But it’s mostly about the food.
After picking up our Club Cruceros membership cards this morning and picking a few cruisers’ brains about local boat yards, propane acquisition, cell phone plans, etc., we headed out on another walk. Today we were going to try to find the Ley supermercado, hoping it would be easier to negotiate than the CCC which was in the middle of a major remodel mess. With directions from John of m/v Doña Elena,we had absolutely no problem finding the store. Like CCC, Ley was a combination grocery store and a little bit of everything else store. We got a few things for dinner tonight and then just kind of looked around.
Eating in Mexico can be really cheap. Oh, it can be expensive, too, if you go to fancy restaurants, of which there are plenty. But if you fix your own meals, it’s really hard to spend a lot of money. Today we got lettuce, a fresh pineapple, a red onion, some serrano chiles, some cilantro, a small container of crema medio which we’re hoping is similar to half and half for Lulu’s coffee, some avocados and tomatoes, a flat of eggs (30), and a chunk of beef skirt steak (1.35 lbs) and the whole shebang set us back 176 pesos or about $14.50. That $14.50 will turn into about 4 servings of green salad, a batch of salsa cruda, enough meat to fill a dozen tacos, maybe more, two weeks’ worth of breakfast for me and plenty of cream for Lulu’s coffee for a couple of weeks. And we weren’t even trying to be thrifty.
We took all this booty back to the boat and then ventured out again. Lulu was feeling better today so we decided to have lunch out. This could have been a pricey choice but turned out not to be. We went to Rancho Viejo on recommendations of fellow cruisers as well as Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer’s advice in their “Sea of Cortez, A Cruiser’s Guidebook“.
The recommendation was for tacos arrechera. Arrechera is tender, marinated beef skirt steak which is then cooked on a large outdoor BBQ grill. Lulu ordered 3 and I ordered 4. They’re served with a tray of condiments and finger food including salsa cruda, an avocado-based salsa, another salsa that may have been based on smoked chiles of some kind, chopped cabbage, marinated onions, lime wedges, and for noshing, cucumber slices and roasted chilis. The cost? Twenty pesos per taco. That’s about $1.65. Granted, you can get 5 peso tacos out at some of the street vendors, but this place obviously has more overhead. Besides, these tacos were SO good! We vowed to make this a regular stop.
From there we continued our walk. Before we decided to have lunch at Rancho Viejo, we went looking for a little place downtown where we had enjoyed some really good tacos al pastor when we were here in 2002. I was pretty sure I knew exactly where it was. And I did. Unfortunately, the operative word in the last sentence is “was”. We found the rubble of what used to be the place.
Behind the tile counter there was a vertical spit with a big ol’ hunk of beef rotating slowly over a charcoal fire. You could still even see the sign in the back showing the cook cutting pieces of the meat off for tacos.
While we were walking around on our way downtown, I was reminded again of one of the things I really like about Mexico after living all my life in the over-regulated nanny-nation that the US has become. You’ve got to love a place with either no building codes, building codes that are ignored, or building codes that apply to buildings and leave things like sidewalks alone:
These sorts of elevation changes are common throughout La Paz, except down on the malecon. You have to keep your eyes open and watch where the heck you’re walking. But what’s wrong with that? There are places along the malecon itself where the edge of the walk is an abrupt drop-off to the beach and/or rocks. These drop-offs can be from a foot or so to several feet. But are there guard rails to keep people from walking off the edge? No. People take enough personal responsibility to keep themselves from walking off the edge. That dirty “L” word (liability) doesn’t seem to be a major player here and I find that very refreshing.
Our other mission today, as it has been since we were in San Leandro, CA, is to find a mini retractable clothesline. Something like the MINKY Indoor 4-Line Retractable Clothes Drying Rack:
I guess we could have just ordered one by now but wouldn’t you think such a thing would be available in a hardware store like Ace? Of course our first hurdle is trying to describe what we want in Spanish. We bought a walking-around Spanish/English dictionary today and it helps but so far, no dice. I guess, since we can have stuff shipped to us in care of Club Cruceros we could go ahead and order the beast but I have to wonder if it would be worth the shipping cost for this $15 item. It’d just be nice to support a local merchant, y’know?
After locating and buying a disco duro externo (external hard disk) for recording some of the many movies available in the Club Cruceros’ DVD library, we ended today’s walk by stopping at La Fuenta for dessert (Lulu: small orange frozen yogurt [“small orange” is a description of the flavor, not the size of the serving] and me: coffee and mocha/almond ice cream). Finally back to the boat but much too full to cook dinner.
So, you see, it’s not all about the food, but sometimes it seems like it is.
Today’s mileage: 10 miles again.