January 16 - 22, 2002: Land Ho... Arrival in Cabo San Lucas 
January 16th —22nd, 2002: 
Land Hooooooooooo!  We arrived in Margaritaville, Cabo San Lucas on January 16th.  What a reverse culture shock… Even hours before we arrived we could see on our approach from the Ocean mile after mile of condos built from the oceanfront and up the hills and mountains.  
And seemingly out of no where at dawn a few hours out from Cabo (after not seeing more than one or 2 boats out at sea our 2 ½ week entire trip) we were like on a freeway of boats… our loan sail boat amongst dozens and dozens of deep sea fishing boats all vying for the best place to troll, and the VHF radio alive with American voices (something else we hadn’t heard, except our own, in a while) all talking from their different boats to one another.   
We rounded the famous (in that it identifies Cabo) rock formation at “lands end” (tip of the Baja peninsula where the pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meets)     and pulled into the Marina mid- morning after departing San Diego 18 days earlier.  Cabo has a population of a little less than 30,000 and the second “reverse” cultural shock is I would bet (at least from what I’ve seen) that if the census were taken on any day of the people who were present in the city, at least half would be Americans.  And out of that half, at least ¾ of those must be time-share owners.   
Joe was here in his “early days” in the Navy and swears that there was really only one bar in town and it really WAS a small fishing village.  Now it is wall-to-wall nightclubs and bars and seafood restaurants.  According to what the locals say (as well as my trusty tour book) that it has really outgrown itself in the last 15 years and now is regarded as the party town by “young” Americans as well as a mecca for both the fishing and golfing “rich” crowd.  Also because of the relative ease of getting here and close proximity to California, it has also become the vacation home-site of many rock/movie stars such as Sammy Hagar (owner of Cabo Wabo, one of the most famous night clubs here), Sylvester Stalone, Madonna, etc.   
The other thing that happened was the explosion of time-share resorts, both “mega” resort complexes as well as the smaller villas.  Time share units outweigh hotel rooms by about 10:1.  Amazing!  And since all of the time-share units have not been sold (and more are still being built), the streets are crowded with people “peddling” their sales pitches to unsuspecting couples as they walk down the street.  (They disguise themselves on the main street corners in “information” booths; they offer you free maps of the city and when you accept, they start in on their pitch.)  One even caught Joe and I walking down a dusty dirt side road off the beaten path and since we weren’t expecting “one of them” there, thinking it was someone just being friendly, we got momentarily caught in the web and we had a hard time getting away.  Well it’s big business down here and a way of life for many.  I do envy those who bought one of these “luxury” time-shares ago 5-10 years ago when they were available for probably very cheap prices.  Oh well, such is hind site. 
The marina we are staying in is the only one in town - - and they are always full, so they can charge exorbitant prices… which we are paying.  The facilities though are nice, single slips (so we’re not having to bump up against another boat), and right in the center of town… or more better put, the “action” has been built up around the marina.  What’s really different for us having left a “sailing town” such as San Diego, sailboats are definitely in the minority here.  There are around 430 slips here (most of which are filled year-round) and so far, at any one time, we have only counted between 6-9 other sailboats total besides us here.  There are also only a couple of handfuls of power “pleasure” boats.  The rest of the boats are all medium-large-to mega-yacht sized privately owned ocean going fishing boats  .   I must admit we must have been a little intimidated by the fishing boats. As soon as we got in, we immediately removed our fishing pole to inside our cabin… my little reel set-up was a toy compared to the reels here, some of which I swear are the size of my head!!!  But that’s because they are going after the big-uns’.  This is one of the billfish capitols and they hold huge tournaments here every fall.  From what we’ve seen (and heard as there’s lots of boisterous bragging going on) they also catch lots of dorado (mahi-mahi), tuna (yellow fin, blue fin), sea bass, and swordfish.  When we go to bed every night most slips seem to be filled, but every morning between 5-6AM, at least 1/3 of them take off.   We wake up (never before 8AM) and seemingly have half the dock to ourselves.  They usually return mid-afternoon.   In San Diego, we were so used to seeing what few private fishing boats there were, mostly sit in their slips month-after-month without going out… here, not so.   
Most all of the boats have Mexican “boat boys” that take care of the boats… they are out there daily washing and wiping down “their” boat, so they are so spotless, that the coat on our boat seems “dull” in comparison.  The boat boys also take off every day that the boats go out and assist with the fishing and boat handling.  They also seem well paid, as when we arrived one tried to offer his services to us to wash our boat.  Joe was willing to jump at it thinking he could pay him 3-4$ to wash Mi Gitana down… Starting at around $30, the lowest the boy would bargain for was $23.  Joe decided, for the 30 minutes it would take, he would rather wash it himself…. Or at that price (?46-60$/hour??), maybe we should offer to wash boats to pay our marina slip fees!     
No, there are very few bargains here… even for us who are used to what things in Mexico costs from living ourselves in Mexico and frequently shopping in Rosarito and Ensenada.  It is definitely more expensive here… actually in many cases higher than stateside prices.  But as long as the tourists keep coming (and the daily cruiseships keep coming in), and keep thinking they are getting a “bargain”, the town will flourish.  Some examples, Margaritas are around 5-9$ each (although many places offer 2 for 1 at “happy hour,” we soon found you get tiny ones and end up ounce for ounce paying about the same!); One lobster tail (smaller than the ones we traded for) runs around 20$, or a hamburger around 5-6$; tourist t-shirts (lowest price in “lets make a deal”) are around $10…  Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not meaning to sound as if I’m complaining, as so far I love it here… but it kinda goes what I was saying about this being a reverse culture shock.  Instead of landing in a 3rd world country, we are in a little America (complete with KFC, Dairy Queen, SubWay, Mrs. Fields, and Burger Kings) with a slight Mexican flavor! 
On the positive side, I can definitely see why people come here.  The local Mexican people are really friendly.  Even the American tourists are friendly.  The weather is absolutely gorgeous (which is why there are a lot of seasonal “snow birds” who live down here for 4-5 months every winter), with warm balmy days and cool evenings without that sticky humid feeling.  They even have potable water (they have their own desalination plant, so Yes, you CAN drink the water!)  And gorgeous beaches, with all the water activities that a “water” person could want (jet skis, scuba diving and snorkeling, banana boats, parasailing, glass bottom boat rides, whale watching tours, and of course deep sea fishing).  And although we don’t golf, I’m sure since there are courses every where, that adds to the pleasure to the golfing crowd.  [Description sounds kinda like San Diego in a way, other than San Diego has bad tasting water!] 
Joe and I have really been enjoying getting used to being on man~ana time.  Neither of us usually slept in (in our “old” life), but here we usually are sleeping in until 8 or 9AM (late for us) and then lounging in bed for another hour at least leisurely reading.  Then IF we do any work at all, we usually just do one or 2 chores (boat washing, cleaning, laundry, fixing “things” that didn’t get done before we left, etc.), i.e. spreading things out so most of each day is for whatever we want to do.  For the first day or 2 we were here, we would go out for lunch and invariably have a margarita or 2… and ended up coming back to the boat and sleeping off our meal and the alcohol… having to force ourselves to get up again before night fall, and even sleeping through once until the next day.  We stopped that as we were spending more time sleeping than being awake!  Most every day we at least go for a walk around town or to the beach, trying new places to eat, and still occasionally trying out and searching for a Margarita as good as the ones they make at Ortega’s (our favorite place in Rosarito). Tomorrow we are taking a picnic and via panga hitching a ride to one of the beaches.   It’s nice having no agenda (or a very little one) and taking each day as it comes.  This is the vacation we haven’t had in the last couple of years. 
Even on our nights "in", while lying in bed, we are so close to the "action", we can hear a concert nightly-- a collage of nightclub hard rock mixed in with the Mariachi bands that seem to know only 2 or 3 songs.  (Actually I'm sure they know more, but they cater to the Americans who seem to only know and request "La Bamba", "La Cucaracha", and even though it's a month past... we even hear "Feliz Navidad!") 
Today we didn’t even leave the boat at all.  This afternoon one of our fishing mega-boat neighbors returned with their catch of dorado (mahi-mahi) and the Mexican “boat boy” (not the American owner, strangely enough) offered us some of the fillets from their catch.  I already had marinated and planned a fillet mignon dinner (as we’ve had lots of fish and chicken in the last 3 weeks and I’ve had a craving for red meat!), but we gratefully accepted.  And after a little lime/olive oil/garlic marinade to the right-out-of-the-ocean dorado (mahi-mahi) fillets, we added them to our barbeque alongside the steaks, asparagus (if you’ve never barbequed asparagus, try it some time… delicious!) and grilled garlic butter baguette.  That plus a tall cuba libra (rum, coke and lime), some opera and jazz CD’s on our outdoor stereo speakers, and a sunset and we enjoyed a balmy relaxing night feasting in our cockpit.  It’s also really nice being able to eat without holding onto our plates or cups, (or it would slide right off the table) or holding onto skillets and sauce pans while trying to cook a meal while we were rocking and rolling -- as were the conditions while out to sea for the last several weeks.  The stillness and being able to touch land has been wonderful… not to mention being able to sleep without making “sand bag” pillows all around me to keep me from log rolling.   
Although I must admit, I had more to write about while at sea. (I guess that’s why they call them “sea stories.”)  My pen, so to speak, for the next week, while we remain here in Cabo,  will probably not be writing much more.  We will be leaving here on the 31st for La Paz with 3 short overnight stops enroute.  There we expect to find more of the “cruising world” as that is where most cruisers stay or “head quarter” while either staying in the Sea of Cortez or before heading over to the mainland.  {Most sailboat cruisers, stop here in Cabo just for a day or two, as the cost is so much higher than everywhere else, plus most are looking for more secluded harbors versus the partying and nightlife that is so rampant here.}  We will be there for about a month, before taking off to some of the islands in the Sea of Cortez and then on to Mazatlan on the mainland in April. 
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