Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feliz Navidad!

Coca-Cola guy, Santa and me in La Paz.
Merry Christmas from La Paz, Mexico!  While most of you are gathering around a fireplace, indoors, and warm, Richard and I are sitting in the cockpit of the boat celebrating the holidays Mexican style.  The sun is out, the temperature is in the upper 70s and we are in shorts and t-shirts.  Not too bad for a couple of guys from Seattle where it is likely raining, cold and somewhat miserable.  But we won’t rub in too much. 

Merry Christmas!
Our Christmas tree is beautiful and our time in La Paz represents the first of several we will be spending apart from friends and family.  It sure is weird not flying to North Carolina to spend Christmas with Richard’s family.  I’ve been doing that for the past decade or so and traditions are hard to break when you comfortably settle into them.   Merry Christmas to our friends and family in North Carolina, New Hampshire and Washington.

Skeleton Santa and Richard.
So now is the time for Richard and me to start making our own Christmas traditions as this will be the norm for the next few years.  Maybe wake up and take a swim in the ocean, followed by a stroll on the beach and a trek to a little café for early Christmas morning pastries, followed by gathering around the “tree” to exchange small gifts, and then getting together with other cruisers for a Christmas dinner.  After that, back at our boat, we could sit in the cockpit and watch the sun go down in a glorious sunset all the while appreciating the warmth of both the climate and the time we get to spend together.  Sounds good to me.

Our Christmas tree.
On Christmas morning, Richard and I exchanged our presents and then just hung out in the sunshine.  We made plans to go to s/v Charra to have Christmas dinner with Bob, Joyce and their daughter Kate and we didn't have to meet Joyce until late afternoon at the historic church in the center of town where we would take the shuttle up to their marina.  We met Joyce and rode back with her and our first impression of their marina was WOW! Costa Baja is very nice; the only issue is that it is quite a ways out of town. But no problem since they do have a shuttle that goes to town often enough to make the city accessible.

We sat in Charra's cockpit and had drinks and right before dinner, Joyce asked Kate if she would sing a Christmas song for us.  First off, back in San Diego, Joyce and Bob had talked about how their daughter Kate sang in high school, was in musicals, etc. and went on about how good she was.  I immediately thought, "Oh, that's just proud parents, singing their daughter's praises."  I could not have been more wrong!  Kate got up from the cockpit, walked to the back of the boat and on a warm La Paz evening, sang "O Holy Night".  I must admit that it brought tears to my eyes that I quickly wiped away.  I was stunned.  Her voice, floating above the marina was heavenly.  I imagined other boaters hearing this a capella rendition of the song venturing out of their boats to find the speakers from which this song was coming, only to see Kate standing on Charra's stern singing her heart out.  When she finished, I just sat there in awe.  Joyce nudged my arm to wake me from my reverie and simply said, "I told you she was good." Understatement if ever there was one. Kate not only sang in high school, and I think before that as well, but she also has sang opera with a group in Hawai'i and in New Mexico she performed in numerous musicals.  

We all sat down for a delicious dinner and after dinner we were treated to a couple more songs from Kate, including a rendition of "Ave Maria" that could have brought the toughest of us to tears (it worked on me).  She also sang an Italian song from an opera (sorry, I don't remember the specific song) and again, once she was done, I imagined the other boaters wondering where this beautiful voice and song was coming from on a warm, Christmas evening in La Paz, Mexico.  I feel so fortunate that Kate shared her gift with us that evening and to the Sarff's, thank you so much for sharing your Christmas and Kate's beautiful voice with Richard and me.

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