Monday, January 31, 2005

8AM - Javier takes George for a last tour of San Carlos!
For some reason, Javier wanted to show George around San Carlos before The Team continued their journey north. We visited the sardine factory, where Javier arranged to buy sardines that are used in his fishing boats for bait.

After we left the sardine factory, we drove all over the town. Javier showed George the estuary, and mentioned all of the kinds of fish that are caught there. Clams and lobsters are found in the estuary. The estuary leads to the Bay of Magdalena, which in turn leads to the Sea of Cortez.

Javier stopped several people and seemed to be shopping for shrimp. Actually, he was shopping for shrimp for George, as a going away present. Isn't that the greatest thing? Hmmmm? Javier also gave George several fillets of pierna, the fish that his boats catch. Also, a bunch of fish called, "Callo de Hacha" which we do not know how to translate into English. Callo de Hacha are eaten raw, with picante sauce and lime juice on top. Delicious.

10AM - The Team leaves San Carlos.
We drove north looking for a propane place to fill our tank, because we were very low, and found GasPasa north of Ciudad Constitucion. There are many places to fill propane in Baja California. When you come here, you will have no problem if you keep your eyes open or ask somebody when you need propane.

Noon - Ciudad Insurgentes and time for lunch!
We pulled into a side street that was quiet, and prepared lunch. Of course we wanted to try the Callo de Hacha and our fillets of pierna. The fillets of pierna are a white fish, and we cut them into pieces about 3" long, breaded them with the same flour mixture that we use to bread chicken. Wow! The fried pierna is soooooo delicious, you would not believe! George ate five pieces of the fried pierna fish, and four of the Callo de Hacha. Yummmmm!

4PM - We have reached the Town of Loreto.
We plan to spend the nite in Loreto. This is a good sized town, and we want to walk around here and see what is to be seen. First thing, we filled up with purified water at one of the water stores. It is best to buy drinking water at the water stores because the water sold at these stores is very inexpensive compared to buying bottled water in the grocery.

George dropped off a load of laundry at a lavandora. We prefer to do our own laundry at a lavamatica (self service laundry), but there are only lavandoras in Loreto. We have found a nice camping spot, around the corner from the lavandora. BTW, the lavandora is owned by a grandmother. Her grandchildren help her wash, dry and fold the clothes. We like family owned and operated businesses!

Schools in Mexico!
It may be that people in the United States think that because Mexico is a relatively poor country, that schools in Mexico would be poor as well. This is not true, from what we on The Team have seen. Parents of school children in Mexico appear to take a very great interest in their children's schools. We have seen in many, many towns and cities, parents walking or driving their children to schools, same as in the USA. Fathers seem to be highly interested in their children's schools also.

In our walk around Loreto, we came to a primary school, and were attracted to the decorations on the buildings. Mr. Mavica took the pic below of one of the school building's walls.

Primary school wall decoration in the City of Loreto.

What a fantastic month, January, 2005 has been! Wow!
After a wonderful supper, most of which was provided by our friend Javier of San Carlos, we were thinking what a fantastic month January has been. Does it get any better than this??!!

We have received tons of emails from readers telling us that the past several weeks have been the very best of all of our adventures! What has been the difference, between the past month, and before?

We believe that we have been very fortunate, to make personal contact with special people. We met Michel the photographer who introduced us to Gumaro the ranchero and his wife Lucretia and much of their family. With Gumaro we went milking cows and then went on a cattle hunt in the mountains behind Rancho Boca del Salado. We listened to Gumaro's stories! Wow!

In the Town of San Carlos, we were befriended by Javier, the owner of a fleet of fishing boats. Javier introduced us to the life of a fisherman. We were immersed into Javier's family, and met his wife Carolina, and grandchildren Inri and Hugo. We were invited to a fabulous fiesta and shared Modelo beer, lobster and shrimp. And don't forget the stories, the wonderful stories after supper!

It has been the intimate contact with people that we have met along the way, that allowed us to increase the depth of our adventure and share all of this with you. We on The Team want more of this kind of adventure. Meeting people along our path, seems to be our destiny from now on. Golly, this is soooooo great!


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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Last full day in San Carlos!
The time has come for The Team to break our Camp in the fine town of San Carlos. And what a wonderful time this was for us! Tomorrow morning we will head north again.

We urge you to try to make friends in a Mexican town. Get close to the people! That's is where it all is at! Trust us, because The Team knows best!

George played games with Inri and his brother Hugo.
Dominos again. These brothers love dominos. After we finished dominos, the boys wanted to play computer games. Mr. Chips does not have any computer games, but Inri knew where to find some games on the net. So, the boys played games. Apparently their grandfather does not permit the boys to play games, because he believes that they should be doing more productive things.

Hugo at the computer playing a game while Inri watches

George walks to the plaza of San Carlos for supper.
Exploring the evening in San Carlos seemed to be a good idea for our last nite here. George and Mr. Mavica went for a walk behind Javier's home, down a few blocks to the plaza. The sounds of Mexican towns seem to be the same everywhere. Mexican rancho music is heard on every street. It is early evening, and people are out walking and driving there cars. Young girls walk thru town giggling, and looking at the boys. Tons of children play in the playground. A bunch of young boys play soccer.

Kids at the playground having so much fun!

Soccer games are everywhere in Mexico!

Taco stand where George ate two tacos, one of beef and one of tripe!
This was George's first taste of tripe. Not bad!! While eating at this tiny taco stand, the music came from cars passing by, and from restaurants too. Imagine yourself in this little Mexican town. It is after dusk, and people are walking by, talking and having a good time. People smile at you, because they are soooo friendly.

When you come to Mexico, do not be afraid to dive right into Mexican life. Order food at the taco stands. Walk thru the neighborhoods. Listen to the music, and talk with the people. Unforgettable!

The owner himself runs this taco stand in the plaza of San Carlos!


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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Inri wants to go hunting for clams in Magdalena Bay!
The brothers, Inri and Hugo seem to like to hang around MsTioga. Perhaps The Team is quite a novelty for the two brothers? Yesterday evening before their supper, both Inri and Hugo spent a few hours talking with George. Inri wanted to know if George would like to go clam hunting in the Bay. George wonders about eating clams, because he has never eaten clams before. Inri was convinced that clams are delicious.

10AM - Dominos!
Inri, Hugo and George wanted to go hunting for clams. However, their grandfather Javier cautioned that the tide was in, and clam hunting would be difficult. Instead, the two brothers brought dominos into MsTioga to play. Inri is 13 and his brother Hugo is 10 years old. It is hard to describe how much fun these two brothers have playing dominos! We played for about three hours! Wow!

You all probably know how kids like to cut up when having their pic taken, right? Well, Inri and Hugo are no exception!

Inri, George and Hugo playing dominos.

2PM - Javier and George go to the docks for another ship unloading.
Mr. Mavica was left behind, so we will have to tell you about this unloading without pics.

George met Captain Ernesto, whose fishing boat was much smaller than Captain Alvaro's ship that was unloaded yesterday. There was much viento [wind] today, which made unloading difficult. Captain Ernesto's boat is very low, making the unloading process much harder.

Javier's family all jumped into the unloading. Inri, young as he is, worked like a man. Claudio and his son were there, moving the boxes of fish to the edge of the boat for uploading to the dock. Claudio is Javier's son, and manages most of the sales end of Javier's fishing business. Javier did the weighing of the fish.

It is hard to describe how difficult it is to move each box from the hold, to the edge of the ship, up to the dock, onto the scale, and then into the waiting truck. All of this is done by hand and by ropes. These fishermen work soooooo very hard.

Hints of a meal for this evening!
During the afternoon, George got hints that a fantastic meal was planned for this evening. You understand that George's Spanish is still in the learning stage, and often, things are not completely understood during a conversation. This afternoon, George was talking with Carolina who was cleaning shrimp in the sink behind her home. Carolina mentioned langosta [lobster] for supper. Wow!

Carolina and George at the rear of the family home.

Friends come for supper with much food!
During the early evening, Juan Carlos and his wife Marta drove into Javier's yard and opened their trunk where there was a ton of food. Lobsters, shrimp, and much, much more!

A table was set up in one of Javier's workshops, where the meal was to be eaten. It seems as though in Mexico, gatherings of people for meals are done outside, rather than inside the home. Javier strung wires for lights, because it was pretty dark. Carolina, Juan Carlos and George cleaned the shrimp. Afterwards, we gathered at the table for the meal.

Juan Carlos, Carolina, Hugo, Javier, Inri at the table.

Javier lights the BBQ.
A fire was started in a fabricated metal BBQ that Javier built himself. Once the fire was going well, carbon [charcoal] was placed over the fire, and soon the charcoal was burning. In the pic below, Marta prepares a load of beef over the BBQ.

Marta at the BBQ.

The meal is served!
You would not believe how much food was served at this meal. The lobster and shrimp were enough to feed everybody. But there was the BBQ beef, mashed potatoes, another kind of shrimp in a bowl with lime water, tortillas, salad and tons of Modelo beer. Even George, who hardly ever drinks beer, had a Modelo!!

Everybody loved the corn bread that George had baked to bring to the supper. The entire corn bread was gone by the time we finished eating!

Javier, the head of the family, tells stories at supper.

Supper fantastico!!

George's supper! Can you believe this?!

After supper everybody told more stories!
Eating ended about 8PM, but everybody stayed around the table telling stories. Javier told about an RV Park that he has planned in the land behind his home. Juan Carlos told about his job in the Harbor Captain's office. We talked and talked until almost midnite. This meal was a grand fiesta!


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Friday, January 28, 2005

Javier the fisherman of San Carlos!
In the next few days, we hope to tell you the story of Javier, the fisherman, who lives in the small town of San Carlos on the shores of Bahia Magdalena. Javier worked for over 30 years as the manager of the Goodyear Tire facility in the town of Monclova, in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.

About twelve years ago, Javier moved to San Carlos and was able to buy two fishing boats. These are not the little boats that most fishermen use. These are very large vessels, with a crew of several men. We will show you Javier's boats, perhaps later today. Over the next several years, Javier bought more boats, and now owns a fleet of five large fishing vessels.

George wanted to know how Javier learned about fishing, since before he was a manager of a tire plant. Javier claims that he has a photographic memory, and learns very fast!

Javier is married to Carolina, and the two had three children, two sons and one daughter. The daughter died from a heart problem, and now grandparents Javier and Carolina are raising their grandchildren, Inri and Hugo. You met Inri and Hugo yesterday, when Mr. Mavica took their pic inside MsTioga.

This morning, George and Mr. Mavica went for a walk in the neighborhood. In the pic below, is our Camp behind Javier's home.

A view of Javier's home from the rear.

At the front of Javier's land, is his small home, small, but very lovely.

George looks at Javier's home.

Behind Javier's home are located a few buildings which are used as a warehouse for provisions needed by the fishermen. Repairs for outboard motors used on small fishing boats are done here.

Some of the outboard motors in for repairs.

Oh, we almost forgot! We saw this lovely flower which grows wild in the fields here, and wanted to show a pic of one of these flowers to you!

Violet flower. Do you see the dew on this tiny flower?

8AM - Javier and George go to see the boats.
Javier asked George if he would like to go to the harbor to see the fishing boats. Of course George said YES!

This is one of Javier's boats, that is filled with fish.

Here is Javier sitting at the wheel of one of his boats.

Javier at the wheel.

Fish on scale. Each box of fish that comes onto the dock must be accurately weighed. The fishermen are paid according to the weight of the fish caught. Very important to weigh accurately.

In the pic below, Captain Alvaro who runs this fishing boat, weighs a box of fish, while Javier watches closely.

Captain Alvaro weighing the fish.

Here is the fisherman unloading the hold of the ship with the frozen fish. The fish are stacked in the hold of the ship, in layered ice in order to preserve them until the boat reaches port.

Frozen fish removed from hold of ship.

In the pic below, the fish are being transported in containers from the hold of the ship to the dock.

Fish coming to the dock.

Weighing of the fish. Great attention is paid to insure that the scale is accurate, and that each load is weighed correctly. Javier checks several times how Captain Alvaro manages the scale which tells him the weight of each box of fish. Javier checks the calculations as these weights are logged into a notebook.

Weighed fish about to be loaded into iced truck.

Containers of fish are loaded into the truck. Ice is added to each layer of fish, in order for the fish to remain preserved for the trip to La Paz. The entire truck is then loaded onto a ferry at La Paz, and transported to Topolobampo on the Mexican mainland. After the ferry reaches Topolobampo, the truck is driven to the fish market at Guadalajara where the fish are sold.

Remember when we camped at Picheligue north of La Paz for the nite? That is the place where this truck boards the ferry to Topolobampo.

Loading the fish into the truck.

Jorge the fishermen shows Mr. Mavica the very last fish to be loaded into the truck.

3,000 kilos of fish have been loaded into the truck.

Captain Alvaro told George that he goes out into the Ocean to catch a kind of fish called pierna. These fish are baited with sardines, placed in traps. When the fish enter the trap, they cannot escape and are caught.

After completing three trips into the ocean to catch fish, Captain Alvaro and his crew take one week off to rest and relax. Each of these trips takes about one week to complete, so the Captain and crew have one week to rest each month.

Spanish is creaping into George's mind!
George is so immersed into Mexico now, that when he goes to write the blog, the words start to come out in Spanish, instead of English. George's Spanish is still not that good, but it is interesting how the mind transfers over from one language to another.


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Thursday, January 27, 2005

8AM - We can see the Pacific Ocean from our Camp!
You may have to use your imagination, but in the distance, just where the desert ends, is the Pacific Ocean!

Morning view of our Camp looking at the Pacific Ocean.

10AM - Desert View from the breakfast table!
A few weeks ago, Mr. Mavica took a pic of the Ocean surf from our breakfast table. This morning, Mr. Mavica took the pic below, of the desert view from our breakfast table. The desert is so much more subtle, but the view is soooooo beautiful, don't you think? Hmmmmmm?

Desert View from MsTioga's breakfast table.

Biting bugs love George's blood!
This is George's first experience with noseeums. These guys bite like crazy. They really love George's feet! Have you found them to be much quieter than mosquitos?

2PM - Stopped for lunch and met three bicyclists!
George stopped for some burritos at a restaurant north of El Cien, and met three intrepid people on bicycles. A young married couple named Dylan and Cheri, and a fellow from Japan named Sekiiji. These three are bicycling from San Diego to the tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego. Wow!

Here is a link to their website:

Dylan, Cheri, Sekiiji and George at the Hwy #1 restaurant.

4PM - Going to the town of San Carlos.
The Team decided to go to the town of San Carlos, which is located on the bay, west of Ciudad Constitucion. When we got to San Carlos, we camped near the bay.

5PM - Javier meets George!
I was very lucky and was adopted by Javier, a fishermen who lives in San Carlos. Javier invited George to move MsTioga on his property. George met the grandchildren of Javier, Inri and Hugo, and all three of them went into MsTioga to put this story on the internet.

Hugo, George and Inri inside MsTioga

What happened today might seem like a coincidence to you - it is a miracle to me!
Meeting the three bicyclists was a fantastic thing. Then, later in the day, meeting Javier and getting invited to stay at his home, is a miracle. Have you noticed that this kinds of miracles seem to happen to me all the time?

How do these things happen to me? Why do they happen? Remember I was telling you that The Team is guided by instinct. We do not know where we are going to go, but feel our way. We do not "think" things thru, we feel them thru. Somehow, those feelings get us to where we should be, so that these miracles seem to happen.


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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

7AM - Light rain falling on La Paz!
From about 1AM, a light rain has been falling. This rain must be a wonderful thing for the desert. Pools of water have formed in the parking area at Playa Balandra where The Team is Camped. A seagull is walking in these pools, drinking the rain water.

Morning walk up the hill.
There is a path that we can see from MsTioga, that goes up over the hill. You remember that we went around that hill yesterday, by walking in Balandra Bay when the tide was out. This morning we are going to walk in the rain to the top of the hill to see what is up there.

Ruth and Doug Hilvers from Wisconsin.
We never got to our walk up the hill. Instead, we spent the morning in Ruth and Doug Hilvers RV when they pulled into Balandra Bay for the morning.

11AM - Heading down to La Ventana.
The breakfast dishes are washed, and we are pulling out of Balandra Bay, and heading down to La Ventana, a bit south of La Paz. On the way, we hope to fill our fresh water tank, buy drinking water and some groceries.

Rain brought noseeums. Do these bite?!
George has no experience with these insects. Wow! They really annoy, don't they?

Blogger having big time problems this morning.
We have been having lots of problems trying to publish our Adventure Blog this morning. Everything just hangs up! Wow!

5PM - The Team travels by instinct!
Because we go in a direction according to our feelings, you never know where we might be at the end of a day. This morning we were going up the hill to take a peek at Balandra Bay. Instead we spent the morning jabbering with Ruth and Doug Hilvers. This afternoon we wrote that we were heading to La Ventana Bay, south of La Paz. Instead we are northwest of La Paz, only 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean and Punta Conejo! Wow!

We traveled north out of La Paz, mainly because of the weather. You may be living in a place where it is snowing and very cold. In La Paz, it was getting too warm for comfort. Over 85F this afternoon! Man-O-Man! That's warm. Even right now on the high desert, inside MsTioga it's 82F!

George looks at MsTioga Camped on the Punta Conejo Road.


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