Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Barrancas del Cobre

We drove our truck here from Guaymas, taking a back road, cutting the time of the trip.   We saw a snake, tarantula and various other critters on our way.  We found the recommended Bugambilla hotel but opted out to stay at the Hotel La Choza in El Fuerte, I'm sure it may have had something to do with what I saw on the road.  I was also able to leave my truck here, free ;), all week while we took our train ride aka Chepe.
I drove all over town looking for the train station, even stopped to get directions and could not find it.  I just decided to give up as we were not going to leave the car there anyway.  I figured out that it is cheaper to buy your ticket on the train from the conductor so all I had to do was figure out how to get to the train station.  I found out that the 5 peso bus (Estation) stops just outside our hotel so we opted to take that.  At least that was the plan.  We had no less then 3 taxi's tell us there was no bus.  As the time grew closer I was getting a little nervous so I opted to take a taxi at 100 pesos.  The taxi drove us to the train station, not one sign along the way.  Ten minutes latter the bus dropped off 1 passenger.

We opted to take the First Class train all the way to Creel.  The scenery along the way was beautiful and breath taking.  I even saw a flock of green parrots flying up a canyon. The train windows were pretty clean and the food and drinks expensive.  One of the whistle stops along the way in Divisidero had interesting taco stands.  Really good food that we took into the dining car.
When we got to Creel we did not see the recommended Margarita Hostel because there where SO MANY hoteliers in our face.  We had one offer us a room for 150 pesos a night and went with him Real Chapultepec Hotel & Tours (Just a home stay place).  It was a fine room, but had no heat at all, burrr!  We actually ended up buying a blanket. (when we got there the guy left to go buy T.P. and soap) I guess you wouldn't want it sitting around.  I did finally see the Margarita Hostel on our walk around Creel, argh, right by the train station... oh well.  We had some good meals out in Creel.  My new favorite hot breakfast is called Avena with a banana.  We met some folks from the UK and Canada on tour.  Most of the folks we met were staying in rather swanky hotels.  We were on the cheap, that's for sure.  We had some really good tours, given by our hotel person.  All the tours were very reasonable.  They all stopped at the gas station first, seems that all the cars run around with about an 1/8 of a tank of gas.

We rode the cable car (Teleferic) it was really amazing to me, it cost 250 pesos per person, a bit spendy but very unique for the area.  The road and the parking lot are a complete disaster then you pop out and bam, here is this brand new high tech gadget.  It has only been open for a few weeks, was my understanding.  If it was in the USA, it would not be open to the public yet.  We enjoyed the view over the canyon.  When we got to the other side people went walking all over the place, past all the signs that said they should not.  No one seemed to care.  Below us we could see small Indian homes, people hanging out laundry etc., with this amazing high tech thing zipping over their heads, seems strange to me.  We saw a couple of water falls, interesting rock formations, Indians actually living in caves, really old Jesuit missions and a most unique completely restored collection of Arte Sacro at the Museo Loyola on the Cusarare Indians reservation.   The Cusarare women make a beautiful art of woven baskets and textiles.

On the tour to Posada Barrancas/Divisidero we changed hotels, to another Home stay place.  Called the Trail Head, we were going to stay at Diaz Cabins but opted for the Trail Head.  We had a choice of propane heat or a fireplace in a cute little cabin.  PROPANE! all the way, but not at night because it was not vented properly.  I got the room so cozy I did a little bit of laundry and hung it up :)  There was frost on the ground in the morning. At this place we bumped into a couple of cruisers on SV SULIMA (Polish folks) Kris & Agnes.  We had dinner and breakfast with them but they were on a different tour schedule then ours.  I hadn't seen any vermin up until this place, actually it was Agnes and Kris who spotted a rat.  I'm glad I didn't see it.  The place is surrounded by farm animals, it was interesting.  I saw a whole cow skin out drying so the guy could make drums out of the hide.  We hiked this area a lot.  Mostly, we went on a Margarita hike, from one place to another just checking out the margarita's.  There are lot's of expensive hotels all up and down the canyon and indians living in caves right off the balcony of the hotel.  Again, I found this rather strange.  I looked through the hotel binoculars to see a woman cutting wood and hanging laundry.

We caught the train to Bahuichivo and managed to figure out the bus to Urique.  It was daylight all the way down the mountain, which was really more amazing scenery and just a little bit terrifying at times.  I can get rather ill in a car or bus so I was pretty quick to GRAB the front seat on both buses down to the canyon floor.  No one on the bus spoke ANY English, so I really had to muddle through with my Spanish.  I had two places recommended to stay in this town and of course ended up at a third one.  The first room the guy showed us had a cockroach at the doorway and spiders on the wall, NOPE.  NEXT - the next room was fine, except I noticed that one of the beds had tiny, tiny little ants crawling on it.  Well I can't have everything so I was just careful not to set anything on the bed.  Don't need ants on the boat from our luggage.  This town was definitely not on any tourist track.  I asked around for a map and ended up at the Municipal building,  the guy had a tax map and that was about it.  He told us a mine we could hike to but other then that we just walked the streets and alley ways.  Of course giving way to the horses and donkeys!  The donkeys are mostly wild and just hanging around but I was told they all belong to some one.  We saw some folks milking a cow at a small diary and some kids had another quewhatimudi of pet in their yard.  There are only a few restaurants in this town.  We ate at one that specialized in a shrimp dish.  Shrimp? way down here?  They said it was really not that far from the ocean by car.  They had a huge bucket of shrimp that people where cleaning and everyone that came in for lunch ordered the shrimp dish, so we did as well.  It was really good.  We met a Chihuahua detective named "Angel", big guy, big smile, big gun!  I was glad to be on his good side. He had two beers with his lunch, while in uniform.  I asked him what people did for work in this small town, he said they are farmers mostly.  The guy at the table made the motion of smoking with his two fingers, ahhh, farmers.  I'm a pretty quick student.  On our way out of the town today I saw a car, unlocked with the keys in it.  I had to laugh cause it was so beat up and probably had NO gas in it, who would steal it.  The only gas stations we saw sold gas by the liter, out of liter jugs... No fill her up in that part of the world.

The views of the Canyon were amazing, so green and steep.  I loved smelling the wood smoke of the cooking fires and it was amazing to see leaves on the trees, even if they were mixed with catus, yikes.  I wouldn't want to slide down a mountain and bump into a cactus!  The rivers were interesting, I even saw some fish.
I tried to keep track of our expenses on our "on the cheap" trip to the canyon and later learned that our friends who went on a package deal and stayed in the nice hotels probably paid less then we did.  I decided not to add up our expenses, it might be depressing  !ah, Chihuahua!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

To catch a cockroach

Somewhere on this boat is a three legged cockroach! He is the3rd one on board and the 2nd one that got away. Unless it is actually just a sighting of a lone cockroach.  Doug had one that scooted under the galley sink cabinet several months ago. They all look alike to me.  Doug has had a total of 3 sightings so far.  Each time he tells me tales of the battle.  Last night he held up a cockroach leg.  I did not consider this a victorious battle.  I have been ever so careful not to bring anything on board that might have a cockroach in it.  I think they fly in with the wind.  Today I emptied several cupboards and put out some bait and a sticky piece of paper hopping to trap the intruder.  Only time will tell.

So, what’s your occupation ... or former occupation?

This is always a topic that comes up when we meet new people.  A lot of people are “retired”, “taking an economic break from it all” or “working from the boat”.  I had started a mental list of occupations and decided to put it in writing what I had found out so far.

Artists: Jewelry, beading, painting, metal - pretty much all mediums
 Authors - Some self publishing, others write books or articles that are published by big publishing houses all over the world
Architects - All kinds
Delivery Captains
Vet Tech’s
Dental Assistant
Software Trolls
Internet service provider
Textile Fabric designer
Marine Engineers
Home School Teachers
Fire Chief
Navy underwater photographer
There a quite a few people that just travel around on their boats from one internet site to another submitting their work on line.  Many also need to be able to get on an airplane and fly in for mandatory meetings once in a while.  Not too bad of a commute.  I will try to add to the list as I come across any new ones.

Squid, it's whats for dinner

Every morning I take Tucker to the beach for a romp and a swim.  My favorite beach area is in the Village anchorage out by the lighthouse.  The water is very clear and there is a shelf right off the beach that is teaming with sea life.  Many of the mornings I have gone over there people have been fishing right at the tip of sand spit, out over the shelf.  Most people fish with just a simple hand line and a hook.  They catch the fish and just toss them up onto the beach or dig a hole in the sand.  No real need for lot’s of tackle and equipment.  Mostly they catch barracuda, rock bass and one or two other fish I haven’t been able to catch the name of.  The one thing I have noticed is that they all use squid for bait.
One day when I went over to the beach there were a couple of Mexican guys fishing, using squid as bait with the hand line. So I chatted them up, practicing my Spanish.  Turns out they were Mason’s out fishing for a meal for latter in the day, they were going to make some kind of fish sauce/stew.   One of the guys walked over to the truck and called for me to come have a look at what was in his bucket.  He had a huge squid!  He asked if I would like some.  I said sure, thinking I would get a small piece to use as bait.  He looked around for a knife but couldn’t find one so with his hack saw he chopped me off a hunk o squid aka calamari.  I was so amazed at the amount.  He told me to go and make ceviche!   I took it back to the boat, it weighed in at 5 lbs. So far I have made ceviche, fried squid and put some in the freezer for later.  I combed through all the cookbooks on board and figured out how to clean and cut it.  It was actually very, very good.  It was very tender.  I think it was a Humboldt squid.

I think I have started a morning routine of putting Tucker in the dinghy and heading over to the point when I see people fishing.  On my way over I stop at SV Victoria Rose for a cup of coffee to go.  They have a pump pot of hot coffee.  I then pull up on the beach and wander over to the people fishing.  This morning the two guys were fishing with a hand line.  Tucker got all caught up in their line, I kept trying to get him out but he thought I was playing "GET YOU".  Like I said before I've been working on my Spanish so I think the guy told me to take my drink and go back to my boat.

The Village and all of the characters

The Village
The Village is an interesting place.  I finally made it over to the MUSEO and it was open!  What a cool place it is.  They have a wall full of shells all named properly, a wall full samples of all the rock in the area, again all named.  There are exhibits on gold mining, native Indians, bats, local people who made a difference in the Village and even a large display of antique equipment. There is a lot of history in that little tiny building.  Yep, there is a small gift shop too!

I have met a couple of local guys here as well.  Herman is a really "old" prospector with an amazing amount of stories.  I sat and had coffee with him the other day.  He finally talked me into walking over to his place and looking at his collections of books etc.,  We had a good laugh at all of his pick up lines and I really did enjoy talking with him.

I have also met Murray and his wife.  He drive around with a water tank in the back of his pick up truck.  I have been able to fill my gerry jugs for free with non-potable water from the community water tank.  I am using that water to do laundry.  He said he had to strain out the ants the last time he filled up.

Meanwhile back at the Village

Meanwhile back at the Village -SV Marionette Bruce returned from San Francisquito with his wife Katherine on board.  What a wonderful person she is!  She flew into the small airport in San Francisquito with a pilot friend of the folks on SV Manta.  She said the plane was full of provisions and parts for SV Manta.  It was a good flight from the States, they went through customs in San Felipe. 

Since Bruce had left the week before Doug had discovered rot in the aft shower.  At first it didn’t look so bad.  Doug had a shipwright fellow Scott from SV Ulalena come over and look at it.  He said don’t pull out anything else until you get to Santa Rosalia.  Well Doug loves to pick at things so he dug a little deeper then called Bruce over sine he had came back. Bruce is an expert at wood in distress and carries extra wood on board his classic wood boat.  Rumor is he sleeps with wood.  Bruce folded himself into the aft shower with a few tools and the rotten wood began to fly.  It smelled just like rotten house wood.  Soon it was out with the old and staged with a piece of replacement wood ready to be installed.  Bruce had to leave so Doug called Scott back today to cut the wood and reinstall all the pieces back into the shower.  The job is just about complete now, just needs a little varnish and it will be better than new!  It is really amazing the skill set of all these sailors out here.
Before SV Marionette left we enjoyed another feast from the sea on board Marionette with the folks from SV Puddytat.  We ate fried squid, squid ceviche, and curried cabrilla.  Another amazing dinner.  We had a regular UN meeting with the countries of New Zealand, Morocco, UK, Zimbabwe and the USA.  Some of these folks actually had more than 1 passport.  Once again we were not able to solve all the worlds problems and I think came up with a few more immigration issues.