December in La Paz has been anything but quiet. We have attended Spanish Class for four hours Monday through Friday, and filled the rest of the daylight hours with exploring this small city, shopping, cooking, and chores. The evenings go just as quickly, with Christmas lights in the cockpit, Spanish songs, and culinary experiments with chilis, tomatillos, and unfamiliar vegetables. Daily we make only tiny gains in our ability to speak Spanish, although it seems as if we can read and understand more easily.
December celebrations in La Paz have made the long winter evenings a festival of lights. Early December brought the celebrations for the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, with dozens of small parades. Now we are embarked on a string of Christmas parties, called Posadas, that feature great food, and high spirits. The Pinata, stuffed with candy and other prizes, is an essential feature of each Posada, with blindfolded guests taking turns trying to hit and break open the Pinata.
We had a wonderful break from this routine when our friends Christian and Georgia came to visit. After a few days in La Paz, we took the boat back north twenty miles to the islands, and anchored again at Caleta Partida. We had three days of sunshine, kayaking, snorkeling, exploring on land, and an overall fine time.
Christian, who lived in Mexico as a young teenager, revived his excellent Spanish to talk with the local fisherman in his blue and white panga. It was hard times for the fisherman, because there was no market for the few fish he was catching this year. He was considering selling his panga to pay for a Christmas celebration.
Christian is about to begin his first full term as a Representative in the Oregon Legislature.
And today we read that our college classmate, Jane Lubchenco, will be tapped by President elect Obama as head of NOAA. It is amazing to think that people we know to be energetic, intelligent, and far sighted will be participating in government, and beginning to tackle the immensely complex problems we face. We will be holding our breath and looking for small ways to help in the balancing act that will follow.