26 July, 2021

Just a quick update. Mazatlán is going to start requiring vaccination cards in shops, restaurants, bars, etc. on 2 August.

Here’s a copy of the post on the Facebook group Mazatlan Rant & Rave:

Covid-19 Restrictions

And here’s a video on Youtube. You can turn closed captioning on, then select translate to English if you need to …

Covid-19 Restrictions

The video suggests that the actual card needs to be shown. I’ll have photos in my phone as well, and will try to use that first so I don’t have to get my card smudged.

Here’s one more document:

May be an image of text
Covid-19 Restrictions

The google translated version of above:

  • As of Monday, August 2, we will require proof of vaccination from anyone who is going to enter a business, entertainment center, restaurant, bar or club.
  • We call on those who have not been able to apply a vaccination, take advantage of the date of lag attention that the vaccination program maintains in Mazatlán.
  • The measure of unrestricted use of face masks and / or protective mask is maintained to leave the house to carry out any activity.
  • It is requested that all young people between 18 and 29 years old go to the UAS sports center, convention center, military hospital and German Evers court to get vaccinated.
  • That all Young People from 18 to 29 Years old register and go to the vaccination center that corresponds to them, for this the hours have been extended from 7 AM to 7 PM.
  • It is important to come on the day of your appointment with your vaccination record in its new version with the integrated QR code, since only this will be valid for your vaccination to be applied.
  • We call on employers or businessmen in general to encourage their workers to go to get vaccinated.
  • That employers or employers who wish to transfer their workers, have access and ease to receive their vaccine at any vaccination center.
  • The municipal covid center continues to offer low-cost tests, by appointment and socioeconomic study.
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17 July, 2021

I have some very evil neighbors! I was looking out my window on Monday, and saw them tying one of those big vinyl signs to the side of their house. The last time a sign went up in my neighborhood, it was outside the apartment below me and advertised treatment for lice. Thankfully THAT one is gone!

The neighbors were putting up a sign for a restaurant called ‘Taqueria Guadalajara’. There’s a facebook page with minimal information (https://www.facebook.com/Tacos-De-Asada-Guadalajara-108458334777181) that says they’re on the outskirts of town. I don’t know if they moved or if they opened a second location. Either way, my diet is in serious trouble!

Here are some photos. The first is from their Facebook page. No price for the Huaraches, so I’m guessing they aren’t doing them here.

Their prices are very decent for the amount of meat you get. I’ve only had the asada (con todo = onion, cilantro, and beans) because they’re always out of lengua by the time I get there. Not even going to try the sesos – no thanks! 🙂 And they gave me a grilled jalapeño and a grilled serrano with my order of three tacos. My to-go order of two tacos just had a serrano – but it was enough! If you’d like to give them a visit, they’re at the corner of Ángel Flores and Francisco Villa (the street Francisco Villa, not the colonia!), facing the Francisco Villa side. I think they open around 7 pm. Their sign says they’re closed on Wednesday, but this week they were open on Wednesday and closed on Thursday so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I cooked some chicken breasts in the insta-pot a few days ago and had 4 cups of gelatin after. Four cups of liquid is what I use for a cup of dry lentils, so that was a no-brainer! I find it takes a little longer to cook lentils in gelatin, so it’s boil for 30 minutes instead of 20. I think tonight’s dinner may just be lentils with shredded chicken! Mmmm! Diet, watch out!

Lentils cooked in chicken gelatin.
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2 July, 2021

When you get to a certain age you think you’ve seen it all. Yesterday I saw something I’ve never seen before! At first I had to blink a couple of times because it didn’t seem real, but it was! And of course I had to look it up on the internet!

A kaleidoscope. That’s what it’s called. A kaleidoscope of butterflies. They weren’t monarchs, but rather the plain white ones I’ve always called cabbage moths. But there were a couple thousand of them. One big ball of fluttering white butterflies, followed by about 20 minutes of stragglers – alone and in small groups.

They all seemed to be headed towards Cabo. Is there a party I’m not invited to? Really, it was both strange and awe inspiring at the same time. No pictures, but here’s one of monarchs I ‘borrowed’ from a website.

It seems that there’s always a Yang to every Yin, and yesterday’s was one of the Youtube vloggers I [used to] follow who said he thinks he has Covid, but is going to get on a bus and travel. What? Even if it’s just a bad cold or the flu, only an irresponsible person gets into a metal tube with dozens of other people when they’re ill. And only someone who has left their intelligence someplace else vlogs about doing it. Good luck to you, but more luck to those who are around you!

Skies this morning in Mazatlán are grey, and it looks like one of those 50/50 kind of days. Rain, or sun. Sun, or rain. If I go on a walk now and it rains, I’ll be soaked by the time I get home. On the other hand, if I wait until the clouds burn off it’ll be too hot to walk! Where’s a beer and a table at Lety’s when you need one? Hmmm, that’s a thought! Nah. Today needs to be an ‘order tortas ahogadas’ day from El Mono, so I need to stay home! Maybe next week?

And in closing I’ll leave you with today’s breakfast. Back on my diet. Veggies are the only consistent foods that are low in calories, so I’m eating a lot of them. Well, potatoes aren’t so low calorie – but hey, sometimes you have to do what you have to do! I am thinking that perhaps a serrano and a jalapeño both were overkill, but I’m enjoying a little morning tingle!

Scrambled eggs with veg.
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26 June, 2021

So today was Mazatlán Pride. I went. For some reason I thought that the red light that came on when I pressed record on my new camera meant that it was recording. Silly me.

I do have a couple of shots from the camera …

Mazatlán Pride Dog
Leading the Pride Parade

But that’s it for pride!

On the way to where the parade started, I passed the little park like area at the south end of Playa Norte. One of the guys that puts a stick with fish at the end in his mouth for the sea birds to come eat started screaming at me that I couldn’t take photos. They aren’t his Freaking birds so he can Freak off. I wasn’t shooting HIM, or his fishy little stick! If he wants to come take pictures of me in Plazuela Republica when I scatter birdseed for the pigeons, he’s more than welcome to. Because they’re NOT MY PIGEONS either. Perhaps no video was my karmic payback? Hmmm – still NOT HIS BIRDS! Lol.

Sea birds in Playa Norte

Anyway, it was a great day for the parade. Sun was shining, and there was a strong breeze that cooled everything down. Not so sure how things are going in the after party because it started to cloud up as I went home. And now it’s raining!

Clouds over the Cathedral

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20 June, 2021

Tropical storm Dolores made a drive-by last night! Just after midnight I heard the skies open and the rain come tumbling down! I think I’ve said before that my end of the street slopes, so I don’t have the flooding problems that are prevalent in other parts of Mazatlán. Sometimes a couple of FEET of water will accumulate in streets; if it happens to be one of the streets the buses use, then workers are in for a bumpy night.

Today I decided that I would hit restaurant MiYeya and see how their weekend buffet fits in with my discriminating food tastes (lol). Turns out it fits very well. So I grabbed my backpack and called an uber. The only problem is that they were packed (Fathers day? Normal Sunday?) and I didn’t make reservations. They were extremely accommodating and made a spot for me at the place where the woman makes tortillas. A little live entertainment, a little lengua, some coffee to wake me up – for $179 (about $9.00 usd) pesos (before propinas) it was a nice morning.

Lengua and chilaquiles from the weekend buffet at Restaurant MiYeya
Weekend buffet at MiYeya

Afterwards I decided that I’d walk down Av. Insurgentes to Colonia Juárez and visit the Sunday tianguis. As I said, my street slopes so I don’t have problems with rain water – but not so much Av. Insurgentes! I had to dodge lots of puddles and a few side streets that could have been traveled by boat. If you have a desire to watch my traveling travails, or just want to see a stretch of Av. Insurgentes, feel free to give the video of the walk a view (https://youtu.be/Dd7TJ5E-jHc). Otherwise, you can jump straight to the tianguis and stroll around with me for a few minutes! Enjoy the audio while you can … Youtube is claiming there’s a copyright violation from the music blaring from one of the shops and it’s going to go away at some point soon! [and, going … going … gone!]

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17 June, 2021

More playing with the new camera. This time I walked from the south end of Playa Norte to the Gold Zone Soriana (old Mega). Took the fun contraptions off of the camera and it recorded the whole hour without overheating once!

“Whole Hour”? Yes, so feel free to double speed, skip ahead and back, find things you want to watch – or just set it going and get some vicarious exercise!

You may note that there’s one point where I peek into a trash can. That shot is there to explain why the malecón has so much trash blowing around. A few years ago the city put these really nice trash recepticles on the malecón. At first they had liners in them, but it didn’t last long. And without the liners, the design of the recepticles is such that if you put trash in the top, it falls out the bottom. Brilliant.

Another pause is to look at one of the old VBike signposts. VBike is one of those ‘pay to use bicycle’ services. At one point they were installed all along the malecón. I ‘heard’ that the city wasn’t getting paid to let them use space on the malecón, so they were forced out. Bike lanes all along the malecón, and if you don’t own one you have to figure out where Baikas has rentals. Brilliant x 2.

I also turn and show the road you take to get to the bus station, and of course the condo’s/apartments/hotel??? where El Chapo was finally caught.

Ok, so on to today’s walk! …

Walk Mazatlán’s malecón at Playa Norte!
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13 June, 2021

I’ve been home for a little over a week now, and think I’ve recovered enough to post about the trip!

36 hours on an Amtrak train. I’ve done this one and a half times before, so you would think I would remember what it’s like. It must be like childbirth, because there are moments – not pleasant ones – where my mind says ‘oh! I remember this!’. Unfortunately, my trip began with one such moment. I had an Uber pick me up and take me to the transit center where I caught a bus to the train station. Well, 2 blocks from the train station, but close enough that it shouldn’t have been an issue, even with the one suitcase with the wheels that no longer turn. When I made it to the station, the door to the elevator from street level to concourse level was locked. The security guard told me it had been locked since Covid lockdowns. This is the ONLY handicapped access to the train station from street level, without going WAY out of your way. So I had to schlep my 47 lb. suitcase down two big flights of stairs, then go back up and do it again with my 35 lb. bag. I have back, heart, and breathing problems (welcome to your 60’s!). THIS WAS NOT FUN. I fully intend on contacting the City of Seattle as the Amtrak personnel told me the city owns the building and it’s their job to come out and open the door. Thankfully I arrived early enough that I had time to stop sweating and let myself dry out before getting on the train.

Then there was the 90-year-old woman who boarded the train somewhere in Oregon and sat 3 rows behind me. When the train pulled out of the station she started screaming ‘LET ME OFF THIS F*****G TRAIN’ as loudly as she could, and interspersed it with a few ‘God Damn Its’ and a lot of coughing up what must have been VERY large hairballs. Many hairballs. There were a few times when she evidently felt she wasn’t getting enough attention and started screaming she was going to be sick. The Amtrak porters obliged her and deposited her at the next station.

I would think that by 90 you have realized that riding a train would give you an anxiety attack. Evidently, I’m just not thinking straight. But now she, and all the passengers in our car, know it. And as a side note – if your COPD has reached the point where your lungs are full of liquid, you need to be on oxygen. And you need to be medicated properly. And if you aren’t on oxygen, nor medicated properly – you should not be exerting yourself by traveling, even if you don’t suffer from anxiety attacks. To be clear, I am sympathetic to her situation, but there were children in our car and her behavior was not acceptable, even allowing for an anxiety attack. The Amtrak porters treated her with care and respect. I don’t know how they did it.

The dining car attendant kept announcing that Amtrak had gone back to 100% booking, yet the dining car had (and still is) been restricted to serving only the passengers in the sleeper cars. Coach, and business class needed to buy their food from the snack bar. When I asked why they were back to 100% booking, but hadn’t opened the dining car to all the passengers, the porters told me that Amtrak management decisions never make sense. I’d brought enough food to last the entire trip (still have some) and just supplemented with a burger here and there, so I really wasn’t bothered – with the exception of being told I wasn’t high class enough to deserve a spot in their exclusive dining car!

For most of the ride I had both seats to myself, but from Eugene to Sacramento I had a seat mate, Debbie. Debbie had been visiting family and we had nice conversations during her time on board. Much of the time was spent sleeping, so we weren’t to the point where we learned each other’s eccentricities! Debbie was going someplace in New México and was puzzled by having to take a bus from Sacramento to Los Angeles. I had to remind her the train moves VERY slowly, and her bus got her to LA a whole 4 hours before the train. Sadly, she would be missing the oceanside scenery.

The rest of the Amtrak journey was smooth and silky! BUT THEN … I had reserved a room at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel near LAX. Two factors made me chose this hotel, price, and the free airport shuttle. Again, I must be thinking like a crazy person. I called them from the train early on the 4th to tell them I would need a late check-in. They said, “No problem, we’re open 24 hours”. They did NOT say, nor was it listed on the site I use to book the room, that their shuttle is NOT 24 hours. So, after arriving at the train station I decided to take the $10 bus to the airport, where I could hop on the shuttle to the hotel. Airport bus drops me off at the hotel pickup spot, and I call the hotel to ask if they just do continual loops, or if I need to let them know I need a pickup. That’s when they tell me the shuttle stops at 9 pm, and I will need to take an Uber/Lyft/Taxi. That pickup lot is 5 blocks away. 5 blocks rolling a 47 lb. bag and dragging a 35 lb. one. And an additional $35, which is what it would have cost me to come from the train station directly. I will be asking the booking agent for a refund of my Lyft ride. I will also let you know that if you visit Los Angeles, do not stay in this hotel. I’ve been to many of the lower end hotels and this Wyndham branded hotel was dirtier and less properly maintained than any of those. The carpeting in the hallways was absolutely disgusting. The light bulb in my bathroom was burned out. There WAS a single cup coffee maker in the room, and a safe was sitting on a wooden box in the closet.

Next morning I checked out and took the now operating shuttle to the airport where I can say with all honesty that the upgrade I opted for to first class was money well spent! Alaska Airlines baggage scale gave the same reading as my home scale, and the one at Amtrak – so they didn’t try to hit me with overweight fees! And wonders of all wonders, the first-class seats in this Alaska Airline plane weren’t like the American Airlines Edith Ann ones! I was comfy, pampered, had one bloody mary, a nice American version of a bahn mi sandwich, and a warm chocolate chip cookie (which I ate, even though chocolate has lactose)! 92 degrees in Mazatlán when we landed and now I’m warm again! Pizza delivery for dinner the first night home (La Rustica), and 4 tortas ahogadas ordered from El Mono which lasted the week! Made it to the Mercado and (as I posted previously) Ley Express. Bags are unpacked, and my kitchen is enjoying its newest member, Mr. Giant Wok! Oh, and yes – customs made me open my suitcases. When they got to the chili crisp they started trying to unwrap it (I had it in two bubble wrap bags) until I told them there were no seeds in it. Then they stopped and put it back! Well, there ARE a few seeds, but they’re from chilis you can buy here, and they’ve been cooked and put in oil, so they’ll never grow. I did a chili crisp happy dance! (note that this is a 24.69 oz bottle!!!!).

Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp
Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp

I never did a menaje de casa when I first moved here, so I’ve been schlepping things down every time I make a run back to Seattle. If you’re coming into México by air, you can bring items valued at up to $500 usd, in addition to your personal items. When it’s iffy, I get online and print receipts/invoices from the places I bought them. If they’re old and used, I go on ebay and find the cheapest listing for the item. When you’re flying and have the airlines branded credit card, you get one free checked bag up to 50 lbs. If you fly first class, you get TWO free checked bags up to 50 lbs. each! There’s a post by Q’Roo Paul on bringing ‘Stuff’ into México – if you have any questions about the topic, you should read this well researched post: https://qroo.us/2019/10/04/mexico-how-much-stuff-can-you-bring-duty-free-and-which-items-are-exempt/. With this trip I now have the giant wok, the chili crisp, and my cold smoke attachment for my smoker! I will soon be finding out how smoked chihuahua cheese tastes!

So, back a little over a week. My body has stopped feeling as if I’m still on a rocking train. My diet has been restarted and I’m getting into the eating sensibly habit again. I’ve been taking a Spanish class from a community college by my house in Seattle, and that’s almost over … and the trip only cost me a missed quiz, one test, and a ‘late’ turn-in for one day’s assignments. Thankfully I’m using a program that doesn’t allow for my grade to affect my transcript! I took the initial Spanish class because the last formal class I had was in 9th grade. This one DEFINITELY filled in some blanks I had. I will likely be taking the next class as well … that one is going to make me do a bit of work in order to succeed.

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9 June, 2021

I’m always surprised at my first trip to the grocery store after getting back home. I bought almost too much to carry back to my apartment, and the total was $20.56 USD. Throw in the $20 I spent at the mercado for chicken and machaca, and some already prepped veggies, and $40 gets me what $100+ did in Seattle.

Today's groceries
Today’s groceries

I made time for an excursion to Stone Island on Sunday. Did a dry run on a new video camera. It definitely doesn’t like the heat in Mazatlán, but before it overheats it does a pretty decent job! If you want to spend a half hour at Lety’s, then another 30 minutes of me getting to Olas Altas, give it a view. You can always kick it into 2x speed mode – or just end it early. It’s always nice to be able to see the beach even if you can’t be there!

Stone Island beach time.

And now, for a little wake-up call for some. INM is cracking down on foreigners without valid tourist permits. Most of the stories I’ve seen have been in Quintana Roo, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t checking documents other places too. Deportation is happening. If you don’t have valid permits, then I would suggest you correct the situation asap. I know that when I’m traveling by bus there are usually checkpoints where they go through bags AND ask for tourist permits/residency cards from those who aren’t citizens. Now INM in Quintana Roo appear to be randomly stopping people. If you don’t want to carry your documents with you (as I believe is required) then at least have a photo of front and back in your phone. They likely will still need to double check your status, but at least they’ll have something to go off of.

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31 May, 2021

My 2 week wait after the second vaccine is done, and I’m enjoying not having to wear a mask everywhere I go. I still have one or two with me in case I’m somewhere that requires them (currently some shops/stores, and transportation – buses/trains/airplanes). I will also abide by whatever guidelines are in place in Mazatlán when I get home … but I think I can move the hand sanitizer from my pants pocket to my backpack. I bought a button that says I’m vaccinated – and wear it when I go out just in case someone might get snippy that I’m not wearing a mask.

There’s a walking/biking trail two blocks from my house in Seattle (the Interurban Trail), so I’ve been taking a few excursions trying to get back in the habit so I might more easily resume my walks in Mazatlán. The 20 lbs. I’ve gained since my trip in late October is not comfortable, and really needs to go away. The diet resumes the minute I get home!

Yard work at the Seattle house is almost done. Not a small task, the green field of two foot tall grass that was the back yard no longer is. Mail has been forwarded. Garbage collection paused. Tomorrow I’ll change the batteries in the security cameras. Then things will get unplugged, hot water tank will be turned off, and any food will be traded with the neighbor for a space in her can for my last bag of trash. I’ll make my way to the train station and then have a day and a half of watching the world go by!

I see that one of the nice Facebook pages about Mazatlán only has 911 members. That would be the ‘Mazatlán México sunrise and sunset by Yvon Marier’ page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1371473443035406). If you’re a fan of the sunsets in Mazatlán you might want to join in on the atardecer fun. It’s always nice to be able to give it a look when I’m not there to see one in person.

Next on my agenda is a trip to Lety’s for a little beach, botanas, and beer. I can almost feel it now!

Carmelita's, Lety's, and Victors @ La Isla de la Piedra
Carmelita’s, Lety’s, and Victors @ La Isla de la Piedra
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7 May, 2021

It’s now been two weeks since my first vaccine. In one more week I’ll get #2, then have the two week wait until it kicks in fully. I was considering getting the shingles vaccine after that but see that the one dose vaccine has been discontinued. I’ll have to ask my doctor if only getting one dose will give me any kind of protection.

Amtrak sent me an email talking about $50 fares, so when I come home I’ll be taking the train from Seattle to Los Angeles, then an overnight stay in a cheap hotel so I can catch a flight to Mazatlán the next morning. Cost, including the hotel, is just a bit more than flying from Seattle to Mazatlán, and I get a little mini train vacation out of it. The views from the Coast Starlight run can be amazing.

Twice now I’ve encountered crazy, angry people when the term ex-pat has been used to describe a Canadian or American living in México. They’ve said that the correct word to use is immigrant, and that ex-pat is what people of privilege use to describe themselves, and that those same people consider immigrants to be lower class.

I’ve tried to explain that expatriate and immigrant are two words that describe the exact same situation, and that neither has a positive or negative connotation. Apparently I’m wrong on that last part as the crazy just gets worse when I say it.

Let’s look at definitions, from Webster’s Dictionary.

  • Expatriate: To withdraw (oneself) from residence in one’s native country.
  • Immigrant: A person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.

So – an expatriate has left their native country and an immigrant is someone who now lives in another country. I am expatriated FROM the United States, and I immigrated TO México. I am BOTH an ex-pat and an immigrant. The exact same could be said of a Méxican citizen who moves to the USA. They are BOTH an ex-pat from México and an immigrant to the USA.

For the life of me I am not understanding the reason for all the anger, but believe me when I say that it’s there. So while I won’t be striking the term from my vocabulary, I will consider to whom I’m speaking and chose my words appropriately.

And before I close this post I’d like to revisit my rant on misinformation from a post or two ago. To refresh, I’d seen videos on YouTube where vloggers told people to take the WRONG buses to/from the Juárez tianguis. I had commented on one of the videos stating that the information presented was incorrect and could put a tourist in danger (one of the buses that could have been taken mistakenly would have dropped the rider off near a tuna packing plant in Parque Bonfil – just a little bit away from the Ciudad Perdida. Neither are places I’d want to wander if I didn’t know where I was). Those vloggers decided to delete my comment while doing nothing to correct their misinformation. These people have left Mazatlán, but that video will survive to misinform viewers for years. Please – unless you have first hand information, ALWAYS verify things people tell you before relying on them. Taking a new bus someplace? ASK the driver if they go there, even if you’ve read/seen/heard that they do. There are very few places I wouldn’t go around Mazatlán, but there ARE some. Just like there are places in Seattle where I wouldn’t go.

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