Divorced Eggs…?!

Pollo Asado on the street

This pollo asado stand is very popular in La Manzanilla!

One of the things many travelers love about Mexico is the delicious food.  For us, the street food is the most fun.  We have enjoyed many a meal of fish tacos or carne asada (grilled beef) tacos from a street cart.

Sometimes we’re lucky and find a fabulous pollo asado (grilled chicken) dinner made right in front of us on the sidewalk over coals in a metal half-barrel turned on its side.

This kind of food is pretty low risk in terms of knowing what we’re getting.  If there is a large crowd of local patrons eating enthusiastically, and a long line of eager customers waiting to be served, the food has to be good.  Even better, we can see what the meal is before it lands on our plates!

Roasted chicken pollo rostisado

It’s nice to know what will be on your plate!

Going to a sit-down restaurant and ordering off the menu is a whole different story, though.  If the restaurant caters strictly to the locals, we’ve found the menu is often indecipherable without a Spanish/English dictionary.

There is an awful lot of unfamiliar vocabulary packed into Mexican restaurant menus!  To make things even harder, many dishes have names that don’t show up in a standard dictionary.

Carne Asada Tacos from Las Brisas in Ensenada

Tasty carne asada tacos.

Usually we end up ordering something recommended by the waiter, and we find out what it really is only after it arrives at the table.

In the restaurants in the tourist areas, however, there is usually an English version of the menu, or at least an English translation appearing near each item.  Thank goodness!

Once in a while, though, there is something on the menu — on the English side — that sounds just a little funky in translation.

The first few times we went out for a big breakfast at a nice place, I found myself scratching my head when I reviewed the various options for eggs.

Everything was okay at the top of the menu where there were descriptions of fried eggs, scrambled eggs and omelets.

Divorced Eggs or Huevos Divorciados

Two fried eggs split by the the color of sauce they wear (plus beans)!

But lower down they had this strange sounding one:  “Divorced Eggs.”

Checking the Spanish side of the menu didn’t help:  “Huevos Divorciados.”

Divorced eggs???  I didn’t know eggs got married!!!

It turns out that this very popular dish consists of two fried eggs, each covered with a different hot sauce: a green sauce on one egg and a red sauce on the other.

Aha!  So this is what eggs do when they decide they have irreconcilable differences.  If only human divorce were so easy!


huevos divorciados or divorced eggs

Have these eggs filed for Divorce due to “Irreconcilable Differences”
or is it just a Trial Separation so they can think things over?

I looked up the word “divorciado” in my Spanish/English dictionary and found that its meaning is slightly closer to the word “separated.”

Hmmm.  So it appears these unfortunate eggs may actually be undergoing something that is more like a Trial Separation.

Perhaps they are not Divorced at all. Perhaps they just want a little space and some time apart to think things over!

Whatever the exact marital status of the eggs happens to be, the dish is very flavorful, and it is usually complemented with a big serving of delicious refried beans and some tortillas.

It is very Mexican and it is muy rico (very yummy).



Is Mexico Safe?

Dancer at Paradise Village

Dancer at Paradise Village

When folks find out we’ve been living and traveling in Mexico for a few years, we are frequently asked:  Is Mexico safe??

Mexico has been in the headlines a lot recently as the country has engaged in its infamous drug wars. Tragically, tens of thousands of people have died.  So we’re not surprised to hear this question so often.

Girls in Oaxaca Zocalo

All dressed up in the Zócalo in Oaxaca.

However, we have felt as safe or even safer in Mexico than we have at home in the US.

More important, we have discovered our southern neighbor is full of friendly people, really fun towns and has a fascinating history, from both ancient times when step pyramids were in vogue and more recent times since the Spanish arrived.

Cheerleader with flag

Dancers practice their moves in the main plaza in Ensenada.

It is always easy to be frightened of a place we’ve never seen in person.  Reading the news coming out of our own hometowns lately — Boston for me and Detroit for Mark — we might think twice before going to either city if we hadn’t already been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale.  Both cities have made headlines in the last six months, one for gruesome attacks on innocent people and the other for taking a trip down the road of corruption to bankruptcy.

Kids in the train Ensenada

Kids wave at their parents from a train in Ensenada







Wait a minute!  Isn’t Mexico the place that is known for gory crime and corruption, and not the US?

Bakery in Huatulco

All kinds of yummy goodies come out of this
Italian Bakery in Huatulco

Bobbing around at anchor in a sailboat on the Mexican coast while reading these disturbing headlines about these frightening American cities, we have the same reaction as folks do up north when they are kicked back in their cozy living rooms in friendly American and Canadian communities, reading about the freaky goings-on south of the border.

For all of us, our first reaction is naturally, “Thank God I’m not there!” The second really should be, “Is that the only thing that’s happening there?  Is there really no one living a normal life in that place?”

Family on motorcycle

A family on a motorcycle in Huatulco.

Whenever we open up Google News to see what’s going on in the world, we are always horrified by the daily muggings, robberies, murders and general mayhem that is happening in our adopted hometown, Scottsdale, Arizona.  Scottsdale is a chic vacation destination for lots of snowbirds, and it’s a city that considers itself quite swank and rather trendy.  But good grief, they have stabbings in the bars and murders in the streets there!  Stay away!!

The media loves to shock us and they do a really good job.

It is hard to measure the “safety” of a community in precise terms.  Crime is a very black and white matter — either you are the victim of a crime or you slide by unscathed.  You aren’t “kinda” mugged or “sorta” killed.  So, looking at crime statistics is rather bizarre.  If the murder rate for a city is 40 per 100,000, or perhaps 380 per year, what does that really mean to the average tourist that arrives on that city’s streets?  Will you be attacked while toting your suitcase to your first hotel or will it happen after a month or a year or a decade?

Contrary to the terrifying news stories splashed across the US media, the US government’s current travel advisory for Mexico opens with the following very benign assessment of the situation for Americans traveling to Mexico:

Horse and buggy Ensenada

A horse and buggy trots by in Ensenada

“Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day. More than 20 million U.S. citizens visited Mexico in 2012. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have targeted U.S. visitors and residents based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime that is reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes.”

So, in a nutshell, almost 7% of the US population visited Mexico last year.  If that’s true, it can’t be all that dangerous, can it?

Callejoneada in Guanajuato

Singing in the streets in Guanajuato

A statistic that is not mentioned in this report but that I have read elsewhere is that a million Americans and Canadians make their homes in Mexico.  Many have long term residence visas, and quite a few have had access to the free public health care system, us included.  Now that’s a twist, isn’t it?

Girls in San Cristóbal de las Casa

San Cristóbal de las Casas

I think that when reading headlines and stories about the dangers in Mexico, it is worthwhile to take a look in the mirror and think about the dangers of living at home, wherever home is.

The NY Times published an article recently stating that in 2012 Detroit had 386 murders (more than one a day) and Indianapolis had 101 (one every 3-4 days).

Class Trip to Monte Alban

A school class on a field trip to the ancient
Monte Alban ruins gets a class picture on a pyramid.

Meanwhile, ABC News published a story about the worst neighborhoods in the US, and found that in certain parts of Atlanta, Georgia, your chance of being the victim of a violent crime is 1 in 12, while in Nashville, Tennessee, it is 1 in 14 and in Tulsa, Oklahoma it is 1 in 15.

I’m not sure how to interpret those statistics.  It sounds like out of twelve people walking down certain streets in Atlanta, one will fall prey to a violent crime!!  Holy cow!!  Run away!!  However, thousands of people live and work in Atlanta, Nashville and Tulsa very happily every day.  Statistics tell only part of the story.

Lovers in Comitan

Lovers on a park bench in Comitán

Perhaps more important is that crime everywhere is localized and focused in specific areas.  We all tend to brush off the stories of violence that happen around us in our home towns, because they happen “over there” somewhere, whether “over there” is a few miles away downtown or a few streets away where the neighborhood starts to get iffy.  The thing is, at home, we know where the dangerous places are, and we don’t go there, or at least we don’t go there late at night and alone.

Girls in Tangolunda Bay

Kids play in the waves in Tangolunda Bay, Huatulco






The same is true traveling in Mexico, or anywhere for that matter.  Mark and I have stuck to the tourist trail — after all, those are the places that we want to see, just like everyone else — and we have done our wanderings in the daytime and early evening.  The precautions we would take if we were to venture to the more dangerous parts of Phoenix, Arizona, are the same precautions we have taken in Mexico.  Of course!

Dinghy valet in ZIhuatanejo

Locals help Mark launch the dinghy in Zihuanatnejo

Whereas in San Diego we locked our dinghy and outboard to the public dinghy dock with a thick chain and padlock because we had heard stories from other boaters of rampant dinghy and outboard thefts there, when we were in Zihuatanejo and Huatulco Mexico, we happily left the dinghy unattended and unlocked all day every day for weeks on end. We never had a problem.

Catch of the day - Huatulco

Catch of the day – Huatulco




Of course crime does exist in Mexico, as it does everywhere, but it is localized, just as it is elsewhere. And the most violent and grisly stuff we all see in the news is not targeted against tourists and takes place far from the tourist destinations.

Friends of ours had their outboard stolen while anchored in Mantechen Bay, an area in Mexico well known among boaters for outboard thievery. We were also particularly cautious in parts of Acapulco and Mazatlan, cities known to be more dangerous than other places in the country.

Guest helmswoman aboard Groovy

Groovy enjoys a guest helmswoman




To me, however, it is much more frightening to think of a life lived without leaving home and seeing some of the world than it is to face the fear of traveling, even to a place that has made headlines for violence.

If fear keeps you from venturing out, and you let the terrifying headlines fence you in, you will miss out on some of the most beautiful experiences life has to offer.


Family in Boat in San Evaristo

A family comes up in a panga to sell fish
to the Groovy Boat in San Evaristo (Sea of Cortez)

The Mexicans we have met have taught us the true meaning of graciousness and kindness to strangers.  It is a lesson we hope to take home with us.

From the guy on the street who turned around 180 degrees and walked with us for four blocks to make sure we got where we wanted to go, to the guy that drove us 30 miles, in his own truck, to a mechanic who could rebuild our alternator and who stayed with us all day until we had the fully repaired alternator in hand, we have learned the precious value of watching out for your fellow man, not for personal gain, but just to be nice — because we’re all living this life together.

Couple with dog in La Boacana Huatulco

A couple from Mexico City enjoys some beach time at La Bocana in Huatulco


The kindness, generosity and warmth we have found in Mexico is exceptional, and it is virtually universal.  Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by our travels here.

If you have the opportunity to visit Mexico but have held back because you think it might be dangerous, all I can say is:  GO FOR IT!!  You’ll be so glad you did.


Anchored in Careyes Mexico

Anchored in Careyes

Travel Tips – Visiting Mexico by Sailboat and RV

Our travels in Mexico so far have been by sailboat along the Pacific coast and Sea of Cortez, and by long distance bus inland from the coast.  We have several posts on this site with tips for traveling this way:

Camping on the beach in Mexico

Camping on the beach on the Costalegre

We have not traveled in Mexico by RV, but lots of people do.  Two useful resources for planning an RV adventure in Mexico are:

  • Mexican Camping – by Mike and Terri Church, long-time veterans of RVing in Mexico
  • On the Road In – Comprehensive info about Mexico, including RV Park reviews & seminars.


For another perspective on safety in Mexico, check out this outstanding essay from the keyboards of the Lonely Planet Team: 
Are Americans safer in Mexico than at home?  I hope you take a trip to Mexico, and I hope you have as much fun and learn as much as we have!!


Quinceañera – Sailboat “Groovy” Helps Celebrate a Mexican 15th Birthday

13-07-13 Quinceanero-4407

July 13, 2013 – This afternoon, Mark was busy in our sailboat Groovy‘s cockpit here at the marina in Ensenada, Mexico, when he noticed a well dressed man in an elegant suit walking on the docks.

The man seemed to be eyeing up our boat Groovy, and he walked back and forth in front of it a few times.  Mark called out a greeting, and suddenly the man stopped and said in English, “My daughter is celebrating her 15th birthday today.  Do you think we could take some photos of her on your boat?”

Mark looked around and thought for a moment.  But of course!

13-07-13 Quinceanero-4370

Within a few minutes a crowd of young teenagers showed up, all dressed to the nines in suits and fancy dresses and stiletto heels.  They were giggling and chatting among themselves as they shuffled down the dock.  Mark flew into the cabin and told me to grab my camera, quick!



Quincenaera aboard Groovy

The birthday girl poses on Groovy’s bow.

As I came into the cockpit, the birthday girl appeared at the top of the dock ramp.  She was wearing a beautiful fluffy white dress and had pearls around her neck.

For girls in Mexico, the quniceañera — 15th birthday — is a very special day.  The celebration is something like a coming out party, and it is an occasion for donning a prom dress, wearing makeup, posing for lots of photos, and having a big party with a live band that lasts long into the night.

This birthday girl was obviously relishing every second of her moment in the spotlight.


Paparazzi crowd around the birthday girl!

Paparazzi crowd around the birthday girl!

Her proud dad, Carlos, hung back while a professional photographer and videographer posed her all around the boat.  What total fun!

Mark and I ran around behind the scenes, trying to catch her poses as best we could.

Meanwhile her friends all giggled and fidgeted as they stood on the finger pier next to us, jumping up and down, and looking very cute in their dressy clothes.

Suddenly a few boxes of pizza appeared out of nowhere, and the teenagers got busy scarfing the slices down in an instant.


After a little pizza, her friends are ready to party!

A very special day to remember!!

A very special day to remember!!

Once the photo shoot was finished and the sun had set, Carlos invited us to come up and join the party that was in full swing under the tents next to the office.  What an invitation!!

When we got up there, we walked through a few lighted arches onto a dance floor that was surrounded by tables and chars.  Everything was decorated in pink.

Carlos showed us to the family’s head table and introduced us to everyone sitting there — grandma, aunts, godparents and little brothers and sisters.


13-07-13 Quinceanera Helm

Several family members had flown in from far-flung parts of Mexico to take part in the celebration.

We’ve been lucky enough to see several quinceañera photo shoots from a distance — the girls are always so lovely in their big bouffant dresses — but this was the first time we had been invited to be a part of the action at the party itself. We were loving it!

As we sat chatting with the family at the head table, explaining to everyone who we were, where we had sailed from, and how we had unintentionally crashed their party after the impromptu photo shoot aboard Groovy, they happily swept us up in the festivities.

Everything around the dance floor was decorated in pink.

Everything around the dance floor was decorated in pink.


The man on my left, Alfredo, fondly told us how he had held the birthday girl at her baptism fourteen years earlier when she was just a baby, and we could feel his pride at being her godfather.

Everyone whipped out pocket cameras, cell phone cameras and iPads to get pics of the party, and suddenly we found ourselves being posed into the group shots too.  We were just the boat people from down on the docks, but that didn’t seem to matter — we were welcomed right into the heart of the family!


birthday cake

A birthday cake fit for a princess and
decorated with icing starfish!

When we finally stood up to go — wanting to let this jovial group enjoy their special moment together — the grandma didn’t want to let us go.  “Sit down, sit down!” she insisted, patting the chair next to her where Mark had been sitting.  “No, no… thank you, thank you!”  Mark said as we tip-toed out backward and bid them all goodbye.  This was their party, but they had been so kind to invite us to join them so we could get a glimpse of a true quinceañera celebration.

Back on the boat, we crawled into bed and listened for a long time as the band got rowdier and rowdier and the heavy bass thumped a steady beat through the hull of the boat.  What a fantastic tradition this 15th birthday party is, and what a great way to bring together the whole family to celebrate the arrival of a young girl on the threshold of adulthood.  Most of all, what a lucky day it had been for us!


It’s Not About the Hair!

Getting a haircut in Mexico

Lorena gives me a hairstyle called
“cola del pato” (tail of the duck)

June 16, 2013 – One of our favorite things about traveling is all the little encounters we have that make us stop in our tracks, scratch our heads, and say, “Wow, this is so different than home.”  After living strictly within our own comfort zone for so many years, focused on our workaday lives, we now find ourselves refreshed, over and over, as the folks we meet here in Mexico, so far from our backyard, show us that there are other ways to live.

I’ve been wanting to get a haircut for a while, and as a full-time traveler this is always a great opportunity to have a long conversation with someone from wherever we are visiting.  More important than finding a top quality salon, I’m always hoping to find someone that will tell us a little about the community we’re in or share something about themselves.

Yesterday, as we wandered the quiet, dusty streets of a small Costalegre coastal village between Tenacatita and Barra de Navidad taking photographs, we asked a few people where to get a haircut.  They all said to go to “Lorena” and they gave us directions. In our usual lazy way, we didn’t wind up on her street until dusk.  A group of people sitting on the sidewalk around a folding table with fruit laid out for sale pointed us towards her shop.

Unfortunately, it was now so late in the day that her shop was closed.  We shrugged.  Oh well.  Tomorrow!

“No, we’ll find her for you!”  One of the guys by the fruit stand said to us.  He asked his friends if they knew where she was and then yelled her name a few times.  A few minutes later, she appeared at the far end of the block, hustling towards us and waving.  The fruit guys grinned.

“Come in, come in.”  She said as she opened the door to her shop.  She began clearing some things from around her work area to make a place for me to sit down.  The room was about 9′ x 9′ and stacked with manicure equipment, brushes, combs, a few random cups, a chair and other stuff piled up.

After asking about my hair (I’ve learned my hair style is called “cola del pato” or “tail of the duck”), we began to have a lively conversation in Spanish about life in America and life in Mexico and the close similarities and vast differences between these two worlds.

She had grown up on a ranch far out in the countryside, one of twelve kids — ten girls and two boys — along with lots of horses, cows, burros and fruit trees.  Despite having no electricity, the family found plenty of diversions among themselves, always sitting around in the same configuration at night, mother here, father there, and kids circled around in between.  Outside, there were a bunch of tree stumps, and they would all sit together on the stumps and sing songs under the stars.

Her mother and grandmother had always worn traditional, colorful dresses, long sleeved and well below the knee, and her father was very strict with the kids.  He died when she was a teenager, and when he died her world changed forever.  The family moved to the city and she was shocked by the stress of urban life and the different interests of her peers at school.  She missed the fresh fruits from the garden and fresh meat and milk from the cows.

Lorena's hair salon in Mexico

Lorena shared her life experiences and cultural insights
with us as she gave us haircuts in her shop.

As I listened to her tale, I could just imagine the adjustments she had to make as she moved first to Mexico City then to Ensenada and Tijuana, and eventually to California.

“It was all wonderful.”  She said warmly.  “I learned so much.  About people.  About cultures…  And I learned what I liked.  In California I made a lot of money, I wore fancy clothes and makeup.  I had lots of beautiful shoes.  Now I just wear flip-flops.  I like to live in a small town where life is calm and quiet.”

By now Mark had decided to get a trim too, and her sheers snipped around his ears as she went on.  “America and Mexico are very different,” she said.  “In Mexico, out in the rural countryside, it is a man’s world.  The man is everything.  Girls are told they don’t need an education because their husband will provide.”

And then she said something about women and keeping a rifle in the corner of the house, and she laughed. Oh how I wished I understood better. She was on a roll, and I didn’t want to ask her to repeat. She had said either that women in the country kept a rifle in the corner so they could hold their own with the men, or that women who lived alone kept a rifle for protection. Gosh, I don’t know, and now I so wish I had had her explain further…

“But in America, In my neighborhood in California, I didn’t know my neighbors,” She continued.  “We waved and said “hello” every day but that was all.  We didn’t know each other like we do here. And in the US, when a store is closed, it’s closed!  Neighbors don’t go yelling for a shop owner to come open it up for customers after hours.”

So true.  Here we were in her shop because of the fruit sellers in the street.  Not so at Great Clips and Supercuts back home.  I usually end up reading a few magazine articles while I wait for a stylist to become available.  The stylists at home all commute to work, and who knows where any of them live. Certainly not in the rooms behind Great Clips!

As she finished Mark’s hair, she invited us to go camping in the mountains with her.  “I’ll show you some beautiful places.  We can sleep in tents close to nature.  We’ll make tortillas over a fire and you can meet my horses.” What a great invitation!

As she swept up all our locks on the floor, she said the haircuts were 40 pesos each (about $3.20 USD). For us, the experience was priceless.

See more about Life in Mexico and check out Our Most Recent Posts!!

The Tourist Tangle – All tied up in knots!

The Tourist Tangle - choking straps everywhere!

All those straps can make a mess!!

April 9, 2013 – When we hit the shore to do some sightseeing, we both always have quite a collection of stuff to bring with us: hat, sunglasses, camera, spare lenses, reading glasses, Hoodman loupe (to see what’s on the back of the camera), spare filters, wallet, marina key (now that we’re living the high life in a marina).

My lightweight shorts generally have no pockets, so much of this stuff ends up around my neck where it is easy to reach when I want it.  Throughout the day, I shuffle all this gear around, grabbing each item as needed.

The sunglasses go on and off as we walk outdoors and indoors.  Same with the hat which, when off, slips down my back and leaves the strap choking me.  The sunglasses get swapped with the reading glasses when I need to actually see what i’m looking at up close (the sunglasses usually end up on the hat – just don’t forget they’re there!).  The loop comes out after I take a picture to see if ths pic’s any good.  And the camera has to be ready at a moment’s notice for that really cool, unexpected shot.

But it never fails: we’ll be walking along somewhere and something magical will happen near us.  I go to grab my camera and end up in a tangle of straps.  And what a mess it is if I’ve got an ice cream cone in my hand!!

A fellow watching me wrestling with my spider web of straps one time began to chuckle.  I tugged and struggled to unravel the snarl, and he just shook his head and grinned: “That looks like a tourist tangle!”

Aha – it has a name!!

Now whenever either of us ends up with both arms flailing around our heads, gear dangling precariously as we fight our way free, we just laugh out loud and cry: “Help help! I’m caught in the Tourist Tangle!”

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Other blog posts that give a glimpse of what it’s like to live on a sailboat:

More funny stories from our Mexico cruise + Tips for planning your own sailing cruise

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Shipwreck in Paradise – A unique ship hits the beach!

Shipwreck at Paradise Village Resort

Flying Dragon grounded hard on the beach at Paradise Village Resort

April 2, 2013 – What a surprise it was for everyone in Paradise Village Resort (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) when a boat grounded on the beach yesterday, right smack in front of the resort’s hotels, swimming pools and beach palapas.  Wow!!  The exotic nature of the boat and it’s perfect, straight-up landing on the beach made for lots of chatter among all the tourists strolling the beach this morning.  Yikes!

From what we understand, Flying Dragon, a wooden boat, was on its way to the marina at Paradise Village yesterday afternoon.  As they approached the entrance, the crew took the sails down and started the engine.  But the engine died.  Before they could get the sails back up again, the boat hit bottom and then the steering mechanism failed.  Ugh!

Efforts to help went on late into the night, with cruisers heading out in various motor boats to try to tow Flying Dragon off the beach.  But she’s 41 tons (for comparison, Groovy is 12 tons), and the small power boats and thin line that folks had available weren’t strong enough.  Half-inch line snapped like nothing, the outboard engine on one of the boats blew a cylinder, and the bow roller on Flying Dragon got bent out of shape.  She was stuck hard!!

This morning some locals brought out a cutting torch, and they began to remove the rudder from the boat. The owners were also very busy removing all their belongings and much of the boat’s gear.  All of this was in an effort to lighten the boat and hopefully make it easier to float it off the beach at high tide.

Meanwhile vacationers sunned themselves, played in the waves and took banana boat and jet-ski rides all around this action.  Other folks set up beach chairs to enjoy front row seats at the salvage operation.

Later on, a backhoe dug around the perimeter of the boat.  As the tide came in, just about every man on the beach joined in an enormous tow-rope line and pulled (see the pic at the top of this page).  Eventually the waves lapped the hull and the boat began to rock a little.  The guys on the tow-line disbanded and the crew threw an anchor out into the sea and slowly pulled the anchor line in and inched the boat off the beach.  Around dusk, Flying Dragon was finally free — and taking on water and working her bilge pumps overtime.

But the excitement didn’t end there.  In the dark, guided by dinghies and a panga, Flying Dragon negotiated the shallow entrance to the marina channel where the swell had picked up and serious waves were breaking.  Miraculously, the dinghies kept the boat perpendicular to the waves and she surfed down the channel on four or five heart-stopping rollers.  Now, at last, she is snug in a marina slip.

We have seen only one other shipwreck in action in our 3-year cruise of Mexico, when the yacht Valkyrie hit a pinnacle rock (½ way down the page) in the Sea of Cortez just outside of Puerto Escondido.  Six months later — and 1,000 miles away in Acapulco — we were delighted to read in a yacht club newsletter that Valkyrie had been salvaged and restored.  We sure hope Flying Dragon has the same kind of good fortune ahead…

See all our “snapshot” posts and our most recent longer posts…


And God said: “Let the Beer Flow”

Mexico Tecate beer promotion - a beautiful model in hot pants

Mark had eyes only for the red Tecate cooler bag…!!

March 30, 2013 – Easter week, or “Semana Santa,” is a HUGE vacation week in Mexico. Everyone from the interior cities comes down to the beach to play, it seems. So when we got to Walmart yesterday to do an ordinary provisioning run, we were there with the rest of Puerto Vallarta (and Guadalajara and Mexico City). They were all stocking up on party basics. Of course, the most important party basic is BEER, and the beer manufacturers were doing all they could to get their product out of their hands and into ours.

Their method is incredibly effective. We were debating between a twelve-pack of Pacifico and a twelve-pack of Tecate. Then Mark noticed that the Tecate was on sale: two twelve-packs for 185 pesos ($14.80 USD). Well, that was a no-brainer since Pacifico was quite a bit more. We loaded two twelve-packs of Tecate into our cart and carried on.

Then we noticed a very svelte Tecate girl in very hot hot-pants. How could you not notice her, especially since she was in stiletto heels and was about 5’10” tall?! We have learned that these beautiful beer models are always in the stores with some kind of cool promotion, and we quickly discovered what hers was: buy four twelve-packs of Tecate and get either a Tecate umbrella, a Tecate beach chair or a Tecate shoulder-bag / cooler for free.

Mark’s face lit up. He loves a deal, and he instantly had his eye on the red Tecate cooler bag she had on her shoulder. So, into the cart went two more twelve-packs of Tecate.

I’ve gotten used to the beer gals and their promotions after three seasons in Mexico, so I wandered off to sample the free potato chips that were being offered to customers. Yum (except the jalapeño chips — Yikes on those!!).

I turned back to see Mark and another Tecate gal taping extra cans of beer onto the twelve packs in our cart. Huh? It turned out there was another promotion going on: buy a twelve-pack of Tecate and get two extra cans for free, taped onto the outside of the box.

Wow, suddenly we were getting four twelve-packs plus 8 extra cans of beer plus a shoulder cooler bag, all for 370 pesos, or a little under $30. That’s 56 beers – so it translates to just over $3 per six-pack – plus the cooler bag that we would pick up in the Tecate tent outside the store. What a deal!!

The Coors folks were trying hard too, but they were using another tactic that wasn’t quite as effective. They had a studly guy with bulging muscles giving away Coors T-shirts. Unfortunately for him, Coors is an imported beer, so it was quite a bit more expensive. And, I have to say, the guys weren’t exactly lining up in front of this hunk to get their picture taken with him.

However, outside the store in the Tecate tent, where the music was blasting and the giveaways were flying off the tables, the male customers were nearly knocking each other over to get pics of themselves with the Tecate girls. One girl in particular was a stunner, and she had the moves down as she posed too. I wonder how many guys forgot to pick up their umbrella or beach chair or cooler bag in all the excitement?

No matter. Looking down the line of guys waiting for their photo op, I saw Tecate twelve-packs and taped on pairs of cans practically spilling out of all their shopping carts. The Easter party bash was just getting started!

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Other blog posts that give a glimpse of what it’s like to live on a sailboat:

What Is It Like to go Cruising on a Sailboat in Mexico?! – Insights for planning a sailing cruise of Mexico

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Red sky at morning… should sailors take warning?

Cruising Mexico (Manzanillo Bay & Santiago) Red sky at morning

Sunrise in Santiago this morning.

March 12, 2013 – Staying here in the Santiago area of Manzanillo Bay, we have been treated to some of the most lovely sunrises we’ve seen anywhere on Mexico’s Pacific coast.  This wonderful daily drama sets up each day to perfection.

Oddly, the colorful skies are largely due to the coal fired power plant that sits at the opposite end of the bay.  Manzanillo is a huge industrial port, loaded with freighters, and the smoke from the power plant fills the air with a steady stream of soot.

This isn’t so great for the deck of Groovy — after one day here the entire deck and cockpit were gritty with black dust.  However, the sunrises and sunsets are truly magical.  Our best “boat-in-a-sunrise” photos have all come from this bay (one of my favorites, from our first visit here in 2010, is on our home page).

Every morning since we got here, we’ve bolted out of bed to see what kinds of colors are on tap for the Good Morning Manzanillo sky show that day… So did the red sky this morning really mean “sailors take warning” ?  Not so far.  The pink clouds hung around to give us a largely overcast day, but there are no storms on the horizon…

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Shhh!! Bootleg DVDs are like a box of chocolates…

Bootleg DVD street vendor

Pick a movie, any movie!

March 8, 2013 – Bootleg DVDs are sold on the street all over Mexico.  They usually cost about 20 pesos ($1.60 USD), and they come in a plastic wrapper with a xeroxed image of the original DVD cover along with the unmarked DVD.

Some are clones of original DVDs, some are clones of Academy Award distribution copies, and some are from a video recorder that someone propped up in the theater (these usually have terrible sound quality, and one we saw had the bizarre periodic interruptions of the guy in front swigging a bottle of Dos Equuis beer every so often).

The Spanish movie titles often bear no resemblance to their English counterparts, and it’s a crap shoot as to what you are buying. If you like, the vendors will play the DVD on their TV/DVD player before you part with your money, and they usually swap the movie for another if it doesn’t work out.

Last night we had the intriguing international maritime experience of watching the movie Kon-Tiki, a documentary about a 1947 balsa wood raft that drifted from Peru to Polynesia, proving ancient Polynesia was settled by Peruvians rather than Asians. The dialog was in Norwegian and the movie had Spanish subtitles.  Gosh, did those subtitles scroll fast. Luckily we knew the story!!

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La Tia Hot Sauce – The best among millions!

March 6, 2013 – One of our favorite things in Manzanillo is locally made La Tia hot sauce.

La Tia Hot Sauce

We found it!!

We aren’t spicy food eaters, but this stuff is good!

We first discovered it two years ago at Frida’s restaurant on the marina docks in Las Hadas.  It was made nearby by the family of restaurant owner AgustIn.  But this year Frida’s (and Agustín) are no longer there.  And our three one-liter bottles we bought last year were gone!

Bottle label in hand, we went on a scavenger hunt around the shops in Santiago. But all we got from everyone was a head shake and a “No lo tengo” (I don’t have it).  Finally we rounded a corner – and Mark spotted it on a shelf!  The vendor was shocked when we bought three one-liter bottles, but she said she loves the sauce too and that’s why she carries it!!

Ahh… mission accomplished… yummy bean burritos are on the menu aboard Groovy once again!

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