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Friday, February 04, 2005

Road Kill Dinner

February 3, 2005
Barra de Navidad, Colima Coast (19o 11' N 104o 40' W, about 90 miles south of Puerto Vallarta)

We moved from the anchorage off Melaque the other day to the lagoon of Barra de Navidad. This is a fully protected harbor, meaning there's no swell in this anchorage whatsoever. The only down side is getting in. The entrance to the lagoon is through a narrow, un-marked channel which shoals rapidly on either side. Everyone has their favorite way of following the channel ("head for the tallest palm tree on the island", "Keep the fish trap close on your right hand side and line up the sunken panga with the corner of the house", "head straight for the left hand edge of the island and turn only after you pass the black boat"). We did our best to average these directions and went really slow. We felt the shallow water on the right hand side of the channel on our way, using the depth sounder, but we made it in without running aground which was better than the boat that came in before us did. We dropped our anchor in a whopping 12 ft of water and let out 80 ft of chain rode. In spite of seemingly good holding there were a couple boats that had to re-anchor when the wind came up so we decided to sit tight on NAKIA for the first windy afternoon to make sure we'd stay put. No problems.

In spite of other cruisers raving about Barra de Navidad we're kind of cold on the place. There really isn't that much to do outside of shopping for tourist junk, eating in restaurants and drinking in bars. There aren't any good tiendas or super mercados and everything except the bars and restaurants closes up by 4pm. We liked Melaque much more. For example, we spent last Sunday evening in Melaque. There's a little plaza (one square block) across the street from the church. There are two evening masses, one at 7 and another at 8. By the time the 8 pm mass lets out the plaza is packed with people. Everyone is wearing their finest Sunday church cloths and everyone walks around and around the tiny plaza, taking a Paseo as if it were the grand Malacon of Puerto Vallarta. Very cool. We had dinner for about $2.50 each; we each got two tamales, some French Fries and a churro. Of course being at anchor in the Barra lagoon isn't bad, there's absolutely no roll. We could be in our slip in Redwood City and it wouldn't be any more calm. Between the stillness of the anchorage and the lifelessness of the town I'm sleeping pretty well these days.

Every area in Mexico seems to have it's own unique form of street cuisine. In Zihua it was hamburgers and bacon wrapped hot dogs served hot from the grill of the corner push cart. In Barra it's BBQ chicken. The chickens are prepared a couple of different ways. There is the standard rotisserie where the chicken is placed on a spit with half a dozen other chickens and slowly roasted until golden brown. The other more prevalent method of cooking is the butterfly cut BBQ where the back of the chicken is cut out and the breast split. The chicken is then spiced and laid out flat on the grill to cook. We were in the process of looking for a good BBQ stand when we met up with a couple of friends from another boat. We asked them if they had any recommendations for BBQ chicken and he blinked back at us with a confused expression. We went on to explain the BBQ method and he said "Oh, you want a road kill!" and gave us directions to his favorite road-kill-aria. Needless to say we had the rotisserie chicken, maybe the mental image will wear off in time and we can try the butterfly cut then.

John and Linda