Monday 9 November – Friday 13 November
Cabo San Lucas Marina is very busy with lots of tour and fishing boat traffic, noisy with the surrounding restaurants and clubs playing loud music and expensive ($78/night), even though they have dropped their prices by about half in order to entice more sailboats. So after a few days to get our land legs back, do laundry and let someone else cook (and clean up) we headed out to San Jose del Cabo and another marina, Puerto de Cabo.
It was only a 25 mile trip along the coast, and a great day for a sail. We hit the sweet spot (12-14 knots) of wind. Very peaceful.
Puerto de Cabo is cheaper ($58/night), much quieter and less touristy. There are still a lot of hotels and condos with ex-pats or winter visitors in them, but they are not near the marina. As a matter of fact, it was about a mile and a half walk across the bridge over the big ravine where the cows hang out just to get to the tourist area. One day we walked over for lunch, walked around the streets and then found the WalMart and walked around that to scout out what’s available. In all, about four and half miles of walking. My dogs were barkin’. We took a taxi back to the boat.
Wednesday we made sun shades to hang around the sides of the cockpit. Not fancy, not fitted, because you will note that my official job title (First Mate, Chief Provisioning Officer and Galley Wench) does NOT include Seamstress.
Thursday, just for kicks, we walked over for lunch again, John went to Oxxo (like a 7-11 without gas pumps) to refill his cell phone data, and I found another taxi. This time I managed in my pidgeon Spanish and the driver’s pidgeon English to agree that he would take me to the Mega Market (another big chain in Mexico), wait while I shopped, and then return me to the marina.
- What’s the same as the U.S. WalMarts? We went on a Tuesday. Many items were sold out and the aisles were stacked with boxes for re-stocking. Weekends must be big shopping days.
- What’s different? There was a small booth where a woman was peeling nopales (the prickly pear leaves – you know – “Mickey Mouse” cactus). Napole is common here as a vegetable/side dish. Bet you don’t see THAT at your hometown WalMart.
- At the Mega Market, a lot of the baggers are retirees. They work for tips only.
- Oranges are green.
- Eggs are kept at room temperature.
- Most food is cheaper than in the U.S. Packaged goods that are imported from the U.S. can be very pricey. Or maybe they just seem pricey because other things are not.
- Mexico is metric. So in addition to figuring out the peso to dollar exchange rate, I also have to calculate in my head the kilo to pound relationship to figure out if it’s a good deal or not. For example, pork chops are 79.90 pesos / kg. Yikes. (For the record, it works out to about $2.50 U.S. per pound. I got five thin-cut pork chops for just under $3. So yeah, that was a good deal. I think.)
- There is no kale. None, nada. In Chula Vista the Albertson’s usually had three or four varieties.
- There are no baby carrots. Just really long fat ones.
- Celery is not common (WalMart yes, Mega Market, no).
- Fresh milk is available in the large markets, probably not so much in the smaller villages. Instead many people use powdered or tetra packs (like juice boxes). For a quart of boxed milk:
- Albertson’s in Chula Vista = $3.89
- WalMart in Chula Vista = $1.86 (when it was on the shelf, about 50 % of the times I looked for it)
- Mega Market = $1.03 and there were about 17 kinds to choose from.
- The chicken skin is really yellow. Like, scarily so. I’m talking nuclear.
- Christmas items are in the aisles already.
Don’t freak out over the egg thing. Apparently if they have never been refrigerated, they can be stored at room temp for (some say) up to a month. Many vegetables and fruits as well, hardy ones anyway (cabbage, carrots, apples, citrus). I’ve been experimenting with this room temp thing, because remember how I told you that our fridge is the size of your tail-gating cooler? So yeah, we need to carefully select what goes in there (beer, yogurt) and what can be left out for reasonable lengths of time (boxed milk until it’s opened, carrots, cabbage, and when I find them at room temp, eggs).
Thursday we had the opportunity to sit with the manager of a boutique hotel at the marina, Hotel El Ganzo (goose). They were destroyed in Sept. 2014 by Odile, a Category 5 Pacific hurricane that swept across the tip of the Baja Peninsula, and had just reopened a couple weeks before. From her, we learned that the Mexican minimum wage is 3,000 pesos / month, or the equivalent of about $187 U.S. Per month. Assuming a 5-day work week, that’s $9.35 U.S. per day.
The hotel and the marina are very arty, they are still working on restoring some of the art at the hotel but there is quite a bit on the walk around the marina.
Are you still freaking out over the egg thing? Well how about this – mayo, mustard, and ketchup. We stopped refrigerating those a couple years ago after we first read that you could. As long as you don’t introduce bacteria, they are fine, so the squeeze bottles are made for the room temp thing. We’ll see how they hold up in the heat of the tropics vs. the colder winter climes of Tucson and California.
Speaking of which, I read that there was snow on Mt. Lemmon over the weekend. As it was falling, we were sailing from San Juan del Cabo to Mazatlan. Naked.
There. That image should get you over the whole egg thing.