told him. I asked where he was going. He looked up somewhat surprised and said "Aqui!", whistled to the bus driver, ran up the aisle, and off the bus to begin his circuit again. At about 8 years of age, he was completely engaging and I'll always buy his Chiclets from now on, or perhaps not buy the Chiclets but give him a peso anyway.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bicicletta vs automovil

Dick thought there were no cars coming as he moved to the left to cross the road last Friday evening as he rode from the marina to Roberto's house. However, he misjudged the situation and was struck on his left side by a car. No broken bones, no scrapes or scratches, but he was very sore for days. He continued to work on the boat, but as this picture shows, he had trouble lifting himself out a chair as he worked on the mast.

One funny note: the milk crate carrier which was zip-tied to the back rack came off and landed upright at the side of the road. He also lost one shoe and a pair of glasses that were tucked into the front neck of his shirt. Where did they end up? Inside the milk crate. Here, you can seen one improvement: a blinking light attached to his neck. He's riding my bicycle up the the deposito (beer store), two empty bottles in the baskets. By returning the bottles, the beer is half-price - such a deal!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Costurando almohadónes

Sewing cushions . . . for the cockpit on the boat.
I practiced every avoidance technique in my arsenal for many days, finally attacking the project while we were staying at Roberto's house (while he visited his sister in Sierra Vista, Arizona). The circles print is the topside. The pieced sections are the bottom, the result of me being too cheap to buy 4 lengths of the circles print. The sides are also pieced with a very long zipper along the back edge and around the corners (to more easily insert the foam, which turned out to not be easy at all).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Back in California

Happy 92nd Birthday, Mom. Super thanks to Justin and Thais for making Mom's day a special one.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Niños en biciclettas

Boys on bicycles. L-R: Ryan and Manuel are the sons of one of the guards for the marina workyard. Sometimes they come to work with their dad, mostly on Sundays, and try to do odd jobs to earn a few pesos. Then it's time for fun. Last Sunday, after helping Dick for a while, they asked to ride our bicycles. It would be the first time either had ever ridden a bicycle. Since one bicycle had a flat tire, they had to tomar turnos (take turns). Smiling and laughing the entire time, they helped each other secure the bicycle helmet and get going the first time.

Amazingly, there was no hesitation, no fear of falling, no balance issues - off they went, a little wobbly at first, but soon they were experts. Once around the yard, with the other running alongside, and they switched riders.

The sweet simple joys of childhood and bicycles are universal.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cocinando con Roberto: pollo mole

Cooking with Roberto: chicken mole. (Mole is pronounced "MO-lay")

Mole is defined as: A smooth thick sauce used in Mexican cooking made of one type of chile or many chiles, and flavored with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. The flavor is rich, smoky, and very complex. Rick Bayless, a noted American chef who specializes in traditional Mexican cooking with modern interpretations, likens it to a "twenty-piece band." Roberto starts with purchased mole sauce and adds a few extra ingredients to improve the flavor, a much easier method by far.

**Note: all ingredients are approximate, a little more or a little less won't change the final result.

chicken legs and thighs, maybe 8-10 pieces total
1 onion, quartered
2-3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 pound (500 grams) commercial mole (Doña Maria, for example)
chicken broth (cooking liquid is better because of its milder flavor)
2 slices toasted bread (or pan tostada)
12 almonds
3-4 ounces (100 grams) sweetened chocolate (Ibarra, for example)
1 small plantain (banana macho)
sesame seeds

Remove skin and visible fat from chicken. Put into a large pot and cover with water. Add onion, celery, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30-40 minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Save all cooking liquid.

Whirl in a blender almonds and broken-up toasted bread, set aside. Blend plantain, cut into chunks, with enough chicken broth to make it blend. Add broken pieces of chocolate, one at a time, and some sesame seeds, maybe 2-3 tablespoons.

Put the commercial mole sauce into a large saucepan. The Dona Maria mole we used was really hard to dig out of the jar once the top layer of oil was poured off. Turn on heat to medium, add enough chicken broth so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom. Add almond/bread mixture and plantain mixture and more chicken broth until it's the consistency of a thick syrup.

Put cooked chicken into a large deep frying pan, pour lots of mole over the top and heat through. We served the mole with white rice, cooked with the rest of the chicken broth. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top once it's plated.

Como una piedra en pozo

Like a rock in a well. This is the Spanish-language answer to "How did you sleep last night?" That's how I slept last night.

Some friends of Roberto's came over for a carne asada dinner and music on the balcony patio. L-R: Salvador and his son, Martín:

Roberto doesn't play the guitar although he looks good holding it.

Four brothers were part of the group, all musically talented. They sang Mexican folk songs and original compostions in harmony.

The brother who now has the guitar is a professional musician and has worked in Las Vegas.

The carne asada - grilled meat that's put into flour tortillas and topped with salsa - was delicious. There was also beer and wine, a tequila bottle was passed around every once in a while. Hence, my very good night's sleep.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nuestra cama

Our bed. We've moved into the starboard hull to sleep. Previously, I've been making a bed on the floor of the bridgedeck using cushions from the settee: under an open counter, partly in the galley (kitchen), partly in the salon (living room). It was a little like life on a bicycle tour. Each day pitching the tent, making the bed; each morning, putting it all away again. I never minded, bicycle touring was good practice for boat life.

The space is long enough so Dick's feet no long have to fit through a hole at the bottom of the cabinet door under the galley sink. It's almost as wide as a double bed although there is a section (my space) against the wall that sticks out farther. It's about 2 feet high, so there's no sitting up in bed. It's also rather high to climb into. I need an extra step to be able to barely get my knee onto the bed. No one but Dick will ever see me getting into our berth - it's not a pretty sight.

Making the bed is a challenge. Imagine making your bed while lying on your stomach, surrounded on 3 1/4 sides by a wall, tucking under the fitted sheet like a wrestling match.

On cold nights it's quite cozy. On warm nights we open a hatch door and two small circular holes to ge the air moving.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nueva in Guaymas

New in Guaymas. In the past year, Walmart and Sam's Club have come to Guaymas. Note how few vehicles are in the parking lot. Walmart is too expensive for the average Mexican worker. However the gringos in Guaymas and San Carlos love it - something familiar from the states.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Una otra manadera

Another messenger. I just finished reading this book whose subtitle is La Manadera. David Stuart lived in Guaymas in the late 60s/early 70s and fell in love with the people and the city of Guaymas. It's an autobiographical narrative with a tragic ending.

Monday, November 29, 2010

La manadera

The messenger, or errand-runner. While Dick is hard at work, I try to be supportive by cooking the evening meal, doing the laundry, and running errands usually by bicycle.

I'm increasing my vocabulary and getting to know where to go for the various things needed. You can never get everything in just one place. You can only find tornillos acero inoxidable (stainless steel screws) at a store called Sesenta y Seis. Here I'm on my way to try to buy epoxy resin:

Alas, they did not have what I needed but por el jueves, sin duda (by Thursday without a doubt). But it wasn't there by Thursday. We went to San Carlos where the price was double. Work was stalled for two days while we tried to decide what to do. We ended up buying epoxy from Francisco who does most of the work in the yard.

I even go to the Monica's panaderia (bakery) to get the best doughnuts in town. According the Dick-the-doughnut-expert: all doughnuts from commercial bakeries in the US are made from the same dough. Differences in doughnuts are the result of cooking technique and how they're dressed afterwards. In Mexico the dough is definitely different, doughnuts are less greasy and more cake-like. We've only seen them sprinkled with white sugar or with a chocolate glaze.

Trabajar en el barco - actualización

Working on the boat - an update. This is what the boat looked like 4 weeks ago:

Two layers of marine plywood now cover the damaged area and Dick is grinding down the surface. Note the open leg on Dick's protective covering. He's larger than most Mexican men and the largest-size available is not quite big enough:

Applying kevlar tape to the joints to add strength:

Rolling on epoxy:

Applying fairing compound mixed with silica:

Applying fairing compound mixed with phenolic micro-balloons:

The white part is the third layer of fairing compound, this one is mixed with glass bubbles:

And so, the work continues as we long to be in the water, and then to sail away.