Ensenada, Baja California   January 2016   We left San Francisco and are in San Diego for a month. Pat has decided to retire at the end of January (yay!), and San Diego is an easy commute to his work in Nevada.  We always enjoy our time here.  From our apartment downtown, we watched a Navy aircraft carrier arrive in the harbor.

Navy carrier arriving in the SD harbor

My mom celebrated her 89th birthday, and I was able to attend her celebration at her assisted living center in San Francisco.  She looks beautiful, and we are happy she is in good health!  

Mom at 89

 Isabelle was able to visit her last summer, before her assignment in Senegal with USAID.  Mom was so happy to see her!

Isabelle with mom

Our son Armand visited in early spring; they took a walk in Japantown where the cherry blossoms were just emerging.

Mom and Armand enjoying the cherry blossoms

We had our sailboat delivered from Ventura, California to Hotel Coral and Marina in Ensenada, Baja California.  In doing so, we did not have to pay California sales tax for the boat.  In addition the boat slips are $300 less expensive per month.  Ensenada is about an hour and 15 minute drive to the San Ysidro border, and another 20 minutes to downtown San Diego.  Crossing the border can be long, anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the time of day.  It was only after a couple of months that because we had global entry and registered our car for border crossings, we could use the Sentri fast lane to cross the border, which generally takes less than 30 minutes.  We take a couple trips a month to get our mail, and to do some shopping for things we cannot find in Ensenada (especially boat parts).  The hotel has a great gym, pool, jacuzzis and sauna, in addition to a couple of restaurants.  The marina is fairly quiet, and it's a peaceful place to hang out to get the boat ready to sail.

view of hotel and marina

hotel pool

We miss our previous dog, Toby, a rescue dog who was a westie mix.  I have been wanting a west highland terrier for a while, so we decided to contact breeders in the San Diego area.  I contacted Shirley Benson in Ridgecrest, California whose dog was expecting a litter in December.  Here is a photo Shirley sent to me when she was 4 weeks old. 

Sushi at 4 weeks

We picked up our female puppy (all our other dogs had been male) on February 5, two days before her 8 week birthday.  She's adorable, and full of spunk.  We stopped at a hotel mid way between Ridgecrest and San Diego, as it was a 4 hour drive, and we didn't want to tire her out.  We could have made it to San Diego, though, as she slept at my feet in the car.  We have decided to split our time between staying on our boat and a rental at the Baja golf country club to get Sushi used to both environments.

 

Sushi is growing fast.  She was 5.3 lbs when we first got her; three weeks later, she is 7.5 lbs.  Her ears are "up", giving her a totally different look.  She's a good boat dog too!

 

 

Sushi at the marina: 

We're also enjoying at house rental at the golf club in Ensenada.  It's quiet, and a great place to walk, train and socialize Sushi with other dogs.  We bought a crate, a playpen and a baby pool, and hope she will enjoy the water since she will be a be a boat dog!

Our son, Armand, visited us for a week to celebrate my (Susan's) birthday. 

When he arrived at the house, he made us some awesome margaritas.

Sushi loved having him play with her...and taking naps together too.  We were able to enjoy a nice lunch on the patio of Ophelia's restaurant, where Sushi was well behaved under our table.  The food was great:  tuna and shitake mushroom tostadas, shrimp empanadas, fish in mole sauce, and pizza.

On my birthday, we took a trip the the Baja wine region, Valle de Guadaloupe for wine tasting and lunch.  It is only a 30 minute drive from Ensenada, and the wines are outstanding.  The weather was sunny and warm, a perfect birthday celebration!  Sushi enjoyed the trip as well.  We visited three wineries: Sol y Barro (the owner had built interesting cob buildings; this material keeps the building cool and at an even temperature:

At Tres Mujeres (we were served homemade bread and olives with the wine).

We enjoyed the patio tasting at Vinas de Garza:

Our lunch at Finca Altozano was beautiful!  We had an outdoor table overlooking the vineyards.    It's a great place for kids too, as they had areas to explore and sheep to pet.

 

We ate tuna tostadas, grilled octopus, wood fired tacos, and pasta.  For dessert we had grilled cornbread with ice cream and lemon pie.  Yum.

A friend of Armand's, Chantel, visited us for a few days in Ensenada.  She and Armand explored the downtown, and had lunch at La Guerrense, a street cart, whose seafood ceviche, tacos and tostadas were made famous by Anthony Bourdain's visit and recommendation. 

 They also explored the miradora (lookout) above the Bufadora, a marine blowhole, in Punta Banda, and also found natural hot springs along the beach. 

more photos of their trip:

 

It was the end of Armand and Chantel's visit with us.  On their drive back to San Diego, they  drove to Valle de Guadalupe to visit a few wineries, the farmer's market and they had a fantastic lunch at the five star, top rated restaurant Corazon de Tierra.   The chef prepares lunch according to what is growing in their garden, or what is in season.  Armand's beef entree was in a sauce that was over 6 years old; new sauce is added to it and kept.  They enjoyed their meal; and  we can't wait to visit this restaurant.

 

We're so happy that Armand was able to visit us, and Chantel too.  It's always sad to say goodbye, but we said "see you soon!"

 

Pat and I returned to Valle de Guadaloupe shortly thereafter.  We visited some new wineries.  We were impressed by San Tomas, the oldest winery in the valley.   The tasting room is large and quite impressive with a high wall of wines. 

We had lunch at Olivia's, a small restaurant with a view of the valley.  We enjoyed it, and Sushi did too! 

 

We visited the Adobe Food Truck (great tapas), and adjacent winery.   It's a great casual place to have good food and wine. 

 

Pat has been having pain in his leg.  He consulted the surgeon in San Diego who operated on his pelvis two years ago after his accident.  She confirmed that due to the trauma of that fall, he now needed a hip replacement.  His surgery is scheduled for May 12.  He is looking forward to getting his hip fixed and feeling better.

 

 

 

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