Friday, December 30, 2011

Arlete goes to California

**NOTE: For some unknown techy reason I can't get the pictures from my camera onto Justin's computer so they will be added later ... I hope.

29 December
     afternoon:  phone messages from Thais to call home ASAP ... Mom in hospital, not serious, has a type of flu which is going through Atria El Camino Gardens ... booked a flight Phoenix to Sacramento ...
     11:30 pm:  Tufesa bus leaves Guaymas - muchimas gracias to Roberto who went to the bus station and bought me the ticket - and then drove Dick and I to the bus station - his parting words with a handshake and a warm smile, "Es mi placer."  It's my pleasure.

30 December
     I took the executive bus, big comfortable seats that recline way back.  When I travel alone, I like to sit on the left side where there's only one seat.  Passengers get a box lunch for the trip.  There is also free wifi, black-out curtains, and (too-loud) movies.  I watched The Prince of Persia with Jake Gyllenhaal in Spanish.
11:50 am:  the 9-hour bus ride was 12 hours.  As we pulled into the bus station, my flight was taking off.  Darn.  The airline got me a seat on the next available plane.  

So, just 24 hours after receiving the phone messages I was at the hospital.  Here's the story:
     A type of flu hit Atria El Camino Gardens - 7 of 17 residents + staff had been affected.  As each resident presented symptoms, they were sent to a hospital for diagnosis.  No resident was allowed to return until they'd been medically "cleared."
Justin's daily contribution which his Grandma loves:  a Starbuck's hot chocolate, half poured out and replaced with Ensure.
When I saw Mom, she actually looked great, the worst problem being diarrhea.  She still had a good sense of humor.  She would forget, of course, that she's not supposed to get out of bed because of the IV and catheter, so a bed alarm was turned on.  The nurses soon learned they'd better hustle down to her room when the alarm went off because she's pretty fast on her feet.  If they didn't get there quickly, the IV and/or catheter would pull out.  Once, the nurse showed up and Mom, halfway to the bathroom, said, "How can you see me around the corner?"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Boat life: refrigeration

Dick and I have decided to keep our boat as simple as possible. The fewer systems, the fewer problems to deal with. Bicycle touring prepared us well for this decision. We do have an icebox onboard which we've recently started using. About once/week we need to get more ice. Block ice lasts longer, the supplier in Guaymas is only a few blocks from the marina.
Today we bought a media barra (half block).
A brisk walk back to the boat:
The icebox is under the settee:
Food to the left, ice to the right.  Holes between the two boxes allow the air to flow.  We put the ice into a container which hopefully doesn't spill over as the ice melts.  I'm in charge of dipping out the old water, until I can lift the bigger container.
The steps up to our boat are somewhat rickety, Dick is extra careful with his load.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

It was a warm sunny day ... finally. It's been unseasonably cold so far this year. We had a potluck near Patsy and Tony's boat, Forbes and Cameron.
Two young sailors, one from Mexico City and one from England, both astrophysicists (at left in red shirt and plaid shirt), showed up at the fuel dock yesterday.  They felt quite lucky to unexpectedly be invited to a huge meal and friendly people.

Two staff members, Rosa (left) and Locy (right) came with their daughters.  Rosa and Locy are two of the nicest people who work at the marina.
L-R: Patsy with concertina, Margaret with flute, Greg and Tony on guitar.  There is always some singing when Patsy is around, but today it was enhanced but others who carry instruments onboard.
Near the end of the day, the birds looked like notes on a musical staff - a perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

And a comforting sight from home:  Phyl's Christmas cookies this year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

To San Diego and back

5 am, 22 Dec: We were up and ready to solve one lingering issue. We've converted to outboard power, but what to do with the diesel engine which is worth a significant amount of money. We needed to do something with it before we go sailing and we didn't want to put it into storage here in Guaymas. Thanks to fellow cruisers, Doug and Linda, Que Linda, we loaded the engine into their pickup and drove to Tucson where they were going to spend Christmas with family.  We left before dawn because crossing the border might take up to 3 hours during at this time of year.  Dick rather enjoyed his nest in the back. 
In Tucson, we rented a pickup
and drove to San Diego to a Yanmar dealer who took our engine on consignment.
So much easier removing the engine with a forklift.
We immediately got back on the road and drove back to Tucson.  No trip to the USA is possible without a stop at Home Depot.  I had to laugh when I saw this sign in the women's bathroom.  "In our modern facilities, please put toilet paper in the toilet."  As I've said before, in Mexico you must put toilet paper in the waste basket or you might clog the plumbing.
By 8:30 pm, 23 December, we were at the Tufesa bus station where buses to Guaymas leave every hour, but Dick still had to return the truck. Everything had gone so smoothly thus far, now the clerk behind the window told us, "Every seat is taken, no seats are available until tomorrow afternoon." Sigh. Then she decided to check each bus until she found two seat together. Good news! Two seats at 10:30, at the very back of the bus next to the toilet :( We'll take them.   While I waited with our suitcase, Dick returned the truck, and RAN 4 miles back to the bus station, arriving about 45 minutes before departure time.

5:30 am, 24 December, we crawled into our bed on the boat. We did it. Now we can go sailing with lighter hearts . . . and a lighter boat.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Zumbatón y posada

I mentioned before that another cruiser, Patsy, and I have been going to zumba on the malecón about 3 times/week.  Last week, they began planning a posada to take place after zumbtón tonight and we were invited.  We weren't able to buy the t-shirt for our zumba group, but we each bought a falda (skirt - but actually it was a wrap that tied at one hip).  Because my name is difficult for people to say and remember, I became Leticia, Patsy became Patricia. 
All of the ladies in our group wore pink faldas.  Zumba groups from other colonias (neighborhoods) in Guaymas were invited for this year-end event, kind of a zumba marathon.  Guaymas norte wore blue t-shirts and blue Santa hats, another colonia wore camouflage skirts and t-shirts.
Los maestros (the teachers). Our maestro is Manuel. No one calls him by his name, he is always referred to as Maestro. As he leads or teaches the dances he always encourages us to be más sexy (more sexy).
It was supposed to start at 5 pm, but in Mexico, events start only when everything is ready.  Therefore we started zumba-ing only at 6.  Local television reporters were there, they homed in on us for their first interviews - the only gringas in the group of about 150. Thank goodness I understood their only question in Spanish, "Do you like zumba?"  Si, me gusta mucho.
After one hour, many public officials came onstage to give short speeches.  The fellow at the far left is the city official who has been in charge of zumba organization for the past two years.  We met him before zumbatón began.  During his speech, he specifically welcomed Leticia de los Estados Unidos y Patricia de Canada, and we received a round of applause.  I guess Patsy and I are now celebrities.
After the speeches, a photo session.  The man in center wearing the leather jacket is the mayor of Guaymas.
After the speeches, there was supposed to be only four more dances, but as each teacher in succession came on stage to lead a dance, they started by asking, "Are you tired yet?"  The crowd roared, "Noooooo!"  So zumba continued for another hour.  My legs and feet were sooo tired.  At 8 pm, the zumbatón was over, now we were off to the posada - to Marta's house, but where in Guaymas was that?  Addresses here are NOT like we're used to in the USA.  Houses do not have numbers, most streets have names but not always.  Addresses always seem to include the colonia, a street name and a lot number.  As it turned out, Marta's house was directly across the street from Panchis' house.  And Panchis would drive us home whenever we were ready - yay!  (From previous blog entries, you may remember our friends, Roberto and Panchis, who both live in Guaymas, we've been to each of their homes many times.)

L-R: Antonia, Patsy, Marta.  Antonio was the first person we met at zumba.  He's just 13 years old, one of two young men who zumba, and sooo friendly.  We always get a handshake and a kiss on the cheek when we meet and when we say goodbye.
After we had some snacks and drinks, what did we do?  More dancing on the patio.  Oh my!  At least it was freestyle and one could move as slowly as needed. 
Patsy and I had so much fun, our zumba friends made us feel so welcome - we will never forget this adventure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Historically, a posada is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay during the 9 days before Christmas.  But in Guaymas, it means having a Christmas party.  This could be friends gathering together or a business/company having a party.  The city of Guaymas had a posada at the marina. 
Those who attended could buy raffle tickets to win one of the many wrapped gifts which ranged from toys to microwaves.
In between speeches by public officials and the raffle, the well-known (large) band Banda 3 Rios performed.
Thankfully everything was over by 8:30 pm. I say thankfully because the super-loud music from a previous posada only ended at 4:30 am.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Boat update

There used to be 7 holes in the bottom of our boat. They're called through-hulls and have a seacock which allows water to flow OUT but not in . . . unless of course there's a failure. Dick is quite happy to have done away with 6 of them. This is the only one now, it will allow us to pump seawater into the galley sink.
I laughed when this contraption from an old ringer washer showed up in our yard sale.  Another cruiser found it on his recently-purchased boat and wanted to get rid of it.  I joked that this could be my new pasta machine and got a few nods that this just might work.  Another cruiser said they were finally able to order one through a mail-order back-to-the-Earth-type catalog and loved having it onboard.  Why?  When you start doing your wash on the boat in a bucket, it helps to run the wet clothes through the ringer before hanging them on the lifelines to dry.  Ahhh, this is when there are no laundromats - is this experience going to be in my future?
The boat may be so light at this point that the propellor on the outboard might not reach the water.  The solution was to make an adjustable "jack plate" to allow the outboard to be lowered.
Rupert and Dick teeter-tottered our diesel engine from the ground to a height of 30" yesterday.  We're getting ready to slide it into a pickup for delivery to storage.

Around Guaymas this week

Another big tree on the malecón:
The fisherman's statue is the iconic symbol of Guaymas:
Our latest favorite restaurant El Sauce y la Palma (The Willow and the Palm):

Monday-Friday on the malecón at 7 pm, there is a free zumba class.  I've seen about 100 girls and women (and two young men) on a well-attended night work out for an hour to lots of American music (some with quite raunchy lyrics).  Tonight, it was cold and being the holiday season, the group was only about 30.  Patsy (gray shirt) and I try to go about 3 times/week.  Zumba, or rather trying to do zumba, allows me to practice looking ridiculous and not care who's watching me.  There is no way I'll ever be able to shimmy my shoulders and swivel my hips like some of the latinas.
Cathedral of San Fernando:

Almost every restaurant in Guaymas has a home delivery service, including Burger King: