Mexico · 58 Days · 48 Moments · February 2017

3 April 2017

Last night in Mazatlan, so we splurged with dinner at El Presidio. This restaurant is in the shell of a huge old home. After dinner we went to the upper level where there were views over town, and some great spaces for dancing and a pool table tucked away in a corner above the bar.

2 April 2017

Last visit to Stone Island for this trip. Spring vacations have begun and there was a good crowd- though it's a big place so still tranquil. The weather- and the water- have warmed so it was a real pleasure to play in the sea. Tried a different palapa this time - La Valera - and the food was really good.

29 March 2017

Cooking class at the hone of Angelina, owner of Angelina's kitchen. She and her chef demonstrated, though we did all get to help with the chili rellenos. I felt like a private guest on a celebrity cooking show. We learned to make chilis rellenos, tomatillo salsa, tomato salsa, mole, garden rice and a mango dessert. Yummy!

22 March 2017

Cafe Alegro in theCentro Historico. Stopped in for a coffee and a snack- best carrot cake and coffee yet. I'd like to go back and try the lunch menu too. If they do their pasta as well as their coffee and cake, it will be a winner.

20 March 2017

El Fish Bucket on Olas Altas. I absolutely loved my tuna burger (fresh tuna, not canned). Gordon was less than thrilled with his shrimp. It was a little cool. Probably waited while my burger was prepared.
Lucha Libre at Collegio de Pacifico. Professional wrestlers- national champions- putting on a show to raise money for food for local charities. It was pretty hilarious - particularly when there were six wrestlers with somewere throwing themselves into the audience, creating havoc in one corner while others were posing for photos with the kids in another. I wonder if they get their national championship from wrestling ability, gymnastics or just plain showmanship.

16 March 2017

Here I am doing yoga by the sea with my yoga group. These women have been so welcoming to me! I love greeting the day by the sea, watching the swimmers, the birds and the islands. This public park is well used throughout the day.

12 March 2017

Flamenco performance at Cafe Bohemia. The restaurant is one of many at the Plazuela Machado. From the Plazuela it looks tiny- just a few tables outside, a door, one window showing a small table-less room inside, but walk through that little room and past the kitchen and you will be in this enormous patio. We sat at the back where the roots of an old fig tree covered the walls and the tendrils from the tree floated around Gordon's head. The music and dancing were fantastic and I loved the enchiladas and chili relleno.

9 March 2017

Right on the Malecon in Centro is a public athletic park where you can work out with views of the bay and islands in the background. There is a big covered basketball court with bleachers, exercise machines that use your own weight as counter balance, a children's playground, a water play area reserved for kids and across the very busy street, towers of rings and bars and ropes for gymnastics and patios for the yoga and zumba classes- all free. Next to them is the swimming club, so as I do my yoga at sunrise with the yoga group, I can watch the swimmers head out against the waves for their morning swim in the sea. It's a wonderful place- except that the traffic on the road that goes through the middle of the park is very heavy and can be stinky as well as loud.

8 March 2017

Acuario Mazatlan. This is a small aquarium and tiny zoo that we always enjoy visiting when here in Mazatlan. It is tiny but you can get very close to the animals- stare eye to eye with the crocodiles (don't put your finger through the fence), kiss a sea lion, feed the birds, or get chased by the geese in the aviary and, yes, there are fish at the aquarium too. If you go, be sure and see the shows.

7 March 2017

Another trip to spend the day at Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island) on the other side of the Mazatlan harbor. Activities available- and partaken of: horse back rides with or without the leash, three wheeler rentals, posing with a big iguana on your shoulder and a boa constrictor around your neck, shopping from your lounge chair, being serenaded by traveling musicians, eating seafood, walking the beach for miles, people watching, sleeping in the shade of an umbrella...

6 March 2017

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay is a lovely resort at the far northern end of the Mazatlan beaches. Actually, it is probably not in Mazatlan at all, but you can get there by cab in about a half hour from the far south where we live. We visited friends and enjoyed the pool and resort feel that is what most visitors to Mazatlan see. Beautiful pool!

3 March 2017

Spent the afternoon at the Gran Plaza Mall the other day and caught a movie at the Cineplex (LaLaLand). We were a little early as you can see in the photo. Found thus pretty cool looking amusement park at the mall.

26 February 2017

The big Carnaval parade yesterday. Very impressive floats including a giant dragon that moved its head realistically and blew smoke. 300,000 people watched it, so if you are nervous in a crowd, maybe not the place to be. I like it, though it is a lot of standing. I read today that the governor and the mayor and other dignitaries chose to stand in the street with the crowd to watch the parade rather than in a VIP box. I think that was a nice gesture. There is a lot of talk from the mayor about Carnaval being for the people and it is impressive the quality and quantity of really big events on the streets for free. Many people guarded their sites for the parade for well over a day- sitting in chairs along the Malecon. They set up tables and umbrellas and picnicked while waiting for the parade to start. Putting on the parade is a huge effort. The parade started at 5:30pm, but already at 10am they were lining up the floats.
Took a nice cruise of the ship harbor and the bay with Yate Fiesta last week. Very reasonable and a pleasant cruise past some of the large ships in harbor and the ferry to LaPaz, then out into the bay past islands of birds and the local sea lion colony and along the shore to the big islands. For some reason we were three of only about ten passengers on board a ship that holds 230, so we got plenty of attention from staff. We did see other tour boats in the bay loaded down with passengers so I guess we just lucked out.

25 February 2017

Here is another restaurant post. Ponchos on Gaviotas in the Golden Zone is a great place to dine by the sea. The views are terrific and the ambiance very nice. It is a very popular spot for breakfast, though I prefer lunch or dinner when I can enjoy the little extras the come with your meal- a selection of salsas with chips, deep fried chilis stuffed with seafood and an after dinner mini drink of kalua and cream.

23 February 2017

We haven't actually been to Olas Altas, site of the big street party, since Carnaval began, but we strolled through Thursday afternoon as preparations were underway for the big party to start. Band stands with their ear splitting sound systems were being assembled as were the myriads of beer stands. We also happened upon the organizing meeting of the police presence. They pull the police and army in from all over to assure tight security. It was rather impressive to see them all assembled. I took a pano photo. Hope it fits on Journi.
Angela Peralta Theater- center for the symphony and many other music events. The theater was renovated after having been abandoned for many years. Take a look at the second photo to see what it looked like before the renovation.
Brownie Mania at Plazuela Machado - cream cheese fudge like brownies and Italian soda. Yum, yum. I am being so decadent here!
Here are some views of Centro from the hill behind our house. The first ocean view is of the Olas Altas beach with the faro (lighthouse) on the hill in the distance. This is the highest operating lighthouse on the coast. The second ocean view shows the hotels of the Golden Zone further north. We can walk along the Malecon from Olas Altas almost all of the way to those hotels.

22 February 2017

My friend Jeanne arrived today for a visit and we went out for a nice dinner at Gaia Bistro at the Plazuela Machado. This is one of the most popular restaurants in the Centro Antiguo right now and I can see why. Gordon and Jeanne each had fresh tuna and I had pumpkin soup with shrimp. We all said - best ever.
Wednesday, as a kick off to Carnaval, which started the next day, the Mazatlan food fair was kicked off. Several of the restaurants around the Plazuela Machado are offering up regional specialties during Carnaval. The inauguration was complete with a few short speeches, a great Banda group with a terrific drummer and a food tasting tour around the Plazuela. The king and queen of Carnaval and their entourage strolled from restaurant to restaurant and loaded up on each restaurant's offering and those of us who showed up for this mid day event followed them and tried all of the food too until it was all gone. I'd just eaten so limited myself to a couple of delicious cream cheese brownies, some empanadas and bruschetta a marlin tostada and a glass of punch with numerable juices and liquors that would have knocked me out if I hadn't eaten so much by then. I would have tried the lobster sautéed with tequila sauce but the homeless guy in front of me got the rest of what was left in the pan.

20 February 2017

I went shopping with my friend Gloria at the mercado yesterday. I love open markets! All of the fruits and vegetables are so beautifully displayed. The meat section is interesting too if you want to see more of the animal than you are used to at the grocery store (think head and feet) or for pure entertainment, order a whole chicken and ask the butcher to cut if up and skin it for you and watch the knife fly! You can get pretty much all you need here including pre made stuff like tamales and baked sweet potatoes (my favorite) - or pick up some souvenirs if you aren't in the mood for food.

19 February 2017

Watching the sun go down is an event in itself, though today was the first day we actually found ourselves beach side as that event occurred. We weren't alone and particularly enjoyed watching the kids climbing on the porpoises in the water fountain (which isn't turned on yet).
Family day at Plaza Republica complete with music, kids games, food stalls, a gymnastics competition and even a boxing match.
Dixieland Brunch at the Gaia Bistro on the Plazuela Machado. The Cats and Jammer Dixieland Jazz Band comes to Mazatlan once a year to play around town for Mardi Gras. Four hour meal with cajun food and open bar and very good music.

18 February 2017

Yesterday afternoon we decided to hop on the green bus and visit the beach in the Golden Zone. The Golden Zone (Zona Dorada) is the part of town full of many of the big hotels and resorts frequented by North American tourists. Here you can spend a week or two in an all inclusive resort right on the beautiful beach. It has a very different feel from the beach on Stone Island that we visited the day before. In the Golden Zone there are lots of stores and hotels and traffic on the street side of things and on the beach side of the hotels it is clear and fresh and full of people walking and playing- boats and. boogie boards, parasailing and just jumping in the waves. It doesn't seem as easy to sit and grab a bite to eat since so many of the hotels are all inclusive resorts without public restaurants, but not impossible. We had a lovely walk and even happened upon a volleyball tournament.
Saturday mornings from 8 - ? at the Plaza Zaragosa is the organic market. It is a small market full of interesting items such as organic produce, yucca based foodstuffs, hand made salsas and cheeses, artisan chocolate and home made North American style pastries. There are food stands too and tables for eating and visiting and the last two weeks there has been a cooking demonstration and music. It looks like a place where the North American expats come to shop and visit. There are not many Mexicans there, perhaps because compared to the main market, the prices are shockingly expensive. But compared to shopping in the states, they are comparable. It is a pretty and comfortable market so nice to come to even if you end up doing most of your buying elsewhere.

17 February 2017

Yesterday we walked down to the harbor and took this cute little boat across the harbor to Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island). This is out favorite place to spend a day at the beach. Here you can plunk yourself down under a palapa on a lounge chair in the sand in front of any of the several beach side restaurants. Then you can spend the day- swim, walk, people watch, or if you are more active than us, go horseback riding, take a banana boat or four wheeler, play soccer etc. It's also quite a leisurely way to get your shopping done as the venders bring their wares to you. They are enterprising but not pushy.

16 February 2017

Thursday evening we stopped by Plaza Zaragosa, a few blocks from our house, to watch Thursday evening dancing. We didn't like the music as much as in Merida, but they packed in quite a crowd, who almost all got up and danced once the peppier music started. From there, we strolled to the Plazuela Machado to peek in the windows at the art class. We were just killing time until the opening for the Santamarina art show which started at 7, complete with tastings from the local distillery and some marimba music. We strolled home via the Malecon at Olas Altas and did some people watching.
Here is the Plazuela Machado on a quiet afternoon. This is the center of action in the Centro Historico. In the evening, the side streets will be closed to traffic and filled with tables from the restaurants that surround the park. There will be live music at several and lots of people- at least on the weekend- strolling as well as tables of art work and jewelry and such for sale - even children's activities.It is a place to gather and enjoy the lovely evenings. Adjacent is the music school where you can peak into a window and watch students painting while in another room someone will be practicing on a trumpet or drums. Or you may, as we did, stand by an open door and listen to a student performing an aria for his teacher and class. Next to the school is the Angela Peralta theater, restored to its glory, where you can catch the symphony or any of a number of other fine performances.

15 February 2017

El Recreo - 209 Constitution, Centro Antiguo This is a kind of cultural center created by expatriates here in the old town. A jazz jam on Wednesday evenings, sing along twice a month, movies and plays. If you are staying awhile, a nice way to meet other North Americans and find out what is going on in town.

14 February 2017

We tried lunch at one of the little restaurants above the market. We ate at probably the smallest, least attractive one because we were strongly encouraged by the woman at the door to come in. We had to walk through the messy kitchen to get to the little balcony table, but then again, we could watch dinner being made if we wanted to. The food was tasty and someone ran down the street to get a regular Pacifico beer for Gordon because he didn't want the light Pacifico they were offering, so we can't complain about the service. Really the mole sauce for the short ribs was quite complex and spicy and good and the chilis relleno coming out of the skillet as we were leaving looked terrific. It was surprisingly pleasant on the little balcony. Even though we were above a busy street, the air was cool and fresh.
Listening to the military band at the Plaza Republica in Mazatlan. This is the first of a month of Tuesday noon concerts and its being Valentines Day, not only are we getting this lovely music but they also have brought everyone a slice of tiered Valentines Day cake! The little parks in the plazas downtown have all been replanted in the last year and are looking quite nice. It's fun to watch the pigeons in the plaza too.

12 February 2017

Tried a streetside restaurant on Sunday after a concert at the Angela Peralta Theatre. They were celebrating their 67th year of selling food on the corner with a terrific Banda Band and lots of extra tables. Can you imagine- 67 years! Turned out to be all seafood. Eating seafood on the street is pretty popular here. Lots of places sell oysters plucked out of the bay in the morning by enterprising guys with an inner tube, fins, snorkel snd knife. I had the ceviche. It was fine if you actually like to eat octopus and things like that. The music was terrific, though loud. Mariscos Renteria on the corner of Carnaval and Angel Flores.

11 February 2017

Here is one of the historical buildings in Mazatlan's Centro Historico . It is the German Notions Store which evidently operated here for 100 years, a huge, prosperous establishment. But during World War 2, the owners were forced to close their doors and leave the city. It has been empty ever since. Kind of sad.

10 February 2017

Sixto Osuna is a street full of restaurants right off the Plazuela Machado. Tonight we tried a hamburger place - 4 To Beer and Burger Depot. Oh my goodness, the burgers were good! I had the Killer Tomato which featured a wonderful tomato chutney, goat cheese and crispy onions on that big pile of beef- probably one of the tastiest burgers I've ever had. The decor is the kind of old run down peeling plaster look they pay a lot of money to achieve in Edina but here they probably just moved into an old, run down building. Friendly waiter practically ran to turn down the music when I politely asked. Service has been very nice most places we have been so far.
Took a walk along a southern section of the Malecon in the late afternoon. Here there are several sculptures and monuments, rocky outcroppings, the promontory used by cliff divers and even a public swimming pool filled from the sea. On weekend nights venders line the walkway and dancers entertain for tips adding a festive flavor to the area. Fog came in as we walked making for some very atmospheric photos.

9 February 2017

From our roof, with and without fog. Hit the 3 dots to slide left and right!

8 February 2017

Today we tried a restaurant in the Centro Historico on a pretty street a few blocks off the Plazuela Machado. It seemed pricy at 120 pesos for our entre after that great 70 peso complete meal we had the other day, but really what am I complaining about? That is still only $6 and the food was really quite wonderful. I had the lasagna and it was overflowing with meat and cheese and, I think, eggplant. The spices were great and the salad was perfect with the best basalmic vinaigrette. I have to say that when we used to come to Mazatlan several winters ago, the food in the restaurants was disappointing, so it is a delight to have now experienced a perfect score of three terrific meals at the three wildly different restaurants we have now tried (seaside bar, home kitchen for hire and trendy pizzeria sidewalk cafe). The restaurant is Via Condotti. Go to the west end of Plazuela Machado, turn right and go a block or two.
Amazing to me how a cruise ship can dominate the skyline. it towers over everything!

7 February 2017

Carnival is coming to Mazatlan the end of the month, but really it is here now. The giant, colorful figures representing this year's theme (something to to do with dragons) are strategically placed along the Malecon and downtown. There was a big celebration to inaugurate this year's Carnival queen complete with fireworks the night we arrived and Sunday we happened upon a fair in the Plaza Republica with booths and food and performers. There will be several grand performances and balls throughout the month, culminating in a week of revelry - music, food, dancing, parades and fireworks. Mazatlan Carnival, the third largest in the world, is celebrating its 119th year.

6 February 2017

Had the best lunch today. Our friends took us out to a home in Playa Sur where you can come for lunch between 1 and 4 weekdays. We had a choice of four entres. All of us chose chicken breast stuffed with mango and served in a chili poblano sauce. Very tasty! Our meal- beverage, entre with rice and salad, and a little bite of dessert - 70 pesos- that is $3.50 dollars with our terrific exchange rate. I can hardly believe it. Al Sabor de la Abuela Playa Hades 320 981-75-25
We took a walk along the Malecon yesterday morning. There was lots of activity even though it was Constitution Day and people were supposed to have the day off. Huge palm trees were being planted in the roadway median, tourists were doing family photos in front of the Fishermen's Monument and the fishermen themselves were busy selling and filleting their fish and the pelicans and frigate birds were gobbling up the leavings. Walking the Malecon is probably our favorite pastime here in Mazatlan.

5 February 2017

Puerto Viejo on Olas Altas - a bit old and tattered, but oh my, the coconut shrimp was yummy! with the peso around twenty to the dollar, this meal cost me $8 and the Negro Modelo beer about $1.35. Great view of the bay too.
This is our house. We have discovered that no one can find it. To get here you have to go to the end of the road, then turn left and go to the end of the road. I bet we spent half an hour with our Pulmonia driver on an 8 block trip going down every road in the neighborhood, backing down one way lanes trying to find the right way. Lots of hand waving directions from passers by followed by the driver going the opposite direction. It didn't help that when Gordon and I left this morning, we walked along the path where the cars can't go and exited onto the road on the other side of the hill. So we didn't actually know what the road to our house looked like. Even the GPS gets it wrong. Tomorrow we will have to walk out via the road and memorize all of the landmarks so that we can give our visitors good directions for finding us when they come.
Here is the street in front of our house. Met our neighbor Alberto when I went out to take the photo and we chatted awhile about our families. My Spanish wasn't too atrocious for this first venture.
Arrived last night late. We are in a rental house in the Centro Historico. The road is narrow and there was street construction so our taxi driver had trouble finding the house. He stopped several times to ask directions from the people at sidewalk restaurants and finally some pre teen boys hanging out at the corner ran up the narrow street and identified our new home for him. I wished I'd had more to say than hello and thank you to my new neighbors but we all took our time observing each other anyway. Now everyone on the street knows there are new Americanos renting the blue house.