Cruising is not just about being on the water or repairing the boat or having a pot luck with other cruisers. It takes work to research and put your feelers out and ask the right questions, find the right websites and /or meet the right people so that your experience anywhere in the world is enhanced. Don't expect to drop your anchor, dinghy to the dock and have the local mass waiting for your arrival with a list of activities for your enjoyment. Even in a capital city, like La Paz, things-to-do don't just fall in your lap. It is a quest.
Finding out about what is happening in the area -
What activities are being offered -
What can you learn so that you can share with others?
How can you enrich your experience?
Who out there is offering an opportunity of a lifetime?
What contribution can you make to the community?
The answers aren't easy when you are clueless where to begin.
I am amazed when I hear a cruiser say how boring or how dull their experience was when visiting La Paz. I will admit - when we pulled into La Paz the first time in 2008 I found it very hard to "fit in". And now my desire to seek out new experiences has overshadowed the desire to be a part of a clique... any clique - anywhere... and La Paz can be very cliquey in the cruiser sector. And that is true of any place where expats have made their 'home' away from home. That does not mean, however, that friends and resources are not available. It just means it may take some work. And for those cruisers on a budget, it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
There is a Yahoo Group that if you are planning to visit La Paz you might check out. Be ready to have your email explode with all kinds of questions and notices... some members find it overwhelming. I don't read every single email - I just pick out ones that might be interesting and delete the rest. That is how I discovered a fabulous cooking class offered by one of the local Spanish language schools.
Carolyne and I signed up to take a cooking class hosted by El Nopal Spanish School. We learned how to make Aztec Soup and Calabaza de Tacha - a rich pumpkin dessert made with the piloncillo, that funny little brown sugar cone thingy we've seen all over the country. After the wonderful Angelica instructed us on the history and how-to of making the dishes, we enjoyed a lovely meal!
Cost: $32 US, instruction and dinner for both of us
There are a multitude of artists in La Paz. The Teatro de la Cuidad usually has a free exhibit open to the public. Museums, local art, performances and cultural presentations are ongoing. You can find many venues in La Paz and directions to those places here. Carolyne was sweetly gifted with a 4 hour private watercolor lesson taught by the talented local artist, Frank Hills - a birthday treat given by Jim & Lynda on s/v Gael Force.
Cost: $38 US, included materials
Day of the Dead celebration - 'Katrinas' of all ages compete for the title of the year. We discovered the whereabouts by asking some of the cruisers that live in la Paz full time.
The Day of the Dead is an event not to be missed anywhere in Mexico!!
|photo courtesy of Tom & Jeanne (sv Eagle)|
|photo courtesy of Tom & Jeanne (sv Eagle)|
During Bayfest, I headed up a pressure cooking seminar called 'Cruising Under Pressure'. With the help of Annie off s/v V'Ger and Doug (Snug Harbor Sails), we hosted a very successful presentation with a larger attendance than expected. I demonstrated how even I (the mediocre cook!) could make a very tasty one pot meal in 20 minutes: meatloaf, potatoes, carrots and green beans.
Annie discussed and brought samples of baked goods she made in her pressure cooker, including cheesecake. And Doug talked about canning... even canning bacon!
The feedback was phenomenal! I don't think any of us thought it would be so well received. But it was - and offering yourself up by sharing your knowledge is a great way to meet new people and make new discoveries. It opens up other areas of conversation and can initiate interesting questions. And it doesn't have to be on a large scale - it can be a handful of people that you invite to your boat to share with each other.
Dia de Revolucion - a parade that was a mile+ long down the main drag... music, cheering, honking, singing... people watching is the main event for me!! See the Abasolo on this La Paz map to get a better idea.