Monday, February 17, 2014

Ensenada Happenings...

Thanks to Bob Schmitt for a few of these pics!

I can't believe it's been a week already! It's really flown by - mostly due to the pretty tightly packed schedule of the group and the amount of time it's taken to get all of our internet and phone issues worked out; which we've ALMOST done!

Durango firefighter is 2nd from left, to the right
of him is the Director of Tourism (or something like that!),
and Bob is on the right.
As I mentioned before, a big component of this trip is bringing money and goods to where it's most needed in Ensenada, with an emphasis on orphanages. All told, we raised over $7,000 from the 47 rigs, in addition to tons of clothing, school supplies and personal hygiene articles. This is all in addition to the $30,000 in fire department equipment, which made the Ensenada newspaper, complete with pictures.

We hopped on the buses again and went to see La Bufadora, one of the three blowholes in the world. We stayed for lunch and on the way back we stopped at an orphanage and delivered some donations. We were gone for a very long time and then there was yet another happy hour (one can never be too happy!), a pot luck dinner, silent & live auction and a raffle. Are you getting the picture here?? I'm exhausted just writing about it. But, of course, there are trade-offs to everything. For about $500 we got 11 days of camping, two meals, a drink each, copious instructions, and much hand-holding. Caravans of this sort can cost as much as $4000-$5000. The Escapees do it beautifully, and make you feel good about your visit in the process. Anyway, back to the raffle - we won!! Pot was $440 - half went to charity and half to us. When I was handed the cash, I was told that most people give it right back, and I said that I would speak to my husband. The raffle was going on during the live auction. Immediately after we won the raffle a bottle of tequila liqueur went up for auction and Bill jumped up and bid $220 - everyone laughed and he got a big round of applause. He has such style, that man! Afterwards quite a few people came up and complimented him, saying that they had never seen the "give-back" done quite like that.

On the Tour Bus
La Bufadora 
 I had gotten quite a bit of work done while we were in Ensenada and was happy about that. Some of my clients are getting their information into me early and I really appreciate being able to spread the work out over the next two months. Sini and I went into town one day to get "mani-pedis"- things are done a little differently here - no top or bottom coat, no lotion or massage, good nail polish and we did get a nice mango scrub. It was very reasonably priced and at a "Med-Spa," but unfortunately, the manicurist had a bad cold and in the middle of my pedicure, and after Sini's manicure, she finally put on a mask - hoping that we don't come down with anything.

I made a trip into town on my own, as well, and went to a huge supermarket. I went to check out the bread, which Mexico is famous for, and it all looked great. Big, beautiful rolls tossed into bins that I thought you picked up and just put into your basket. As I went to leave the area a girl came running up to me and gave me a huge metal platter that I was supposed to put all the bread I wanted to buy on, then you bring it to the counter and with these huge tongs they put your bread into different sized bags, staple it up and slap a receipt with the price on it....ok got that one! Next I went looking for Tofu. I had seen it in Walmart, but I really didn't want to spend any money there, and this place was so huge I thought for sure they'd have it, but didn't see it anywhere. I finally got brave and asked a woman who was working in the dairy section "donde esta la tofu?" Pretty good, eh?! Well, it was good enough and I got my tofu! For those of you that are wondering...we used the water at the rv park in Ensenada, except for drinking, but it did go to our ice maker. Bill is also washing all of the fruits and vegies in a bleach solution and so far we've not had any problems. He also has a special water filter at the hose bib to take care of the bugs and another one coming into our house to take care of the taste.  The only thing we haven't been able to find that is pretty important to us are dark, leafy spinach or kale to be found - yet, anyway.

Dancing with the mariachi band leader at the welcome dinner.

The pool and spa for the "RV" part of the resort.

I've done some soul searching here. On the bus ride over, our tour guide was giving us instructions on the best way to bargain with the shop owners. It was fun, and a good perspective from a native. I don't usually buy things in touristy areas as I feel the prices are much higher there. While walking through the stalls at the site of La Bufadora and having many of the shop workers come out to try to entice us in, I reverted to my "no gracias" and kept walking, even though I did see a thing or two that caught my eye. This is due, not only because of the pricing, but I live in an rv where I don't have room for "stuff" and I am really watching my money. But one of the workers yelled out to us "I really need your money" - I laughed at the time, and said to myself, I really need my money! The workers comment has stuck with me for days now - we've been in a real "giving" mode, with our focus on the orphanages and such, and I started to see that even the little I have can make such a difference to someone who is really struggling. I am now ashamed of my reaction to his comment and wish I had spent a little something there. It's a different place and I have to be more open to the mores of the area.

Farewell Ensenada Dinner - they made us a special vegan meal!

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