Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day at La Ventana

Beautiful La Ventana on the Sea of Cortez

Chris and I enjoyed a festive holiday season here in La Paz, Mexico.

Santa and his Santa clothes decorate a Christmas window

Chris and John of s/v Alley-Oop enjoy a holiday meal
at the Club Cruceros Cruisers Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas with the crew of s/v Espiritu

Not long after we sat down with our Christmas fixins, I 
looked down to see that an ant colony had chosen a spot right in the middle of  
the throbbing Christmas Eve Potluck
 to suddenly pop out of the ground and take a look around. Now that I think about it, 
it was probably a smart move -- maybe they were looking for some Christmas scraps!

These ants just wanted to join the Christmas festivities!
I dropped a few crumbs of the tastiest Christmas cookies
down into the hole, which the ants gratefully and excitedly
dragged down into the bowels of their real life ant farm. 

I guarded the little ant colony for most of the evening,
protecting people from accidentally destroying their
little ant house. But as it was in the middle of a 
busy parking lot, I knew their fate would eventually be sealed.
 Ah, well...they'll just build another one, I guess.

Christmas Eve full moon in the La Paz anchorage

I organized a cruiser's White Elephant gift exchange for Christmas morning at Club Cruceros. 
As usual for this greatest of Christmas traditions, it was a rolicking good time.


Mark of s/v Trovita shows off his white elephant gift of bright red
 Abercrombie and Fitch Christmas skivvies.

Chris and I decided our Christmas gift to each other would be an afternoon at the movies -- so the next day we went to see "Rogue One," the latest Star Wars extravaganza.

Our friend John of s/v Alley-Oop came too, and gave us a ride to the theater.

Waiting at a stoplight, a local handed John a newborn chihuahua 
through the car window and offered him for sale. 

We were tempted -- how cute is this little guy!
But the light changed and we regretfully handed
him back through the window.

Megaplexes here in Mexico are surprisingly posh and much 
more affordable than in the states.

They even offer cuddly blankets to take into the theater! 

"Rogue One" was in English with Spanish subtitles.

I took this photo in the theater during the climactic final battle scene. 

The approximate translation is:

"Blue Squadron, go in low before they close the door!" 

Or something. 

Anyway, it was a pretty good Christmas. 

Of course, the festivities were not over yet. A week later, there was yet another 
Club Cruceros Cruiser's Potluck, this time for New Years Eve. 

2017 balloons at Club Cruceros at Marina La Paz

Our good friends Patty and Queenie of s/v Le Chez Boute arrived at La Paz only the day before, and they would be heading south the next morning. We love these guys. We first met them sailing in Roatan, Honduras in 2012.

Their home base is in Southern California, so if we're lucky, they'll be our buddies for life.

Me and Queenie clowning around on New Years Eve

A few days later we were running some errands in town when...

Hey...I know you...what in the heck are YOU doing here?!?!?

Yep -- it was my old buddy Tom Forquer! We had worked together in California at the 
Inside the Outdoors Science School in the San Bernardino mountains. 

Turns out Tom was down here kite boarding in nearby La Ventana for the holidays. After swapping stories and catching up for several minutes, we made plans to come out and visit him in La Ventana, about an hour's drive southeast along the Sea of Cortez.

As luck would have it, our expat friend Bill loaned us his spotless Mercedes convertible for the day.

La Ventana, here we come!

We broke out Google Earth on our new Ipad, yelled "Travel Dogs!" 
(our family tradition) and hit the road on a gorgeous, clear Baja morning. 

Unfortunately for us, a truckers strike had recently broke out here in Baja due to the sudden January 1st 20% rise in oil prices by the Mexican government. Truck drivers were blocking roads and striking  up and down Baja and throughout Mexico. It's still going on at this writing.

Mexicans work hard, for very little money. I know from speaking with my Mexican friends here that a 20% increase in gas will mean that many will have to choose between driving to work and feeding their kids. The line between surviving and abject poverty is razor thin.

The blockade is having an impact, too. Major highways are being blocked, and products and services are being shut down. 

We noticed some empty shelves for the first time when shopping yesterday.
The trucker's strike and blockade is having an effect.

Sure enough, as we tried to drive onto the highway towards La Ventana, the entrance
was completely blocked by a striking trucker

Eventually we found another entrance onto the highway in a less 
populated area, and we headed southeast.

Mercedes convertible selfie

After a lovely drive through the desert, we arrived at
 beautiful La Ventana beach later that morning

We learned that La Ventana is world-renowned as a mecca for kite boarders and wind surfers.

The peaceful La Ventana waterfront and the flat-calm Sea of Cortez. 

There was not a lick of wind, and no kite boarders could be found.
 I think everybody was still sleeping...or hung over. :-)

We nabbed Tom and grabbed some lunch at a cute little local Tacos-on-the-street type eatery.

Chris and Tom catch up over lunch

Sure enough, while we ate the wind started to pick up.

People come from around the world to camp on the beach and kiteboard here

Beautiful La Ventana beach

With the wind came dozens and dozens of windsurfers and kiteboarders.
Note the guy on the left flying high in the air.

What a spectacle!

Tom and Chris walk up the beach as we prepare to say our goodbyes.
The wind was up, and Tom needed to don his gear, Gladiator-like, and get on out there!

What a beautiful day we had at La Ventana! 

Feliz Ano Nuevo!