Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bahia del Sol: First Impressions

We are enjoying our stay in Bahia del Sol. Intermezzo is anchored in pretty, calm estuary and we have had nice cooling breezes in the afternoons. It is a very relaxing place.

We have been using the facilities of the small hotel across from us on the other side of the estuary, its pool, bar, restaurant and Internet access. As members of their "Cruisers Club", we get all this for $14 per week, which also entitles us to $1 beers and 30% off our restaurant bills. I am drinking more beer than I should. I have plonked myself down in the air conditioned lobby for the past couple of afternoons to get my income taxes done and filed online. I have appreciated the air conditioning for this activity.

There is a very sociable small group of American and Canadian retiree residents here who do a lot to help visiting yachts and make us feel welcome. The have provided a lot of helpful advice on the local area, resources for boat work and for taking inland trips. We have been invited to a weekly Sunday afternoon potluck gathering at a couple's home, although the freshly killed chicken that was supposed to be delivered to Intermezzo this morning that we plan on bringing with us is over two hours late. Maybe the chicken didn't cooperate, ran really fast and got away. I hope so for its sake, but it leaves us no luck to contribute to the pot.

Yesterday we took the dinghy a few miles up the estuary to visit with Willy, the mechanic referred to us by "Eric from Guatamala". Willy is a very nice Cuban who manages a small sport fishing lodge and marina owned by a guy in Delaware with a big Diesel engine/boat business. Willy thinks he can get us parts for the saildrives and engine within a week or so. He and his mechanic seem Jorge seem pretty experienced, have a nice little repair shop at the lodge, are used to doing work on boats while beached on a nearby sandbar during low tide and the boss in Delaware sounds like a very knowledgeable guy to draw on for support. I gave Willy the list of spare parts I'd like to get, plus the 1,000 hour engine maintenance schedule so that he can contact his boss and see what we can get, when. Further research indicates that there isn't a haul out facility until Quepo in Costa Rica. It will be much cheaper to get the work done here than there, so I'm hopeful that Willy can pull through
for us. If we have to wait more than a week for the parts, we might venture out to explore some nearby inland sights for a few days.

After a visiting Willy, we took the dinghy a bit further up to the small village of Heradura. El Salvador is statistically a much poorer country than Mexico and what I observed in Heradura confirms that. We're only an hour and a half from San Salvador, the nation's capital and largest city, in the most populated region of the country, but Heradura has less physical and social infrastructure than some of the most remote villages we visited in Mexico. Interestingly, a relatively high proportion of El Salvadoran's have lived in the U.S., so even in this tiny village in the mangroves, we met Jose, who speaks great English and lived in Herndon, Virginia for many years. His son and daughter both still live there, after both graduated from the University of Virginia. We walked up and down the one-road village, visited the municipal market, picked up some groceries and then had lunch at a local waterside restaurant. My Spanish isn't good enough to understand the details, but Miller
beer (the premium brew here- ugh) was running a promotion and the promoter, even though I didn't take him up on his special price for six beers, asked me to pose with two young pretty beer models dressed in lime green mini-dresses for publicity photographs. I imagine the caption will read something like, "See, even if you are a badly dressed greying gringo, if you drink Miller beer, the muchachas will like you." I'm thinking, now that the Dos Equis' "World's Most Interesting Man" has been retired, perhaps I might become Miller El Salvador's even more interesting mature male beer spokesmodel.

We have a good conversation starter in this country, as Renee's late father was El Salvadoran and briefly served as president of El Salvador's central bank. She has some old currency with her dad's signature on the front, a very unique piece of family memorabilia. Part of her interest in traveling inland is to see more of the country her father came from, but of which she knows very little about.

Well, we just found out that our chicken did meet it's unfortunate end and will now be delivered directly to potluck venue, rather than the boat. Sorry, chicken. So we're off to socialize with the expats and fellow cruisers for the afternoon.