Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WOW! Long time with no update! Im back in the USA

Well, basically Im back in the USA!

I was getting a little bored living my dreams with no waves. OK, OK... basically I should have pushed on but I had been hanging out with the previous owner of a Wharram Pahi 42' catamaran that Im in love with. He hooked me up with the current owner who is moving to Colombia for awhile and the new owner needs a captain for the trip.

I have been talking with him and basically we came to an agreement about the trip and some work that needs to be done on the boat. So Im headed to Panama City, FL to live on the boat for a month or so while I get the boat ready. Then sometime at the end of Feb or mid March, we will be heading off to Colombia.

Im pretty excited about this trip and the timing is great. Ive talked to friends back where I was in Mexico, apparently still no waves!!!!!! This whole thing is about adventure so I will follow it wherever I have to go.

Im suffering a little heartache though. So many goodbyes and brief welcome homes. I got to see my family and friends for about 4 or 5 days and now Im heading off into the horizon once again. Im missing one of my best friends pretty badly as well and saying goodbye to her is always hard. But the thing Im finding it the hardest to deal with is not having my dog by my side. I left her back in Texas with my parents for awhile and its very hard after traveling with her for 3.5 months and being with her every single day and night. I love that dog... more than I knew. So with a heavy heart, I push on...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Daydreams and Ideas

Today was kind of a slow day and I didn’t accomplish a whole lot that I needed to do. I talked with the mechanic for a little while on the phone and we tested a few things and he gave me a few things to check out but looks like I will be taking him my car on Monday morning. I stopped by the local welder who is working to put a water tank under my van but he pulled yet another Mexican Manana on me, meaning tomorrow. That is their favorite word down here and he has been using it a lot lately!

I stupidly decided to look at boats for sale for craigslist and I found myself totally in love with a couple. One of them was just perfect, something I have been looking for and right in my price range! Arrrrhhh why do I do this to myself? Gets the ole head rolling and the day dreams start working and pretty soon Ive got my whole story worked out as to how I can get that boat, where I will live while I work on it and how much money I need for this or that. You think I would learn from repeatedly doing this to myself but no… its fun to daydream right?

Project “reorganize the van” kicked off yesterday and we got a little done. I think I can save some space here and there and Im working on an idea to have a table mounted on my back doors so when I open them, I can swing the table up from each door and they will meet and lock in the middle. I can cook very well like this and I wouldn’t even have to remove my propane tank anymore! Ill explore more of this later.

There was another huge Quince last night. As I have written before these are celebrations for a girl when she turns 15 and it’s a huge party if the family has money. Well needless to say, this family had a ton of money and they rented out the dance place here in town and pretty much blasted music until 5am along with fireworks and the whole shebang. I got invited in when I was walking past for some tacos but I declined, opting for more of a quiet night. I kind of regret not going because those things can be a blast but it was probably for the better and I saved a lot of money not going so Im happy.

I started tossing around the idea lately of heading out to the Yucatan to Cozumel or Isla Mujeres and getting a job for a few months to put some more cash back in my pocket. I wrote in a previous post about how much money I have been spending and I would like to re-earn a little of that which I have blown so stupidly. I was talking to a buddy who sailed through that area almost 2 years ago and he seemed pretty confident I could find some work somewhere on a boat or a bar or something along those lines. Im not looking for anything crazy but Id like to make a grand or so in a couple of months before I move on. We shall see how this pans out.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Narcotraficantes and Van Fun

It has been awhile since I have written anything. Not much has been going on as the surf has been next to flat for the past 2 weeks. Every surfer in town is starting to go nuts and if waves don’t show up soon, who knows what kinds of atrocities could aspire!

Lately Ive been working on my car and trying to get it fully ready for the upcoming parts of my trip. I have been working with a local welder about mounting my tanks under the van and this should be happening tomorrow afternoon. He is building a custom mount that will allow me to remove the tanks for refilling and inspection from the military and federales. By getting the tanks under the van I can start carrying a decent amount of water for cooking and cleaning which will be nice. Currently Im living out of water bottles and that is really starting to SUCK! I need to figure out some form of food storage because living out of plastic bags is just not working for me either. I was working on something in the van the other day and I sat on almost an entire loaf of good wheat bread and I smashed it to smithereens! Im thinking about getting a decent size cooler or a small bin to store food and other things I need when Im cooking.

Cooking is something I have been trying to do more of lately because its time I learn and its time that I get my spending back under control. Im not living horribly out of my means but I need to save cash and cut corners wherever I can and cooking is just too easy to not do this. I realize now that not having a table or some form of platform to cook on is a huge pain in the ass, so Ill be working to solve that problem very soon. I have only been cooking eggs and beans which is super easy but tomorrow Ill start hunting the internet for some good recipes to try out but I must build some type of a stable platform for cooking because right now working with vegetables or anything of the sort is just out of the question.

I have also been working on the van trying to solve my gas mileage problem. Currently Vanny is drinking gas like no other and Im not sure exactly why. I have been working hard on this problem but Im at a turning point where I can start buying unneeded parts or I can turn to a mechanic. I have put the car into diagnostic mode so Im watching the Open/Closed loop modes change and everything is ok. I have een testing sensors and so far they are all coming back ok save for my O2 sensor which is operating a little whacked. Right now that’s my main suspect but tomorrow I will work with a local mechanic who has an OBD1 reader and we can query individual sensors and get his opinion on what is wrong. This is one of the hardest problems I have ever had to tackle on a car and its tough to say the least without a good source of tools and information! Id like to possibly drop my gas tank and blow all the lines clean too but we shall see if I follow through with this.

The other night I was reading my buddy Tioga George’s blog and he mentioned he was heading to a place very near me and was going to leave his RV there while he flew back to the states for a few weeks. I dropped him an email but decided to go meet him on a whim and so I drove up to Penitas RV part in La Penita, about 1 hour north of me. He wasn’t due in until the next day so I stayed the night in the park and soon met some friends at the get-together all the RVers were having. I met the only 2 girls near my age in the entire park (32 &36) and we decided to head into town and check out a band that was playing bluegrass music. We had fun listening to them and I talked with the girls for a bit and figured out their stories which is always fun. One of the girls is from Canada and works seasonal work up there for 6 months and the other 6 months she comes with her parents and works in the RV park in Mexico. The other girl was from Germany and was just traveling Mexico for a few weeks alone and had seen some cool places.

We left the first bar and headed to a local karaoke place because the German girl wanted to sing. Listening to her sing in English was pretty funny but I gave her major credit for going for it. I couldn’t even imagine myself trying to sing some of my favorite Mexican songs in Spanish! There was another Mexican girl in the bar by herself and she was singing a few songs. I asked her if she would sing one of my favorite songs for me and she agreed and sang it pretty good. Later on she started talking to me and I asked her where she learned her English.

“I lived in Chicago and Los Angeles for awhile” she said.
“Ohh really? Why are you back in Mexico? Did you get deported?”
“Yes I did. I spent one year in jail in Chicago. I am a narcotraficante, so is my whole family”
“Mmmm, how interesting” I said feigning interest and scanning the exits.
“Yes… quieres una novia Mexicana? Eres muy guapo y quiero balair contigo!”. Which basically means ‘do you want a Mexican girlfriend? You are very cute and I want to dance with you!’.

We talked a little while longer and she wanted to come back to Punta Mita with me but I played it cool and avoided the topic. She was very pretty but messing around with girls who have a history in drug trafficking is not exactly my idea of fun. In fact I was beginning to wonder how in the world I could have such luck lately but that’s another story. I did think briefly about what could be the worst situation and I know tons of guys who would have gone for it anyways and just dealt with the problems as they come along. I figured this would be an excellent way for me to face my fears and try and regain some trust in myself and those around me, I mean… would they really want to kill a gringo just for hooking up with their sister? I left those questions unanswered and went back to the RV park with the girls I had come with. I went to bed as soon as we got back because I had to get up early and wait for George’s arrival!

I woke up the next morning and while walking around the van I noticed my left rear shock hanging by a thread. SHIT! The nut on the top mounting bolt had fallen off somewhere on the road and the shock let go but thank God the bolt was still hanging on. I unmounted the shock and threw it in the van figuring Id just deal with this later as my air bags were still supporting the rear end quite well. I took Chica for a walk on the beach where she made a new friend and they played for awhile chasing each other up and down the beach and through some of the waves until they both gave up in total exhaustion. Right about that time George pulls into the RV park and I let him get settled before I went to meet him.

I walked up the hill and saw the famous Tioga RV from his blog that I have been following for the past year. I introduced myself to George and I spent the morning chatting with him about his adventures through Mexico, life and the recent suicide of his son back in California. I knew he needed a ride back into Puerto Vallarta for the plane and offered him a ride back as I was headed that way anyway. He accepted and we left around 12:30pm just in case there was traffic on the bridge in Vallarta that recently collapsed due to heavy rains. We arrived at the airport right in time, shared a lunch of Carl’s Jr and went out separate ways. George is a very cool guy and Im glad I had the chance to meet and talk with him. You can follow his blog here.

Well its been an interesting couple of days but nothing more to write about, just the normal day to day life in Mexico. Ive been considering a new plan of settling in long term somewhere and getting a job and making it through the winter and saving my money for summer time. There has been little to no swell in the pacific so far and its getting old watching my bank account dwindle. I know Im down here living the dream and having fun but I need to get my spending back under control. I checked out a few numbers tonight and it looks like basically I have spent $3800 dollars in 3 months of living here and that’s just unacceptable. I need to get this back down to around $600 a month if I have any hopes of staying here long term.