March 1, 2012

Cows on the road, sailboats racing on the water

AGUA CALIENTE, Jalisco, Mexico - Admiral Fox and I ran (actually drove) into La Manzanilla Wednesday for the annual La Manzanilla Cup sailboat race, an annual affair of local sailors that has caught the local imagination and draws a fair crowd to cheer the half-dozen or so vessels participating.

Getting into La Manzanilla proved interesting.

Just as we were coming through Agua Caliente, a little hamlet six or seven kilometers south of us, a cowboy was wildly waving an orange flag as we rounded a corner.

We were greeted with a herd of cattle heading south, with the herd stretched out across half a kilometer.

They weren't going to the La Manzanilla Cup, or if they were, they got there too late.

I've driven in many traffic-congested cities. But weaving in and out of a herd of cattle on Mexico Highway 200 seemed almost as challenging as the cows and bulls changed lanes more often than Los Angeles commuters.

Still, it was fun and we didn't run over a single cow pie passing the herd.

WHILE ADMIRAL FOX taught Zumba in La Manzanilla, I ran (actually drove) to Melaque to the Intercam office. Intercam cashes American checks and is infinitely easier than using a Mexican bank. Easier if your account is active, I discovered.

While I waited alone in the outside lobby for the paperwork to be processed, the Cihuatlan Police pulled up, and with their guns drawn came into the office. It seems the silent alarm had been triggered and they thought there was a robbery in progress.

I must have looked pretty harmless because they just asked me if I had seen any robbers. They did look pretty curiously at my iPad.


The race had been planned for Monday, but a lack of wind forced postponement. But Wednesday the captains met, plotted a race course and then took to the water while members of the press retired to Cato's beachside restaurant for lunch and libations.

Before Wednesday's race, the new La Manzanilla Cup was unveiled at the press table, a very fancy trophy which perhaps is why the racing was so fierce that afternoon.

THE RACE WAS A FAST ONE, with good winds all around the course.

But in a grand finale that had everyone on their feet, one boat had an unintentional grounding after it had finished the race.

A swell caught the boat right at the surf line, pushing it into shallow water where it bobbed for about 15 minutes until a local restaurateur went out in a panga and pulled it free of the sand.

No one was hurt, thought the collective adrenaline level spiked for the two-man sailboat crew, the people helping rescue the boat, and the people on the beach.

The first two photos are the boat aground, the third just after it was freed with the panga nearby.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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