Friday, November 29, 2019

Lazing by the Pool, el veintinueve de noviembre, 2019

I started out the day walking along the street that thankfully is now mostly dry.  Traffic is back to normal.  A car stopped beside me and asked if I wanted to see a timeshare presentation.  It would only take 90 minutes and I’d earn $200 US and he’d earn $100.  I was unsure about him because he had his own driver, so rather than get in that car, we took a pulmonia to the oficina.  After filing out a form, I was put in a room and soon was told that because I was single that the most they could offer me was $50 US not $200.  I said I wasn’t interested in wasting precious sun tanning weather for that pittance so they brought me back to the hotel.  What a crock.  Even though a married couple might only have one wage earner, they still qualify to get the $200!  At least the man leading the meeting didn’t waste any more of my time.  The man who picked me up said he can retire in 4 months, after 30 years of recruiting.  He used to get 3 to 4 clients a day, now he gets that many in a week so he’s looking forward to being done.

After my failed timeshare meeting, I went out to the water.  I’m not sure about this fancy hotel business.  Yes I like the room, but no more than my apartment.  Yes I like the access to the water, but it gets hot sitting out there all day.  The views are nice and my first one was across the infinity pool to the ocean-

That’s pretty sweet.  I moved to the other side for awhile to change the angle of the sun-

then stuck my feet in the pool.  It was cold - of course it’s not heated.  The tide was in, the red flags were up and all the garbage that was on the beach last night and all the water that was on the streets was gone.  Kind of gross when you think about it-

I baked for awhile, then got dressed and went walking.  I stopped at Carl Jr’s for lunch.  I’ve never eaten in one before and it was really good.  I had a guacamole burger with tocino and fries-

I wandered back to the hotel and went back out to sunbathe.  Tomorrow I’ll do the same in the morning and then catch the bus to Los Mochis at 1:30.  There’s a 3, 5 and 10 km mini marathon in the morning at the Malecon so I hope it doesn’t screw up the buses when it’s time for me to leave.

I’m kind of getting bored so it’s good to be moving on.  I’m feeling like Raymond-

Thursday, November 28, 2019

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, The Town is Shut Down! El 28 de noviembre, 2019

Happy Birthday to me, blah, blah, blah!  I’ve been looking forward to today, not because I am now 58 - that doesn’t bother me, but I have splurged and am moving into a fancy place called the Palmas Resort of Mazatlan.  However, I knew the forecast said rain for today - I could handle that because it says sunny for tomorrow, so one day sunburning on the chaise longue will suffice, however....

It started pouring about 2 this morning-

The drainage system seems non existent, so streets are flooded-

and the water runs onto the sidewalks.  It also means there are no buses so no one can get to work so few shops are open.  I waited about 20 minutes for a bus to come and not one passed by.  Usually in that time, there would be at least 20 if not more.  Finally I asked and was told that buses don’t run in the rain.  WTF?  Only in Mexico I guess.  So, I went back to my apartment, thank goodness I didn’t lock it up, to wait for the rain to quit and drain away.  I tried Uber too, but no cars were available.

In a few minutes, Alan, my landlord, and Ian from Cambridge, Ontario showed up.  Ian is renting another apartment from Alan for 5 months.  He drove down with a BMW motorcycle in the back of his truck but customs would not give him permission to ride it so it will sit for the winter and he’ll haul it home and sell it.  He had come with Alan to see my place and just so happened to have a truck.  When I told him my lack of transport, he volunteered to drive me.  Thank goodness because I don’t think the buses will run all day!

Higher vehicles were having fun-

Alan had a picture from FB that showed a car completely underwater but you could see its headlights were on.  You can’t help stupid.  When we were about two blocks from my hotel, the police had the road barricaded and we could drive no further.  I walked the 500 meters or so in filthy swirling water higher than my knees-

Sometimes garbage would go past my ankles and I would freak, thinking it was a snake or God only knows what other nastiness.  I hung on to walls or buildings or fences as I crept along because I couldn’t see the uneven ground and the last thing I wanted to do was fall with my phone, camera and IPad.  Eventually I made it to the hotel where the driveway was a disaster of litter and tree branches.  Many people were hanging around with their luggage but there was no way to get anywhere.  Many flights have been cancelled.

However, the beach looks great-

And my room is nice-

So is the view from my deck-

And I hope this is what I’ll see tomorrow-

Not sure what I’ll do for food.  The kitchen has limited staff and are serving sandwiches.  Oh well, it isn’t going to spoil my time!  Looking forward to sunshine tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Mazatlan, el veintisiete de noviembre, 2019

I had three goals today:  visit the Museo Arqueologico, change money and go to my Spanish class.  I got a better rate today - $18.40 pesos for $1 US.  Two weeks ago I only got $18.10.  I also received a regalo, a gift, of $18 for dealing at Elektra.  It’s an appliance store with a busy bank in the back.  They wear uniforms and there are windows like in a normal bank so it’s not shady, although I did get two kinds of 500 peso notes.  Until today, I’ve only ever seen reddish brown 500s and today I got blue ones.  I asked another worker on my way out of the store if there were two colours and she said there were.  I didn’t want to be ripped off.

I wandered by City Hall and took a peek at the mural on the second floor-

It was painted by Aaron Zamudio in 2010 to commemorate Mazatlan’s Bicentennial.

The Museo Arqueologico has only four rooms and I didn’t see the mammoth I’m sure the man outside on Monday was talking about, but the same man was inside working today.  This area of Mexico-

was first inhabited, or at least the artefacts that have been found, date from 250 BC - 750 BC.  There are a lot of carved stones-

and pottery pieces-

and carved vases-

One of three carved penises without an explanation.  I guess there isn’t really much to say-

After centuries of burying their dead in a coffin of straw matting or sometimes without even a coffin, they started to clean the body of all soft tissues, then dismember it and place it carefully inside a large funeral urn  Larger bones were put in first and the skull was put on the top.  The ceramic funeral urn was then buried underground and could contain more than one family member if required.  The ritual was designed to portray the return of the deceased to the uterus of Mother Earth, the Goddess of all agricultural societies-

  There were also obsidian arrow heads-

A skeleton-

a necklace made of 1922 pieces- 1699 shells and 253 green stones / turquoise probably worn during ceremonies-

A ball from the game of Ulama which is still played today in some areas of Mexico on a field called a tastes-

A hunchback was seen as lucky-

so they were revered and often involved in local governments.  The teeth have been filed into points-

Walking home I passed a cake shop-

I hung out in Plazuela Machado, enjoying people watching and the greenery. I returned to the Mercado for chilies relleno, but they were the same as what I had in Bucerias, certainly not as good as I had in Guatemala-

I got a text about 1 pm that there would be no Spanish class again today.  Oh well, Luna did say that it was mainly a class for beginners working on vocabulary. I think I might have been to advanced for the group anyway!  That seems funny saying that!  Me advanced in Spanish!

I came home and enjoyed the AC while having a beer, reading and working on my Spanish workbook.  I’m looking forward to moving to my fancy hotel tomorrow!  Hope it’s worth it!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Mazatlan, el 25-26 de noviembre, 2019

Yesterday was a quiet day except for seeing The Irishman at a third theatre right on main road of the Golden Zone.  I could bike to the end of the Malecon and then walk about 10 minutes. The theatre is an old place but the chairs rock and are comfortable and it only cost $1.37 to see a new release!  Frozen 2 is there - I’ve never seen the first one but for 20 pesos?

Along the way, two of my favourite things-

I’ve been having great relaxing mornings - reading the paper and now I’m reading Testaments by Margaret Atwood and having a hard time putting it down.  So, I spent the morning reading, walked 15 steps to a taqueria and wanted only 3 tortillas but she gave me 6 for twenty cents.  They were still warm!  I bought some marmelada so I can eat them, otherwise they’re so blah.  Then after a snooze - a snooze for God’s sake!, I went walking.  I found a luncheria and had a hamburguesa con queso, tomate y lechuga, walked to Plazuela Machado where luckily there was a bike and went to the Malecon.  

There’s a swimming pool on the beach called the Carpa Olivera Saltwater Public Swimming Pool and it’s been here since 1914 and recently was renovated-

There’s even a water slide but it wasn’t working-

Nearby were men shucking oysters-

I rode to the end of the Malecon then walked east to a huge grocery store, then found a gigantic mall that had a DAIRY QUEEN!!!!!.  I had a a Blizzard of course!, then made my way back to the Malecon and biked home.  I decided to park in a new spot but the GPS wouldn’t cooperate.  I parked my bike in front of the door to Coppel, a local department store, but the GPS said I was parked across the street.  The green dot is supposedly the bike, the blue circle is where I’m standing which is right beside the supposed parking spot-

 Well, here’s where I am-

I don’t think they want the bike in the store.  I’m sure VBike will be glad when I leave town.  I send them emails and pictures just about every ride I take.  They don’t maintain the bikes very well so I make sure to point out the repairs that are required.  Also, the GPS sometimes shows there are bikes when there aren’t so I report that too.

So tonight I’ll finish my book and tomorrow will be my last day in this area so I have a few errands to do - money to change, the Archaeological Museum to visit and a Spanish lesson at 1:30!  Not sure when I’ll get my nap in!

P.S.   My third favourite!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Mazatlan, el veinticuatro de noviembre, 2019

What a life I have!  I spent three hours this morning, strolling through Centro, sort of following a walking tour I found online.  I found a Lutheran Church but it was locked up.  I knocked on the door of a neighbour and asked about it.  He said there would be a service at five tonight, so I’ll go back... maybe.

Construction on the Juarez Building started midway through the 19th century.  Today it’s a popular restaurant in Plazuela Mochada-

The German Notion’s Store was founded in the 1840s and it functioned for a hundred years.  All sorts of things could be bought here - notions, hardware, tile, toys, jewelry. watches, art, fine furniture and musical instruments.  Unfortunately during World War II, the owner, who was of course German, was forced to close and flee Mexico-

Other beautiful buildings-

I’ve been by the Freeman Hotel, but not stopped in.  The view from the rooftop bar is awesome-

Looking towards El Faro-

Along the Malecon, looking north-

Looking north-east.  My place is just overtop the Basilica spires to the left of the tall white building-

I love this-

I stopped at the Museo Arqueologico and think I was told to come back Wednesday when the temporary exhibit of a mammoth would be open.  Nearby is a piece of train track.  May 5, 1877, mules started pulling trams, thus beginning public transportation in Mazatlan-

The Plazuela Hidalgo is also called Plazuela de los Leones.  It’s formal name is for Miguel Hidalgo who is the Father of Independence and it’s the second oldest square in the city after Plazuela Machado.  It gets its more common name from the two lion sculptures that flank the entrance to the biblioteca-

I stopped at the Mercado for lunch and found zarandeado or at least a rendition of it - camarones, tomate, ajo, cebolla and queso steamed in a tinfoil pack.  It was delicious-

I spent the afternoon writing my Christmas letter and booking buses and Air BNBs for my upcoming trip.  I’ve said it before - it’s so much work!

At 4:40, I left for church which was to begin at 5.  No, no, no - we are on Mexican time. Already there was an American couple - she was practicing the flute with the minister-

who was playing the guitar- 

She was a blowbag American.  They’ve been coming here for months at a time since 1987 and neither can speak Spanish.  She’s responsible for starting the only four hospices in the whole country so I’ll give her that but her husband was a whipped wimp and she talked a lot about herself.  She’s the first person I’ve met on this trip I didn’t like.

Anyway, apparently, the congregation of what?  two?  doesn’t have a minister and this fellow came from a not so close village for tonight’s service.  This meant there would be communion.  Soon, a family of four arrived and then we waited.  What for, I wasn’t sure but at about 5:20, five adults walked in - Mom and Dad and their three grown daughters.  They were from the same village as the minister and the Mom and two of her three daughters are high school teachers.  Everyone was super welcoming - shaking my hand, asking my name, kissing me on the cheeks.  And so the service started.  We sang hymns for a long time.  I used a Spanish hymn book-

and could keep up except they have to skip a bunch of words for the song to jive with the music. We also read a bunch of Bible verses out loud. I used my phone to find them because there were no Bibles in the church but I couldn’t keep up reading-

Juan 6 - 63 
El espíritu es el que da vida; la carne para nada aprovecha; las palabras que yo os he hablado son espíritu y son vida.

Proverbios 28 - 13
El que encubre sus pecados no prosperará;
Mas el que los confiesa y se aparta alcanzará misericordia. 

No wonder I couldn’t understand much of the twenty minutes of prayer and that was after the woman asked everyone in the congregation what they wanted to pray about and then people said their personal prayers out loud anyway.  Then the Minister started and didn’t stop until quarter to seven.  I was praying - that my phone would buzz and I could politely peace out but no such luck.  Then it was time for the offering. They used a red velvet sack and people put there hand right into it to drop their coins.  Me, big spender, gave $50 which is $3.44.  I left after that.  Holy, for those who don’t think there’s a God, there is, and s/he was getting me back for my absence at church in North Battleford, I’m sure of it!

I’m very comfortable so far on this trip.  I’m enjoying being by myself, but I’m not really alone because I meet people everyday.  I love the independence of having my own apartment, especially when it’s where the action is.  The internet makes it so easy to figure out what to do and the bus system in Mexico is second to none.  It’s so easy to get everywhere and there’s so much to do.  I’m having a great winter and tomorrow is another day!

  Cancun, Mexico to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,     December 31, 2023 I was up at 4:30 and walking to the bus depot by 5:30.  I wore my headlam...