28 February, 2021

Before moving here, I’d been coming to Mazatlán since 2010, usually two or three times a year. I’ve been to a lot of places around the area. I’ve done most of the ‘tourist’ things. I have saved a few local things to do ‘later’ though … you have to have things to plan for and look forward to!

One of the things I hadn’t done, well two actually, was to take the bus to Colonia Juárez on Sunday for the tianguis (flea market). I think ALL of the buses to Juárez go past my apartment. They start just a bit before 6 am, and end just after 9 pm. Every five to fifteen minutes. One, and often two or three at a time. None of them have a working muffler! Anyway …. I’ve asked about the tianguis before and every time I do people tell me to take ‘The Juárez Bus’. It is evident that the people I spoke to don’t know that there are a good half-dozen Juárez bus lines.

At the beginning of the month I posted about following the buses on foot. I actually repeated the walk last week just to get a little exercise. All of the Juárez buses I saw were headed to the same spot, so I’m going out on a limb and saying that most, if not all, buses that say ‘Juárez’ will take you where you need to be to enjoy the Sunday shopping – but ASK the driver first, before you pay for a ride and find yourself somehow in Cerritos!

So this morning I hopped on the first Juárez bus that didn’t say ‘directo’ on it (I figured, ‘direct’ to someplace I didn’t want to be would put a crimp in my day). I took out my phone and loaded Google Maps and watched as we made our way towards the Colonia. There’s road construction, so the trip took about 15 to 20 minutes. Not bad for $9.50 pesos (around .50 cents USD)! If you’re taking a Juárez bus to the Sunday tianguis, you’ll want to get off at the Iglesia del Carmen. It’s right across the street from the Mercado Municipal Miguel Hidalgo.

You can’t miss the tianguis. There are a ton of vendors, and they sprawl up and down the side streets too. EVERYTHING imaginable was for sale, and then some! There was a spot that had car mirrors! Side mirrors. Rearview mirrors. Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors!!!! I spotted a bathroom sink and thought I’d post a picture of it making fun of the tianguis having a bathroom, but not a kitchen sink. Then I spotted a kitchen sink a little further back! Most of the items for sale seemed to be clothing and food. Fresh produce and lots of street food. Things were very busy when I was there, and there wasn’t a single spot to sit at any of the street food stands. I’d suggest getting there before 10 am, or going later.

I actually did take a lot of pictures, but later noticed I’d forgotten to check my camera at the beginning of the day. My camera has a little mode dial that often gets jostled and it was pointing between two settings. Some of the photos just never got saved. But – I did have a few, so here you go. These are both the tianguis and the mercado. Via bus, Uber, taxi, or pulmonia – this is an excursion you should do at least once!

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10 February, 2021

It’s been a while since I posted about grocery shopping so I thought I’d give a little idea of the prices of some of the things I buy on a regular basis. My neighborhood doesn’t have a supermarket proper, but does have a few abarrotes. They only carry small portions of things though – so they’re great for things you need last minute, but not for a weekly shopping trip. Ley Express is a ten minute walk away, the mercado Pino Suarez is 15 minutes, and there is a Fruteria Alicia on the way home from either.

Mercado Pino Suarez is the place I go for meat, dried chili’s, grasa (the rendered pork fat that isn’t ultra processed), and sometimes fruit and veggies. I also get some of the more Méxican items here, like epazote. El Marino has a stall here so I get my coffee and coffee filters here as well.

Ley and the other supermarkets are where I go for canned and packaged foods. I also buy the bulk of my veggies from Ley as they are consistently better quality and I don’t have to go to multiple places to find everything. They don’t have the best prices, but they are pretty reasonable. Soriana is the only place I’ve found that has cheddar cheese that tastes like cheddar cheese. It’s expensive and not really on my diet, but it’s an indulgence. I can often find dill pickles in the import aisle too!

Fruteria Alicia, at least the one near me, is often out of things like tomatoes. Or jalapeños. Or all of the carrots are split. But the ladies there are nice, and if I can’t find (or more likely, have forgotten) something at Ley or the mercado, then I’ll stop on my way home and pick it up. I think out of the three places, they have the best bargains.

I only shop at OXXO when I’m traveling, and then only until I find the local mercado. Prices aren’t as bad as 7-11 is in the USA, but they are higher than other places, have a limited selection, and really – there are abarrotes every couple of blocks and I’d much rather do business with them.

Here’s a photo of my purchases from the last trip to Ley Express. The trip was mainly for veggies, but I also picked up some orange drink, fish sticks, worcestershire sauce, oregano, and jelly.

Groceries from Ley Express, Feb 2021

And then the prices. EVERYTHING (well, all the food – the instant pot, glasses, and my silverware need to be excluded) in the photo above came to $11.62 USD. Take note that tomatoes were on sale – at .13 cents USD a pound! Yes, fruits and veggies are incredibly cheap here. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian you could live super cheaply. I find that chicken is about the same price, maybe a little less, than what I paid in Seattle. Beef and pork are less, but they aren’t crazy low. The big benefit is that you buy from the butcher and develop a relationship with them – it’s a much more personal experience than throwing a plastic wrapped package in your cart.

Grocery prices from Ley Express, Feb 2021
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7 February, 2021

Que Pasa, in the Gold Zone, is holding Spanish classes on Saturdays. 50 pesos for an hour class – not bad, PLUS I discovered that Genaro from the Costa de Oro is now working there! I arrived a little early, so I wandered to the beach for a while.

Tonight I felt like a little sunset walk, so I made my way from my apartment to Olas Altas, then down almost to the Fisherman’s Monument – and back. Almost 15,000 steps for the day so the extra calories I ate this week shouldn’t be a problem with my diet! We’ll see tomorrow!

My stove is getting more difficult to light, which is one of the signs my gas tank is almost empty. I think I might be able to get through until Tuesday or Wednesday, but a new tank is definitely going to be needed soon. I always feel sorry for the delivery guy that has to lug the full tank up my 35 steps, and the empty one back down – so I tip him fairly well. I use Gaspasa and it usually only takes around 20 minutes from the time I call until they arrive. One of these days I’ll get them to change the customer name from “Gringo” though!

And a little heads up for anyone thinking about buying a wok here in Mazatlán. Yes, Toyo foods has them – but they have some strange coating on them. I think it’s supposed to be the non-stick coating. I always use a little WD40 to remove the adhesive from price labels, and when I sprayed it on the adhesive on the wok, the coating came off too. Getting all of it off was a major pain in the butt. There was a warning label on the wok saying it DID NOT meet California health standards. I’m pretty sure the coating was why. But, now it’s gone, and my rice will now be fried easily! The last trip down from the USA I tried to bring my wok, but it’s HUGE and wouldn’t fit in my medium sized suitcase! I did bring a new set of bamboo steaming baskets, so that’ll take care of the awkward metal steamer whose legs keep falling off.

Ok, time to rest my feet. This post was just to put up a few current photos of Mazatlán for those in need of a little remote visit.

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2 February, 2021

If you’re 60 or older and a citizen, temporary, or permanent resident, you can use your CURP number to register for the Covid-19 vaccine. Debate Media has posted a handy guide in Spanish (https://www.debate.com.mx/politica/Como-registrar-a-un-adulto-mayor-para-recibir-vacuna-contra-Covid-19-Secretaria-de-Salud-explica–20210202-0040.html). Following is a google translated copy.

Note that I haven’t been able to get the website to load.  Perhaps they’re doing maintenance, or it’s just overwhelmed.  Your mileage may vary, and it’s not a bad idea to just keep trying every now and again.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a guide only and I don’t warrant it to be complete or accurate in any manner. As with anything concerning your health, please do your own research. Please refer to the originating website (https://www.debate.com.mx/politica/Como-registrar-a-un-adulto-mayor-para-recibir-vacuna-contra-Covid-19-Secretaria-de-Salud-explica–20210202-0040.html) for clarifications or further information.

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2 February, 2021

Quarantine is finished, so yesterday I decided to take a long walk. I live on a MAJOR bus line, and I think all of the Juarez buses go past my apartment (several at a time, in 5 minute increments). One of my to-do’s is to hop on them and see where I wind up. I haven’t done it yet because there has to be something to put off for a rainy day!

So, yesterday when I decided to take a long walk I thought it was the perfect opportunity to follow the buses. I logged about 15,000 steps for the day doing it too!

Set off from my apartment at the East end of Ángel Flores, down through the ciudad perdida, and made my way to Avenida Gabriel Leyva. Made a left and just kept walking. A lot of the route was slightly familiar as most of the cab drivers from the airport take me home this way. Much of the beginning was industrial/waterfront and not much to see or do, but then it made way to the Juarez area where there were lots of shops and restaurants. Very colorful and there were a lot of people out shopping. When I hit Insurgentes I turned and followed it until I arrived at the malecón. Two hours, and a couple of blisters later and I was ready to hop on the bus and make my way home.

Of course, since I love anything chicken and being on a diet, I noticed every chicken joint along my walk. There were many. MANY. And most of them had the same special – two rotisserie chickens for $150 pesos. Google maps did let me figure out just where I was, but I didn’t have the timing down so I passed up the offers not knowing how long I’d have chickens getting cold in my backpack. What I *did* do however, was jump off the Sabalo Centro bus at Zaragoza and walk over to El Pechugon (https://www.facebook.com/elpechugonmazatlan)! They have pretty tasty chicken – not two for $150 pesos, but the paqueta #1 is a full chicken, 4 of what I call taquitos and they call tacos, a bag of salsa, and a big bag of potatoes for $145 pesos. If you haven’t had El Pechugon’s potatoes you’re missing out. They cook them at the bottom of the rotisserie. All the chicken fat drips on them while everything is cooking. Keep in mind that the whole rotisserie is HOT, and the chicken fat has to be fairly hot to get to a dripping point. You’re not likely to get food poisoning because of the process! El Pechugon is also a chain, and if you visit Puerto Vallarta there’s one in old town too. I think they’re all take-out only, so don’t expect to find a place to sit and eat.

After two hours of walking I was past ready for lunch, and my daily nap! The nap went from my usual 15 minutes to 60, so now of course, it’s midnight and I’m wide awake! Today is definitely not going to be a day to go walking – my feet need to have their day of rest, but I absolutely do plan on hopping on one of the Juarez buses and doing the trip in style next time!

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27 January, 2021

Noroeste has an article about Covid-19 testing being available at the airport. Appears they’ll start with the antigen test, and they’re still researching offering the PCR test that’s required for flights to Canada. Read all about it here (use chrome, and translate it): https://www.noroeste.com.mx/publicaciones/view/aeropuerto-de-mazatlan-inicia-aplicacion-de-pruebas-covid-19-a-pasajeros-de-vuelos-internacionales-1221439. If you can’t access it, here’s a PDF copy in English:

I’m still quarantining, with daily walks at early hours and less traveled streets.  Yesterday I decided to explore in a direction I haven’t gone yet.  Yes, I know – I’ve been here almost three years now.  You would think I’d explored at least all of my neighborhood!  Anyway, I turned the corner going towards the CFE office and BOOM!  There it was in my face!  They’d been clearing the lot when I left – why is it that some things take years to build, and others are up in 3 months????  I’m not sure I’m liking an OXXO a block from me.  There are already 2 abarrotes and a panadaria.  And the mercado and Ley Express are both only 15 minutes away walking.  And it’s going to increase traffic to Marisqueria El Changuirongo, which is right across the street – now I’ll never be able to get a table (once Covid-19 is handled)!

OXXO
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22 January, 2021

I’ve been back for four days now. At first I felt like the cold and drizzle followed me from Seattle. It was in the 70’s during the day, but I had to break out my travel blanket at night!

A trip to the mercado, and one to Ley Express and my refrigerator and pantry are restocked. I will now be quarantining in my apartment for the next 10 to 14 days. This time around I’m not going to forego my walks. There are several walks I take where I see very few people – and I can walk in the street to avoid them. I will also continue to wear my mask.

I walked to Olas Altas yesterday and noticed a few changes. First, the Brazilian buffet that’s been there for years (Encanto do Brasil – https://www.facebook.com/encantodobrasilbuffet/) is gone. I tried them once, which was enough for me. Not that the food was bad, but they had a fly problem – INSIDE. And they went pretty light on the portions. Just not a combination that makes me want to return. Their Facebook page says they’re re-opening in a new location. Hopefully they’ll be cleaner and more successful. Anyway, the place that’s now in their location is a cervecería called, “Cotorritos” (https://www.facebook.com/cotorritosolasaltas). Looks like there’s another one located at the Marina as well. Will have to give them a try in a few weeks!

Cotorritos

Just a few doors down there was another new sign – La Cerve Fat & Cebas (https://www.facebook.com/lacervefatandsebas). Looks to be a sports bar with wings and burgers.

La Cerve Fat & Cebas

Yesterday was a typically beautiful day in Mazatlán! The rain had stopped, the clouds had left, and it had warmed up enough to be a little uncomfortable in jeans.

On the way back home, I noticed that there’s a new Intercam bank branch opening in Centro Historico! They aren’t my favorite bank, but they have my fideicomiso. Hopefully they’ll be open soon and save me having to schlep a couple of miles down Av. Del Mar when I need to visit them. They’re between Olas Altas and the Plazuela Machado.

New Intercam branch

Craziness in the USA has now come to an end, but the travel restrictions that should have been in place from the beginning are now going into effect. Covid-19 test required to enter for international travelers, and a mandatory quarantine (Haven’t heard how many days yet). Will make a post when I know more about the types of approved tests and the quarantine length.

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20 December, 2020

Thankfully 2020 is almost over.  In less than three weeks, I’ll be home – back in the land of sun and warm!  At least once a day I open my door here in Seattle and take in the grey and drizzle, just to reaffirm my decision to relocate!

People are constantly asking how ‘safe’ México is, and I’ll tell you now that I feel infinitely safer in Mazatlán than I do in Seattle.  Crime here is skyrocketing and Seattle isn’t alone.  There’s a different feeling in the United States these days, and it’s not a good one.  People think they’re entitled to be nasty to one another, and the police have a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ attitude.  Whatever happened to protect and serve?  Where are the rubber bullets?  And if I, as an older white guy, feel intimidated I can only imagine how minorities feel.

Now the vaccines are being distributed, but it will likely be several months before my number comes up and my turn in line moves to the front.  So I’ll quedate en casa in my little apartment, but I’m going to resume my daily walks.  During my trip down the Pacific coast of México, I saw a lot of great sights – and many of them were food.  The fifteen pounds I’d lost are back and I’m ready to get back on the diet wagon!

I’ve been thinking that when I get back I might make a few videos to show some of the places in Mazatlán I enjoy.  Until then, Mazatleco.com and their associated Facebook and YouTube pages will have to do.  Things are in Spanish, but you can turn captions on in the YouTube videos, and have YouTube translate them.  I’ll admit that Gustavo is putting out some great videos – there’s a recent one that he took at the aquarium.  If you haven’t been, this will give you an excellent overview.  Of particular note is the board listing events that appears eleven seconds into the video.  The aquarium has four shows (twice a day?), and if it’s your first visit I suggest you follow the crowds to see them.  I’ll warn you that sitting up front at the seal performance might not be the best of ideas if you want to stay dry!  The aquarium is well worth a visit.  I’m looking forward to the new aquarium opening too.  Not sure if they’ll close this one, or not – we’ll see!

Here’s the link to the video:  https://youtu.be/nzvwbG0pPrQ

There are also videos of El Faro, the Malecón, Isla de la Piedra, and a lot of restaurant reviews.  In fact, there’s a review of my favorite marisqueria (El Changuirongo) coming up!  Take a look at the Mazatleco YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/Mazatlecom/videos) even if it’s just for one of their sunset videos!

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12 December, 2020

I will say that it was a bit of a shock going from 90 degree weather to 45 degree weather, but the worst are the grey skies and drizzle.  I spoke with a doctor and she told me not to expect the Covid-19 vaccine before late Spring, so I decided I would go home to Mazatlán in a few weeks and then come back up a few weeks before my scheduled trip to Europe this coming Summer.  Five more weeks and then I’ll be home!  Seems like forever!

And while I’m waiting to return, I’ll have to be happy with videos from other people . . . Mazatlán certainly has some stunning sunsets!

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27 November, 2020

Being that I’m away from Mazatlán for a while I rely on my security system to keep an eye on my little apartment.  I have two types of cameras monitoring the apartment – a Blink camera outside my entry and one on the roof.  Inside the apartment I have a Canary Pro.

The reason for two systems is that I preferred the options of the Blink system for the outdoor cameras, and those of the Canary Pro for indoors.  In addition to a camera, the Canary Pro tells me the air quality, temperature, humidity, and also has a microphone/speaker in case I needed to use it to speak with someone in the apartment.  Note that the newer Blink cameras also have microphones/speakers so communication is available with them as well.  I have the older mute model!

I have the camera on the roof because the previous owner of my apartment told me that he had trouble with roof jumpers stealing the lid to the tinaco.  His solution was to screw the lid into place – which has worked pretty well.  I have the Blink camera pointed at the tinaco to catch both the lid stealing roof jumpers, and my petty neighbor who thinks it’s great fun for him to turn off the water to my tinaco.  I’ve caught him doing it once but didn’t say anything as that would let him know the camera is there.  One day he might do something worse, and I’d like to have a recording of it.

The Blink cameras are small, weatherproof, run on batteries (which last a good year), and have excellent resolution.  

Both of the systems work with Amazon Echo, and have apps for iPhone and Android.  I recently purchased an Amazon Echo Show, and am impressed with the ability to see each of my cameras in Mazatlán with a simple voice command.

All of the cameras require an internet connection, and the Blink cameras require a hub.  The Blink hub also requires an electrical outlet, as does the Canary Pro, so placement of each will be limited to areas where you have power.

I’ve had these systems for a few years now, and am extremely happy with them.  Occasionally the Canary Pro will believe I’m away and will then send me alerts saying it has detected someone – but other than that it’s been reliable and worry free.  The Blink is prone to activate when it rains hard, so I just temporarily disable them during the downpours in summer.

If you’re interested, here are links to each product.  These are direct links – I don’t get a kickback if you buy!

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