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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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Paradise found?
12/14/2011, Diego's beach bar, Mazatlan

As the time nears that Sharon will be returning to the States for Christmas we continue to check things off our "to do list". Since arriving in Mazatlan we had wanted to see one of the local performers who goes by the name of Brenster, Brenster does a combination of his own songs, some Buffett, some country and a little rock and roll. Brenster does a show every Tuesday from 2:00 till 6:00 at a place called Diego's beach bar, there is a 50 paso cover charge (4.00 USD). Diego's has a special that enables you to pay 200 pasos which includes the cover charge and all you can drink during the show. So just to clarify it... we could get into the show and drink as much as we wanted for FOUR HOURS for a total price of about $15.00 USD, for those of you that don't know Sharon and I....this was not a good business decision for Diego's. We had heard that you needed to grease the waiters palm if you wanted to get served very quickly....however this was not the case with our waiter Mitchell, Mitchell never let one beer get completely empty before he had another one in front of us. Mitchell would then encourage us to guzzle down whatever was remaining in the one he was replacing by yelling "come on drink up, it's free".
Diego's is right on the beach and the stage and dance floor are on the sand. As we drank and danced the warm afternoon away while looking at the sea through swaying palm trees, there were several times that I wondered if we were actually in the "proverbial paradise".
A great time was had by all, the music was great, the ambience was fantastic and I now remember why I don't make a habit of drinking in the afternoon.

12/14/2011 | Karen
LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!! I look at your blog with envy and excitement for you both! I hope Sharon will be making it back after the holidays! ENJOY!!!
12/17/2011 | Kathy
I never stop being amazed at the wonderful life you guys are living. I''ll be glad to see Sharon but I'm sure she'll get tired of Vermont weather in a few days. Will miss you.
12/22/2011 | Phil Anderson
Thanks for the tip on Diegos.. .good spot to get some
" liquid" inspiration !
Mazatlan Lighthouse
12/11/2011, Mazatlan

Yesterday Shaybo and I decided that we were going to hike to the top of El Faro, El Faro is the lighthouse that marks the entrance to the main harbor of Mazatlan. Si Bon is currently in the new marina harbor of Mazatlan which is about 5.5 Nautical Miles north of the old Mazatlan harbor, this was to be our first trip (by land) over to the old harbor. So we boarded the Sabalo Centro bus and rode it to the end of line. El Faro is one of the highest lighthouses in the world so we figured once we got to the general area we should be able to spot it....right? Wrong, although at over 500 feet tall, El Faro sits on top of a very high mountain and is not a 500 foot tower as we were expecting, but rather sits 500 feet above the ocean. Anyway after walking around for awhile and passing the entrance once or twice we finally were headed up the road to El Faro. The well maintained dirt path turned into some cliff hugging, unevenly spaced stairs about 2/3 of the way up and we trugged onward and upward, stopping occasionally to catch our breath while admiring the breathtaking views...(hard to catch your breath while it's being taken by the view...ha ha). Once at the top of El Faro we chatted with the Lighthouse keeper who works for three days straight then has six days off, then we snapped a few photos and headed back down. Not only did we get in an unbelievable workout but the views that we had during the entire climb can only be described as incredible.... and we were able to cross one more thing off our list of what we wanted to do while visiting the beautiful city of Mazatlan.

12/12/2011 | amber
sounds fun :) awesome view!
12/12/2011 | Kathy
beautiful pictures!
Any problems from the earthquke?
Mexican dentist
12/09/2011, Mazatlan

Over the past few years I have been gathering information on different peoples opinions regarding the Mexican health care system. Most all of the reports that I have read have been very positive and yesterday was our turn to find out just what to expect from the Mexican health care system. Sharon was VERY uncomfortable going to any dentist other than the one she had been going to in San Diego, this included ANY other dentist, even other dentists in the U.S.. We were both overdue for our routine cleaning and Sharon had a filling that she was concerned about, so after receiving a referral from another cruiser we set up an appointment (online) and yesterday we made our way to Dr. Cesar Gavito's office. Sharon went in first and I waited with baited breath (no pun intended) hoping that when she came out she wouldn't have a look of horror on her face.....she didn't. I was next up and as Dr. Gavito (pic) began cleaning and inspecting my teeth he would occasionally ask me questions about past dental work I had had done. Dr. Gavito found a small cavity which he showed me with a mirror and told me that I probably didn't need to do anything about it now, but to be aware of it for the next time I go to the dentist.
Overall the whole dentist experience was a positive one, the small office was clean and professional, we did not have to wait for the doctor or fill out 3 million forms, we didn't read any disclosures or sign any arbitration agreements. The costs for our cleaning was 500 pasos, which is around $40.00 USD, I just looked up my last payment for the same appointment in San Diego and it was $190.00 USD. I decided to set another appointment to take care of the small cavity and Dr Gavito gave me a written estimate of 900 pasos....which is around $75.00 USD.
Ohhh...and two final thoughts. Although he does have an assistant, Dr Gavito did all of the cleaning and inspecting himself and Sharon came away saying how comfortable she now was with Dr. Gavito....I wonder if that has anything to do with his strikingly handsome looks?????

12/11/2011 | Mark
Great, my last dentist cleaning was $118
I can feel for sharon, i've had the same dentist for 20
Plus years
Negotiating in Mexico
12/08/2011, Anywhere in Mexico

As everyone knows you can always negotiate for a better price for things here in Mexico. Examples of this range from taxi drivers to restaurants to souvenir stores to...well you get the idea. After being here in good old Mexico for nearly a year I have come to the conclusion that although I am always looking for a good deal and a good value, I am not going to hammer some poor Mexican taxi driver or shop owner for 10 or 20 pasos (.80- 1.50 USD). It in fact kinda pisses me off when some gringo with a shiny, fancy boat brags while sipping an expensive margarita in the pool how they bargained some poor unfortunate soul down and saved themselves 75 cents.
On a different note, today I went by a local restaurant that is sponsoring a children's Christmas present event. I picked two kids names off of a Christmas tree and will be going Christmas shopping soon for my kids, Jesus and Saira.
God bless.

12/08/2011 | Shaybo
AMEN!! Grrrr.....
Tequila tour
12/07/2011, Mazatlan countryside

In our constant quest to become submersed into the local culture we recently decided to take an organized tour of a Tequila factory. OK....I know what you're probably already thinking....maybe Steve-o and Shaybo are getting a little carried away with the drinking part of the Mexican culture, but this was to be a day of education. As our tour van left the city limits and wound it's way through the beautiful countryside of Sinaola, our guide Chilly was giving us a detailed lesson on the local culture in general and the Mexican Tequila industry in particular. Once arriving at the Tequila Factory we were surprised to find not what you would think of as a factory, but more like a winery, there were lush grounds and beautiful old buildings and spread across the rolling hillsides were the Blue Agave plants of which Tequila is made from. This pic is Chilly explaining how the plants are grown for 7 years before being harvested by hand. We were taken through the complete process and Chilly explained why you want to make sure that the Tequila is not only 100% Agave, but that the very best tequila is 100% Agave Azul. Once Chilly finished showing us the process of making Tequila he sat us all down and we began the tasting process, we learned that you shouldn't really gulp down a shot, but you should savior it by slowly sipping the fine Tequila. So after we savored a couple of shots we boarded the van and headed to our next destination, the small town of La Noria.
I always find it interesting that no matter how many small Mexican villages and towns we visit, they're all so different. Each little village has it's own unique characteristics and La Noria was no exception. La Noria's main industries are leather works and pottery and we were taken in several leather factories and a pottery makers home to see first hand how they still carry on these old styles of craftsmanship. One thing that was both funny and sad was that when we first arrived in La Noria we were greeted by three boys, Daniel, Daniel and Miguel. The boys dressed in their school uniforms began handing out small hand picked flowers to the tourists as they got off the van. Most of the paranoid tourists shunned the youngsters for whatever reason. Sharon and I gave them a few pasos. They made great efforts to speak to us in english, and they did a pretty decent job of it while following us around town to the different places we were taken. Before we got back on the Van, Sharon and I took them all over to a tienda and bought them each a soda. I would encourage other people who are visiting foreign lands to interact with the local people, don't become a paranoid American tourist, but try to leave a good impression on someone who may be somewhat less fortunate financially then you are. It may become the highlight of your trip.

El Salvador meeting
12/04/2011, Mazatlan

One of the nicest things about not working is not having to go to meetings. I can remember that the work meetings all seemed to start about the same way, get up early, rush off to the meeting place, eat some stale donuts while waiting for the people that didn't get up so early to arrive. Most of the thousands of Mortgage and Real Estate meetings I attended in my 30+ years in the industry had about the same content and I always wondered why we had to be there in the first place.
Today there was a meeting for an up coming cruiser rally to El Salvador. Sharon and I had been looking forward to this meeting since we arrived in Mazatlan. We woke up super early (7:30), grabbed a cup of coffee, put on our freshly shined crocs and headed out to Marina Mazatlan, which is about a 30 minute walk. The meeting started the same as the business meetings in that we sat around waiting for late people and eating stale pastries. We were able to reconnect with some of the friends that we've met along our way and catch up on what everyone's been doing, so the wait wasn't totally wasted time (like what do we have to do anyway).
"The Cruisers Rally to El Salvador" is now in it's 5th year, unlike the recent Baja Ha Ha rally, you do not all go together to El Salvador, but instead the participants meet in El Salvador sometime between March 10 and April 29. The sponsors put together activities and parties and help you get somewhat acquainted with the lay of the land in El Salvador. Because there will be 50-75 other cruisers heading that way we are hoping to buddy boat with a few others, something that I feel is important once leaving the safety of Mexican waters. In order to get into the estuary where the rally is held it is necessary to "cross the bar", this means that you have to take your boat across a sand bar and through a surf zone where they say you will surf at least one wave on the way in....cowabunga dude! The rally sponsors send out a pilot on a jet ski to guild you across the bar...definitely another BIG plus.
Unlike the old Real Estate meetings, this meeting was very informative, we learned many things about El Salvador and it's neighboring Central American countries. We talked about land excursions and safety, about the visa requirements and transportation choices, and of course they pointed out all of the fun adventures and parties that we would be able to attend. As a cruiser you don't like to plan to far ahead, so we still have not fully decided on wether we'll sign up for the rally or not...stay tuned for a future blog on our final decision....subject to change of course.

12/04/2011 | Ashley Cook
This sounds AWESOME!!!!!!!!! You guys should totally do it!
12/05/2011 | Kathy
Your travels and plans have become part of my life. It's so exciting to follow you and Sharon's blogs. El Salvador sounds awesome.
12/05/2011 | amber gilbert
do it!!!!!!
12/05/2011 | Steve Cook
Support from our families on this crazy adventure is very important to us, thank you Amber, Ashley and Kathy for your support. We are really looking forward to your upcoming visits. FYI it will also be easy to get in and out of El Salvador.
12/05/2011 | Yvette
I thought they were stale bagels... I am so glad you are having fun. Hope you find a buddy boat! I know you have come along way when you are mentioning mexican waters as safe. lol... Mitchell is turning 4 next week!! ttfn.y

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