Riding Mexican Buses
06/11/2012, Any city in Mexico
One of the biggest adjustments I've had to make with this lifestyle has to do with the fact that I don't own a car, and I haven't even driven a car since early November. So how do I get around? Well, I take the local city buses, which are called "La camion". These are not to be confused with an autobus, which travels from city to city....a fact that I only found out last week in my spanish class. I guess that's why people looked at us funny when we would ask a question about "the autobus" while we were standing at the stop for "la camion". Many tourists are afraid to take la camion, I myself never really rode one until Sharon and I started riding them in September. I now laugh at myself for walking everywhere in San Carlos last summer, while la camion would pass me by....I guess I was afraid. I must admit that this (pic) can be a daunting sight, but it really isn't that hard to figure out. Unlike the US, there are no printed schedules, the buses have where their destinations are across the top, and then they write on their windshields their major stops....no confusing page after page of times and places...very simple. When we tell tourists that we meet that we take the bus they become very intrigued, they usually quickly admit that they haven't had the nerve to take one, but that they want to. They then start firing questions, "are there chickens and goats?", "how do you get to walmart?", "how do you know how much it costs?", "how do you know which one to get on?".
Well, it's really quite simple, as I said they write where they're going on their windshields, and if in doubt, you can ask the driver, turns out Walmart is the same in English as it is in Spanish. If it's not the correct bus the driver will shake his index finger at you in the international no sign (not to be confused with the international middle finger sign). The cost is usually somewhere between 6 pesos and 13 pesos (.50-1.00 USD), and again if in doubt hand the driver 10-20 pesos and he'll give you back the correct change with your ticket.
La camion is a cheap and wonderful cultural experience, for the most part the buses that service the tourist areas are nice, although some of the ones that service the out laying areas can be a little rough and get a little crowded, but that's part of the fun. If you're getting ready to go cruising get ready for la camion, it's how you'll get around on land. If you're planning on taking a Mexican vacation I highly recommend a trip or two on la camion while here....it will probably be the cheapest highlight of your trip.
Oh, and I've never seen any animals on la camion, including chickens or goats.
06/07/2012, Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta mexico
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....
From about San Blas south Crocodiles are prevalent. There are signs around warning people about them, and you occasionally see one in one of the numerous rivers, or laying on a golf course. We have known that just up the estuary there are crocs, we saw several on a short dinghy excursion one day. We really hadn't seen any as far down as Si Bon....till two nights ago when this bad boy swam by (pic). This picture was taken from Si Bon's stern....and the croc was about 6-8 long. I just saw another in about the same area this morning. Si Bon is scheduled to have her bottom cleaned today....The local divers never seem to very concerned about them, but we'll see.
Hasta Luego Mi Amor
06/05/2012, Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta mexico
Just got back from taking Sharon to the airport. Sharon's going home to Vermont for the summer, she should be back sometime in the fall. It's definitely going to be different here without her. Since leaving San Carlos in October we have traveled somewhere around 1200 Nautical Miles, at least half of it under sail. We've been a lot of places and met a lot of people. We've both made a lot of adjustments. If you think it's challenging getting use to a new relationship....try living together in an area less than half the size of a small studio apartment. But for the most part we've made it work and have had an amazing time along the way.
So, what am I going to do now that I'm here by my lonesome? Well top on my list is to learn Spanish. I am well on my way and will be concentrating on becoming Fluent...or as close as I can anyway. I will also start woking on numerous little boat jobs, cruising takes a toll on boats. I will hopefully be back in the US of A in the late summer for a visit. Oh and of course I will be blogging on living the life of a resort cruiser.
Hasta luego Mi Amor...I'll see ya in the Fall.....or sooner.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle cruise
06/03/2012, La Cruz
Last week we decided to Sail over to La Cruz for the weekend. We hadn't been sailing since arriving back to Banderas Bay in late April and being Sharon's last weekend, it sounded like the perfect trip. We were able to get our sails up right out of the marina breakwaters and had about 15 knot winds all the way...sweet.
One of our favorite places in Mexico is the Huanacaxtle Cafe ( pronounced; wanna cast lay). The Huanacaxtle Cafe is a family owned and family (pic) run restaurant/bar. The Huanacaxle Cafe always has great happy hours, delicious food and fun entertainment, and in fact I actually sang Karaoke last night (hope they still let me in the place). We always look forward to seeing Alex, Oliver, Abril and all of their family's smiling faces whenever we visit La Cruz.
We'll be sailing back home later this afternoon and hope that the wind is as favorable today....then I have to hit the books as there is homework to be done!
06/01/2012, Banderas Bay
What a busy week. As you may know I started Spanish school this week. Along with my three hours per day, three days a week classroom lessons, I also have about 2 hours per day homework. So far I feel very good about the class, however it is definitely keeping me busy. I leave the boat each morning at 8:30 and usually don't get back until after 2:00. By the time I've taken care of boat jobs and done my homework, the day is almost done. This busy schedule has forced me to move my happy hour time back to nearly 7:00.
This is Sharon's last week in Mexico before she returns to Vermont for the summer. For her birthday in February I had given her a scuba trip which we were finally able to take advantage of this week (pic). One of the few things we've been disappointed in has been the lack of diving that we have done here. There have been many reasons for this; cold water, poor visibility, blah blah blah. The bottom line is that diving is Sharon's great passion and we were bound and determined to get a dive in before she left. Although the area we went to, Los Arcos, is a protected preserve, it has definitely been worked over by the large numbers of dive companies which visit it each day. Never the less It was GREAT to in and under the water. We saw many different fish species, we saw several eels, a few sea snakes, some stingrays, a seahorse, and played with an octopus.
Hopefully it won't be so long before our next dive.
For the past year I have been working on learning to speak spanish. OK, so I didn't really work very hard at it until the past 3-4 months, but in the past few months I've really been busting my ass to learn spanish, with so so results. I've been doing the Rosetta Stone program, listening to C/D's from Living Language, and of course practicing with the locals (pic). When I think of how much more spanish I know now then I did a year ago, it brings a smile to my face....then I'll be standing next to two Mexicans talking to each other and not be able to understand one freaking thing they say....and my smile disappears.
There comes a time when it is necesito to do more. Today I'm up early and off to "Spanish School Vallarta" for my first spanish class. I will be going three days per week for three hours per day for the next three weeks. Along with my classes there will be homework, flash cards and game cards to keep me busy. If the first level works out then I'll be enrolling in level 2 within a couple of weeks. Gotta run....first day of school is always exciting!