02/13/2011 to 02/15/2012  Puerto Peñasco City Tours
The first stop on the city tour was out to the edge of town.  We could look
left and see working poor at the oyster farm we would be going to later that
day, but look right and see one of the most expensive condo complexes.  
$1.5 million per condo.  Most condo complexes here in Puerto Peñasco
aren't even completed, and just stand there, metal beams and raw
concrete, wasting away.  This one was actually finished several years ago,
and our tour guide told us that eight of the hundreds of condo units in it are
occupied.  With only eight owners paying dues, the electricity gets shut off
frequently, so the elevator to the top doesn't always work.  WHAT?  None of
it makes sense to us and no one can explain it either.  Seems like
somewhere between 2000 and 2006 there was a huge condo-building
boom, then in 2008 it all stopped.  What we really don't get is why the
prices haven't come down.  Huge flood of vacant, run-down properties on
the market (which get me so excited!) and yet everyone still wants millions.  
Sheesh.  Besides the problem of no one to pay the electricity is the problem
of sand.  We saw several massive complexes that were being reclaimed by
the sand.  And since there is no money to put in roads, the roads are sand,
and they get reclaimed by more sand.
Part of our Mexican Connection trip included a 'city' tour.  Our group is so big, they split them into 5 or 6 days, and Monday the 13th was our day to
tour.  We had already walked along the beach enough to see the amount of fancy vacant properties with huge price tags.  Sad really.  Over 50% of
the houses on the beach that we saw were vacant.  We had also already noticed the terrible state of the roads (half asphalt, then the road would
be gone and it would be just sand).  I don't remember any other city in Mexico looking as disheveled as Puerto Peñasco does.
The next stop on the tour was CEDO, which I think stands for Center for Education on Deserts and Oceans, can't remember for sure.  Anyway, this
place is set up to protest the estuaries and fish and such all along the Gulf of California / Sea of Cortez which is considered the 2nd best fishing in
the world because of it's protected clean waters.  They were happy for the economic devastation that we saw, because they had previously had to
fight to keep folks from building marinas in estuaries and dredging areas they shouldn't.  Now that the building boom has stopped, they don't have
to spend so much time and resources fighting building projects that would hurt the ecosystem.
I was hoping to pick up a brochure or something
that would tell me what kind of things we can find
in the tide pools, to maybe get real names for the
creatures I had seen the other day.  They had a
book, it was $28 so I had to memorize stuff
instead.  The "pentapus" we had seen the other
day is a brittle star, and the stripped one is a
panama star.  Not much info on ocean hermit
crabs though.

CEDO also has the skeleton of a whale that
beached itself near here.  It is a fin whale, the
2nd longest type of whale.  

After the CEDO stop, we went around to the
oyster farm.  It was much less interesting than it
sounds.  Then to the heart of downtown to the
"Tequila Factory" which was really just a tequila
store, so again, much less interesting than it
sounds.  I had hit the bathroom first thing, and it was filthy, with dirty dishes in the hand washing sink, so when
the guy got out some grimy-looking glasses to pour tequila from the barrels into sample cups, I decided I didn't
need to sample any tequila.  They had a slide show running in the back on the actual how-tos of tequila
making.  We watched that while everyone else sampled tequila.  In 2010 when we were on a bus from Puerta
Vallarta to Guadalajara, we drove through the Jalisco region where they grow all the blue agave for tequila.  We
were close to the town of Tequila on that trip, and I wish we had made it there (there was a Tequila half
marathon, sponsored by Jose Cuervo.  I need that shirt!)  One of these days we'll get back there, but it's a 36
hour drive from where we are now, and in the wrong direction for where we need to be next.  It goes on the list
of places to get to someday!  Then the city tour loaded up and headed on to the north side of Rocky Point
(Puerto Peñasco is on the south side) to Cholla Bay.  This area was a bit older and seemed a little more
developed.  We ate a late lunch there, and headed back to the RV park where we had some sad business to
tend to.  We had eleven hermit crabs that had to go back to the ocean.    We only had them overnight, but we
are somewhat ridiculous, so we were already attached.  
Richard because he is a goof, and me because I really like
having someplace to put my food scraps.  It was really hard
for me to start throwing apple cores and lettuce ends, etc
away again after we left the chickens at the old house.  Now I
had pets to feed scraps to.  Oh well, can't be killing hermit
crabs, so off we went, down to the beach to set Hermie and
his hermit crab buddies (and their beautiful shells) free.  (Do
these pictures remind anyone of
the time we set our tadpole,
Tad, free?)  
So we woke up on Valentine's day all sad about not having
any pets, but we got over it and decided to take a walk to Old
Port where all the touristy stuff is.  I had ran through there
that morning that I ran with Darwin, and the city tour had
cruised through the day before, but we thought we should
investigate further.  We were pretty sure we wouldn't find anything exciting, and we didn't.  It was all souvenir
junk shops, pharmacies, and restaurants.)  We got there, walked around, took a picture of Richard with the
statue of the guy riding on a shrimp, and walked back home. (notice he is sporting his Valentine's day shirt - I
couldn't find mine, it must have been a victim of one of our "purge to fit into the rv" garage sales.  Sigh.)  We
had a pretty lazy rest of the day, and finally walked down to the beach around 4:30 where we met up with a
couple we had been hanging with, Joe and Cheryl.  Joe had gone on a fishing trip, and brought home over
50 fish, so they fed Richard some fish, and sent him home with a gallon bag of the things.  Yuck, dead fish in
my fridge and freezer!  Richard knows he can't cook them in the RV cause I won't have the thing stinking like
fish, so he is going to have to try out our bbq grill soon.  

My regular run day is Tuesday, but I had been a slacker and didn't run on Valentine's day, so on Wednesday
we headed out, me on foot, and Richard on my bike, to put some miles in.  My plan was to run a backwards
route from what I had ran with Darwin on Sunday, so that we would end up at the fruit/vegetable market near
the end of our trek rather than the beginning.  This was also why Richard was with me.  I was brave enough
now to run on my own, but I wanted him to see the sights and go to the fruit place too.  Off we went, but
unlike when I ran with Darwin at 8am on Sunday, this time it was later in the day - about 10:00, and it was a
weekday.  Man there was a lot of traffic.  Some places there was sidewalk, but Richard had a hard time following me on the sidewalk because it
would randomly stop or have steps down, steps up, etc.  Then we got to where I thought my turn would be coming up.  When I ran this route with
Darwin, the road we took north hit the southbound road at a T, so it was impossible to miss.  I was also trying so hard to keep up, that I didn't check
for any landmarks.  Now we were running it backwards, and since we were now heading north on the road that the other road T-ed into, I needed to
see a street sign.  Nope, they don't exactly keep up with street sign maintenance.  I kept cruising past all these streets that might be the one, but no
sign.  Here I am, in running attire, "lost", stopping strangers on the street asking for Calle Sinaloa, while an old man lurks behind on his bicycle.  I'm
sure they were thinking that Americans are pretty weird.  I had a general idea where we were, so when the gal told me three blocks, and there still
wasn't a sign, we went ahead and trusted her and took that street.  Several blocks later, we finally found a street sign and were on the right track.

The grocery store that we had gone to a few days before was a real let-down.  No good produce, and prices that were what we would expect to pay
back home.  The apples that I bought even said "product of USA" on them.  So, when we got to the fruit/veggie store, we loaded up.  All the prices
were in pesos per kilogram, and I just didn't care enough to try to cipher it all out, so we just filled the basket and headed to the check-out.  I
couldn't believe it.  We got 6 mini limes, 3 tomatoes, 1 mango, 8 or 9 little apples, 2 pears, 4 little zucchini squash looking things, and about 6
massive carrots, all for just 40 pesos.  That's less than 4 bucks.  WOW!  Until today, everything we priced was equal to or more than in the US.  We
finally found a deal in Mexico.  We ate the mango as soon as we got home, it was ripe and yummy.  
Then it was tide pool time again.  The tide was on it's way out, so we headed down to the beach.  We found more of the same, along with two dead
sea urchins, and a skeleton of something, maybe a puffer fish, but no spikes.  I tried looking it up, but got nowhere.  What is it?  Did I discover
something?  Am I rich?  
had 5 legs, one was just broken off.  So
I'm sure he is in the star family.  

The Escapees Chapter 8 Mexican
Connection is big on charity.  They asked
everyone to bring not only charity
donations (Richard got rid of a bunch
more old clothes), but also donations for
an auction to raise money for charity.  I
donated a jar of our honey, and the RV
shorts that I sewed way back when we first became RVers in 2005.  I loved those shorts, but never wore them, and
figured they could bring in a pretty penny.  Before the auction started, they fed us, and they served those same yummy
margaritas as the first night we got here.  Smart way to start an auction!  After I bought a print of original art by one of
our caravan members - for $30!, and some RV headsets that are supposed to allow us to talk to each other while
backing the rig up - for another $30!, Richard finally told me to stop bidding.  :)  Then came our honey.  It brought in
$40!!  Wow.  My shorts went for $35.  I miss those shorts, and I have more of that fabric, and a sewing machine...

When we were on our tide pool walk, we had carefully selected a few shells that appeared to be hermit crab free.  We got
back and saw a crab poking his little head out of one of them, so we headed down to the beach to set him free.  We also
took a little dish to get sea water to 'test' the other shells to make sure they were uninhabited.  The security guard was
very confused when we walked back into the gate to the RV park with a dish of salt water... weird Americans.  

On our first walk, when we collected all the shells, Richard was also collecting these long white spiral shells.  It would
have been ridiculous for a hermit crab to be in one, so we hadn't tested them, but today we saw one in one of the tide
pools, moving around.  So, even though they had been sitting on the table outside for days, I threw them in the test water
as well.  Sure enough, one poked his little head out, along with one more of the little shells we collected today.  Guess
they go back in the morning.  Collecting shells around here isn't easy.  
We also found lots of what I think were called panama stars, and a bunch of brittle stars, and even a fuzzy star.  I don't know fuzzy guys name, but he