Our 48 hours of (almost) non-stop travel have been characterised by luck. We stepped of our flight from CT in Heathrow, tootled through the bus station to catch the connecting bus to Gatwick and we were able almost immediately to board the bus (which left 5 minutes after we bought the tickets). Check-in on our Mexicana Air flight opened just 10 minutes after we arrived at Gatwick. On landing in Mexico City (hurrah – and smuggling our biltong through customs: even though the bags went through an x-ray machine!) we found our hotel guide, boarded the shuttle and were showered and tucked in bed in less than an hour of arriving in Mexico.
Mexico! Flippin awesome.
My immediate impression is of how similar Spanish is to Portuguese. This makes it surprisingly easy to understand el mexicanos. But even more surprisingly difficult to respond. The task should have been easier as I bought that cheapaschips phrasebook in Gatwick (jeepers books are cheap in the UK). Sadly, I left my “Latin American Spanish” phrasebook in the seat pocket of the plane from Mexico City to La Paz. Judging from the lack of foreigners on the La Paz-Mexico City connections (let’s just say it was fairly easy for Shelly from La PazYachts to figure out who were when we landed), the next person who digs into that pocket isn’t going to think she’s a “lucky fish”. I can’t really say what she will consider herself as any such consideration is likely to be in Spanish, and due to my lack of aforementioned phrasebook I have no clue what the translation would be…
I haven’t been the only one struggling with the transition from Portuguese to Spanish. Despite only knowing, um, about one word of “Porra”, Stof consistently has thanked people with a resonant “OBRIGADO!” No amount of reminding on my behalf (or confused looks on the faces of the locals) has persuaded him that it might be anything different. I’ve resorted to trying to jump in with an even louder “GRACIAS” as soon as I notice a grateful look in his eye. Lucky I know him quite well.
But moving on: the food! Yumskins. I’m pretty sure I could subsist on only Mexican fare. Which is probably what all those Mexicans think too. We can’t wait to spend a whole MONTH eating here. Another marvellous discovery is that Matzalan has a thriving shrimp industry. Which means that the restaurants of La Paz (a mere 9 hour ferry ride hop across the Sea of Cortez) offer some of the freshest, tastiest prauwnes I’ve ever eaten.
Which reminds me: is there an actual difference between shrimps and prawns? The “shrimps” I devoured in my tacos both looked and tasted like “prawns” (as I know them), but one can never be too sure. It might just be another one of those US English v Restoftheworld English things. With a large community of American cruisers in La Paz, and the prospect of spending at least another month in Mexico before we start our Pacific crossing early next year, Spanish is not just the only language we’re having to grow accustomed to: American is the lingua franca of the cruisers in this part. And Stoffel and Saartjie are about to join that cruising world!
View from our first lunch spot…
where we watched the Ghana/Uruguay clash (thankfully we had to get back to the boat before the scandal).
Enjoying another of Mexico’s delights.
Another charming view of lovely La Paz.