Sailing Vessel Warrior

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Thursday November 1, 2007

All Souls Day

Friday November 1, 2007

Today is the Dia del Muertos (Day of the Dead in Mexico). Mary Jane Gagnier Mendoza explains this phenomenon as thus: "The Day of the Dead activities actually span several days, beginning late at night Oct. 31, when the spirits of dead children (angelitos) start arriving, followed by adult spirits sometime during Nov. 1. They leave, after joining in a family meal, on Nov. 2 which is also known as All Souls Day here in Mexico. Although exact times for the spirits' entrances vary from region to region, the angelitos always arrive ahead of the adults. Mexicans have a distinctly different view of themselves in the afterlife. First, you keep your identity, since to return to this world for the Day of the Dead, you must remain who you were. This explains the profusion of skeletons of all sizes, doing ordinary day-to-day things. If uncle José was a barber, he continues as a barber after death. Placing a skeleton figure of a barber on your altar reaffirms to uncle José that he has not been forgotten on his spiritual return. Some homes have adorned Day of the Dead altars. Sugar skulls with the names of dead loved ones inscribed in icing indicate to the returning spirits that they have indeed returned to the right spot, where the living await their arrival. The altar is a sort of landing pad and its objects serve as signals to guide the spirits home".

The Skeleton statues also known as Calacas are incredible. The more upscale folk art stores display elaborate ceramic and paper mache calacas, individually signed by renowned Mexican folk artists. We really wanted to buy a couple but we have nowhere to put these kind of trinkets without breaking them so we opted for photos instead. We celebrated by heading downtown to the zocolo and looked at the artwork sandcastle artwork along the malecon then we headed into what is known as the Romantic District and did a Taco Stand hop. We tried various types of tacos but didn't come across the brain tacos. Robin was so disappointed! We did however find fish on a stick, smoked pieces of marlin served on skewers which you walk along eating.

Aaron, one of the riggers at the Marina has a totally different take on the Day of the Dead. He lives in Pitillal right beside the church. Everyone day for 30 days prior to Day of the Dead, from 10pm to 6am roughly on the hour, they throw noisy fireworks to help wake up the dead. His whole house shook, and by the end of the month he was arriving to work at the marina with bloodshot eyes and a raging headache. He looked like the walking dead!

Saturday November 3, 2007

Our last Dinner with Richard and Karen tonight. We decided to head back to Bucerias. There was a great write up re: a Tequila Cave and restuarant located on the side of a cliff overlooking Banderas Bay and we figured it would be a great treat for their son Adam (and the rest of us of course). It was laughable. One barrel of Tequila which he wanted 50 dollars a bottle for and you could buy it in the shops for $25. We think he saw us coming but what he saw was us going. The rest of the evening was surreally weird. The wine didn't arrive, didn't arrive, still didn't arrive, then the owner finally appeared offering us his special wine on the house. It turned out to be gooney wine which you had to taste to believe. It was hard to make wine that bad. When they finally brought Adam a wine glass it was broken with a huge piece missing. The food finally arrived. The entertainment was different and the owners daughter had to sing and she honestly had zero talent as a singer. It was so comically funny all we could do is laugh at the whole eveing. The one saving grace, it was an incredible view. We said our final farewells to Chessie with a restaurant to remember. We'll no doubt be talking about that evening in 10 years time.

Sunday November 4, 2007

Tonight we decided to take in a traditional Mexican Fiesta show. It was an extensive 4 hr show, complete with buffet (the food was surprisingly good), open bar, professional folk dancing representing several states of Mexico, each in their own unique costumes and dances. There were Charros (Mexican Cowboys) twirling their ropes, and Mariachi singers. They even threw in a dancing horse, a pretend cock fight (they held the tails of the roosters so they couldn't do too much damage and it was only for a few minutes thankfully) and the necessary Piñatas which are never left out of any real party. It was a fun fiesta atmosphere and certainly something you can do once. To complete the evening there was a fire wheel show, a complicated display of fireworks burning and winking out as the wheel spun around. Mucho fun.

Friday November 9, 2007

The last week or so we have continued working on what has become that bloody cupboard. We swapped in our good LCD monitor which was slightly bigger than the one that came with the boat. Then we installed all new grounding was run from the back of the boat to the keel and around the radio itself, the wiring for the SSB radio installed. The radio will be our source for all communications from weather faxes to emails and radio once we're away from shore and internet cafes. Michelle has also set up a new email address which is used to send and receive emails via HAM radio requencies. It will be sent out in a separate email to you all. Then the new tuner was installed and voila just like that we have a radio that works finally.Finally finished the electrical cupboard. The final piece de resistance was being able to build a filing cabnet in the bottom of the cupboard. It was the perfect width and length. We're so happy to get it all finished but there are still 56 jobs on the todo list. If it takes this long to do each task we'll be here for more than a year.

Saturday November 10, 2007

Whoot a new task has begun. We began work on installing the two new solar panels today. We are installing them on top of the H-frame at the stern of the boat. Four solar panels in total should amply cover our power usage, or at least we hope. Tonight saw us at a local party for a couple of hours. There is currently a very eccentric American residing in one of the condos surrounding the marina and we managed to meet him. He is chock full of conspiracy theories about America and other intriguing pieces of information. Anyway he threw an party for a group of locals and invited one of the local Mariachi bands to come play. They were good and we've since adopted them as the only Mariachi band we'll support whilst here. At $5 per song, some of the renditions are definitely not worth a penny but these guys are very talented.

Saturday November 18, 2007

This week saw us finish installing the solar panels, and erecting a stable framework for the bimini. Now just to get the new sunbrella cover made. Dinner tonight was at Fango's with Stormcat who have finally arrived from Mazatlan.

Saturday November 24, 2007

Yacht Club Birthday Party. Vallarta Yacht Club Celebrated their 5th Anniversary and expansion with a Gala Ribbon Cutting Dinner! While it marked the 5th year of operation, it was more a party to celebrate the completion of a new expansion project, which extended the clubhouse deck and roof towards the lagoon, in effect nearly doubling the dining and social area. Impressive since it was built between the time we arrived and today, a feat almost impossible to accomplish in Mexico. Commodore Dave traced the history of the club back to its meager beginnings and did it in such a way which surprisingly didn't bore one to tears. Chef Israel and his staff did a great job serving traditional Mexican fare on elegantly decorated tables, while the entertainment for the night, guitarist Senor Gino Lamper, played in the background and set a wonderful ambiance. Altogether quite a surprisingly enjoyable evening. Isn't it great when things come together well :D

Friday November 30, 2007

It really has been a lot of work and a little bit of play this month. So far we've managed to cross about 17 projects off the todo list. Mel arrived late this afternoon. What a surprise to see her as we thought she wouldn't be arriving till tomorrow. We had the saloon pulled apart but we found an area of the boat we have nicknamed Mel's space. She is so tiny she can curl up anywhere. She will be with us for the next few months as we travel into South America. We are trying to convince her to look after us fulltime but she's not sure that's a good deal. We'll work on it. Michelle spent the day cooking an enormous pot of chili for tomorrow's chili cook off event. 12lb of meat went into the huge boiler and she thought she'd never get to the end of browning. 8 different types of chilis went into the pot. We'll let it sit overnight to see how the flavors balance out.