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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update from Manzanillo

Here in Manzanillo we are adapting and adjusting as we continue to learn that in this new life of ours best laid plans are arbitrary.  Our initial objective was to arrive here on April 1, drop Tom and Mary off at their hotel, spend a couple of days getting re-organized and then head to the Marquesas.  We would have been ½-way there by now on an 18-24 day passage.  Today is April 10; Destiny still sits anchored in the Las Hadas Marina as we await our replacement window, which we have found was shipped (finally!!!!!) from the Island Packet factory on the 8th.  It made it as far as Guadalajara and got held up at the customs office.  Good news:  it is in Mexico!  Not so good news: items have been known to be held at customs in Mexico for indeterminate periods ranging from a few days to several weeks or months for reasons unknown.  Frank is like a caged lion.  We can't get any information from DHL (the shipper) or through any other means.  He just told me he is going to go catch a cab to the local DHL office to try to sort it out – Lord, let there be someone there who speaks English.
Time here has not been a waste, however.  We have met some wonderful people and had some interesting experiences that we would have missed if our departure had been on schedule.  Jan and Rob on the IPY 38, Triple Stars became fast and dear friends.  Before they left we enjoyed some very good times with them, and I got Jan's recipe for the perfect Key Lime Pie.  They headed south to Ixtapa and Z-Town, enroute to the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, and then eventually up to Maine.  We will see them again.  We have met so many other interesting people from other boats and at the hotel pool that it would take forever to recount them all.  There are a large number of Canadians here as this is a popular vacation spot for them.  One fellow cruiser, Clark Beek on s/v Condesa is just finishing a 9 ½ year circumnavigation and is heading back to California.  He has published several articles in magazines such as Sail & Yachting World.
As we await departure we are taking care of provisioning and inventory.  And we are taking care of ourselves, spending down time at the pool, shopping and pretending to be tourists.  We now look at ports and arrival points from a cruiser's perspective rather than through our previous resort seeking perspective as vacationers.  We use the local buses, walk a lot and go here and there sometimes unsuccessfully searching for what amenities will best serve our provisioning and onboard needs and comforts.  There is so much we take for granted in the USA, such as being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet, eating local food or drinking local water without fear of dysentery, running to Home Depot for household items like W-D 40, a 5-gallon gas can, propane for the grill. We have found it a challenge finding decent paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels and plates, buying Half and Half for our coffee or any real creamer (not possible), and most of all speaking the language.  Doing simple things like taking a cab or purchasing things without having to negotiate first because nearly every price is random being based on your "savvy factor" take more effort than we are used to. I'm not saying we are not enjoying ourselves or that a good time is not possible in another country.  We have traveled many places in the world, and have stayed at some fabulous resorts, yet nothing and no place compares to American convenience and luxury.  Right now I would readily kick anyone in the gut who dares to put down my beloved USA. 
April 6, 2008
Las Hadas, our present temporary home, reminds me of a once beautiful woman who in her prime was the most beautiful and desired creature of the lot, yet has aged and can no longer sustain the Botox or the cosmetic tweaks.  This resort was once home to Hollywood legends and in fact the movie, "10" with Bo Derek and Dudley Moore was filmed here.  As I walk about my heart aches just a little bit for the soul of this place.  There are empty alcoves, buildings and rooms that were once grand and luxuriously appointed.  You can imagine the music and laughter, the shops that held the coveted items that only the very wealthy could afford to buy, and yet they lie in disrepair and neglect.  Other areas of the hotel and waterfront look as though they are much better cared for, yet the place is too large to be fully revived.  It is a paradox of sorts.  I'll walk around and take some pictures so you can see with your own eyes the inconsistency.
Manzanillo is experiencing Red Tide, a phenomenon of red algae that just takes over the ocean, causing reddish discoloration of the water, producing toxins that kill fish and contaminate shellfish, causing a sickeningly sweet smell akin to rotting flesh.  It is said that this is Nature's way of cleansing oceans, I suppose like some people detox their bodies.  We cannot make water right now because of the Red Tide, so we are being very conservative.  We hope before we leave here the waters will return to normal so that we can see the beauty of the waters that attracts so many visitors.

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