Wednesday, November 18, 2015

La Paz

The wind is finally dying down and we're back to enjoying La Paz. I really like this town. It's about the same size, population-wise, as Santa Rosa (270,000 or so). It feels about 90% local, 10% tourist, which is also similar to my perception of Sonoma County. I like that combination because it makes a place feel grounded and "real"...with good restaurants.

The sidewalks, roads and buildings are often roughly constructed and not well maintained but the city is clean and safe. The historic center of the city is immediately surrounded by small streets with a variety of retail businesses that seem to be doing well. Beyond the center residential areas are mixed together with commercial areas, clearly unplanned but not unattractive.  The traffic seems manageable and it's safe and pleasant to walk anywhere.  It is clearly a very middle class city.  I haven't seen the extent of poverty I'm used to seeing in Mexico and there is limited evidence of wealth, save for some very nice yachts in the marinas and some fancy cars on the road. The people are friendly, confident and seem to like where they live. Enough English is spoken to be helpful, but not enough to get lazy about making the effort to speak Spanish first, which is appreciated and encouraged with friendly assistance. If I were thinking of a place to live in Mexico, La Paz would definitely be on my list.

So, somebody (I won't name who) commented sarcastically on one of my recent Facebook posts, "Rough life."  Just to remind those who might think otherwise, this isn't a luxury cruise that doesn't involve a fair amount of work in between the beautiful beaches, water, weather, etc. Yesterday, while the boat was a bucking bronco, I washed the interior of the boat to get rid of the salt film that had accumulated over the past six weeks. The day before it was  total wash down of the outside of the boat, plus repairing the deck wash piping. Today Renee and I stowed all the gear that got dislodged over that period (or hadn't been stowed in the first place!) and started fitting the venting underlayments for the mattresses to prevent condensation and mildew when we get into tropical climates.  Here's the rest of the "To Do" list for our time in La Paz; read it and weep for us (especially Dan Reiter):

  • Change oil, filters and raw water impellers for diesels
  • Install tether padeyes at helm
  • Install safe
  • Repair mainsail tack
  • Install flag halyard cleats
  • Clean bilges and replace bilge pump float switch
  • Re-tie solar panel cables
  • Repair jib sun cover
  • Refill prescriptions
  • Replace hardtop bolts
  • Install engine room automatic fire extinguishers
  • Install stern Sampson posts
  • Provision boat for two weeks remote cruising
But tonight we're going to dinner at a really good restaurant we found in town.  So don't start weeping until the morning.