We had an unexpected opportunity to trade our 8.6 foot AquaPro dinghy and 6 HP Tohatsu outboard for a 2002 Chrysler Sebring LX convertable with a cruiser friend of ours.
While the car shows its age, the engine runs well and we think that with $1000 we can replace the top which is in derelic condition and a few odds and ends. We are in the process of transferring the ownership to our names, but it has been challenging so far. We think that we have found the solution and we are currently in the process of doing that.
Once that is done, we plan on driving to Phoenix to have the top replaced along with its accessories. Back in Mazatlan we can have the car body fixed and painted for $500. or so. Then for a few dollars we can have the inside shampooed and cleaned out.
It is amazing how this simple acquisition has improved our lives and made it so much easier to travel around. It saves my left knee and right hip which are getting worst and it also gives us access to many places we could not possibly hope to see before.
The car is currently licensed in South Dakota, because you can do business over the internet and it is priced right.
We'll post our progress on this project at each phase.
03/03/2013, State of Sinaloa
This Sunday, we were invited by new friends Debbie and David, to join them, along with Gil and Al, long time friends of theirs, to spend the day in the town of El Rosario and El Caimanero.
El Rosario, a small town about 31 miles (50 km) south of Mazatlán, is famous for the altar in the town church. The altar alone makes a visit to El Rosario somewhat worth the drive. El Rosario was once the richest town in Southwest Mexico because of the local mining operations. This small town was also the home of the famous Mexican singer, Lola Beltrán. They have built a small museum in her honor. One can do a little shopping for pottery, furniture or leather products, all of which are produced locally.
This town of 48,000 people was built by the Spaniards around 1655, on the site of a village named Chametla and located on the river Piaxtla. This area all the way to the sea, was inhabited by the Aztlan culture between 900 and 1400 BC. Because of protracted wars between the village of Chametla and neighouring tribes called the xiximes and the ezcasees, this culture was almost extinct by the time the Spaniards arrived. They were attracted by gold and silver.
By 1780 El Rosario had 7000 people and was the most prosperous town in North Western Mexico. It is said that every ton of ore produced 400 kilos of gold. At the peak of production, the tunnels covered an area of 150 hectares and produced 500 tons of ore per day.
We drove around this very picturesque town and really enjoyed it. We had food at a restaurant perched on top of a hill overlooking the town. From there we could enjoy the vista and took several pictures.
We had fresh coconut which were prepared by an old Mexicano. You start by drinking the juice which is followed by cutting the pulp in mouth size pices dozed with lime juice, salt and hot salsa. Believe me when I say it was delicious.
From there we headed to an ocean village called El Caimanero. The whole area is below or at sea level and they have shrimp farms over a very large area. We stopped at a restaurant located on the beach and patronized only by Mexicans. We were the only 6 Gringos around. The prices were good as well as the food.
When you arrive at this restaurant, you are directed to an area where they have a variety of fish caught that day. Your pick is then passed to a cook who fillets the fish, prepares and cooks it on the parilla (BBQ). They use local spices and a sauce which makes the fish look light brown and is served with a variety of condiments. It was a feast and we paid 350 pesos for a 2.8 kilo fish and all the condiments. There was no left over.
We used side roads to come back and went through several villages along the way. We got home late in the afternoon and I am sure we were all looking forward to our usual siesta, being tired from all the eating and travelling .
We had a wonderful day and enjoyed our friends, the vistas and the food. Another nice day in paradize. We have posted a few pictures in our photo gallery.
The sun is very hard on wood and one constantly has to re-varnish or Cetol his teak to keep the grain sealed and the wood from drying up. This is a big job that needs to be repeated twice a year in the tropics. Not our idea of retirement. Two years ago we decided to let the wood go grey.
Recently we noticed that more and more of the teak plugs were coming lose and out during boat washing. In some places the teak was beginning to crack.
We decided that it was time to take the bull by the horn and do something which was going to protect the wood from further deterioration and was going to be low maintenance. On the advise of experts we decided to have the outside teak refinished.
We chose the one part Interlux Brightside Polyurethane, which offers a reasonable choice of colors and which has a good resistance to UVs.
We hired Beto from B.B. Marine, a Mexican National, who, as you can see, does good work for a very fair price. He can be reached at 669-148-3170 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
This means that from now on, we only need to give a light sanding and apply one coat of this stuff once every 1 1/2 or two years. In the meantime it looks great.
While Beto was here, we had his crew buff and wax the coach roof which had gotten very dull. Now you need sun glasses to look at it and it protects the gelcoat from the nasty UVs.
In early January, Beto will refinish the teak floors of Taya.
Here she is a 5 month old Tabby cat, big enough to deal with our super active Chica. She is a great mother to Chica, calm, patient and playful. She has proven a great companion and the perfect partner for our Chica. We picked her up at the Mazatlan Animal Shelter from among a few hundred cats. Following the adoption procedures, the Shelter had her spayed for 200 pesos (about C$18.00) and we picked her up the day following her operation. She appeared very comfortable.
We isolated her in our stateroom to recuperate before introducing her to Chica. A few days later they were smelling each other from under the door and on the 4th day, we allowed them to get to know each other up close and personal.
Ginger never made a noise and showed a lot a patience with Chica who was making strange and ominous sounds. A night and a day later they were playing with each other and sharing the same bed. They are now sisters for life.
In the new year we will have Chica spayed.
About the 15th of January, we will start training both of them to do their business on our aft toilet. It should take no more than a couple of weeks. Then we will be free from all the cat liter which can be found every where in the boat. We have added a few more pictures in our Photo Gallery.
We had not planned to have any cats for a while. The pain of losing a loved pet is so deep. Unexpectedly, we were offered a 4 1/2 month old kitten from Ron Sevier, a cruising friend from s/v Calliope. They just found out their daughter is allergic to cats and it came down to a choice between the two.
She is a pure breed Bengal, we have named Chica (young girl in Spanish). She is very lively, dominant and very affectionate.
We hope Chica will help alleviate the pain we still feel at the loss of Pacha on August 30th.
We had forgotten how lively and energetic kittens are. Napoleon and Pacha were respectively 17 and 18 years old when they died and they were sleeping a lot.
So Chica has taken over our boat and thoroughly inspecting everything and every corners on Taya. The Bengal began as a hybrid breed, created by crossing the Asian Leopard Cat with the domestic cat. The first "pet leopard" is traced back to Japan in the early 1940s, but the first appearance of Bengals in the United States was in the 1970s.
She has adopted the built-in seat in the forward head which she regards as her bed. On her first night with us, she was very well behaved. She got up when we did. She is a little fat and so we placed her on a mild diet for a while.
Next time we go to town we will look for a bed and a "Sitz Bath" to place over the toilet seat so we can start training her right away to pee and poup there. The liter box is always smelly and a mess throughout the boat.
We have additional pictures in our gallery.
Eleven months after losing our 17 year old siamese Napoleon to old age, in San Carlos, we have just lost his brother Pacha, who was euthanized this morning in Mazatlan. In spite of all the love we gave him, Pacha had lost a lot of weight in the past month, due to liver failure. The little appetite he had was almost gone this past week, and he had become very weak. For his sake, we made the very difficult and painful decision this morning to have him euthanized.
He had been hospitalized last week for a few days and Ivonne Arredondo our Vet, had hoped to salvage him with a special diet. We had him for an additional 8 days before this tragic end.
He was a loyal companion who gave us a lot of joy for almost 18 years and we will miss him. We take solice in the fact he had been spoiled and had a long and good life. We know that animal lovers every where, will share our grief at his loss.
Fairwell our best friend.
We highly recommend Dr Ivonne Arredondo, Veterinarian, 6020 Plaza Bandera, Local 6, Avenida De La Marina, Mazatlan. It is a few kilometers from Marina Mazatlan. She can be reached at email@example.com or 913-1108. She is very reliable, competent and compasionate.
Earlier this year we had decided that Lynne should go visit her family in the Montreal area this summer. She had not seen her family since our last trip to Montreal in July of 2010, and she missed them.
We decided I would stay behind to look after our old cat Pacha. Neither of us wanted to put him through the stress of air travel nor leave him with anyone. , Lynne left Mazatlan on June 16th bound for Montreal with Westjet.
She really enjoyed her stay with her parents Francoise and Rosaire Ostiguy, located in a small town in the Laurentian mountains, some 40 miles north of Montreal. She was picked up at the airport by her brother Marc who is retired and he also took her back for her return to Mazatlan.
Verious functions were organized so that she could meet her aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. She had the opportunity to meet with her two brothers on several occasion during her two month stay in La Belle Province.
She took several pictures which can be found in our "Photo Gallery".
Luckily my brother Douglas decided to come down and spent one month with me in Mazatlan. He enjoyed it so much that they are seriously considering spending several months this coming winter. We have found several nice condos close by and were found to be very affordable.
We had a great time together and it was so very nice to bond again after several years of not seeing each other. Hopefully, we will see them again in December.
07/25/2012, Sinaloa, Mexico
Jaime, a friendly employee who works at the restaurant Palapa at La Marina Isla, drove my brother Douglas and I to the pueblo of El Quelite. The village owes its name to a shrub that grows every where in Mexico. It is located in the coastal hills, some 60 kilometers North of Mazatlan. We took highway 15 and drove for some 45 minutes. The highway was very good with little traffic.
The village is built on the Rio El Quelite, which flows right thru the town. It is a farm area and everything is green and luxuriant. The land is fertile and due to the weather, everything grows extremely well.
Because it is so picturesque, El Quelite is a tourist mecca and people come by the bus load to spend a day enjoying to local hospitality.
There are two very good restaurants and a small hotel. We choose El Meson De Los Laureanos Restaurante located in the center of town and we did not regret it. The venue was fabulous, the food typically Mexican and the prices most reasonable. All the employees were most gracious and helpful. As a bonus we had the company of a very smart Cotorro (parrot) who kept wanting to go to the kitchen for food. The staff kept bringing it back to the public area to do his talking in Spanish.
After lunch, we walked to a small hotel on a hill side with a spendid view. From there, we walked to the local bakery (panaderia) which you find in every village. I could not resist buying a fresh bread which I ate on the spot. Very hummy!
We visited the old church following which we drove 3/4 of the way to the top of a hill and walked the rest to the top so as to enjoy the view of the village and its surroundings. We have a few pictures of our visit in our Photo Gallery under the title of El Quelite.
My brother Douglas (Doug) arrived in Mazatlan on July 13th and we have been very busy visiting and experiencing first hand the Mexican hospitality. He has taken to our friends Nacho and Maria Teresa's music and we try hard to be where they play twice per week. He is really enjoying his vacation and I am delighted to be able to spend quality time with him. We had not seen each other since we left Canada for Mexico in the summer of 2010.
We have every intention to see each other annually, from here on in.
06/10/2012, El Centro
Yesterday was another annual festival in Mazatlan. This one was a musical festival, featuring 19 different bands, with as many types of music. They had set up platforms in 5 different venues throughout downtown Mazatlan. The shows started at 19:30 and wounded up past midnight. Musical groups alternated every hour.
The venues were covered by local television stations and Lynne was interviewed in Spanish. It was all very exciting. One of the venues featured the Maria Teresa Barreda Quartet. We know both Nacho and Maria Teresa well and are friends of ours.
We arrived downtown with four friends, and had an early dinner at the very good Restaurant Molika, located close to Plazuela Machado. We were 10 minutes from Escenario Fusion, where our friends were playing, starting at 19:30. Four different bands succeeded each other every hour. That is why the stage appears cluttered with speakers etc on the pictures in our "Photo Gallery".
The performance was memorable and we really enjoyed that "Dia de la Musica" or Day of Music in Mazatlan.
Here is something I recently read which touched me!
Before human die, they write their last Will & Testament, give their home & all they have, to those they leave behind. If with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I'd ask...
To a poor and lonely stray I'd give:
-My happy home.
-My bowl & cozy bed, soft pillows and all my toys.
-The lap, which I loved so much.
-The hand that stroked my fur & the sweet voice that spoke my name.
I'd Will to the sad, scared shelter dog, the place I had in my human's loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.
So when I die, please do not say, "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand."
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope and give MY place to HIM.
This is the only thing I can give...The love I left behind.