Friday, January 4, 2013

A New Year, Las Hadas, Colima and 1000 bricks

After 105 days of sunshine (and 1 day of rain in San Diego), we had our first rainy day, New Years Day, in Mexico.  We enjoyed a quiet day, after a couple days and nights of revelry with our fellow sailing friends, Sue and John from Wizard, and Danny and Debra from Cyclades. 

We were invited to a delicious holiday homecooked meal aboard Cyclades several nights ago.  Debra astounded us all with her pork chops and vegetables dish, sauteed green beans and warm hospitality.  Their beautiful boat is spacious and comfortable with lots of interesting hanging out places including an outdoor sleeping platform.  Cyclades is a beautiful wooden boat, built in New Zealand in the early 1960's.  There is much love and pride in this seaworthy boat.  There was even a Christmas tree, the mast disguised with garland and decorated with sparkling lights and ornaments.  It really helped us remember the Holiday spirit. 
Debra and her beautiful dinner table

New Years Eve Day we went to the town of Salagua, closest to Las Hadas, via dinghy and taxi.  Headed to Tacos San Julio, our 2nd time there, to gobble up the skirt steak and adobado street tacos, served with bowls and bowls of condiments like fresh onion, cilantro, radishes, frijoles, mucho salsas.  Very Tasty.  Nancy doesn't want to leave this place!  Off to the air conditioned movies to view the Hobbit, English with Spanish sub-titles.  With our burgeoning Spanish, we were a little distracted trying to absorb more Spanish as Bilbo Baggins and the pack of Trolls were fighting the Orcs. Then a quick trip to Sorianas, which is like a Costco.  (New Years Eve is not a good time to have "quick shopping trips".)  Taxi ride to pick up 5 kilos of cleaned laundry, which was not ready after two days.  Nancy stayed behind, and let Rob and the rest of the gang go back to the Marina.  She arrived 30 minutes later, just as the rain started, with the precious bags of cleaned and folded clothes.  Love those lavanderias.
Shindig chill'n
Debra, Nancy and Sue on Cyclades

Then a quick spruce up and an acknowledgement that our Shindig was on, and New Years Eve started aboard Shindig.  We had a fun potluck dinner/bbq in the rain, and then the men set off their Mexican fireworks.  Impressive rockets were launched from the aft deck BBQ.  At midnight, the entire bay exploded with over a dozen different shows going off.  It was a New Years Eve to remember!

Danny, John, Rob

On January 3rd we took our first inland tour thanks to Danny (Cyclades) and another Dani, our tour guide. He picked us up in his air conditioned van, and we headed out of Las Hadas resort's hills, through the real port town of Manzanillo, and up into the mountains towards Colima, the capital of the state of Colima.  We stopped at a banana plantation along the way, marveling at the 50 acres (20 hectares) that were originally given by the government to local farmers generations ago as land.  Generally two crops are grown at a time; bananas and coconut palms, limes and coconut palms, or mangos and coconut palms.  The bananas grow fast, one big bunch per tree, and are harvested along with the full tree, down to the roots, each season.  The roots are fertilized and grow again.  The blue bags are put on about 2/3rds of the way thru the growing cycle, to prevent the bananas from turning brown. 
Banana Farm - all organic
Gotta love those bananas!
More bananas for the sailboats!

 
Armed with a giant stalk of bananas, we next stopped at a local brick "factory".  In a space of about 3 acres, there were two women forming bricks by hand, from the mud and water.  Each mold produced four bricks, and they were then dried in place, and then stacked for more time.  Finally the bricks were stacked and coconut husks burned to help the final drying process.  We were told that the woman earned about 450 pesos for each 1000 bricks she made or about $35. 
Debra (left) helps with brick molds

We continued along the road, stopped by a small coconut tienda to sample the coconut milk, and meat.  Our tour guide sharpened his machete skills by demonstrating how the coconut is opened.  We all enjoyed trying the coconut meat, first alone, and then seaesoned with lime and chile powder. 

Once in the Capital town of Colima, we strolled through a really nice museum filled with artifacts extended back from 1500 BC.  Also shopped in the clean streets around the city square, which reminded us both of Healdsburg and Sonoma Square, Mexico style.  After several other stops at smaller towns in higher elevation, we reached our lunch stop in a pretty town of Cuauhtemoc.  We enjoyed a shady backyard lunch near a coffee plantation, with delicious appetizers of guacamole, frijoles, special queso and salsas with blue and yellow corn tortillas.  Entrees included chile rellenos and skirt steak or pork fajitas.  Many  were disappointed that the rabbit and goat had run out, but we managed. 

After a brief stop down the hill at the town of Comala, where we sampled local liquors and did some more souvenir shopping, we settled into the van ride back to the marina.   It was a great 9 hour trip.  We piled into the Shin-dinghie, and delivered each friend to their respective sailboat.  Then Rob armed himself with a sharp knife, and went to each boat in the anchorage, offering up part of the large bunch of green bananas procured from the banana farm.   A Bueno Day!
Pretty cathedral in Colima
Arches in the square
Feliz Navidad decorations on display
Traditional masks hung at restaurant for children to use during celebrations
Dani stopped at several roadstands to find us the "Pineapple Watermelon" hybrid

Blackberry margaritas at Paradise Restaurant - Las Hadas

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