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Mon Dec 03 2012: La Paz

La Paz is the jewel of Baja California Sur. Located at the mouth of the Gulf of California, it enjoys beautiful weather year-round, a high standard of living and low crime rates. We fell in love with the city almost immediately.

The Malecon, a 5km long boardwalk along the La Paz's beachfront, is the city's focal point for tourists and residents alike

Family-time on the Malecon

We grab lunch at La Aura, the 4th story restaurant with a great view of the boardwalk and beach

Lots of local catch in that seafood soup!

Pelicans are common here, also attracted to the seafood in the waters closeby

Not seafood ice cream

Plenty of places to hang out on the beach, watch the fishing boats go out to sea

One of many aquatic themed statues on the Malecon

Neda is trying to look for what PaperBoatMan is staring at

The Malecon is chocked full of restaurants, diners and bars - all pricey!

We're staying in La Paz for the next two weeks, taking Spanish lessons at a language school called, "Se Habla... La Paz". We've also chosen the homestay option, where we live with a local family for the duration of our stay, so Alicia and Vicente are the first ones to welcome us to La Paz and into their home.

The very first night, Vicente pulls out his arsenal of guitars and we both play and sing while everyone dances around us
Is it going to be like this every day?!? COOL!

Alicia is a first-rate cook, serving us local dishes for breakfast and lunch. This is Joe (Jose) from California, he's our homestay housemate also taking Spanish lessons, but he's much more fluent than we are!

On the weekends, Vicente opens his backyard studio to the local kids and teaches them how to paint

Another one of Vicente's proteges

We are astounded at how talented and cultured our homestay family is. Alicia is master of the culinary arts, while Vicente explains all the imagery of the many paintings that decorate his house. All in Spanish, by the way. My 9th grade French education is only of little help but I get the jist. Neda does much better because she speaks Italian and is so much better in learning new languages than I am.

Lalo, Alicia and Vicente's grandson teaches and choreographs a Hip Hop class.

Because I'm so slow with the Espagnol, Lalo gets in trouble often for speaking English to me. I've hung out a lot with this talented young man, jamming on the guitar and sharing mp3s, movies, and YouTube clips. Every once in a while, Alicia yells at him, "EN ESPAGNOL!" :) She takes her job very seriously and I'm very glad that she pretends not to understand English. I can only nod, "Si" and "Gracias" and my goal by the end of two weeks is to actually utter a complete and intelligible sentence for her approval!

Mariana, our Spanish teacher gives a presentation on Pinatas.

"Se Habla" is one street away from the Malecon, and every morning we ride our motorcycles down the strip to school, past the salty sea breeze coming off the shores. It's been forever since I've sat in any kind of classroom and I'm a bit cowed by how fast Neda is picking up Spanish. I'm used to learning things very fast, but new languages have always been a weak point for me.

Felipe, another one of our instructors waits for me to finish my homework.
"Gene, the point of homework is that you should be doing it at home..."

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