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Monday, April 25, 2011

Hasta luego Manzanillo!

It's been another enjoyable month in marina Santiago. Well, technically it's an anchorage and we moved a few times within the small bay, but we stayed so long it almost felt like living in a marina. Several times we discussed moving to the "big city" of Las Hadas anchorage but due to inertia or disinterest, we still have not stayed in the part of Manzanillo Bay made famous by Bo Derek's debut in the movie, "10". For us the only benefit to Las Hadas is having a proper dinghy landing. But we're not hang-by-the-pool kind of people and we prefer the La Boquita and Club Santiago area in spite of the surf landings. If we needed to play it really safe, we used La Boca (the mouth of a little river into a lagoon behind La Boquita) for drier takeoffs.

We spent the last month doing the usual housekeeping chores, and fetching and carrying of things like laundry, groceries, fuel, and water. John got to know the water truck guy so well that Enrique would wait for John at the La Boca dinghy landing on pre-arranged delivery days. There were more futbol games to attend, and our favorite taco vendor returned to keep the fans fed. On Sundays with no soccer games John and Stan went to (very) minor league baseball games to which they brought their own beer and snacks. A typical "play date" with Stan and MJ usually went something like this: John and I took the bus to SolCasa (what we call their house) in Santiago. Sometimes we would bring our computers to do a little surfing, or we would watch some U.S. television, and play with the cats. We'd walk into town for lunch at tasty little comida corridas (daily specials), or splurge for higher-end, delicious meals at places like Carlos and Tanilo's (for shrimp and fish) or Sam's Pizza. It was such a treat to meet genuinely warm people like Carlos (and his wife, Sussy, who owns the lavanderia we took our laundry to) and Derek, a Canadian who married a local woman and named his pizza place after their daughter, Sam. After lunch we returned to SolCasa to spend the rest of the day playing cards. The guys had fun making micheladas, a strange beer-on-ice concoction consisting of Clamato or spicy V-8 juice and whatever other interesting things came out of the spice cupboard like worcestshire sauce, hot sauce, garlic salt, etc. I'm not a beer drinker so I didn't partake although I tried it once to be polite at a birthday party at Diana's house (she's one of the PATA founders). I could drink it, but it's still not my beverage of choice!

Through Stan and MJ and their PATA connections we became acquainted with several of the local ex-pats either living here permanently or as snowbirds, and we were invited to a few of their beautiful homes for dinner. On these occasions we broke our back-before-dark rule, but were always happily surprised to find our trusty dinghy still on the beach where we parked it, even over a busy holiday weekend. One weekend I volunteered to dog-sit for a Canadian couple who drove to Guadalajara to do some shopping for their brand new house on the golf course. I rattled around in a two-story, three bedroom, gorgeous house with a pool for a few days while John stayed on the boat with Ziggy. He came over with Stan and MJ a couple of times to visit, but having the rest of the time to myself was bliss.

Stan and MJ treated us to a day of sightseeing a little ways down the coast, and we visited a turtle refuge (tortugario), salt museum, and crocodile refuge. These were places that required a car for access and we really appreciated being out and about on another road trip. The cocodrilario was especially beautiful with a mostly tree-shaded, raised (and heavily fenced) wooden "trail" circling a small lake in which we spotted a few lazy crocs.

On days we spent aboard Nakia we didn't get a whole lot accomplished due to a new wonder of technology. A cruiser told us about a web site where we found TV shows and movies to download, and now we have a growing entertainment library. It's nice to finally catch up on media not available to us (or only on poor DVD copies), and it will be especially appreciated once we're back in more isolated places like French Polynesia.

We certainly enjoyed our stay in Santiago Bay but it was finally time to pull up stakes and head to Mazatlan where we'll put Nakia in a marina for the summer. The plan is for John to stay on the boat, crossing things off of his To Do list. He's decided it will be easier for him to do the work without having Ziggy or me underfoot or complaining about the heat and humidity. So I'll be flying to Seattle with the cat to spend four months in Bothell where MJ summers; she has graciously invited me to stay with her. We'll be taking summer classes at the local college, working out at a gym, and we may even get jobs to support our more upscale U.S. lifestyle (just as long as there's no dress code)! After I return to Mazatlan John and I will get Nakia ready to head back to Manzanillo for another winter. We'll try to keep you updated with any interesting activities in the meantime.