Getting to La Paz for Christmas

On Christmas Eve, we anchored for the night off the sandy beach of Ensenada de los Muertos (Cove of the Dead). We were about halfway to La Paz after having left San Jose del Cabo at dawn. Ensenada de los Muertos is a large, open cove with a sandy bottom. It lies to the southwest of a protecting point, which provides shelter from north and northeast wind, a consideration for us in case the wind should start to kick up in spite of the forecast. As we slowly motored in after dark we could see a few sailboats already at anchor, their anchor lights reflected in the calm black water. We dropped our hook beyond the last boat on our right, leaving plenty of space between boats. The moon was full, the stars were glittering across the night sky, and the anchorage was quiet. The one restaurant tucked below the point near the water closed down early for Christmas Eve, and we could hear cars pulling away and watch their lights disappear into the dark. Then the night was silent.

Randy woke at 4:00 am. He queried Ruth: “Are you awake?” “Yes” “Okay, let’s go.” Before daybreak on Christmas Day, we weighed anchor and continued motor sailing in light air toward La Paz; “The Peace.” We passed through Canal de San Lorenzo at the tip of the point of land forming the eastern part of Bahia de La Paz (Bay of La Paz) shortly after noon. By 3:30 we were approaching the fuel dock in Marina de La Paz, where we were greeted by the smiling faces of our friends from Ka’sala as they took our dock lines. We felt we had finally, really, started our cruising life – we had been so focused on making this “Christmas Dinner in La Paz” that all of our energy had been directed toward getting Velic to La Paz by Christmas. We had passed by anchorages we might otherwise have explored in order to meet this date. Now we were in La Paz and could rest, regroup and truly begin exploring.

But first, we had a dinner date to make! Lyneita graciously assured us that all we needed to do was clean up and show up. Dinner was waiting aboard their friends’ boat, Witte Raaf (White Raven) which was the largest of the three boats and could easily seat everyone around the table. Quick showers and a change of clothes followed before we joined Lyneita, Doug and new-to-us acquaintances, Jan and Joanneke aboard their lovely steel Witte Raaf. Until the previous day, we hadn’t been sure that we could even make the rendezvous and had sent an email days earlier, cautioning Doug and Lyneita of Ka’sala that we might be late if the weather didn’t cooperate. But we made it, and were very happy to be part of a dinner group that also included our friend Mike M. (remember the fabulous grilled scallops and shrimps) from Pacific Mariners’ Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, who flew in bearing boat gear and good cheer. Joanneke and Lyneita had prepared a special treat: a Dutch-Indonesian meal called a Rijsttabel (rice table). The meal was fabulous – I’m sure it took the two of them days to prepare! Randy, especially, loved the indo-malay meal; a real Christmas treat. The company was delightful and we truly enjoyed the evening.

The next day, the group of seven went on a walking tour of downtown La Paz. The four sailors aboard Ka’sala and Witte Raaf had been here before and were pleased to show the new arrivals (the two of us and Mike) some of their favorite spots. The older city of La Paz near the waterfront is entirely walk-able. A stroll along the Malecon, a 5km tiled and paved waterfront pedestrian-and-bicycle pathway, is especially enjoyable. Sculptures and decorative wrought-iron benches dot the Malecon, and beach parks lie along the stretch of sandy shore of the lovely bay, where many boats are anchored out. Tourists and residents, especially families, enjoy strolling the Malecon. La Paz enjoys one of the highest standards of living in Mexico.

Some scenes along the Malecon –

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Christmas in La Paz! The penchant for evergreen Christmas trees feels a bit odd here, just a few miles north of the Tropic of Cancer.

After walking along the Malecon, we turned in toward the city and walked up to a mercado – a market. The mercado is inside a building and so is out of the weather, sort of like a covered mall but more crowded and colorful. We walked through a couple of mercados and the ones we toured each seemed to occupy an entire city block. Inside the mercado are numerous individual stalls selling merchandise – clothing, dry goods, fresh produce as well as butcher stalls and seafood stalls. Just about anything you might want or need. Also inside are small restaurants, set up like lunch counters, where you can buy a hot meal.

Later in the afternoon, we walked by this very lovely park, designed as a space for quiet meditation or contemplation. Entering the park through the street opening, you see this pool and the collection of beaked characters it holds in front of you. At first it appeared that water could spout from the beaks, but none was spouting while we were there and there may have been some other purpose.

 

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This poem in both Spanish and English was on the wall of the park.

More scenes we encountered while walking the streets of La Paz –

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A pinata store. The pinatas – all empty – are hung all around the storefront. Inside the store and on the sidewalk outside are barrels and bins of goodies that you can choose from to fill your pinata.

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Some of the older buildings have very ornate doorways. Mike in front of one large entrance offering a selection of doorways. Depending on the size you need??

 

Still later in the afternoon we stopped at a cafe for a little refreshment. La Paz 5

Lunch at a loncheria (lunch counters, often in a food court setting). Very good! (We haven’t been served yet; yes, we did get a very tasty lunch here.)

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Another interesting doorway. Most private residences have gates at the street-side entrance, and most are walled. There is a very definite separation between the public realm and the private realm.

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A playground encircled by a bicycle/pump track. The photo doesn’t show very well the humps and valleys that make up the pump track. Used tires are often put to a useful and colorful second purpose.

On our own over the next few days, Randy and I walked miles to take care of various errands and tasks while we are here in a good-sized city with good services. One day while walking back from FedEx we passed this playground and park. Randy had to take a photo, of course.

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2 thoughts on “Getting to La Paz for Christmas

  1. Hi, Randy. I think the problem was I usually surf emails and the web on my phone, and it seems my mobile isn’t set up the get the full blog experience. The full PC screen is much better for the fantastic pictures you’ve included, anyway. Thank you so much for keeping in touch. I miss your brain. And the rest of you. lol.

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  2. Tom and I loved the “ristafel”? “rice table” while we were in Amsterdam. Hope to have another when we are there in May. Fun to follow along on your journey!! cathy

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