Friday, May 5, 2017

Finding Ensenada?

Wildflowers skirt the main beach of Ensenada

After our 3 week Baja Bash north, mostly what we wanted to do in Ensenada 
was sleep and sleep for hours and hours...

A shot of Chris catching a few quick zzzzzz's cradled in the leecloth 
during our Baja Bash passage up the coast 

There's really no safe place to anchor in Ensenada, so we tied up at the 
affordable, reliable Baja Naval marina.

 Mary and baby Jesus kept watch and protected us as we slept aboard Espiritu 

Fat sea lion and Chris have a face off on the dock

We decided to haul out as long as we were here and get some work done at the 
busy and well-respected Baja Naval shipyard. 

It's always scary watching your boat get hauled out.

While rare, things CAN go wrong.


Oh, dear...

Chris watches nervously as his baby is gently delivered to her spot

Boatwork here in Mexico is about 30% less than you would pay in the states, so we decided to take advantage of our locale and replace the shaft seal boot and engine mounts. We also found our propellor and shaft needed replacing, so we ordered new ones of those, too.

Looks like we would be here for in the shipyard, waiting for parts...

At night, we have to pee in a bucket. 

Yes, it's glamorous living.  :-) 

Well, at least they don't charge us rent living here. 
And they have hot showers, so how bad can it be?

Even living in a dusty Mexican shipyard, there IS beauty. You just need to look up...

Gorgeous, windswept clouds fly over Espiritu, who sits quietly at lower right

Me and the Ensenada sign

To most Californians, "Ensenada" means "Cruise ship destination." 

Me and the cruise ship

Carnival Cruise Lines is basically the lifeblood of the tourism industry here. Most days 
         either the Carnival "Imagination" or "Inspiration" ties to the dock, and the gringos 
come pouring out into the town. 

I've never set foot on one of these leviathans, but I'd like to one day, mostly out of curiosity. 

I hear these ships are well run and provide a great vacation, but I was kinda stunned at the crooked,  unprofessional, haphazardly applied lettering at the back of this ship.  Note, especially, the large space between the A and the G and the crammed together VA and NA. Was this guy drunk when he  slapped these letters on? And why were they just left that way? Laziness? 

Yes, I think about such things. It keeps my crazy mind occupied.

Anyway, isn't Carnival Cruise Lines supposed to be a professional, top notch organization? 

Don't answer that... 

In other news, I'm proud to say that in the month we've been here, 
we haven't taken a single taxi or bus.

 Everything we need is within a mile or two, so we walk everywhere.

Images from our Ensenada walkabouts...

All around the world, lifeguards are adorable

Field of wildflowers

Ensenada main beach

Santa Ana winds make for clear skies on this warm Ensenada morning

Chris (upper left) surveys the beauty of the main beach and wildflowers

Happy children on the malecon

Oh, my... 

A red box of fireworks sits at child level next to the toys at a trinket shop.

Welcome to Mexico!   

"American Anonymous" and "Trump" masks for sale

Statue of "The Joker"

Horses for rent along the beach

Spanishword lesson of the day: 

"Yonke" means "Junk"

Chris and I spent a morning looking for engine parts along "Junkyard Alley" 
-- an entire section of town with junkyard after junkyard.

Yes, this is what my life has resorted to. 

 Peeing in a bucket and scrounging through Mexican junkyards. (LOL)

 Having no knowledge or interest in 
engine parts, I spent the time helping Chris translate and taking photos.  

Junkyard dog guards the merchandise 

This monument stands proudly along the malecon. a woman, might I respectfully
          ask, do we as human society really need any more of these types of monuments to, what? Strength? Prowess? Power? Virility? Sigh.  Um...we GET it. 

Just sayin'. 

OK, this is funny, and perplexing.

Of course there is Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous throughout Mexico. When we first passed this meeting house, we thought it was a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) building. But look closely at the writing above the door:

Yes. "Neuroticos Anonimos." NEUROTICS ANONYMOUS.

Is this a thing? 

Woody Allen and Larry David, presumably charter members of Neurotics Anonymous?
(photo courtesy of NY Mag)

Can you imagine the "sharing" at these meetings? An hour of whiners interrupting each 
other to see who has the most righteous whine? For the love of God, spare me, right? 

Actually, after writing this, I googled it, and it turns out it's a real organization. They've got 
        meetings all over in the states, but (smartly, IMHO) they meet secretly in anonymous 
            halls, unlike the Mexican neurotics, who proudly and bravely stake their claim and announce their neurosis on the wall of an innocent building on a quiet street in Ensenada.

No offense to neurotics. 

Hell, I probably AM one (see my lengthy diatribe on "Cruise Ship Name Lettering" earlier in the post).  In fact, now that I think about it, the proud members of Neurotics Anonymous are probably MY people. 

 Woody and Larry, I guess I'll see you at the next meeting.

The 70th Annual Newport/Ensenada race came to town last week, so we walked to the Coral Hotel and Marina to watch the boats arrive.

The Coral Hotel and Marina is lovely -- and pricey

Chris watches the racers cross the finish line of the Newport/Ensenada Yacht Race

We've done this race several times over the years, aboard Merrythought and Heartbeat. 
                Chris -- bowman extraordinaire back in the day -- swears he doesn't miss it.
 But when he gets that look in his eye, I wonder...

Well, after weeks of waiting, we heard that our parts had San Diego. 

Our friend Wincer loaned us his car and we headed north to the border.

This area north of Ensenada looks like California or Utah

Not quite as dramatic as the one in Rio, but they get an "A" for effort

Did you know there is a marina in La Salina, north of Ensenada? 
Neither did we, so we checked it out. 

As is so often the case in Mexico, from afar the La Salina marina looked nice, but up close, 
well, let's just say we wouldn't want to berth Espiritu there.

Next stop: Rosarito!

Seen enough of these shots yet? 

I'd never visited Rosarito, but I was curious to see the place. I'd heard about it for years...a quaint little fishing village with a couple of small hotels and palapas where you could sip a chilled beverage  in a loungechair watching the waves gently lap the beach. more. Rosarito was a big disappointment. It felt way overbuild, all gringo-land without the gorgeous beaches that rationalize the countless hotels at Cabo San Lucas. 

Rosarito felt like a Mexican New Jersey. Not good.  It kinda made me sad.

We jumped in the car and continued north. Before we knew it, we were at the border. If you've never driven into TJ, you've gotta do it and spend a day here. Just crossing the border is an adventure in itself.

Walls of trinkets tempt us as we slowly pass in the long line of 
cars waiting to cross the border into the states

Is that a "Speedy Gonzales" statue I see down in front? Wow, really? I thought that was pretty politically incorrect, right? I guess if a gringo bought it, it would be offensive, but if a Mexican bought it, it would be OK. Such is the landmine field we're all currently traversing...

It's like that Seinfeld episode when Dr. Tim Whatley converts to Judiasm and suddenly thinks it's OK for him to tell offensive Jewish jokes...

"So, Jerry, did you hear the one about the priest and the rabbi?"

(image from 

It's pretty complicated. I think all we can do is just try to be respectful of people of all
 cultures and hope for the best.  And, while we're on the topic,  I'm feeling increasingly guilty about joking about Neurotics Anonymous -- that was probably disrespectful and politically incorrect.

 On the other hand, since I apparently qualify and I'll be joining them as a member soon,
 then it's open season for me to joke about WE neurotics! :-) 

All I know for sure is, I won't be buying that Speedy Gonzalez statue anytime soon.

Anyway, I digressed. Sorry. We neurotics will do that. 

As I was saying, the border is quite the scene, if you've never experienced it. Enterprising salesman walk from car to car selling refreshments and every type of artwork, clothing or tacky tchotchke imaginable. 

You'd best see it as entertainment rather than a trial.

This guy's got skills. He's simultaneously hawking several hats, a guitar, multiple "Frozen" themed bags, a "Frozen" lamp, and -- for the person who has everything (note this, balancing on his left hand) a bottle of tequila shaped like a revolver with little shot glasses, all in a handy holder appropriate for any coffee table -- or, should I say, for just the right coffee table of that certain person...

After about 90 minutes in line (average for midweek) we were through the border and back in the US.

Once into San Diego, we saw this sign which you would never see in Mexico:

Welcome to the USA, where you can build your own AR-15, right in public.
 No registration. Legal. Yikes. And they keep telling us it's more dangerous in Mexico...hmmm.

We went to the prop shop to pick up our specially made propellor.

There were gigantic propellors being build in the factory. A worker told me this super large one was being made for a Navy destroyer. I asked if we could take a photo and he said "sure, why not?"

Chris poses next to the gigantic Navy destroyer blade. This is just ONE blade of several that will finally make the huge Navy propellor.

I'm pretty sure the worker violated several DOD security regulations by letting us 
take this photo. Well, their mistake is our gain! 

We took our booty and drove back to Ensenada, where we are currently in the process of adding the new shaft and propellor. 

But before we got to Ensenada, we stopped in little San Miguel, where our expat friend Mincer lives in a sweet little motor home he bought for about $20,000 U.S. dollars. Right on the beach.

Mincer's mobile home community, right on the 
beach in San Miguel, just north of Ensenada.

I mean, the beach is rocky and hard, and it's not fancy. 

But it's beachfront property, about 90 minutes from San Diego. 

For $20,000.

Kinda makes you think, huh?