Friday, November 30, 2012

Matanchen and San Blas

We spend three or four lazy days in Mantanchen, just south of San Blas in mainland, Mexico.  Hundreds of years ago, San Blas was thriving naval port for the New Spain. Now it is a much smaller, traditional Mexican harbor town, with a few tourists, adequate number of mosquitos and a unique charm that made our visit memorable. The anchorage was wide and quiet; the beaches were lined with palapa roofed restaurants, with thousands of plastic chairs.  It was surprising deserted so our small group of sailors tried to spread out our business.  Our daily routine consisted of a morning outing ashore via dinghy.  We'd lug our dinghies high up on the sand, lock them up and have a bite or drink to eat at the host palapa, before venturing into the town of San Blas. 
 The walks included sandy beach roads, a gauntlet of a dozen or so "Pan de Platano" (Banana bread) establishments, a cerveza distribution and retail store, and lumbering trucks, buses and vehicles.  Afternoons would end up with beachside dominos, games and socializing.  No siestas this time! 
Highlights included a Jungle Tour up a narrow, mangrove lined river with many birds, turtles, iguanas and crocodiles.  At the top of the tour, we enjoyed the fresh and cool water swimming hole with a rope swing that demanded exhibition jumping and acrobats. Rob's back flip unanimously won.  The afternoon Mexican dominos game with 5 couples and several giant Pacifico ballenas ("Whales") and countless meals was memorable.  The sunset cockpit discussions ranging from "what day is it?" to the dreaded "w" word with friends generally summed up the day.

The final stanza of "The Bells of San Blas" poem by H.W. Longfellow was Nancy's favorite:
He wrote the poem as the bells from the old church on the hill were silenced in 1872.

...."O Bells of San Blas in vain
Ye call back the Past again;
The Past is deaf to your prayer!
Out of the shadows of night
The world rolls into light;
It is daybreak everywhere"

Patanjoli at sunrise in Bahia Matanchen

6 people in a Toyota Tercel

The new church in San Blas

Outdoor Foosball tables on the main plaza

Nancy is making a deal!

Beautiful boutique hotel in San Blas

Outside the Cultural Center that used to be the Customs office

Dinghies loaded up with provisions and ready to go

Cheese bread pies!  Awesome. 

Lazy Croc on the Jungle tour

Mexican Train Dominos at the beach palapa

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