La Paz and Beyond - 11/01/12 - 11/24/12
29 November 2012 | Sea of Cortez
The last month or so has been a bit of a blur keeping ourselves busy here in La Paz and beyond. We made an adventurous side trip to East Cape in a rented SUV, spent time out in the islands, met up with friends as they make their way back down from the islands & from the states, indulged in a fabulous full-on Thanksgiving feast, & we even fit in a few movies at the Cinemex. Oh yes, and there's still school and continuous boat projects/headaches.
We sure miss our families on Thanksgiving, but I'm grateful to have Terry and Diane, who are as close as family, to share the holidays with. We started meeting up for the occasional Thanksgiving with them on our boats in the Puget Sound years ago before James & Sydney were born. The tradition continues in the Sea of Cortez but with much warmer temps and lighter & dryer skies. Last year the day happened to fall on one of the hottest days we experienced in La Paz. It didn't help that we went a little overboard, no pun intended, with the cooking. This year we vowed to keep it simple. Just the basics, no appetizers, and let's try to do most of the cooking on one boat so we can enjoy our feast in the somewhat cooler other boat. Diane had a few tips on where to find the ever elusive bone-in ham so with our lists, we set off.
Our first stop, Mercado Bravo, was a bust, at least for ham. We did, however, enjoy some of the best Chili Rellenos served up with beans, rice, and fresh warm flour tortillas and a soda for 45 pesos (about $3.50usd) at one of the cozy loncherias. These busy lunch hour counters were full of locals indulging in empanadas, tacos, rellenos, you name it. There was some impressive cooking going on in those cramped cocinas. So with our bellies full, we enjoyed a lengthy walk through town to the not so friendly but often visited Mercado Arumburo. I thought I hit the jack pot in their freezer where I pointed out to Di the pork wrapped in cellophane in the distinct shape of a bone-in ham! Yes!!! Um...no. The label read "cabeza de cerdo". Head of a pig. Not even close. We tried every other store last year with no lucky, so I guess we snazz up another rolled Mexican version of ham.
Thanksgiving 2012 was another huge success although I am pretty sure the only thing we left off the menu from last year was the appetizers. We still had 3 homemade pies, ham with pineapple sauce, a 14lb turkey (which ended up being previously smoked!), amazing sausage apple stuffing, taters and gravy, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, rolls, and red wine! I had my doubts about the turkey, but it was delicious and I wouldn't hesitate to repeat that mistake. I learned "ahumado" is another helpful Spanish word. "Pavo Ahumado" translates to smoked turkey. Good to know.
Being in Mexico and living on a boat feels different this year. We aren't starting from square one with our knowledge on how and where and what we need to do. We're picking up where we left off, obviously still learning as we go, but with a bit more confidence. We're back in the pace and our minds are open to enjoy the journey and take each day as it comes. Don't rush things and know that plans are best written in the sand. They can and will probably change. As the Baja HaHa 2012 fleet trickles in to La Paz, the ever helpful hands of veteran cruisers & ex-pats are there and happy to give advice and answer questions over the morning "net" on the VHF radio, or over coffee down at Club Crusceros. These are a lot of the same questions we had last year and we sit back and say to ourselves, "Hey! We're not newbies anymore!" And that's a pretty good feeling. But there is still one burning question. Is there such a thing as a bone-in ham in Mexico for crying out loud?!