Random Reasons to Love Mexico

The raw water pump on our engine has progressed from working flawlessly (after a bit of fixing up when I bought the boat) to dripping slightly to pretty much having a small stream of water exiting the weep hole while the engine is running.  Being in La Paz, with a strong local support group and multiple marine stores and repair shops, it seemed like a good place to tackle the problem.   After my initial inspection I though just tightening down the bolts and cleaning up the surfaces a gasket sat between might do the trick, but alas, it was not that simple.  The next step was tracking down a rebuild kit, which I found back in the US for $110.  Which didn’t really solve me problem of getting the pump fixed quickly so we could get out of town.  I also found directions for rebuilding the pump online, and it could be easy, or… it could get complicated if things didn’t come apart and slide back together easily.  I’m all about self sufficiency but building a home made bearing press didn’t sound all that fun.

So I put out a call for information on the morning net, and received the name of a shop that worked on pumps along with the stellar directions “On the street next to the Chedraui” (large grocery store Jenn and I have become fond of).  Armed with these directions and the pump in my backpack, off I went.  The directions proved remarkably good, and I only walked around an extra block or so because of my own confusion, but once I got on the right street I spotted a sign and even knew that seeing the word Bomba on the sign was a good thing (pump for those of you who know less Spanish that I do).  I asked the man behind the counter if he spoke English – he responded “A little.”  I was able to tell him I spoke a little Spanish, and he basically said we’ll work it out.  Sure enough, with the visual of the pump, some words in Spanish, probably more on his part in English, we were able to establish that they could fix it, I was to return tomorrow to pick it up, and it should cost just over half of the cost of the rebuild kit.  Not including somehow getting the the kit to Mexico.

As I returned to the boat, it occurred to me I had left a very necessary part of my engine with someone with nothing more than my name written on scrap of paper and a promise of it being ready tomorrow.  And based on my experience in Mexico so far, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about this.

Sure enough, the pump was ready the next day, rebuilt, polished up a bit, and priced right at their estimate.  It didn’t take long to get it bolted back onto the engine and all the hoses put back in place.  Fingers thinking about crossing, I fired it.  Not a drop of water running out!  Hours of engine running later, it is working great.  The engine even seems to be running a bit cooler, although I didn’t think it was leaking enough water to effect the temperature.  Still, I’m not unhappy with this added benefit.

Almost seems a shame to put this shiny pump on…

…/ our not so clean engine. Yes, it is on the project list.

So, engine fixed up, we should be on our way out of La Paz, but a day or so later still sitting in the anchorage I heard some commotion on the Malecon.  It aroused my curiosity, but not Jenn’s, so I took a solo trip to shore to investigate.  There was a small parade starting, although certainly not on par with the Mexican Revolution Day parade we saw on our last visit to La Paz.  Unsure of the reason for the parade, I walked along the route and finally encountered street vendor giving out popcorn samples who offered me one in English.  I took him up on it and asked the reason for the parade.  He thought for a moment and replied “blood donation.”  Hmm, not something we have parades for back home, but no reason not to enjoy it.

A little further down the road, I found a stage and people starting to fill in the chairs set up in front of it.  I radioed Jenn and told her I might be awhile longer, and waited for the show.  It turned out to be a bit of a Mexican variety show, with singers, traditional dancers, and act of modern dancers, and even a local cheerleading squad.  Since I had thought to throw my SLR camera in my pack before heading ashore, I commenced with the picture taking.  About midway through the show and tried, in my apparently worst Spanish, to ask the MC how many more acts there were going to be.  She responded “You can ask in English.”  I guess I better break out those Spanish lessons I have on my computer.  After the told me we were about halfway through, she asked about my photography, and if I would be willing to share my pictures with her.  Of course!  I stayed for the rest of the show enjoying both the acts and the photography.  Still not giving up on the attempt to communicate with locals, I was successfully able to ask another woman taking pictures during one of the dance groups if her daughter was performing.

I don’t usually do this but based on our current somewhat less than great internet service, and a desire not to abuse what is somewhat of a gift of free access, here is a link to my pictures from the show which I uploaded under better internet access.

Eventually the show finished, and I headed back to the dinghy dock.  But my entertainment for the evening wasn’t quite over as I stumbled across a group promoting one of the candidates for president in the upcoming Mexican elections.  The political rallies here are bit different.  They gather a bunch of teenagers and a DJ at an intersection with a stop sign, and the kids dance, wave flags and signs, and hand out free swag.  I scored and umbrella and a couple LED lights that will work better than anything I have on the boat for works lights, and there is pretty much no mistaking me for a Mexican voter.  But if I could, Enrique Pena Nieto just made a compelling play for my vote (not that I remembered the name, but it on all the goodies I snagged).

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