I thought I’d have pictures ready to upload but somehow time flies by and the wifi is either down or overloaded with frustrated users. Maybe at midnight. So here’s the second part sans pics.
The snowbirds are so attracted to Mazatlan! The beaches, the incredibly beautiful Cathedral of Immaculate Conception completed in 1880, the Mercado plaza in historic central, street vendors, music blaring from every store front, throngs of people shuffling down the sidewalks, and shopping at the modern, upscale Gran Plaza mall attract visitors. We met so many Gringos who migrate from the cold US winters that have condos or rented apartments here, they do look so happy!
Restaurants cater to the foreigners’ food tastes or you can enjoy a very cheap, authentic local meal from a vendor cart on the street corner. Iron stomach John indulges in large quantities of cart cuisine without consequence. Having had my fair share of “tourista” (upset stomach), I tend to eat very plain food. “No mayo, crema or cheese por favour”, and carry extra packets of Pepto Bismal and Imodium at all times!
The old marina was a 10 minute bus ride or within 20 minutes walking distance. The quickest transportation was the “Pulmonia”. Chopped up, open Volkswagen cars that keep you hanging on to the side supports as they zip through the traffic and narrow streets listening to blaring music. Cheap thrill ride for an average cost of $3 to cross the city.
The sidewalks here are no better than LaPaz, but it’s a fun hike through the city, greeted by the locals with a cheerful “Bueno Diez”. The historical center plaza – “Machado” is defined by the cathedral with park setting surrounding it for a couple of blocks. The fresh food and clothing shopping center “the Mercado” covers several blocks. In the enclosed Mercado – you find specific meat stands with butchers standing ready to slice to order – fish,chicken, beef, or pork. Multiple fruit and vegetable stands, cheese and butter, bakery goods, canned food stalls, lunch counters, and cheap clothing. It’s crowded, filled with different smells, noisy and very colorful, much like the Pike Place Market in Seattle. The food is very fresh, though cheaper compared to the US public markets. A fun place to hang out and people watch for hours.
The beaches are mesmerizing blue, it’s warm and inviting. Across the street are restaurants, shops, and roaming sun weathered vendors wanting to sell various trinkets and cheap jewelry. You get accustomed to saying “no gracias” without feeling guilty. Our favorite lunch cafe was on the malecon along the beach front. We met up with Dan and Tammy on several occasions for lunch, Puerto Viejo cafe became our favorite eatery. They had the cheapest, frosty glass draft beer on tap in all of Mexico, and delicious food!
Interesting that the sailing community is considerably smaller than LaPaz and Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps it’s too far north for the Pacific Puddle Jumpers (boats that depart for the So Pacific) or the newer marina entrance is too difficult to go in and out for day sails. Whatever the reason, most of the sailboats that come in are stop overs bound for Puerto Vallarta (PV) and beyond. And there are the ex-pats living on their boats that found Mazatlan too enticing to travel on, they have weathered with their boats.
Our days were filled with going in to the city for movies, museum, architectural viewing, looking for places that sold boat parts, water filters, chain, and other misc. hardware and grocery shopping, and eating. Never did find most of our boat parts, so we’d stop for beer instead. On to PV for the boat parts.
We waited for our friend Lou to show up and departed Mazatlan for a 3 day passage to PV. Our plan was to visit Isla Isabella, Chacala Bay and round the Point at Punta Mita into Banderas Bay. Sailing and weather don’t always follow “the plan”!