Posts Tagged ‘la paz’

Noches en La Paz

April 24, 2013

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Back in my party days, my girlfriends and I would drive down from Washington State all the way to Baja to party all day and all night.  Typically, we hit the beach, take an afternoon siesta, have a late dinner, hit the clubs around 11:00 p.m, dance, drink and flirt till about 4 a.m., drag ourselves home catch a couple of snoozes and then hit the beach again.

Now I’m an old married woman and frankly this just isn’t very appealing anymore.  I can’t bounce back from hangovers like I used to, and the only dancing I do is in the zumba classes at the gym.  Besides, I had to remind myself that, although I am spending two months in paradise, I am still working (albeit reduced hours) via the magic of the internet and need to get up in the morning to participate in telephone conferences, write briefs, etc.  So how have we been spending our evenings?

Strolling the Malecon

La Paz has one of the most attractive Malecons (waterfronts) in all of Mexico.  The Malecon has a 20-ft wide paved walkway that stretches from the Cortez Marina in the southwest end extending approximately 5 km, all the way to Playa Coromuel Waterpark in the northeast end.  The first 3 km runs along Abasolo, the main drag.  On the non-water side of Abasolo are countless shops, mid-sized hotels (no mega resorts), restaurants, ice cream parlors, etc.  It seems like everyone walks the Malecon, especially at night, when who families stroll the length admiring the sunset, the public artwork, buy ice cream, rollerblade, ride bikes. Etc.  John and I have both walked and biked the Malecon at all hours of the day and it’s enjoyable anytime.  Weekends, you will also hear musicians playing and everyone just seems to be having a wonderful time.  Unlike Cabo and other “resort cities” there are no trinket vendors or time share salespeople constantly harassing you.  La Paz’s Malecon feels very authentically Mexican, and was clearly built with its own citizen in mind – tourists are a mere afterthought.  It’s a lovely place to catch the sunset, and I took the photo above from the Malecon at sunset.  We reward ourselves by getting an ice cream at La Fuente ice cream shot, or a gelato and Giulietta e Romeo, or a paleta (homemade ice cream bar, sometimes dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts) at Casa Villa.  There are also parlors that sell bubble tea, frozen yogurt and smoothies, we just haven’t gotten to them yet!

Attending a guitar concert at an art gallery

My friend Judy, an American ex pat who lives in La Paz, graciously keeps me informed of, and invites me to all sorts of events.  A few weeks ago, we attended a lovely guitar concert at a local art gallery.  The guitarist played only music written by Latin American composers.  We sat outdoors in a courtyard under the stars below the canopy of a large tree.  During intermission, we looked at the art and purchased wine, coffee or tea.  The cost of the concert? 70 pesos, or less than $6 per person.  Varietal Spanish wine was less than $3 a glass.  It was chilly that night, but positively enjoyable.

ImageMovie at the community garden

Another night, we attended a free outdoor screening of Robert Redford’s documentary “Watershed” in one of three community gardens, just a few blocks off the Malecon.  We arrived before dark and toured the garden where Alex, Judy’s husband, shares a plot with a neighbor.  The park is full of whimsical murals, and even the water tank is brightly painted.

Image We munched on the sweetest cherry tomatoes, crunchy organically-grown carrots and jicama sprinkled with Tajin, a Mexican spice blend.  Various enterprising gardeners found ways to reuse all those discarded wine and beer bottles by inserting them into the dirt upside down around beds to use them as edging.  The movie itself was very informative, following eight communities in Colorado, New Mexico, California, Baja Norte and Sonora affected by the increased demands on water, the Colorado river compact and efforts to restore the delta.  One realizes how much we take water for granted and how precious it is.  Here in La Paz, the soccer fields are dirt because there simply isn’t enough water to maintain grass.  The arroyos are bone dry.  Baja Sur is one of the driest states in Mexico and depends on the Sierra Laguna for its water.  But 70 percent of the water is lost to evaporation, 15% ends up in the sea and only 15% makes it into the acquifer needed to supply the entire state.  Here in La Paz, the municipality turns off the water without warning and the pressure is so low, we fill our tinaca (water tank) by hand every other day.  Our drinking water is delivered in large bottles by truck.  Throughout the day, I hear the music from the various water companies and can now identify whether it’s the Coca Cola truck or another company.  Several days after seeing the film,  we drove down to Los Cabos and I cringed when I saw those lush green lawns and golf courses.

ImageHot Dogs!

One thinks of seafood tacos in La Paz, but hot dogs are also extremely popular.  This hot dog cart, Yapa, is just a few blocks from my house.  the owners originally just had a cart in front of their house but they became so popular, they set up indoor seating with a flat-screen TV, and serve other foods and drinks.  But it seems everyone comes for the hot dogs.  Pazcenos like their hot dogs wrapped in bacon, grilled and served on a toasty bun with onions (I like mine grilled rather than raw), jalapeno peppers, catsup (I hold the catsup), mustard and a drizzle of crema (mexican sour cream).  The best part, they only cost 10 pesos or about 80 cents U.S. The hot dog cart (and many in the city) is only open at night.

Bars

La Paz has its share of bars and clubs but is nothing like the insanity of Cabo.  We have actually only gone out at night to a bar once, and that was to the Tailhunter Fubar and Cantina, a popular sportsbar on the north end of the Malecon.  The owner, former California native Jonathan Roldan, also runs a sportfishing business.  We went there the night of the NCAA basketball championship game between Michigan and Louisville.  The game was on every screen in the bar.  The seats were filled mostly with gringos but it was not packed to the gills.  Great beers and a fun evening.

TV and movies at home

Mexico plays many Hollywood films at about the same time as in the US.  They are either in English with subtitles or dubbed in Spanish.  We don’t get the range of films seen in the U.S.  Most are action films of family-friendly films.  We haven’t gone to see a movie in a theatre yet, but there are plenty of multiplexes, just like in the States.  The house we are staying at has no TV.  We brought our computer monitor down with us and hook it up to the laptop.  Outside the US you can watch U.S. television on a website called ustvnow.com. It’s on an east coast schedule. We can watch network and basic cable for free. If we want to, we can pay a subscription for premium channels or DVR. But instead, we mostly watch netflix movies. We saw the entire series “House of Cards” with Kevin Spacey and are now watching “Mad Men.”

Other cultural events

There are plenty of other cultural events in La Paz. I’ve received email notices for the ballet “Peter and the wolf,” a classical piano concert, a concert with the state orchestra. Admission to none of these events costs more than $9. La Paz is also celebrating its “foundation days” in early May (it’s 478 years old) with concerts, food, parades). I’ve been told, however, that there are no touring broadway shows or semi-professional musical theatres here. Maybe time to found a company!

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Time to cook!

March 27, 2013

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Okay the serious cook in me wants to hit the fish market, bakeries, produce markets, etc.  But on day one it was simply time to go to the supermercado to stock up and check out the prices.  Here’s a sample of what I bought today at Chedraui Supermercado, just two blocks from where we are staying in La Paz for the next five weeks.

700 ml tequila  $6.75

Bottle of Italian red wine  $7.84

Combo pack EVOO and wine vinegar  $7.48

Bar of bath soap (palmolive) $.76

1 quart bleach  $.60

Demiloaf artisan onion bread  $.66

Loaf of multigrain bread (Pan Bimbo) $1.72

6 handmade flour tortillas $.98

6 oz Di Giorno shredded parmesan cheese $5.29

Gallon fresh-squeezed OJ (unpasteurized) $8.13

½ gallon low fat milk $2.60

1 ½ dozen eggs  $2.84

Haas avocados $.78/pound

Jalapeno peppers $.64/pound

Roma tomatoes $.40/pound

Manila mangoes $1/pound

Bananas $.42/pound

Strawberries  $2.09/quart

Boneless chicken breast $2.59/pound

Medium shrimp heads off, shell on  $4.40/pound

Marinated flank steak  $6/pound

Here’s my kitchen.  Looking forward to start cooking!

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