Jan 2012

Blog, North America

DISCUSSION 11 Comments

Fish Egg Ferry – La Paz to Mazatlán

Sitting on the dilapidated concrete dock at the Pichilingue ferry port in La Paz I glimpsed the name of the ferry we’d soon be boarding.  Mazatlán Star.  More intriguing was the name under it, which had been painted over: Montpellier Mieuxquevous.  The last word was something else, but I didn’t write it down.  The point is that the ship was French.  A ship broken in under the sunny skies of the French Riviera.  The idea of traveling over sparkling blue Pacific waters aboard a majestic French vessel was to me the epitome of romance.  A  man with a machine gun blew his whistle, pointed at me, and I drove Nacho into the fairy tale ship’s nether regions.  I drove down two levels to the very bottom of the hull, or whatever, and parked.  Nacho would spend the next 16 hours driving under the sea.

Once aboard the ship, we found our way to the sixth floor where we had reserved a 3 bed cabin.  We paid a total of USD$263 for the tickets, which included under the sea parking for Nacho, the 3 bed cabin, dinner, and breakfast.  Not a bad deal if you ask me.  What it didn’t include was electricity for charging our computer, as Nacho still didn’t have an inverter.  No, when the ship arrived from France nobody bothered to replace the outlets, so it required continental European plugs.  Furthermore, the electricity was 220V instead of 110V.  Welcome to Mexico.

Our entertainment options aboard the ship were fairly limited, as this was no cruise.  In fact, the Customs agent in La Paz reminded us of that.  Due to some mislabeling on our Mexican street map, we were unsure as to whether the ship would go directly to Mazatlán or if it would first stop in Cabo San Lucas to pick up more passengers.  When I asked the Customs agent if the ship was stopping at Cabo, he gave me a half smile and said, “No sir, this isn’t a cruise.”  So no pool?  No cabaret shows?  In the end we found that we could either hang out in our cabin, or we could go to the cafeteria where they served food, drinks, and had an endless stream of American films dubbed in Spanish.

Just after shoving off from La Paz we hit up the cafeteria for our free dinner; we had our choice of barbecued chicken or fish in some kind of sauce.  We ate chicken, watched Wall Street in Spanish, and then went to bed at 8:00 due to sheer boredom.  When we ship Nacho to Malaysia in about a year, we’ll have the option of riding aboard the container ship for multiple weeks.  Multiple weeks of eye-stabbing boredom.  Pat and Ali were able to stand it, but Sheena and I are soft, so we’ll fly.

In the morning we awoke and hurriedly made our way to the cafeteria for free breakfast time.  Nothing gets us going like Mexican breakfast.  Sheena staked our claim at a table by the window and I stood in line for food.  Our choices this morning were salchicha (cut up hot dogs), or huevos con salchicha (eggs with cut up hot dogs).  Come on, that’s not a choice!  Huevos con salchicha please!  The tired looking “chef” with the scraggly beard filled our two plates with giant mounds of the egg/hot dog concoction and I returned to the table.  My hot dog and egg euphoria quickly turned to nausea as I took the first bite.  Fish.  What we saw was a wonderful medley of processed meat and the ovulation byproducts of a flightless bird, but what we tasted was fish.  Fish, as in last night’s other dinner option.

We disembarked in Mazatlán at 10:30AM, our bellies full of fishy eggs, ready to start the arduous search for our friend Santiago’s house.  Due to our inverter failure we still didn’t have a computer, and thus no ability to tell Santiago when we would be arriving, or whether we had actually made it onto the ship.  As we left the ship yard, who else would be walking across the street in front of us than Santiago.  He gave us a quick wave, hopped in his Mercedes, and zipped out into traffic along the peninsular road toward the historic center.

“So, how was the ferry?” Santiago asked, once inside of his apartment in the town’s historic center.

“Not too bad.  Slept most of the time.  We had the worst breakfast though.  They didn’t wash the pan that they used to cook the fish from the night before, and then used it to cook the eggs for breakfast.  Most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted.”

He gave an understanding nod and the corner of his mouth rose in a half smile.  “Welcome to Mexico.”

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  1. Mom

    Once again, thanks for the explicit descriptions and beautiful pictures. When I read your text coupled with the pictures, I feel as if I’m right there with you. Then I wake up from the dream and realize I’m still here in snowy, cold Utah! Mom

    Comment by Mom on January 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

  2. Pat Van Orden

    Oh, how I look forward to hearing from you and reading your stories ;o). So adventure-some for all who read it and quite entertaining. It sounds like you are having the time of your life, but don’t forget about us back here waiting to see you or at least waiting for your updates. Your Dad is quite envious, as well as a lot of people, I am sure.

    Wishing you safe travels and lots of fun.
    Love you guys,

    Comment by Pat Van Orden on January 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

  3. Francois

    Great Posts! Thanks for living life fully! Take more pictures!


    Comment by Francois on January 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm

  4. photogdave

    Check out Stone Island if you have time in Mazatlan. Quiet locals’ beach with great seafood. At least it was 15 years ago!

    Comment by photogdave on January 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm

  5. Great stories of Mexico… makes me want to go back for more sun and great stories like the ferry ride. Keep up the sweet stories. I look forward to getting the email from D.N.D and know there is another part of the adventure waiting for me to check out.
    when you make it back to the States in oh… three years or so, make sure to hit me up in Portland, OR. You will have a nice North Westy welcome. Cheers


    Comment by Welchmaster on January 25, 2012 at 1:04 am

  6. Barb Wieber

    You both sound so good on the cam. Sheena you look so beautiful like always. Your journey sound so wonderful. You guys are really living your dream. So happy for you both, Stay safe and enjoy your of course each other and your beautiful surroundings. Love Mom

    Comment by Barb Wieber on January 25, 2012 at 1:36 am

  7. Thanks for the encouraging comments. Mazatlan is awesome- not sure how to capture it all for the next post. One of the neighborhood kids asked us about our trip, and now all the neighborhood kids are streaming by the apartment to wish us luck on our trip. These people are awesome!

    Comment by Brad on January 25, 2012 at 6:23 am

  8. Elmira

    Loved the comment about Mazatlan kids!

    Comment by Elmira on January 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

  9. pulmonias!

    Comment by gnome on January 26, 2012 at 11:14 pm

  10. charlie

    We’re still following with great interest. Always looking forward to the next update. Sounds like you guys got a great deal on the ferry (bad food excepted). The last time my wife and I were down in our Westy, we thought about trying the ferry from LaPaz to Guaymas because from there you can get back to AZ in about 6 hours. The cheapskate in me opted out. A close friend did that ferry ride w/ his gargantuan Dodge diesel and 5th wheel just a couple of weeks ago and it cost him $700. Looking forward to more pix of Mazatlan.

    Comment by charlie on January 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm

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