North America · 51 Days · 37 Moments · January 2018

Mazatlan 2018

24 February 2018

Decided to play tourists for the day and took the King David Jungle Tour. It was great fun. Our tour guide Hugo was a stand up comedian, we got to see the far reaches of the harbor and the mangroves deep in Stone Island. There were pelicans and frigate birds, scallops plucked from the water, exotic birds, beautiful chickens, alligators and a long quiet beach- oh, and food too.

16 February 2018

We live in the Centro Historico where the buildings are, well, old. But as you move north along the coast, the buildings get newer. Here is a view from the condo of some new friends who live up north, just so you know there is more than one way to spend winter here.

15 February 2018

My yoga group seems to be going wild with after yoga breakfasts thus year. This morning we celebrated Valentina’s birthday (born on Valentines Day) with a picnic right where we practice yoga by the sea.

12 February 2018

We ventured to the Little town of Cerritos on the northern edge of Mazatlán. Being Carnaval week, the beaches were more crowded than I’ve seen them before, even though the Carnaval weekend had come and gone. When we first came here twelve years ago, this was a dusty little forgotten sort of place. Now its two block long street has been renovated as one long open air mall of souvenir shops and restaurants and it doesn’t look forgotten at all. The once empty beach between the Marina and Cerritos is now filling with high rise condos and hotels.

11 February 2018

A few more parade photos. I love the floats that light up.
Carnaval has come and gone. It is a big event here- one of the largest in Latin America. Here are some photos of the way we like to see the big parade- and that is to walk from the back forward just before it starts. It’s fun to see everyone getting ready. They are excited and happy to pose for photos and it still has the air of a home town event. We follow the parade forward until it gets too crowded to walk and then we watch some floats go by. We only see part of the parade, but it is such a huge parade that it is OK.
I love fireworks and when I learned the location of the big naval battle fireworks was being moved up the Malecón, I was pretty excited because my chances of seeing them from our rooftop increased. So I stayed up till 11PM to see if I could see them and I was rewarded for my effort. Gordon went to bed but I wasn’t really alone because I could see people on their rooftops all around me watching the fireworks too.

10 February 2018

Every beach in Mazatlán has its own flavor. The beach at Olas Altas near our home is a great beach for watching the sun go down. It is a small beach with a bit of an incline so it is easy and comfortable to sit in the sand close to the water. I love to be so close to the waves. It’s fun to watch the surfers and boogie boarders play in the water too.

9 February 2018

A walk through the street dance area(up during Carnaval only) just before the bands started. Once they all get going it’s too noisy for me. But great people watching.

8 February 2018

This yoga breakfast got thrown at my house thanks to Meredith’s help and fearlessness at feeding 30 people. We decided to bake since that is so American and not done too much here. Smart people. It was hot, hot, hot. An outdoor kitchen sounded like a good idea.

7 February 2018

Swimming at Luna Palace. The grandsons had a great time.
Not my photo, but a very pretty view of the Malecon in the early morning

5 February 2018

Stone Island is the beach where you plop down for the day on a beach chair, play in the waves, get buried in the sand or if energetic,take a banana boat or horseback ride. Today we even got to watch some folks fishing with a net in the shallow water. They pulled in mostly baby fish, puffer fish, these long eel like fish called needle fish and sting rays. The swarming birds are frigate birds and it’s a little unnerving to have them so close and in a frenzy. The presence of the rays was a little unnerving too. There were so many, we could often see them flapping in the shallow water when a wave brought them in too close to shore. It kind of curtailed our playing in the water.

4 February 2018

Snacking by the sea: Raspados de Concordia(hand shaved ice and homemade real fruit syrup), tacos in a bag, pancakes with cajeta(kind of like Carmel sauce).

3 February 2018

We made a last minute decision to go whale watching today. We hired an old sports fishing boat to take us out for half a day. The engine was noisy and there was a waft of diesel in the air, but the sea was pretty calm and the weather perfect- clouds to protect us from the sun and warm enough for short sleeves even on the water. I like being on the water with the fresh breezes and chances to see wild things. We saw the resident sea lions on their little rock, we saw pelicans and tiny plover like birds skimming just above the water and we did see whales! No jumping and breeching for us, but smooth gliding in and out of the water and pretty close. I didn’t get any photos of them though. Too bad. We also saw garbage- not everywhere, but in one spot a fair amount. Perhaps a current flows out from shore there. A dead seal too, caught perhaps in some fishing line. Sad to see.

2 February 2018

A fun Friday evening in Mazatlán. First of all we enjoyed a band serenading a 78th birthday party at our neighbor’s. Then we had a great time visiting four of the many galleries and studios that are open for the First Friday Art Walk. Not only did we see some great art and enjoy wine and snacks at the open houses, but the two studios we visited were in gorgeous, awe inspiring homes. Dinner was at Pedro and Lola’s at the Plazuela Machado where there was also some great dancing and music being performed throughout the evening.

1 February 2018

A long day of extremes. We went to the small fishing village of Teacapán with Vecinos con Cariños to visit the homes of migrant farm workers to distribute food and clothing. These workers come from Oaxaca and other southern Mexican states. They are from indigenous groups and very poor. Working conditions are hard and don’t pay well and the houses they rent are beyond basic- no water, no bathroom, no furniture, cooking outdoors over a fire, multiple families to a house. A few people in Teacapan are working hard to help and to get some attention from the government. I admire them for the work they do. We had lunch at the beautiful home of one of these people, an 89 year old who has filled a bedroom with the clothes and bedding she’s sewn to give away. Coming home, our van broke down on the freeway where we waited an hour to be rescued. We got a side trip to Rosario to meet up with the rest of our group and saw the beautiful golden alter in the church there.

25 January 2018

Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island) is actually a peninsula across the ship channel from Mazatlán. It feels like an island because to get there from Centro, you have to take a boat, which I love. We took our first trip of the year to Stone Island today. Instead of heading directly to the beach, however, we decided to turn the other way from the boat dock and walk into the little town that sits on the other side of the big hill that is behind the beach. I wanted to find the botanical garden that I’ve heard rumors about. It is a dusty little town, but not without surprises including a flock of the most beautiful peacocks I’ve ever seen. We did find that botanical garden but were turned away because it is private property and we needed permission to get in. So that is an outing for another day now that I’ve found out how to get that permission. We did make it to the beach too and enjoyed a well earned beer and a visit with another American who is spending his winter months on the island.

24 January 2018

Stopped for a bite at Cafe Alegro. I like this spot because you can order little snack plates and the coffee is pretty. My little single egg Hollandaise was only about $3.50, but oh so yummy!

23 January 2018

Here are some photos of our rooftop patio. We’ve been working to make it a little more appealing. We’ve washed the hammocks so they don’t smell musty anymore and we’ve bought a couple of blankets to hang and add some color and I’m borrowing a few plants from a friend. Our landlady Norma supplied the nice chairs and table and we can see that the walls have been freshly painted. So it feels cozier than last year. Unfortunately, we have to put everything away in the locked storeroom when we are not here because our landlady fears someone will steal them otherwise. We respect her wishes though I can see from our rooftop there are other houses that leave their furniture out all of the time.

20 January 2018

Shrimp! Mazatlán is the home of the largest shrimping fleet on the Pacific Coast, and there is no shortage of seafood restaurants and seafood stands here. The photos here were taken at Puerto Azul, one of several palapa restaurant along Playa Norte. I call them palapa restaurants because they are pretty much just a a raised cement floor under a thatched roof, where you can eat and drink by the sea. Puerto Azul was packed on Saturday afternoon! I wish I could post videos- maybe I’ll do that on Facebook- so that you could get the full effect of the crowd with a cowboy band serenading a birthday party at our end and a full blown banda with trumpets and clarinets, drums and guitars wailing away at the other side. Noisy!
I was invited to another breakfast outing with the yoga group, this time to celebrate a birthday. We had menudo. I’ve done my best to avoid menudo so far in Mexico, but what could I do? I took the same approach that I take every Christmas Eve when Gordon’s family enjoys having oyster stew- I took only the broth and left the other stuff in the pot. And look at the size of that pot on the stove! (You all know you can swipe on the photo to see the other photos, right?) I suppose I could have asked for something else. A friend of our yoga teacher was there and I see she somehow managed to get a plate of chopped beef. But the menudo was just fine and one of the ladies said now I was a real Mazatlecan- a Pata Salada. So it was worth it. Like every other party I’ve been to with this group, there was singing after the meal. This time our hostess, Meli, had a speaker and mike set up and music too, so the tables got pushed aside and everyone danced. I love this group!

19 January 2018

We have often walked along the beach in the Zona Dorada and looked up at the resorts we passed and assumed they were for guests only because so many of them are either all inclusive or time share. Today we got off the beach and looked around and discovered that most have restaurants and bars where they are happy to serve the casual passerby and- because we asked- we even found a few where they are happy to let us use their pool too as long as we are ordering food and drink. This quiet spot is Misión Hotel and I think we will take the grandsons there to swim when they visit.

18 January 2018

More sunset views from our evening walk along the Malecon. The Bomberos(firemen) practicing rappelling down the seawall. Clearly the first time for some of them who looked very young and pretty cautious going over that wall. There’s also a photo of a cruise ship heading out past one of the islands. The spiral thing is the water slide at the sea pool and then we also have a view of the new surface and lighting of the Malecon along Olas Altas. They close off traffic here on weekends after six and it becomes completely pedestrian and bicycles.
The Carnaval sculptures are going up along the Malecón. I love these whimsical, larger than life representations of this year’s Carnaval theme- which is Pata Salada - Circus of Talents. Pata Salada (salty feet) is evidently a nickname for someone from Mazatlán.

14 January 2018

Our big outing today was to go to Macaws and watch the Vikings playoff game. What a great game! Go Vikings! Macaws is a cute little bar/cafe that is part of a beautiful bed and breakfast called Casa de Leyendas. It caters to Folks from north of the border and has four huge tv screens in it’s tiny space so we figured it was a good spot to see the game and we were right. A cozy spot and I could also watch kids playing on the jungle gym at the little park across the street to provide a little respite from all that football.

13 January 2018

Took our first walk of the year along the beach in the Golden Zone. What can I say? The weather was perfect. The tide was out and the sand flat and hard. The people watching was great. Even bird watching was fun.

11 January 2018

Second yoga class yesterday morning. They are upgrading the area along the malecón and now our yoga spot is encircled in pretty lights before the sun comes up. Good timing: one of the women from class had invited everyone to her house for breakfast, so I joined them. Margarita’s house is in a suburb, a good drive away. My what a spread! All six burners on her stove were being used, including a big pan of coffee. We had scrambled eggs with peas, a shredded beef stew with onions, chilaquillas, refried beans and potatoes doritos. Really yummy. It is frustrating for me that I really can’t understand anything that people are saying- though at least I’m picking up words here and there. But I get by by smiling a lot. We shared photos of grandkids and vacations and, of course there was singing and laughter. In the entrance patio to her home was a shrine with lots of flowers, virgins and an old bible open to the psalms. These ladies aren’t afraid to pray.

10 January 2018

We needed to do a little shopping on Wednesday, but I was ready for a snack when we headed out around 10:30, so we made a detour and stopped at a nice little dessert and coffee shop - Mamy’s- on Belisario Dominguez. I must say the street is looking very fine after this summer’s renovations. The sidewalk is much wider- thus the outdoor seating- there are lots of pretty palms and other trees along the way and the newly renovated Hotel Centro has classed up the view. And oh, to sit in the delightfully warm morning drinking coffee and eating a brownie! Bought a couple of plants by the mercado to brighten up our rooftop patio. Gordon’s first jazz jam session at El Recreo. Quite a big turnout. The place was packed!
I love to walk on the malecon in the early morning when the rising sun is casting its golden light on the water and the morning activities are in full swing- frigate birds sweeping in for a bite of the morning catch, a Zumba class under the new seaside awnings, some Club Natación members heading out for their morning swim, people working out on the new exercise equipment, morning strollers, and the construction workers for the big malecon renovation beginning their day’s work.

8 January 2018

Norma, our landlady, came by today with a friend who speaks English and her husband. He fixed things and showed Gordon how to hang the hammock on the roof while we women talked business. Gordon had laid cash out on the coffee table to pay rent and Norma rushed to close the front door and curtains saying it was dangerous to leave money out like that. She and her friend Margarita also cautioned us to be more careful during Carnaval this year. The economy is bad and people are more desperate about money. Even so, we strolled home on the quiet streets after the movie and felt quite comfortable. The city has spent a lot on lighting downtown to show off the prettily painted buildings. The sidewalks seem wider too, so walking actually feels more safe than in the past when we had to constantly avoid holes.

7 January 2018

I love that we can step out of our house and in 10 minutes we are strolling along the Malecon watching the sun go down. What a glorious way to get a little exercise before dinner. We didn’t eat at one of the pop up stands that are by the sea, though the piles of hotcakes and the snacks dripping in crema and jalapeños did look appealing. For dinner we tried the Water’s Edge Cafe which is one of last year’s hot new restaurants. The ambiance was delightful with nice piano music and service was excellent. The food was fine too, though not as wonderful as I had been expecting. I tend to love the places I discover by accident more than the ones I come to with high expectations.
After spending our first day shopping for food and supplies, we decided to start the day out right with a walk/hike up the Faro. This is the highest lighthouse in the Americas and one of the highest operating lighthouses in the world. The view at the top is spectacular. Today is Sunday and it is clearly a pretty popular hike. It’s a steep hike and I did pant a bit, but then the little kids go right past me so I can’t complain too much about how tough it is. A bit messy on the way as their big trail renovation project seems to have stalled.

5 January 2018

After settling in to our house in the Centro Historico, we headed out on a walk to find some beer and food. What a pleasure to stroll along the seaside with no need for a heavy coat and mittens. If anything, it was a little warm. Found necessary beer and food at Paradilla Charly on Olas Altas on the patio of the great big orange Morrocan style building on the hillside overlooking the sea. Watched the sun go down and enjoyed some great ribs. Turns out it was art crawl night so enjoyed a little art before heading back to unpack. Hot and tired this evening. My blood needs to thin a bit!
-2 degrees F as we prepate to leave Minneapolis. It’s been a cold week here and the balmy breezes of Mazatlan are calling!