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07/09/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
Last night I walked up to the ATM machine at the corner Oxxo store, Oxxo stores are Mexico's equivalent to a 7/11 store. Well the ATM in the Oxxo wasn't working and the only other one I knew of was in San Carlos centro at a bank...so off I went. It is kind of a long walk and it gave me some time to think about San Carlos, which I quickly realized I hadn't blogged about yet. Soooo here goes. San Carlos is comprised of three separate areas. There is Bahia Algodones which is where I spent over a week anchored in, there is the Marina district, which is where I am now and there is San Carlos centro...which I haven't spent much time in. I have been in the San Carlos area now for for over 3 weeks, the longer I am here the more I like it here. San Carlos is a great combination of tourist Mexico and non-tourist Mexico. San Carlos is 255 miles south of the Arizona border, making it a relatively easy place to get to from the good old US of A. There are busses that run from Phoenix and Tucson and there is an airport in neighboring Guaymas. I have been exploring the marina district over the past week and there is just about everything you need (except a functional ATM machine) within an easy walk. There are several dive companies in the area, plenty of charter fishing boats, a good sized marine store and plenty of qualified marine repairmen. There are an abundance of good and inexpensive restaurants and bars and a decent tienda close by. On the way back from the bank I stopped at a palapa bars that had a Mexican Country western band playing and was offering 2 for 1 cervezas. I sat down at the small bar....by myself and was quickly approached by a large Mexican dude who drug me over to a VERY large group of his family and friends and sat me down in the middle of them all. Most of them spoke little or no English but my Spanish is now starting to improve and they were very interested to hear about my sailing journey. I didn't stay long but the friendliness of the mexican people still amazes me.
07/07/2011, Club de Capitanes
Last night I decided to go to hora feliz (happy hour), to anyone that knows me that should come as no big surprise. I decided on a place called Club de Capitanes, which means Captains Club...seemed appropriate. Now let me tell you that hora feliz here is really happy, first of all a Pacifico is only 15 pasos, which is about $1.35 USD, second of all happy hour lasts until 7:00 PM. As happy hour was winding down in comes two of the cutest little kids you've ever seen, they each had a box of handmade jewelry with them, which is pretty typical here in San Carlos. The owners of Club de Capitanes and all of the employees seemed to know Gabriella and Ruben and after they made their rounds showing off their jewelry, the manager sat them down and brought them a large plate of french fries. As they sat, very politely I might add... and munched away at the fries, all eyes were on them, you couldn't help but adore them...they were so cute. After they finished up the fries they got up and VERY slowly made their way towards the door, again showing off their jewelry. Gabriella is quite the salesgirl, at 14 she speaks a fair amount of english, when I inquired about purchasing more than one bracelet she started offering me multi product discounts. So not a bad plan, wait till the customers have had a few brewskis, get some free fries from the restaurant and work the intoxicated gringos on your way out. So I'm sure Amber, Ashley and Shaybo are asking soooo did you buy anything? Well you'll just have to wait until I get back to find out.
Trash in MexicoSteve
07/06/2011, any vacant lot
One of the things that use to disturb me when first arriving in Mexico, was how the Mexicans don't put their trash in trash cans. There can be a trash can right next to them and they just throw it on the ground. Why we even saw a police check point in La Paz where the police would confiscate cans and bottles, pour out the contents and leave the empties laying on the ground. Wanting to become submersed into the various cultures of the countries I visit, I have recently joined the wonderful people of Mexico and stopped using trash cans. It's really quite liberating when you finish eating a bag of Tostitos and instead of walking 10-15 steps to an empty trash can, you just toss it into the wind. Another nice thing here in Mexico is we don't recycle. We don't have a separate vacant lot for cans and bottles, everything goes wherever it may. We also don't have to remember when trash day is ...and with so many holidays it would get very confusing anyway. Now I know right about now my fellow gringos are shaking their heads and thinking Steve has really lost it now. But do we americans really think that we are doing the environment any better service because we put all of our garbage in one location? Here in Mexico we spread the trash across the land evenly...it may even be better that way, who knows.
All cleaned upSteve
07/05/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
Before I left San Diego I had contemplated having Si Bon waxed. Si Bon had a few scuff marks here and there, both from all the work she had done and from the skipper occasionally brushing up against the dock. I had a couple of estimates that were $420-$600. At the time I was feeling maxed out on spending and decided that a scuffed up boat wasn't all that bad when cruising in a third world country. Well add 4 months of cruising, an anchor snubber rubbing against the side, more docking and somewhere around 1,500 miles and Si Bon was starting to look pretty grungy. Shortly after arriving in San Carlos A dude by the name of Jesus approached me, Jesus said that he would clean the boat, wax the boat down to the waterline and clean the stainless steel....all for $150 USD. This morning Jesus and his son Eduardo showed up at just before 0700, they worked all morning and finished just before noon. I'm gonna have to say that Si Bon didn't look this good the day I bought her...and when you think of all she's been through in the past year and a half...that's saying a lot.
07/04/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
Yesterday (Sunday) I pretty much vegged out and did nothing for a change. Hanging around doing nothing gave me a chance to observe that comings and goings of the other boats here in Marina San Carlos. By last night I decided that this has got to be the party boat capitol of the world...or at least Mexico. There were boats of all shapes and sizes, fishing boats (most were not going fishing, pic), there were dive boats, there were waterskiing boats and there were boats that I'm not sure what you would call. The boats would leave the marina packed with people, music blaring and a few hours later they would return, drop off one group and pick up another group and head back out....music still blaring. This went on all day and well into the evening.
07/02/2011, San Carlos, Sonora Mexico
It seems like each day the mercury rises a little bit here in the Sea...and the locals say it's just getting started. During the REAL heat of the summer they call it "the triple 100's" that means that the air temp is 100+, the humidity is 100+ and the water temp is 100. I think they are probably exaggerating the water temp...but not by much, as it is already well into the 80's. When at anchor you are able to jump into the water to try to cool off...but in the marinas that would be a last resort..and one I may be doing soon. All that said, I think my decision to return to the states for a couple of months, is going to turn out to be a wise one. Si Bon does have an air conditioner on her, but I haven't turned it on for nearly a year. If you don't exercise boat systems they tend to deteriorate and I would hate to cause myself more problems by turning on something that isn't really very effective on an uninsulated boat anyway. So I'm slowly chipping away at the things I need to do to Si Bon before I leave. Yesterday I did a little checking into getting a small Casita or condo for a week or so while I prepare to leave mexico sometime around the middle of the month. I want to try to look at a couple of places today. Well it's 0645 and it's already hotter than....well let's just say it's hot...so I need to grab some water and get going.
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