Lulu spent this morning making baguettes, her cranberry/orange bread (which she just calls “the food”), and spaghetti sauce, as well as cooking up the meat she is going to use when she makes up a big batch of Vegetable Noodles for our trip south. Meanwhile, armed with my trusty calculator for making conversions, I ambled on up to the Soriana Super supermercado to get some more produce and cream cheese. Yesterday we stopped at a smaller supermercado called Calimax. In both places we were amazed at the prices, especially on produce. I’d convert the peso price to dollars and Lulu would remark that that was a pretty good price. Then I’d say, “no wait, I still have to divide by 2.2 because that’s the price per kilo.” When she found out the equivalent price per pound, she could hardly contain herself. So we bought about US$30 worth of groceries for a little over US$16.
Today, as I wandered through the town, I wanted to take some pictures. But, since I was back on the streets where the locals are instead of on tourist row, I felt like taking pictures was too much like treating these people like they were in a zoo and I didn’t want to do that. Shots of buildings might have been okay except that there are so many people that it’s impossible to get a shot of a building without a bunch of people in the photo as well. I did manage to get a shot of the main drag just outside the marina:
A block up from this street is the tourist row. It’s several blocks long and is loaded with very touristy souvenir stands, bars and restaurants. Go just one block further and you’re in Mexico. This is where the locals shop and eat. There are dozens and dozens of little open-air eating places. Fish tacos that cost $12 (that’s pesos unless I indicate otherwise) each on tourist row are available here for as little as $7. For us gringos, that’s about US96¢ vs. US56¢. Both are great deals but the latter is clearly better. There are so many stands I want to try but lots of them are really crowded. Probably a good reason for that. There’s a restaurant that calls itself El Birriaria (I think) that supposedly sells the best birria (spicy goat stew) in town. We had birria in La Paz and I’m going to have to try it here.
I stopped by a big fish market on the way back to the boat. It was really hard to try to decide what, among the tons of different fish available, to get. I settled on a kilo (mas o menos) of marlin ahumado (smoked marlin) at $80/kilo (about US$2.91 a pound) so lulu could mix it with cream cheese and green onions to make her famous spread to go on the baguettes. I also got a kilo of some other fish whose name is escaping me at the moment. A beautiful boneless fillet for $40/kilo which you can probably figure out is less than US$1.50/lb. We’ll cook it up tomorrow and make our own tacos pescados.
When Lulu was done cooking we went out for some lunch. Across from the fish market are a bunch of tiny little restaurants. They all serve pretty much the same thing so it’s just a crap shoot as to which one you choose. Or, more accurately, which one chooses you as the waitresses are outside beckoning passersby in with various sweet deals. We picked one that offered us 3 fish tacos for US$2. What the heck, we went in and sat ourselves down. I checked to make sure they served cerveza too since I didn’t see it listed anywhere. One thing I really like about Mexico is that they aim to please. I asked about cerveza and she assured me that they did have beer. For all I know she went next door and got it from them. Hey, US merchants, remember customer service? This is how it works. Anyway, we ordered 3 fish tacos and a Tecate each. The tacos are very basic: a couple pieces of battered, deep-fried fish on two corn tortillas. Period. But, at the table there is shredded cabbage and bowls of pico de gallo, and at least 4 different salsas, some cream stuff that’s sort of like sour cream, a bowl of limes, and a huge array of bottles of hot sauces. Dress ’em how you like ’em.
The tacos were delicous but I had my eye on something else afterwards. All the seafood places around here serve various caldos which are stews or soups. They offered caldo de pescado (fish soup), caldo de camarones (shrimp soup) and caldo de 7 mares (soup of the seven seas). I really like fish soups and chowders and have been wanting to try these caldos. They’re kind of expensive. They run about $100 (~US$8.00) but what the hey, it was a chilly afternoon and we decided to go for it. We each ordered up a bowl of the 7 mares version. Took them awhile to put it together but eventually she came out with a big steaming bowl each. The broth was a simple fish stock with some added spiciness. Swimming in the stock were mussels, octopus, a couple different kinds of fish chunks, squares of squid, shrimp and a half a crab. A warmer full of hot corn tortillas accompanied the caldo. It was DELICIOUS and worth every peso. We were stuffed when we finally pushed ourselves away from the table and waddled back to the boat. It being kind of cool, we spent the rest of the day vegging out.
As I said yesterday, the Baja Naval marina and boatyard is really nice. The boatyard is the cleanest I’ve ever seen.
Most cruisers who are heading down the west coast of Mexico have heard of Baja Naval. It’s spoken well of on most of the discussion boards. Given that, I was amazed to see how small the marina itself actually was. It’s just two docks with slips for maybe 45 or 50 boats. That’s teeny by the standards of most marinas we’ve stayed at or seen.
There is no way to really convey the size of this thing without seeing it in person. It is HUGE! And I don’t know what kind of cloth it’s made of but, big as it is, it catches the slightest breeze. Sometimes, the breeze is so light that the flag moves around like it’s in slow motion. It is one of the coolest looking things I’ve ever seen. You could just stare at it for hours like you would a campfire
Tomororow is supposed to be rainy so we may just stay aboard. We have a date with the folks on the boat next door to get together on their boat for drinks and a visit about 4:30. They used to own a Westsail 32 but have since moved on to a trawler. Said they mostly just live on it in La Paz during the inter so they decided to opt for more space than you get on a sailboat. Other than that, I’ll probably plot our course south as well as a couple optional courses just in case we decide to change our minds about how we want to proceed.
Planning on leaving Sunday morning sometime.