Monday, March 13, 2017

Along Baja coast to Cabo

Captain Chris enjoys the solitude of Los Muertos 

After several weeks anchored in wonderful La Paz, we finally pulled anchor and sailed Espiritu down the southeast coast of Baja to our present location of Cabo San Lucas. 

Our first stop: Bahia Balandra

So happy to be at Balandra after hearing about it for months!

Balandra beach is well positioned a stones throw from bustling La Paz, so it's a 
big weekend destination for Mexican locals. 

Chris smiles while Mexican tourists pose next to the famous upside down mushroom rock here

Espiritu at anchor with our friend Laurin aboard s/v Second Wind

Inside a cave here, these boulders seemed to defy gravity by hanging from the ceiling

Another view of beautiful Balandra (Espiritu is in the corner upper right)

Chris finally got his turn for the de riguer tourist shot 

We jumped in the dinghy and motored deeper into the wide bay.
The view only got more beautiful...

Gorgeous Balandra -- it doesn't get any better than this!

Locals relax in the crystal clear water

Perfect spot for a beach umbrella

So pretty -- only problem is, believe it or not the water was too cold to swim.
It is still winter, after all.

Locals enjoying the view

Kinda looks a little like the South Pacific, doesn't it? 

It was bittersweet jumping back in the dinghy and returning to Espiritu.
How we will miss the Sea of Cortez!

That night at anchor, a tropical-style lightning storm blew through, bringing back fond
 (NOT!) memories of our rainy season in Central America in 2012.

We pulled anchor at first light and headed south through the squalls

Spectacular sunrise at sea

Next stop: Bahia Los Muertos

Espiritu rests in the anchorage (upper right) at Los Muertos

We dinghied ashore and took a walk up the white sand beach
to visit a resort at the other side of the bay

The resort is trying to rename the bay from Bahia Los Muertos (bay of the dead)
to Bahia Los Suenos (bay of dreams). Change is slow here. 

Peaceful resort beach

Check out this spectacular high end suite! The great thing about staying here in
 Baja rather than Hawaii or Costa Rica is there are NO BUGS, so an evening
in an al fresco suite like this is (I'm guessing, since we are of course only passing
 through the suite -- ha!) a real pleasure. 

Another peek into life in a luxury Los Muertos vacation suite

We took one last look at the lovely Los Muertos (I mean, Los Suenos!) 
resort before heading back to Espiritu

At the other end of the beach there are the remains of a fishery/cannery, long ago abandoned.

I love these bricks on the wall of the fishery. Someone was very industrious, creative or drunk when they built this wall (maybe all three!). Regardless, I love it. If we ever rebuild our fireplace back home I'm using this as the model. 

Other than the resort, there's one little restaurant on the beach in Muertos.

This was our view from the restaurant where we split an entree 
(we're economy cruisers 'til the end!) and nabbed some WiFi. 
Gotta admit, it was hard to leave.

I thought this sign above the kitchen ("Employees Spa") was kinda tacky.
Inside the local food service workers put in very long hours for little
pay in the "sauna" slinging hash and the "steamroom" washing dishes. :-/ 

My last photo of Los Muertos is also my last photo of the beautiful Sea of Cortez 
which has exceeded my expectations for her peaceful natural beauty:

Goodbye, adios, beautiful Sea of Cortez

We're now in Cabo San Lucas preparing to bash north along the coast.

What can I say? It's been a spectacular 18 months down here.

 If you can get here to visit, do it.

That is all. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mardi Gras in La Paz

One of the many colorful floats in the La Paz Carnival Parade

I've never been to Mardi Gras -- I guess it's on my bucket list and my first choice for 
sometime down the line. But until then, La Paz Carnival --
 a week long celebration of the beginning of Lent, was a close second. 

We headed down to the Malecon to check out the Carnival festivities with our
 friend Laurin of s/v Second Wind and his brother Gerry, visiting from the states. 

The Malecon glowed with thousands of festive lights for Carnival

Chris and the boys belly up to the table for meat, meat and more meat. Meat, anyone?

After some truly delicious pierna tacos, we hit the Malecon to check out the games, 
displays, musical entertainment and countless wares for sale. 

A young mom runs this carnival game with her baby at her side. Note the 
ocean directly behind -- you can't ask for a more beautiful spot for a carnival!

One vendor sold these crazy, asymetrical Rubic's "triangles."
 It gave me a headache just touching the thing! 

Some of the prizes for the carnival games were more than a little inappropriate for children:

Variation on the "Happy Face" stuffed pillow

Whiskey bottle stuffed pillow

Cigarette stuffed pillows -- for the 13 year old who has everything...

Don't ask me what this was or why it was there -- I certainly didn't ask.    :-/

Colorful sweets for sale

In our travels in Mexico and Central America, I've seen countless mini-carnivals set up in small towns with kiddie rides for the ninos. But this is the first time I've seen actual grown-up (read: dangerous!) carnival rides here in Mexico.

Would I dare ride one?

Yes I would! 

Laurin and I took the dare and rode the very large, very fast Mexican ferris wheel, while 
Chris and Gerry stood aside praying for a safe landing. 

View from the top

The 18 month old daughter of one of the young guys who ran the 
Ferris Wheel had free reign of the loading platform while Daddy worked

These carnival queens balanced amazingly tall crowns. My question: how do they "take care of business" at the Porta-potties supplied for the carnival? My weird brain thinks about stuff like that. 

Exhausted after a fun evening at Carnival, we called it a night and tried our best, 
earplugs in place, to sleep aboard Espiritu as the party and music raged on 'til dawn. 

The next day, we returned to the waterfront for the Carnival Parade. 

In Mexico as opposed to the states, parades tend to be in the evening instead of the morning.
People began reserving their spots along the parade route a couple of hours before sundown.

Mexico is a famously steamy, warm country, yet year round the Mexicans are hanging in there with that strict "no shorts" policy. I'm sure it's a modesty thing, a respect thing -- and I get it for business, etc. But in the middle of the summer with your kids at the carnival? 

Time to get into the 21st century, Mexico!

La Paz citizens wait in long pants and scorching heat for the parade to start

A child and bubbles

This little girl was too tired even to eat her ice cream 

More bubbles

Finally, comes the parade!

Whimsical Mad Hatter-Johnny Depp look alike 

These young students of the local Hula dance school were pretty impressive.

But...Hula dancing...and no shorts?

Just sayin.'

White masks and bright feathers

OK, my dad used to work for Disney, so I can guarantee that this was 
not an official Disney sanctioned float or Mickey Mouse character. 

This guy with the Tecate beer in the Anonymous mask stared me down ominously as I took his photo -- I guess that's the purpose of the "Anonymous" mask -- to look a little dangerous. The sweet girl at his side lessened my fears. 

Students from the local Arabic-style belly dancing school shook their midriffs on a float.

Belly dancing...but no shorts?

Just sayin.'

This little kid was falling asleep on the job on his float

Many of the floats had an actual Mardi Gras feel --
 or anyway, what I imagine Mardi Gras to feel like.

WHAAAAAT? A float with a pole dancer on it?

But STILL no shorts.

Come on, Mexico. Lighten up. We know what legs look like.

Ah, well. Live and let live.

Thanks, La Paz, for an amazing Carnival!