Things I'll miss.
06/13/2011, San Diego, Ca.
Things are wrapping up here in the good old US of A. I've pretty much taken care of all but about 2-3 things, and I'm getting ready to head out in the rental car to finish those up. Current plan calls for me to leave tomorrow morning and catch a Greyhound Bus to Tijuana Centro bus terminal and catch another bus down Baja to Santa Rosalia, which is where Si Bon is awaiting my return. I have not been able to find the schdual for the buses going down Baja, so I really don't know when I will be back in SR. I'm pretty sure they run several times per day....but not 100% sure. Let's hope for the best.
There's a few things I'll miss about the US...and a few things I won't. The things I'll miss are my friends and family (duh), I'll miss the cleanliness of the US (why can't the mexicans learn to throw away their trash?). As much as I love the challange of speaking spanish, it was nice to not have to deal with the language barrier for a couple of weeks. I won't miss the traffic (pic) of SoCal, although in all fairness this is in LA. I also won't miss the fact the my fellow americans for some reason don't look each other in the eye. They don't say hello to each other and when passing one another, they seem content to pretend that the other person isn't really there. I guess the bottom line is that every place has its pro's and con's.
Ohhh...and I'm sure my negitive comment won't go over well....but just try walking through the mall and making eye contact with someone you don't know, then try saying "Hola"..opps I mean "hello"........ just saying!
One of the hard parts of the cruising lifestyle is the important days that you miss with your family and friends. In early May Amber graduated from San Diego Christian College with a BA in Communications and Bible. I remember it as being a difficult day. I was super thrilled and also very sad for not being able to be there. I think I can handle missing a few July 4´s and Labor Days, but there are going to be other days that will be tough.
Yesterday Ashley graduated from UCLA with a BA degree in International Development Studies with a Minor in African Studies. Ashley graduated as part of the Honors program, and Magna Cum Laude. According to the text Ashley just sent, she "thinks" that puts her in the top 10% of her class.
Part of my decision to return to the US was that the timing would allow me to attend Ashley´s graduation, which as you can see I did.
Congratulations to both Amber and Ashley who have both always been great students and have both turned into wonderful women. As we all know there will be important dates that I will have to miss in the future, but I´m glad yesterday wasn´t one of them.
Love ya both....be safe.
06/09/2011, Brattleboro, Vt.
OK... so I know that you´re probably saying Vermont? What is Vermont doing in a sailblog? Since I was already in the US and I was really missing Sharon (Shaybo), coming to Vermont was a great opportunity to see Shaybo, meet her family and friends and see the supposedly small town of Brattleboro, Vt. where Sharon grew up. There is a HUGE difference between the harsh, dry landscape of baja that I had just left and the lush green landscape of New England. Brattleboro is not what I was expecting, I would say it is more like a large town maybe even a small city (Megan). There is just about everything that you need right here in the very cool town of Brattleboro. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, stores, hotels, bed and breakfasts, a neat downtown area and of course Shaybo. We´ve been super busy since arriving. We went on a very long hike through the forest, we visited the local cheese factory, Sharon´s Mom treated us to a barbque with her world famous teriyaki chicken, we´ve been canoeing on the river and last night we meet Sharon´s brother Ryan and his girlfriend Megan and Sharon´s very good friends Courtney and Chris for happy hour and 35 cent wings. Although Brattleboro is quite larger than I expected it is a very quaint, cute and friendly small town.
I´ll be leaving Vt. tomorrow and flying back to San Diego. Part of the reason for this blog is to give people ideas of cool places to visit. If ever desiring a New England vacation, I HIGHLY recommend the beautiful town of Brattleboro Vt.
30000 feet above sea level
06/05/2011, somewhere over Nabraska
I am currently on an airplane on my way to Vermont. I decided a few weeks ago that while I was the States I would take a little side trip to Vermont. I figured that if I busted my butt I could take care of all of the little things which prompted my return to the states and before Ashley´s graduation I could fly to Shaybo´s hometown in Vermont. Not only did I miss her, but I also wanted to meet her family and friends.
It´s going to be an exciting week for me as I will not only meet her Mom Kathy and her Brother Ryan, but I will also get to see the small town where she grew up. As most of you know Shaybo and I are getting pretty serious and I felt that it would be a good idea at this time for me to meet her family. Let´s face it if one of my daughters met some dude (a little older dude) who was living on his sailboat in Mexico and wanted one of them to sail off into the sunset with him....well I can tell you I wouldn´t be to excited about it. So I´m off to Vermont to meet the family, and have no worries I will continue my blog posts.
06/02/2011, San Diego
The reason this pic is so blurry is that one of the many things I have on my shopping list while in San Diego, is to buy a new camera. Normally I wouldn´t use this pic on this very high class blog....but since I had just spent 15 hours coming up Baja on a bus from Santa Rosalia, and was feeling a little blurry myself, I felt the pic was appropriate. Baja California has always had the reputation of being a VERY desolate place and it is in some places. People are often warned when thinking about driving down Baja....not to do it. It has a history of washed out, poorly maintained roads. It has a reputation of having few if any services for hundreds of miles. It also has a reputation...and history, of banditos who set up road blocks, often posing as police and robbing unsuspecting travelers. I read a warning that told people that if they break down, not to leave their car unattended, or it would be stripped within minutes....like in the middle of nowhere, some bad guys who want to strip you car won´t do it because some middle aged gringo and his wife are standing guard.
So now let me clear up some of these misconceptions. First of all the road, Mexico 1, although narrow and with many curves, is a very well maintained road. There were a couple of places that the road turned to dirt for a few hundred feet, but even these areas were keep up. As we learned while in Bahia Concepcion, Mexico 1 has A LOT of traffic, and especially truck traffic, on it. Meaning that if you did have a problem there would be someone along within minutes. I was VERY surprised to see so many towns and even small cities along the way, it seemed that there was some sort of civilization every 50 miles or so...and guess what, they all had services that you could buy gas, have a needed repair done or even.....buy a taco, WOW. Lastly, we didn´t run into any bandidos, we did go through half a dozen checkpoints where there were ligitiment Marina´s, heavy armed, who went through our bags at one, and came on the bus several times during the night to have a look see.
The bandidos are probably in a cantina somewhere, playing pool with the pirates I keep hearing about.
Before arriving in Santa Rosalia (SR) I had heard many different opinions, ranging from "it´s a refreshingly beautiful, friendly, working town" to "it´s a real shit hole". I figured that I would keep an open mind, as is what I normally try to do. Right at the moment I´m not really sure how I feel about SR. I can tell you that the harbor area fits into the shit hole catagory, but then it is a working port and many of them worldwide are in this same class.
Santa Rosalia was originally founded in 1885 as a company town for a French copper mining company called El Boleo. El Boleo reportedly mistreated the workers and ended up closing down the operation and leaving. Recently A partnership by a Canadian company, a Mexican company and a company from China (wouldn´t you know it), have reopened the mining operation. The local church (pic) was built by Gustav Eiffel (as in the Eiffel Tower). The portable church was bought in Brussels and shipped to SR, where it is known as Eiffel´s Church.
Other than the few boats that we have been traveling up the sea with, there are no gringos here. Last night after dinner I stopped in the local sports bar to try to catch a bisball game. I was immediately approached by a few of the locals, one of which had lived in San Diego for awhile. Carlos was VERY excited to meet me and talk to me as he was anxious to keep up on his english (none spoken here). It was a pretty funny conversation as Carlos would talk to me in english and I would talk to him in spanish (at least try to). Carlos works for the new mining company (also Boleo) and the company has a basketball team of which Carlos plays on. They have a game tonight and I hope to be able to go watch my new friend play.
Anyway, I will continue exploring for the next couple of days and let you know later how I feel about SR. One thing I can tell you is that as is normal here in Mexico, the people are wonderful.