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Friday, April 29, 2011

Cabin Fever and a Chef is Born

Homemade Cream Puffs
Note: Just because you're cruising doesn't mean you have to eat out of a can or that you have to pay an arm and a leg. Period.

Since Jim has been given strict instructions not to over do it, including walking, he has taken up the art of cooking. And I can't say that I'm unhappy about it. I'm thrilled!

Tuesday night he took his cabin-fever-anxiety out on a simple white fish wrapped in bacon... drizzled with a mayo-lime sauce... and accompanied by tender fresh asparagus. It was heavenly. Cost: $6USD to feed four and we had left-overs.

Zada and Carolyne making puffy messes!
Wednesday, we saw Steak Diane (fresh beef tenderloin in a rich cream pepper sauce) and salad. I purchased the loin fresh from the Mazatlan Mercado. The butcher, surrounded by pig heads and cow eyeballs, carefully cut away the fat and silver skin (the shiny membrane) before my very eyes. The price? I paid about $14USD for 2 lbs. We only used 2/3 of the meat for dinner.

Choco Monster

Zada having culinary fun!
Thursday I cooked... to give Capt. Julia Child a break. Fajitas... not exciting, but the meat was purchased fresh and marinated at the Mercado... tender as my heart, if I do say so myself. The marinade consisted of garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and fresh squeezed orange juice. Cost: $7USD for 2lbs. We only cooked up 2/3 of the meat. The rest we stored in our Engel freezer.

Jim's French Onion Soup
Tonight... French Onion Soup was on the menu and Jim babied the concoction for hours. Not exactly a propane sensitive meal, but his choice of Gouda cheese on top (since we couldn't find Gruyere) and toasted bolillos was fabulous.

My personal big tad-dahs this week: I made Cheese Blintzes for breakfast... I didn't know what else to do with the Mexican requeson cheese I bought... thought it was something else. Since lasagna wasn't on the menu for this week, figured I'd better try something new. It is very similar to Ricotta.

Better yet... Carolyne invited Zada from Eyoni over and the two made Cream Puffs. The recipe was an exchange from Laura on Just A Minute and the proof of its deliciousness is not in the pudding... it's on my waistline! We tweak Laura's recipe a tad and add chocolate pudding in the middle. Divine!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mazatlan Must be a Magnet

We were 60 miles out of Mazatlan heading to Escondido for Loretofest when Jim became ill. Not sea sickness... he never gets sea sick. We debated less than a minute whether to continue or to turn around. A no-brainer... Mazatlan has multiple medical options and Escondido... doesn't. So, we turned around.

We arrived back in the Old Harbor at 4am Monday morning. The Harbor Master gave us permission to enter and we hastily dropped anchor before dropping off into restless sleep. At 9am Jim and I ventured into the city to find a Urologist. We were given a referral by a fellow cruiser of a doc who spoke English. Unfortunately, he was still celebrating Semana Santa (Easter Week) and had not returned to the office. So, we were given a name of a Spanish speaking doctor and we took our chances.

My Spanish is improving daily, although medical terms are difficult for me in English and those terms in Spanish are a total crap-shoot. It turns out that Jim has a bacterial infection and needs major doses of antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. The cost of the doctor and meds set us back about $150 USD. Jim was given strict instruction to rest... no walking, exercising, lifting, etc... It looks like our decision to turn back was a wise one.

Regardless of the cost, the fact that we can walk into an office without an appointment and get seen within minutes is priceless. The consultation and exam was 500 pesos... $44USD. Antibiotics used to be over the counter in Mexico but because so many Mexicans used antibiotics for anything and became immune to the antibiotics when serious infections attacked, the Mexican government decided that only doctors should prescribe the antibiotic. So as of late last year, you now need a prescription.

Anyway, to those friends who are expecting us at Loretofest this year, we sadly will not be there. However, Jim immediately showed improvement after a day on the meds. Looks like he will live. We will stay in Maz until we are sure that Jim is cured. Worst case scenario, Jim will need surgery.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cruiser Tip for Slipping Up OR What to Add to Your Honey-Do List

VOLO anchored beside us in Don Juan
We met an Australian couple back in 2009 while cruising the Sea of  Cortez: Max and Sandy. What a delight these two are! Max designed and built their 44' aluminum boat VOLO and even designed and built the machines he needed to bend the aluminum. The man is ingenious! We refer to Max as The Wizard.
As Hotspur was motoring up from La Cruz Thursday/Friday of this week, I woke Jim up on my watch because I smelled a strong burning rubbery odor emanating from the engine room. He got up to investigate and discovered that the alternator and water pump belt was slipping. It was also shredding on one side. We have extra alt belts on board, but the belt is brand new. Not only that, it takes a cool engine and Houdini moves to replace one. We were bobbing about at midnight just 5 miles off the backside of Isla Isabela and 35 miles off the Islas Marias, a penal colony you're supposed to stay away from. Twist my arm.

Jim got a spray can of belt dressing and lubed the belt up, but it kept slipping anyway. This is when Max the Wizard must have whispered into Jim's ear. After I shut the engine off for the umpteenth time, Jim went into the galley and brought out a bottle of honey. That's right... bee vomit, as Carolyne calls it. He slathered a tablespoon of the stuff onto the belt and spread it around with his fingers. You think I'm kidding? The stuff works miracles in a pinch. So keep this little tip somewhere in the back of your cruiser brain. And Wizard? If you and your Wizardette read this, we miss the heck out of you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Burning Rubber to get to Escondido... in a bad way

No wind.
No fish.
No nothing.

Oh, except that on our wobbly motor boat ride back north we smelled burning rubber. Some belt that is shredding apart, no doubt.
So, we pulled into Mazatlan's Old Harbor this afternoon about noon. Our intention is to let the engine cool off and then check for the trouble maker. We have plenty of spare belts aboard. Of course, we have other intentions, too.
Third Day is here.
So is Eyoni.
What are we going to do tonight? Can you say POT LUCK?
Unfortunately for us, Rich and Amy are off doing boat show things back in the states. So, we'll just have to lure them back with fun blog posts and photos of friends and food. Would work too, if it weren't Semana Santa... Easter weekend... the busiest weekend in Mexico... ever. Guess the two of them will have to live vicariously through our blog posts.

I've emailed Escondido to see if I can set our arrival date two days late... the 27th... while we try and sort out the burning part. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leaving La Cruz

Yummy bread... thanks Tami!
It's official... we are out of the marina as of 10:30 am on April 21st. There was only a minor crisis at the fuel dock when Camelot (who we thought was fueling up at the commercial side) began backing up as we were pulling forward into the other side (we really should have called them on the radio to confirm their intentions)... no worries. Tom was super cool.

I think it helps to be acquainted with an individual when boat fiasco-drama occur. Otherwise, we all seem to talk about how stupid someone else's decision was.... how they don't know how to drive a boat... what kind of a moron... that bleep-bleep-bleep idot!... blah-blah-blah. When you know the person and boat drama occurs between the two, then it's no biggie... water on a duck's back... Acuna Matta... See ya at the next potluck!

What really made our morning was the fresh baked bread that Tami on Andiamo III hand delivered. What joy! And I am making it known that she has a bread maker aboard her 43 Hans Christian. I never thought of a bread maker aboard Hotspur. We have never stayed in marinas enough to enjoy a bread maker. However, I look back at the past three years an take note that we have spent 30% of our cruising time in marinas. Now, my little brain is clicking away at the amount of homemade bread that could have been consumed at HEAT-FREE CABIN temps and it is sounding more appealing everyday. Thank you, Tami. Girl, you ROCK! Okay, Loretofest... here we come!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Alchemist and the Eternal Boat Project

The engine has been aligned, thanks to our Aussie friend Stewart. Now, I am trying to hurry with the teak re-conditioning project that I started so that we can head north and get to Escondido before Loretofest at the end of the month. I am using a recipe that I got from my long-time and good friend cruiser Jo on Blue Moon. It is an old product that is no longer manufactured called DEKSOLE. It is a 2-part mixture that requires Penetrol in both parts. Wouldn't you know, I ran out of Penetrol.

Jo told me that I could find it easily.
I didn't.
I called on the morning Net for assistance.
There was none.

So, I asked a local guy who works in the marina if he knew where I might find it. He suggested Performance Boats in Marina Puerto Vallarta. I know the place and was thrilled to have a lead since Jim ran all over the area yesterday and came up empty handed and not real happy. I told Jim my plan and he shook his head.
"I think you're wasting your time."

Being one with "cup half full" attitude, I schlepped to the bus stop and made it to Performance Boats within an hour... only Performance Boats had closed its doors - permanently - like no longer in business. I could hear my husband now. Quickly, I headed across the street to Zaragozas (PV's stick-it-to-you-in-the-pocketbook-but-aren't-you-glad-we-have it-chandlery) and discovered that I would have paid just about anything... if they had just had what I was looking for. Sherwin Williams next door looked at me like I had a third eyeball when I asked for Penetrol. It was looking bleak.

Not one to enjoy hearing my husband say, "I told ya so", I began walking north. I stopped at every tienda that looked remotely like they might carry a paint product. Dupont, Comex, Sayer-something-or-another... I passed the airport. No one can help me. I'm almost at the road that turns to the central bus station. I've walked really far. I see a lumber yard and venture through the gate.

The lady in the office had a product on the shelf that had Penetrol in it. I was so excited! I told her (in Spanish) that I needed the ingredient, not the mixture. She made a couple of phone calls and then told me that no one answered the phone, but that 2 blocks south and 6 blocks east that I would find a little store called Products and Services for Wood. They might have it.

On the way, I ask a couple people I see walking if I'm headed the right direction. No one knows of the store I mention. I keep walking. It looks residential with a few stores interspersed, but I see a small sign at the very end of the street. I arrived at Products and Services for Wood and would you believe... there on the shelf sat the last gallon of Penetrol in all of Puerto Vallarta!

This is what it is like many times to do a boat project in Mexico as a cruiser. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

March Cruising Comparison 2009, 2010 & 2011

March 2011 found us back in La Cruz on the 5th and back in a marina. Jim felt we had engine alignment problems. An inspection determined that he was right, though the expense isn't shown until April when it is paid. Also, Jim had Rob with Sea Tek check the rigging. Because we have no idea how old it is or if it was ever serviced, this was very important to us. Rigging looked good and so went ahead with tuning, too. The cost: $260.86 USD.

Friends are departing this month for the Marquesas. Lots of pot lucks, eating out, cocktails in the cockpit, lots of laughter... ching-ching! TOURISM is the cost of surfing - lessons and rentals. My trip solo to Guanajuato is under MISC at $217 USD. We purchased a heavy, never-been-used-before sea anchor for $700 USD (and yes, that's cheap!). Oh, and just a fraction of our marina bill has been charged so far. GAG! And what are the Christmas gifts to family doing on this month's credit card bill???? Well, there they are. Nope, it's not wrong.

Last year, the biggie expense was paying for more engine re-build; it's under 2010 MISC. And though our DINING OUT line is substantially less in 2010 than this year for the month of March, look at the GROCERIES and compare.

We need to get on the stick and get out of here and to a free anchorage before we have to send our kids into downtown with plastic cups rattling change and singing show tunes. Tim better get his fishing gear ready, too. Dining out on the hook with a hook is going to be the only fresh cuisine we're going to see for a while. I just have to keep telling myself that it is the ANNUAL cost that is most important... not so much the monthly cost. We really do need to get out of the marina... FAST!


2009 -$1,316.82     
2010 - $5,407.98  USD                                2011 - $3,144.92 USD                          
Groceries                970.241105.31446.34
Boat Hardware        144.4759.168.70
Transportation           18.2061.0553.21
Dining Out/Tips         76.60165.73393.22
Internet/Skype      8.0643.47
Tourism                279.99
Laundry                  207.2663.65
Clothing              17.7467.82
Extra Tips                     311.2915
Marina/Mooring     753.49166
Computer Hosting          141.2673.47
Medical                         29.6519.8462.61
Boat Repair                 101.55267.83
Gifts                               24.11115
Dinghy Dock 
Boat Fuel                    44  82.61
Propane                      10.66     
Boat Equipment            177.41700

Saturday, April 16, 2011

January 2011 Cruising Costs Three Year Comparison

This is a re-post from the Blog. Since I'm catching up on EXPENSES, I figured I'd include it since I'm reporting a back-up of posts I've neglected. And get this... I  realized, upon closer inspection, that the Arizona trip that Jim and the kids took in November  2010 didn't show up on the credit card until this month! It's under MISC; no I didn't break it out. It's mostly gas for the rental car (rental car was posted already last year), hardware, school books and miscellaneous boat parts. It changed the total... a bunch! So, disregard my first sentence below.

We did fairly well this month with our overall spending. Keep in mind that there were absolutely no marina stays and no major equipment or repair purchases. There is no doubt that anchoring out is far more cost effective than being tied up to a dock.

However, the inconveniences are greater when you are at anchor. For example, getting to shore with one dinghy requires multiple trips back and forth when dealing with the desires and needs of a family (and a doggie that likes to do her business on land.) And that movie you want to watch? Solar power requires monitoring. Want a shower? Making water requires incoming tides with little muck floating about, and speaking of showers - showering on board requires planning (okay - who's first, second, next, etc...)***this is because we use our shower as storage when we aren't taking a shower***.

Imagine needing to do laundry and having the dinghy gone for hours and no way to reach the dinghy driver - the laundry needs to be hung to dry and the warm mid-day hours are ticking away. And God knows you really don't want to do the laundry anyway, but you have nothing to wear that doesn't smell like 'cruiser'. Gross.

Notice our DINING OUT expenses - much higher than in previous months. This is mainly due to being in three new towns in one month: Mazatlan, San Blas, and La Cruz. New taco stands were discovered, we had a few 'special' dinners with friends without the kids - so we splurged, the grilled chicken was cheap but we managed to buy a LOT of grilled chicken, and we had a lot of seafood options that tend to be more pricey than your average taco. If you average out the eating-out total, it only comes to $10.43 each day including tips... but that gives you an idea of how it adds up!

Medical - Tim needed an eye exam and contacts and Bailey got her rabies and other vaccinations.


2009              $1,092,13 USD2010     $1,539.29 USD2011  $2,433.72        USD
Groceries           630.01 350.38                        663.46                  
Boat Hardware             103.8350.14
Transportation      13.465541.62
Dining Out          106.23149.52323.40
Internet/Skype      27.4622.1542.55
Tourism                 5.54132.545.11
Laundry               30.469.5222.72
Mail                    2030
Clothing              14.2327.66
Extra Tips             4.08108.51
Fishing/Snorkel     41.92
Marina/Mooring     75 
Computer Hosting 19.91
Boat Repair 62.0245.45
Dinghy Dock 8.17
Boat Fuel12.40
Boat Equipment450 
MISC54.52 964.22

Friday, April 15, 2011

SOLD!!!!!!! - 35' CAL Cruiser Cruising Model

Windfall sailing beside us in Banderas Bay, MX last month
 Windfall was our first blue water cruiser and we loved cruising around Mexico on her. When our children became too big, we upgraded to a larger boat with more privacy for our family of four. The new owners of Windfall were temporary cruisers (one year only) and have also enjoyed sailing her around Mexico tremendously. They are now looking to do more inland travel. Although they are still cruising on her at present, they want her to go to a good home before they begin their new adventures in the mountains in Guatemala. So, our old Cal 35' is for sale through La Paz Yachts.

Waving our hellos to the current owners from the sweet sugar scoop
 Besides the great price, the main features that make this CAL Cruiser so attractive are:
  • 120 gallon water tankage
  • 112 diesel tankage
  • Modern sugar scoop/swim step aft that is a PLUS when swimming or fishing or getting your groceries on the boat... you name it! And, it adds 3' of waterline... SWEET!
  • The owners have this boat looking beautiful. It is clean, well maintained, and the bright work is gorgeous.
  • She is cruising now, so you know she is sea-worthy.
To get the broker info at La Paz Yachts, her listing is:

In addition, I also have a page that I made up last year with different photos of the boat. If you'd like to take a looksie click here:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

February 2011 Cruising Expenses

I have put this off for so long that it just hurts worse. After I added everything up it doesn't seem so bad... really. We spent quite a bit of time in the La Cruz Marina. It is so much easier for the kids to get on and off the boat. I don't worry about being stranded without a dinghy to get me places. There are so many kids bouncing around that our kids are thrilled. Then, we went to Barra de Navidad and participated in the Carnival, did a road trip to Colima and went to the water park. It was so much fun! And we ate and drank like we had money coming out the wazoo... which we don't. I lumped all our "excursions" under TOURISM. That includes rental car and bus tickets and food and museums and toll roads and carny rides and etc...

When looking at these figures, keep this in mind:
BOAT REPAIR in 2009 was a haul out and bottom paint job in La Paz.
Also remember that we upgraded to a bigger boat in February 2010. The high expense under MISC is a partial new engine re-build in Mazatlan.

This February this year we spent some money having the SSB and VHF serviced and adding a new antenna. The chandlery in Puerto Vallarta is ridiculously expensive, but we paid it anyhow. And look at that DINING OUT line... I think it includes a couple nights of 70 peso each margaritas... which didn't get subtracted out and added to the BOOZE line because then I'd know how much we really drank. I don't want to know.


2009 -$2,488.24     
2010 - $5,407.98  USD                                2011 - $2,174.15  USD                          
Groceries           555.98615.20352.69
Boat Hardware    89.4669.9548
Transportation      10.3648.2531.74
Dining Out            47.71113.41256.04
Internet/Skype      1014
Tourism                82.86247.94
Laundry                  8.5742.8624.43
Clothing              13.48
Extra Tips                     37.9420
Fishing/Snorkel            13.95
Marina/Mooring     367.50 421.86
Computer Hosting          151.19 18.87 238.80
Medical                         92.71
Boat Repair                 1102.14238.1025
Gifts                                30128.17
Dinghy Dock 
Boat Fuel                      108.57 75
Propane                             8.57
Boat Equipment            183.17789.98 312.78
MISC2854.74 25

Monday, April 11, 2011

Boat Projects While We Wait

The new coupler arrived day before yesterday. It was supposed to be here Wednesday morning. But this is Mexico and Jim and I have learned not to hold our breath... ever. The part was beautiful... it looks like we might get to leave La Cruz early next week!
Jim noticed that the holes to hold the coupler onto the shaft were absolutely incorrect.
The coupler went back for modifications, but we got it back the next morning...
When we received it again, there was another problem... the coupler didn't match the CAD diagram that Evan so sweetly made up for us.
The coupler must go back and be re-built from scratch... start all over again.

Meanwhile, as days have turned into weeks, I have taken on the fun task of scraping the varnish off the toe rails. I typically don't do outdoor boat projects. Because I have to cover up from head to toe to protect my fairer than fair complexion from the sun, outside work can get awfully uncomfortable and sweaty. But I have put this project off for a year and it is my contribution to headache jobs while Jim is doing engineer/mechanical-type headache jobs.

The prep work is the worst! I used a heat gun and scraper to remove the old varnish... it has taken two weeks. Slow; painful. The heat gun died one afternoon mid-scrape, so I had to go begging. Ethan on Eyoni came to my rescue and I only hope that I can return his heat gun in working condition.

Bleaching the teak on the toe rail became the next struggle... oxalic acid is nowhere to be found... not at Comex, Home Depot, the little hardware store, the pool store... nowhere.  So, I used toilet bowl cleaner. Did the trick. I use it to clean the rust off my stainless, too. It's hydrochloric acid (same as muriatic acid). It works wonders and doesn't eat through the fiberglass... right away. It dissolves rust stains without a lot of muscle and since we are in a slip, I use plenty of fresh water to rinse.

Who says that the bobbypin is the most versatile tool? On my boat, it's my trusty toilet bowl cleaner... which, by the way, I would never put in my head because it might eat away the hoses and clamps. (That translates to Blub-Blub-Blub!) I love my toilet bowl cleaner so much that I gave a bottle to 13 y/o Josh on Evergreen as a going-away gift. (He was bemoaning his passage chore of cleaning all the stainless on deck.) Who says I don't know the first thing about teenagers?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Playing in La Cruz

Singing at the Sky Bar


Barra de Navidad

Beach in Barra
Our friends are leaving today.  
Ceilydh is heading to the South Pacific.
So is Whatcha Gonna Do.  
Blue Moon left yesterday.
Evergreen with the crew of Southern Cross is on their 16th day of passage.
Savannah made it a couple days ago.
Adios III has been there for quite sometime already.

We Hotspurvians, however, are waiting for the engine to be aligned... correctly, this time. So it looks like we won't be going anywhere anytime soon. We just got our new coupler yesterday. Meanwhile, I have been scraping varnish off the toe rail. It's almost ready for my homemade concoction of DEKSOLE. I have sanded until I can't sand anymore. A few more stains need to be dealt with and then I'm ready to apply the liquid stuff. I've been told that this is the fun part. Anything to keep my mind off friends parting ways.

Puerto Vallarta

Monkeying around in Barra

Playing with Chiquita
Drama Princesses
It's going to be interesting to see how Carolyne deals with saying goodbye to Maia. They have been joined at the hip for so long now that I know it is going to hurt bad to pull them apart. This is the hardest part of cruising, I think. Saying goodbye.
photo by Ceilydh

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More of Tim

Cute photo of Tim, Salina and Coral


I haven't mentioned it because my eyeballs have a tendency to attempt rolling right out of my head at the mere mention of engine work... but part of the reason we are still in La Cruz (in the marina!) is because we are having engine problems. Last year, we hired the two gurus in Mazatlan to align the engine. Unfortunately, neither did the job correctly and now we have parts on the engine that are ruined. I typically don't like to point the finger because frankly - human beings make mistakes. However, this was a costly mistake to us. So, while we wait for our coupler to be re-built, our kids are having a blast... especially Tim.

Tim hanging out with Coral, Francois and Josh
Tim and his friends have been hanging out. Two are precious girls and the daughters of friends of ours. Tim attended a beach party last night in Sayulita with Coral and Salina and several other teens and he didn't get home until around 1am... that's in the morning a.m. I remember being grounded for the entire year when I was 15, so I have to practice my breathing exercises when Tim wants to do modern teenage beach parties with bonfires and babes in bikinis. I have no reference since I did not live on a beach and was grounded that year. Did I mention that I was grounded... for the year?

Raising a teenage boy on a boat has its ups and downs the same as if you were living on land. Tim wants to hang out with his friends... we understand and try to facilitate as much "hanging out" time as we feel is reasonable. It's important. That is another reason we haven't rushed out of La Cruz. Letting go a little in Mexico sometimes makes me hyperventilate... but this is our life and Tim is almost grown. It's time for him to make choices of his own... kinds that extend further than which type of cereal he will eat in the morning.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Michael and his dreaded microphone
 I don't know what Michael was BEFORE he went cruising, but Bruce Springstein... watch out! The man is responsible for the best and worst Karaoke night I have ever had the pleasure of participating in... and Born in the USA is forever scratched... deeply... within the confine of my brain.

Group Song: Barb, Andrea, Diane, Kara, Maia, Carolyne, Abby, Tammy, Harrison and Danielle

Jo belting out a Marley tune
Some cruisers have guitars, I met one with a mandolin, and a few have the tiny harmonica which makes perfect sense aboard a boat. The crew of Whatcha Gonna Do have none of those; instead they have a karaoke machine. Upon contacting the marina staff, they arranged for a projector and screen to be set up in the Sky Bar area of the marina. Kids from various boats showed up and the talent began.

Evan swears he fell off the furniture because the cushion placement was wrong. Who cares... the margarita was saved.
 Jim and I had dinner on Ceilydh that evening and Jim mixed a mean margarita before the talent show started. I opted to skip the margarita... it smelled dangerous. Good thing.

Michael, Barb and Tammy

Tammy Gettin' Down
 An occasional solo was squeezed in when the kids could get the mic away from the adults, but for the most part they sang songs in groups. Carolyne had a blast! This was her first ever karaoke and she now wants a machine for her birthday.

We Will Rock You
photo by Barb on Whatcha Gonna Do

Sweet Carolyne
photo by Barb on Whatcha Gonna Do
 Tim showed up in the beginning. He sat in the dark in the back and I didn't realize that he had sneaked away until mid-way through the evening. Whether it was because there was no food or whether he was horrified at the scene (or perhaps the singing was so awful he couldn't hack it anymore), Tim made a personal choice not to participate. That's okay... Tim has been having fun on his own. I'll do a special blog post on Tim tomorrow.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Expanding Horizons and the Incredible Challah

Kids learning to make Challah
 One of my favorite things about cruising is the shared knowledge you experience through other cruisers when they give of themselves. I don't know that I worded that particularly well, but it makes absolute sense to me. I'll expound.

Here is Barb off s/v Whatcha Gonna Do... she is getting ready to depart in a handful of days to the South Pacific... a 20+ day crossing. And what is she doing? She is teaching the kids in the marina how to make 'Challah'. She has tables set up on the dock in front of her boat, the supplies neatly laid upon the tables, and a recipe that is written out and copied for the kids to take home. What a treat!

Danielle, Kara and Pari

Harrison and Christian
It was time to brush up on my Jewish traditions. The melt-in-your-mouth, braided loaf is significant because  it represents the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered for 40 years. There are many different ways to prepare Challah and many different recipes. Challah is usually free of dairy and meat. The three Sabbath meals and two holiday meals begin with two loaves of this tasty bread.

The tables were headed by Captains, the older children in the group (Danielle, Carolyne and Harrison). Then the measuring and pouring began. Because a boat oven is typically small and could never bake all the Challah loaves in a single day, Barb smartly arranged for the marina kitchen to bake the loaves all at once. It was very well organized.

Carolyne came home with her first ever personal loaf of baked bread. It was absolutely divine. Thank you, Barb, for such a memorable experience!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Last Bit on Guanajuato - Cost

Taking a bus from Puerto Vallarta to Guanajuato is super easy (a 10 hour ride)... unless you zone out and miss the bus while sitting only 50' away from it as it pulls out of the Central Camionera (bus station). That would be me. After boo-hooing to the ticket agent it was decided that I would take the bus to Leon (an hour from Guanajuato) and purchase a separate ticket to Guanajuato.
Roundtrip bus ticket with 20% discount: $100US
One way from Leon: $4US

It's common to see men walking with trays of pastries balanced on their heads
I arrived at 6am on Saturday and waited in the station for the sun to rise. This actually worked out better for me because my original arrival time on the earlier bus would have been midnight. I had no hotel reservations. Hey, I'm a cruiser and I live in Mexico. I can wing it. Plus, I did have the Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico with me.
The taxi ride downtown was $3.50US

I arrived without a reservation and was greeted warmly by Jorge of Casa Bertha
The terrace and kitchen at Casa Bertha
View from the terrace room
I made my way to breakfast first at Truko 7, a funky little cafe with some of the best coffee I've ever had in my life. Next, Mummy Museum. Finally... a place to sleep. I found Casa Bertha (#1 on Lonely Planet's Budget Hotel section), what I believe to be closer to a boarding house because it has private rooms and bathrooms... not dormitory style like some hostels. A community kitchen with fridge, stove, dishes and roof-top terrace that offers spectacular views of the city is a plus. I slept for several hours before making my way downtown for the evening. A bowl of pesole and a lemonada kept me going until 10pm when I went back to my room for the night.
Two nights at Casa Bertha:  $34.50US
Food: $9.50US
Museum: $1.50US
Internet Cafe: $.75US

Sunday meant hitting all the museums I could fit into the day. Monday, the museums are closed.
Alhondiga de Granaditas $3.75US
Diego Rivera $1.50US
Museo de Pueblo de Guanajuato $1.50US
Museo del Sitio $1.50US
Food: $9US
Internet Cafe: $.75US

Mercado Hidalgo
My new friend Victoria and her family
Monday, my last day in Guanajuato, I spent walking the narrow streets. I rode the Funicular to the rim of the city at the statue of Pipila, a hero during the Mexican War of Independence. The view from the rim is spectacular and the walk down the narrow steps is invigorating. I browsed the numerous shop fronts in town and bought gifts for the kids. I found a place to get my hair cut. I bought a pair of Mexican leather sandals as a token of my pilgrimage. I had Aztec soup for dinner and was joined by a delightful local, Victoria. She joined me at my table and we spoke in Spanish for three hours until her teens arrived and she had to go home. She is hosting an exchange student from Oregon. Her company made my awesome day excellent. At 9pm, I took a cab to the bus station... my bus was scheduled to depart at 11pm for Puerto Vallarta... and I made sure I was on the bus this time.
Tourism: $2US
Haircut/Tip: $6US
Food: $10.45US
Sandals: $12US
Gifts: $10.50US
Taxi: $3.50US
Internet Cafe: $.80US

TOTAL - $217US