Saturday, February 18, 2012

La Cruz for Christmas

Well, I changed my mind as I am wont to do and decided to pick up the blog with the kids' visit over Christmas.

We arrived in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, commonly known as La Cruz, on December 20th.  Vern and Maylene had been with us for the past three weeks and Maylene was flying home to Victoria the next day.  We took a slip in the marina to make it easier to provision, get laundry done, refill the propane tank and facilitate the upcoming crew change.
La Cruz is a small town with cobble streets and a very relaxed atmosphere.  It is about 12 miles from downtown Puerto Vallarta, a distance that keeps most tourists away.  It has the largest protected anchorage in Banderas Bay as well as a marina and is therefore a major cruiser hang-out.  There’s usually live music in town somewhere each night.  Restaurants range from street carts to pretty fancy and there are several galleries and gift shops from which to buy local art, pottery and jewellery.  I seem to have lost my photos of La Cruz and will be sure to include some as we stop in La Cruz on our way north.

Lisa and Neil's flight arrived at about 8 pm and Mark and I took the bus to the airport to meet them.  We hadn’t travelled by bus in the area yet and were somewhat concerned that we might miss the stop for the airport.  We also didn’t know how far we would have to walk from the bus stop to the terminal.  All we knew was that it was about a 45 minute bus ride.  We were encouraged when highway signage indicated that we were approaching the airport.  The bus stop for the airport was on the side of the highway and we were amazed to walk only about 50 steps right into the terminal!  It could hardly have been easier.

The kids’ flight was a bit late and it seemed to take forever for them to get through customs and make an appearance.  A big round of hugs later, we made our way back to La Cruz by bus, giving the kids their first taste of a bus system where you hope the transmission and brakes will hold up until you get off.

We spent the next day catching up and went for a walk around town.  On the 24th we took the bus into Puerto Vallarta where we had lunch and went for a long walk along the malecón.  The malecón features many bronze statues in a variety of artistic styles.  Some simply invite you sit on them and have your picture taken and Lisa and I had a few Kodak moments.  


I love the splendour of cathederals and this cathedral, La Iglesia Nuestra Señora Guadalupe, a block off the malecón, is truly beautiful. 

On Christmas day we packed up some wine and took the bus into Sayulita to have Christmas dinner with Gary Bradley, his brother Gordon and their house guest, Vern, who had recently been crewing with us.  What a treat to have turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots when you’d been thinking you might be doomed to have Christmas dinner at a restaurant.  Cooking a turkey in my small and somewhat temperamental oven was not an option.  The only thing missing was Kate and Dennis.  

Gordon, Vern and Gary
Gordon was flying home on Boxing Day but we arranged to go for a day sail with Gary and Vern.  They dropped Gordon off at the airport and came down to the boat shortly after noon.  We had a nice sail out into Banderas Bay but then the wind died so we broke out the chocolate and the tequila while we waited for it to pick up, which it never did.  We motored back to the marina, said goodbye to our guests and Neil and I played cribbage for the championship of the world into the wee hours.  (Which he won, that time.)

And so we left La Cruz on Dec. 27th.  Lisa was throwing up because she gets sick at the first sign of a wave.  Neil was throwing up because he was hung over.  I was also hung over but holding it together more or less although my brain was swinging in my head like a compass needle.  I’m sure we were a fine sight leaving the anchorage.   

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