New Year's eve fireworks lived up to their reputation and the view from Las Hadas was perfect. John went for a walk during the day and discovered mortars set up on the beach directly opposite from Nakia. We did the prudent thing and reanchored much farther away from shore to avoid any fallout. We also raised a mesh sun awning to protect the more valuable canvas sail covers. It turned out we had more to fear from mortar-loaded pangas in the anchorage. We watched one shell fall from the sky, land 40' from Nakia, and burn (underwater!) for several seconds more. We had a fire extinguisher at the ready but never needed to use it which made it a perfect night for us.
Land-based fireworks were fired off from resorts ringing the bay and from pangas and barges floating in the bay. We had a hard time choosing which direction to look since we were surrounded by color, light, and noise. We were most captivated by an effect we'd never seen before. People on shore where launching "hot air balloons." These appeared to be (paper?) sacks perhaps 2-3' tall with an open flame held in place at the base. It took two people to launch one balloon and they lifted off and rose up into the air until the evening breeze caught and carried them out to sea. Even after watching through binoculars we couldn't figure out how they kept from burning up with the flame flaring so wildly in the wind. While not exactly safe or sane we'd love to know where to get one of these!
The next day someone left a few sailing magazines in our dinghy and that's how we had the pleasure of meeting Andres. Originally from Guadalajara and now working in Los Angeles he's been coming to this part of the bay with his family since before there was even a Las Hadas hotel. After describing it to us, he graciously walked me to the end of the sea wall to make sure I could find a shady lane next to the Barcelo hotel which leads out to the highway. This is an easy way to walk to the super markets and makes our stay here all the better. He also offered to carry mail back to the U.S. for posting. We wish we could have spent more time talking to Andres and his family but his holiday ended the day we left for Colima.
Stan and MJ needed to make a run to Sam's Club so we joined them for a day trip to Colima. They added some culture to the mix and our first stop was a museum at the University of Fine Arts. The museum had displays of popular hand crafts like festival masks and costumes, baskets, pottery, textiles, leather goods, toys, and art, all from the various states in Mexico. Culture makes us hungry and it's not a good idea to shop on an empty stomach. We had lunch at La Puerta Negra (a block from Walmart) where the carnitas ("menos grasa") was perfecto and the staff went out of their way to help us understand what we were ordering. Then it was on to Sam's where John and I did not buy the very poor quality "Sportsman's Choice" house brand of cat litter. With five housecats Stan & MJ had no other option, but John and I are holding out hope that Costco in Guadalajara will carry a better brand. Home Depot was next on the to do list and then we made one last stop at a Kiosko (like an AM/PM mini-mart) to buy frappuccinos for the road. An hour and a half later we were back in Manzanillo.
On Friday we herded a group of five other boats to La K'Melia, a botanero one block from the Las Hadas turn off on the highway in Salahua. Stan & MJ joined us from Santiago for cubetas (buckets of iced beer), botanas (a variety of mostly fried snacks), and a two hour set of loud music and singing from the very entertaining (muy dramatico) house band. The first timers seemed to enjoy themselves and it's one of those things that's fun to do once a season.
John and I hope to make an overnight trip to Guadalajara with Stan and MJ next week. Our primary goal is a visit to Costco for cat litter, but MJ will make sure we see as many cultural and fun sights as possible too!