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Kasasa
Weather whining and other things...
Ellen
01/17/2013, La Paz, Baja, Mexico

Well it's been an awfully cold couple of weeks here in La Paz. Not what you expect from a Mexican winter. The locals say it's pretty darn cold the coldest winter in a long time. Everyone is walking around bundled up in coats, shoes, scarfs and hats. There has been a 'cruiser' driven blanket drive to get some blankets out to the poorer neighbourhoods and they collected quite a bit so it's nice to know a few people will sleep warmer tonight.
Of course the 3 day 'Norther' that we are having right now dose little to help with the temperatures. The port has been closed to boats that are smaller than 500 tons because it is a bar crossing and things can get rough out there.
The day before the blow hit, we had decided it would be a good time to do some engine maintenance and not wanting to be at anchor without a working engine we took a week at the marina. We are really happy to be here as we listened to the vhf radio on the first day of the blow when lots of boats at anchor were dragging or had boats dragging down on them. Mostly it is the boats that no one lives on and some of them are considered derelicts. Unfortunately they are out there so the best thing is to try not to anchor downwind of them if possible.
Ian has been helping out with some volunteer stuff around town and one of the project he will be working on is painting some tables and chairs at a school that feed the kids every morning before school starts. I am slated to start some volunteer stuff but until I actually do there is nothing to report.
Today I had a good chuckle. I was at the massage therapists getting my neck worked on (it's been really bad), and the music playing was the typical flutes and jungle bird call sounds that you would hear while having a massage. After about 15 minutes all of sudden there was in the background the sound of a rooster from outside, mixing in with the birds on the soft music. I started laughing it struck me as so funny and I had a hard time with my limited Spanish to explain why in the middle of my massage I had the giggles. I ended up having to make a rooster sound to help explain. Just one more reason I love Mexico...

01/20/2013 | Pat and Pamela
I don't suppose you'd like to hear that (interspersed with some insanely hot days) we're having the most glorious summer - temperatures ranging from 24 to 30 most days. But the bushfires in Oz have been terrible this year, with many properties and lives lost. Miss you!
01/24/2013 | Dad & Kathy
Hi Ellen & Ian. So very sorry that the weather
there is so cold. The temp. today was 25C
the wind chill made the temp. seem like 35C.
It is always good to read your blog & know you are both well. Love you both! Dad & Kath
01/25/2013 | David
OK, just to make you feel a little better...

Temperatures here in Vancouver have "warmed" up to a balmy 7 deg C, with rain.

David
SV Pelagia
http://sailing-pelagia.blogspot.com/
Another New Movie Experience
Ellen
01/11/2013, La Paz, Baja Mexico

I've already covered the theatre scene in La Paz but this week we were treated to a new movie experience. The theatre is called Platino and boy is it nice. The seats are two leather lazyboys together with a armrest in between you can put down (with room for two arms) and there are about 80 seats in the theatre. Each seat has a glass table that swings into position with a drink holder - you can order a full meal with wine or beer while you watch your movie with dishes ranging from sushi to crepes.
We decided to check out this upscale place on Wednesday which is the cheap movie day in La Paz. So instead of paying over a hundred peso's, we paid 57 which is about 5 bucks. It was worth every penny to sit in such a comfortable chair for a couple of hours. We went with our friends Penny and Fred and there were just the 4 of us in the theatre so it kinda felt like our own private screening. I would definitely go there again but probably only on a Wednesday.
On another topic, I returned to the doctor again about my thumb since the holidays are now over and he had a chance to see my xrays. Turns out I have two things going on but unrelated to each other. I have a calcium deposit on the bottom of my thumb, and I seem to have tendonitis as well. So I'm trying various methods to clear that up as I'm not keen on surgery as a solution. So wish me luck.

01/12/2013 | Linda
Wishing you luck.
01/13/2013 | Pamela and Pat
Sorry about the thumb problems! We, too, have "gold class" movie theatres, but they're more than double the price of normal movie tickets, without any food (which is usually pretty mediocre) or drink. So we only go when people kindly give us gift certificates! Much love to you both.
01/14/2013 | Harvey aka crew
Thumbs up on the theater, but thumbs down on the hand(pun intended). Hang in there with the cold 20 degrees C. You will be glad for when you get back here. All for now. Miss you two alot!
Enjoying La Paz
Ellen
01/02/2013, La Paz, Baja Mexico

Photo taken by Fred and Penny from Tapatai at our 2nd annual Christmas Potluck with Ian being the master turkey deboner and chef!
Happy 2013 everyone and hoping for a great year all around.
We are in our 'winter home town' La Paz. We have moved around so much over the last 2 years that we thought we would settle down for a bit and get to know the area and people better. La Paz is a great little city to be in although we are both surprised at how 'cold' it is here! We barely hit 21 celcius today! I know that sounds lame to everyone back home who are battling with rain and snow and brrrrr temps, but for us 21 with a wind out of the north is cold! We have acclimatized to wamer temperatures and now know how the Mexicans feel when winter comes on.
Even Kasasa has her winter clothes on. We put up the canvas/plastic enclosure that we use in Canada all year round but haven't had it up here since we arrived. We are at anchor in La Paz and therefore we are more open to the north winds which blow most of the winter here. Today with the enclosure up we were able to sit out in the cockpit at sunset and enjoy a game of crib with our sundowner for the day - in our t-shirts! So we are happy campers with that.
We had a great past couple of months with lots of company. Our last guest, Maureen, left on the 30th of December and now we are truly ready to get to know La Paz. The New Year is starting off with a bang and we look forward to more. On the 1st the quilter's met for a workshop (open to everyone and FREE!). So up I went with my little Kenmore sewing machine and made my very first 7x7 square of a quilted sailboat! Today was beading at 2pm till 4 which was fun. Ian meantime took care of boat chores and water tanks. Tomorrow will be Spanish class at 9, massage at 11, lunch and then a two hour game of dominoes. Everyday there are lots of options of what to do and the best part is it almost all FREE. Great when your on a budget. Some things do involve a small donation or fee but it really is great how people here step up and offer their services to teach or share knowledge with others.
As we start to think about the end of this adventure and bringing Kasasa home in the late summer, we are trying to get the most out of every experience we can. Mexico truly is a great place to be and we enjoy most of what we experience here. It's a more laid back kind of life with people not quite as harried as in the rest of North America. I've heard it described as how the States and Canada were 50 years ago.
So tonight as I write this, the wind is calm, we are snug in the boat and dinner is cooking - feels like home to me.

01/02/2013 | Pat and Pamela
Oh, you two, you sound so happy! I'm pleased to see my bro's culinary prowess is as awesome as always, and just wish we could have been there with you to enjoy some of that turkey. We send you love and best wishes for a fabulous 2013.
01/04/2013 | dick towson
Hi

Sorry we were not at this Christmas dinner but we thought of you in the sun, not the rain and snow in YVR. Hope to see you soon. Dick is in Maz Fair Winds Anne and Dick
01/07/2013 | Wendy
What a great photo of the both of you!
Our first 'Norther'
Ellen
12/24/2012, La Paz, Baja Mexico

Sorry no pic waves never photograph well because there is usually nothing to give them perspective of their size. Anyhoo...
We set out for a week out around the islands near La Paz with our friend Maureen who is visiting from Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island. Our first day out we had winds on the nose about 12 knots or so just enough to make us decide to go into Caleta Lobos for the night. It's a nice little anchorage only 10 miles from La Paz. There is some really easy hiking to be done around this bay and considering how close it is to the city, you really feel like your away from it all. We ended up staying 2 nights as the winds picked up a bit more from the north the next day. On our 3rd day we got a break and headed up to Ensenada Grande. The winds were forecast for the next few days to reach 27 knots out of the north so we anchored in the north side of the anchorage for the best protection. Of course that night the winds blew out of the west leaving us totally exposed to the waves that came into the bay. We moved over to the southern side of the bay hoping that we would be more protected there but it was about the same. By morning the winds switched to the north and did they blow! For 2 days and 2 nights they howled through the anchorage and we could see out beyond the bay the big white rollers going by. We were mostly protected from the waves so it wasn't too bad.
We managed to do a little swimming, snorkeling, hiking, baking, playing cards and lots of reading during the norther so it wasn't all bad. It was chilly! At one point Ian mentioned that Tenacatita was looking pretty good... (that's over on the mainland where it's much warmer in the winter).
By Friday, the day we were to return to La Paz the winds died down to about 10 knots or so giving us some wind to sail back with. It was a bit of a shock for Ian and I to feel winter temps in the Baja as we are used to being warm all the time. But having said that, when the winds are calm and the sun is out it is still pretty hot around here.

12/24/2012 | Anne & Dick
Merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad Loved the story. It's very cold here! May even snow today & tomorrow. Enjoy the sun
Abrazo y muchos besos to all of you!
The Spirit of Christmas
Ellen
12/11/2012, La Paz, Baja Mexico

The above photo is the gift for a 7 year old girl. She wanted black and pink running shoes.

Last week on the morning net the call went out for Santa's Helpers. Bob on a boat called Cactus had organized for gifts for the students of one of the poorer schools in the area. Each student was asked to write a letter to Santa and ask for one item that they wanted/needed the most. Then Bob announced on the morning net that if anyone wanted to be a helper to let him know.
Ian and I quickly grabbed the mike and called him back right away. We got a letter and it is so cute with little christmas things drawn on it. Ours turned out to be from a 7 year old girl. She wanted black and pink running shoes so off we went on a shopping trip (one of the few times Ian has actually enjoyed shopping).
Her size was the last size in childrens before the shoes jumped to teens and adult sizes. In her size we found almost all the shoes to be a bit guady with sequins and sparkels and Barbie and miss Kitty stuff. We found a pair that was not too over the top on the glitter and we hope that she will be happy with them. We also bought her some crayons and colouring books for some fun and scribblers and pencils for school. I had a few little things laying around like a snowflake necklace and the Vancouver Olympics stuffed toy which I included in the package.
It really is the giving that makes you feel good. We know we may never meet her and will certainly not receive anything in return but that is so not important to us. We are just happy that we are able to give something back to a community of people that have given us so much by sharing their country with us for the past few years. And we do have the little letter that she wrote which is like a present itself.
There have been several fund raisers for various communities some needing food, some clothing and blankets and some Christmas presents. We have given to various of these and each time we are more than happy too. We don't buy each other gifts so this is our Christmas shopping.

12/14/2012 | Pat and Pamela
Oh Ellen, what a lovely story! What is the latest news about your thumb? Love to you both xx
Healthcare Mexican Style
Ellen
12/09/2012, La Paz, Baja Mexico

Just a short blog on a recent experience with Mexican healthcare.
About 2 months ago my right thumb started hurting and the last joint in the thumb seems to get stuck and it clicks to straiten it and it hurts when I do. So when we got to La Paz, I decided to have it looked at. A doctor was recommended and off I went to see him.
First of all the office was ultra modern - nothing 3rd world here. Once in the office, he checked out my thumb and asked various questions. He thought that I should have xrays to see what might be going on as well as a blood test. In the meantime for the pain he offered to give me a cortisone shot. I took that option and I have to say it was incredibly painful to have a needle stuck into the bottom of your thumb. After the shot, while waiting for the pain to subside I mentioned I was going to walk back to La Costa restaurant to meet Ian and that there was a party for the cruisers going on. He offered to drive me as he was going right by there. When we got to the restaurant he assured me that a glass of wine would not hurt me and might even be beneficial (my kind of doctor!). Cost of consult and shots 500 pesos or $38.50 canadian dollars.
When I went to the 2 clinics the next day to get the test and xray done I was also pleasantly surprised. The blood test cost 140 pesos or $10.75 canadian dollars AND I could pick up the results in 3 hours! Next off to the x-ray clinic. Once again I had professional and quick service. Within 15 minutes of walking through the door, I had my x-ray results in hand. Cost 500 pesos or $38.50 Canadian dollars.
So far it's cost me $87.75 dollars. Granted my problem is not solved but it's happening both quickly and not too expensively. I will see the doctor later in the week and see what the next step is. All in all it's been a positive experience and I think reasonable cost wise too.
I'm not sure how it compares to the typical Mexican's medical experience but I was going to a Mexican doctor, Mexican walk in clinics and I was the only gringo around so I assume this is the same treatment they receive. I know they have a form of health insurance here but I don't know what all is covered in it and how much they might have to pay for the same services that I received. But I have to give it a (can't resist) two thumbs up so far!

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