3.  At La Paz

14 Dec 00 to 6 Jan 01


Hi you all,

Just bumming around La Paz.  Waiting for the next crew to arrive.  Sitting in the harbor.  15 to
25 knot winds.  Almost every day.  But it aint bad.  Sort of like Coyote Point.  A little chilly
(caliente wise) in the morning, short pants and short sleeve shirt by mid morning, long pants
and long sleeves in the evening most of the times tho some people wear shorts all the time
(they must have better circulation than I), sometimes a light jacket, and usually one blanket at
night, sometimes more, sometimes less.  75 to 80 degree water temperature.  All and all a
very nice place to spend the winter months.  

Hanging out with Terry and Carol Tifft on “Fatal Attraction” and Mike Ford on “Number
One”.  Leonard Lee on “Trawlers.Com” is here but we have not yet made contact.  

The Mexican people are friendly, even warm after you get to know them a little.  They are
also energetic, innovative (they have to be), always looking for a way to earn gringo dollars,
but the key word here is "earn".  Like Manuel, salt of the earth (or sea) willing to take us out
in his panga for 3 lobster for 60 pesos.  Heck, a lobster dinner at The Dock, an average
priced place, cost 175p each.  

And then there is HOR-hay (George), a lawyer and part time restaurateur, maybe vice versa,
who owns the Pelicano Rosa, a family style restaurant.  I ordered a pork dish with some
weird sounding name and found out latter that it was pork skin in a verde sauce.  It wasn't
that bad but I was concerned that it was loaded with fat.  So I asked Hor-hay and he said that
it was relatively low fat but if I wanted he would change it to something else.  So I did, I got
pork chunks with cactus slices in a Mexican sauce.  Great.  He didn't have to do that but he
did and I was grateful.  After all, we are talking about 60p (6$) for a 3-course meal with 2
entrées.  I left a big tip.  

And then there is E-YER-mo (William).  He owns a mini-mart by the marina.  Otherwise he is
a civil engineer.  Graduated from the University of Mexico (City).  He has computers at the
mini-mart that I use to get onto the internet and do e-mail (30p/hr).  One day I left a floppy
disc in the computer.  I went back the next day to get the disc and he told me that it had a
virus on it, W97M-Marker, and he had eradicated it.  He said that internet e-mail is a good
way to get a virus.  My computer didn't pick it up, the virus library is not up to date, so he
installed his anti virus and disc fixer-upper program, scanned my C: and D: drives, found 2
viruses and eradicated them, por nada.  Next, he is going to get an adaptor and connect my
computer to his internet hub and download an update to the anti virus program.  What a guy.

But then you wonder, why do some of the houses have walls around them?  And how come
many of these walls have broken glass embedded in the concrete at the top?  And how come
many of the windows and doors of other houses have bars on them?  Is there a dark and
sinister side to La Paz that is not apparent in the daylight?  Or are they anachronisms left
over from the good old days of Zapata (or maybe Zorro)?  No, some are of new
construction…

The yachties are OK too.  Friendly, helpful...  Sort of a big community, an extended family.  
They are even organized.  Every day at 0800 they have a VHF net, channel 22, where they
see if anyone has any problems, who can help, new arrivals, weather, equipment swaps,
announcements, FAX arrivals, Downwind equipment arrivals, who is going back to the states
and can post mail, etc.  And or course many of them are in the Christmas sprit.  Some even
decorated their boats with lights.  Christmas in the semi tropics – Bah Humbug.  What an
incongruity.  No snow in sight.  And none expected.  For a long time.  There ought to be a
law – no snow, no Christmas.  On the other hand, there probably wasn’t any snow in
Bethlehem either.  What a depressing thought…

Ya know, despite the above negativity, I am kinda enjoying it down here, much more than I
thought I would.  Ya, its still a 3rd world country full of impecunious foreigners, but the water  
in La Paz is pure and there is little abject poverty in evidence here.  The infrastructure is a bit
tired, the zoning laws are nonexistent, the building codes are lax, the uneven sidewalks are a
challenge to negotiate...  But so what, where else are you going to go to get such good fish
tacos?  The sunshine, the temperate climate and the friendly people go a long way to
ameliorate the vicissitudes of 3rd world living.

And the scenery...  I thought that the arid landscape would be depressing, but no, the rugged
grandeur of Baja is quite beautiful.  And if you are into geology, it is exposed for all the world
to see.  No steenkin trees to obscure it.  Well maybe some.  Some cactus.  Some chaparral.  
There are sedimentary formations, brachia, lots of volcanation, lava flows, volcanic isles,
faulting, uplifts, beautiful erosion defiles, and more, much more.  The rugged mountains
along the coast at Agua Verde, coming right down to the waters edge, are spectacular.  And
then there are the beautiful beaches like at Isla San Francisco and so many other places.  

And the wild life...  The water is teeming with fish - literally.  My boat is always surrounded by
Sergeant Majors - they look a little like piranhas, but I have never tested that theory.  And
whales, seals, turtles...  Frigate birds, gulls, turns...  I have never seen sparrows so tame.  
Wildlife is abundant.

And life is good.  

Via con dios,

Nick
Baja '00/'01
At Marina de la Paz
Sorry, thats all that I took.