Our plans for Christmas this year have always been to spend it with our friends, The Blessings, in Ensenada. Whether we actually got the boat there or not didn't matter, we had rented a house on the beach and intended to get off the boat for a much needed space break and enjoy the water, the friendship and the area.
The Blessings drove out from Colorado and met up with us in Chula Vista where most of their boys hit the pool and spa with our sons while the Mom's hit the grocery store to stock up for the week. While we fully intended to take advantage of the local food and support the local economy, we also had a total of eleven mouths to feed - seven of which were growing boys! We stocked up on lunch meats, cheeses, breads and cereals which we would not be able to pick up down south as well as some specialty items Kathy needed for some recipes she had planned. We stocked the back of the suburban and picked up the rest of the gang for our drive south. The check-in time was between 3-4 which proved to be impossible for the family driving across four states to get there. This left us getting in after dark to a strange area and home. Luckily Keith and I had scoped the area out fully last time we drove to Ensenada and felt fairly confident in our ability to get there after dark...at least to the right neighborhood. We managed pretty well, with a few variations, and pulled into the neighborhood right after 6pm, the cut off for the caretaker to let us in. Fortunately she was sweet and accommodating (not sure what we would have done with two families otherwise!) and let us into the unit. As it turns out, it was really two homes connected with a patio and, with very little discussion and no disagreement on the part of the teen group, we gave the back house to the older kids and the parents and the two young ones took the front house. It was a perfect setup to give the teens some independence and space from us old folks. We settled everyone into a spot, unpacked our groceries and fed the troops. This was followed by the first of many, many, many hours of board games!
Our week in Punta Banda started on the beach and that is where we spent the majority of our time. The boys were thrilled to be able to surf right out the front door, and the beach was also terrific for skim boarding and boogie boarding. Lots of options and lots of toys available to try them out with. I even managed to catch a nice wave before my shoulder went out of socket and I played my old lady card.
Being away from home for Christmas can be stressful and one of my primary goals was to make it less stressful but yet maintain some of the traditional things we do for Christmas. I was grateful that Kathy and Dave had a similar goal and between the two families we were able to make some great memories. One big concern Loren had was regarding Santa Claus and his ability to find us. Fortunately for us Hallmark came out with the Santa Stop Here ornament and it was heavily advertised - Loren decided he had to have that ornament so that Santa would understand where to stop (since we were not only NOT in Colorado but also NOT in our second home - the boat). This, along with our home strung popcorn, cranberries and decorations all went onto the Christmas tree that we were able to pickup in Ensenada a few days before Christmas. The Blessing's shared some of their holiday traditions like the crepe feast on Christmas morning - cheese, chorizzo, fruit, yogurt, pudding....so many different options to try...it's no wonder this holiday did not see me shedding any pounds!
The one field trip I really wanted to take was to La Bufadora, which was a short drive from where we were staying. The blow hole itself was rather neat but I enjoyed the local flavor just as much if not more. While it was touted as a tourist spot - we actually saw very few Americans and many more locals, many large families with Grandparents and small children both. I also enjoyed some fantastic fish tacos here - yum yum, one of my favorites! The whole street from the parking lot down to the site was lined with shops and shops and shops, I thought for sure we could pick up a couple trinkets but alas the prices they were charging were serious tourist prices. In one wood carving shop we stopped to check out a pelican which we thought would go nicely with the dolphin Mason brought back from Oaxaca. The price? $65 US. Ouch! Mason paid $10 US for his dolphin. By the time we left the shop the guy had brought the price down to $20 but I was not really in the mood to buy at that point. Throughout all the shops we saw the same inflated price tags - obviously a tourist trap meant for those willing to pay top dollar (i.e. not me). We had a great time though and did purchase name bracelets for everyone, "Elliot" for Elliot, "Loren" for Loren, "Captain" for Keith (our Captain) and "Shabloips" for Mason because he's a Key & Peele nerd lately.
We culminated our trip with a bonfire on the beach where we danced around our burning Christmas tree and sang campfire songs or whatever tune Kathy and I could think up (sometimes just the two of us). Of course, Dave had at least three cameras going and lots of fun to be had with the crazy lights. All in all...an amazing, fun-filled week with great friends and wonderful memories to last a lifetime!
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.