Today’s walk encompassed a big part of the Malecon! Everyone says the Malecon is 13 miles long, it didn’t seem like it! I needed to go to my bank to get cash for a new computer and some moola to pay my residency fee for the year, so I headed out through town to the malecon at the fisherman’s monument. My bank is almost at the other end, and after my banking transaction was complete, I decided to walk to the Soriana [old Mega] grocery store. I think that, added with the walk through town, was almost enough to make up for the part of the Malecon I missed walking.
I did notice that the new green rental bikes have a LOT of stations on the malecon where you can pick up/drop off your rental bike. The map at each location indicates that there are a couple of spots in Olas Altas (the beach near me), but they haven’t put them in yet. Perhaps a dispute with Baikas Mazatlán? I’m going to hold off signing up for their annual service until those stations are active, as I really don’t want to have to walk for 30 minutes just to rent a bike. I also want to see how the bikes hold up – I’ve heard stories of non-existent maintenance. And there are no helmets. Hmmm.
Now that my feet are on my cold tile floor, I can tell they’re burning a little … time to pour myself a nice cup of coffee and marathon a few episodes of something on Netflix!
Yesterday was a nice, but short trip to La Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island). I was a little late getting started, so I didn’t get over there until 10:15 am. Gave up on having a walk and just made a beeline to my favorite place Restaurante Lety’s. Two other tables, so it was nice and uncrowded. A Bohemia Oscura, nachos, and another Bohemia – and now all the tables on the beach are occupied! That happened quickly! Oh, it was two hours! Well, that time was enjoyable, but went by fast! Strangely, there were NO tables at either of the restaurants next to Lety’s. Victor’s didn’t even seem to be open! I know Lety’s has an excellent reputation with all the NOB tourists/ex-pats, but you’d think that the other places would have a little business anyway! Places closer to the embarcadero were busy, but not so much down on Lety’s end. 🙂
It’s now too busy for me, and I don’t want another beer – so time to head home! This time the panga pulled away from the dock as I arrived and didn’t come back … no big deal, I don’t have anyplace to be anytime soon 🙂 Only about 5 minutes to wait for the next arrival, so I’m good to go. When we docked I decided I hadn’t walked nearly enough, so I thought I’d take the long way and walk home. I did my paseo centenario walk in reverse, starting from the embarcadero playa sur, up paseo centenario, through Olas Altas, Plazuela Machado, Plazuela Republica and then home. Home to my couch and what turned out to be a 2 hour nap!
After my last couple of posts I realized that I’d been to Naokitchenbar for dinner! I had their ‘Ramen’. It’s a nice tonkatsu. I have a favorite place in Seattle for tonkatsu, Samurai Noodle Inc.. Naokitchenbar‘s version only suffered (in my opinion) in two very small ways. First, their marinated egg was just 1/2 an egg. I’d like the whole egg please!! It was perfectly cooked and there just wasn’t enough of it. Second, the broth was thin. Samurai Noodle gives an option for ‘rich’ broth, and it would have been nice if Nao Kitchen Bar would have as well. Sometimes an option for bold flavors over subtle are more welcome; as when you’re drinking a dark beer with dinner. Dinner was excellent as served, and I would definitely order it again (kitchen don’t eat my egg!!!).
My laptop is having an issue with it’s cooling fan, so I’m a little behind with updates …
Activities this week include my trip to the local office of Instituto Nacional de Migración here in Mazatlán. I’ll be making a dedicated post when the process is complete so we can skip to the more important doings this week.
Monday night I was too tired to go shopping, and so I just made my way to Via Condotti for a pizza and a beer. Could only eat half the pizza, so the rest became breakfast on Tuesday before the trip to the mercado for a little shopping.
Wednesday I did my walk and stopped at Burro Gordo for lunch. Had their small “El Corral” and my beloved Toni-Col. It was almost not enough, but the grande size would have put me into a food coma! I really enjoy Burro Gordo, and one of these days I’ll take advantage of their free delivery. This was also the day I walked to INM, so when I looked at my fitbit it told me I did 21,000 steps! My feet were burning 🙂
Thursday I zombied at home. I did run up to the mercado and had a burger at Tony’s, but that was the extent of my wanderings.
Friday I made the hike to La Marea. I was only a little more winded than normal, so I’m not too far out of shape from when I left. Had a most excellent shrimp burger. Juicy, but not sloppy-fall-apart like a lot of them are.
Saturday (today) the walk took me to Tacos y Tortas Ahogadas “El Mono” where I had another torta ahogada. I’m going to start telling them to use pan soave – the roll this time wasn’t very soft and was hard to eat with the spoon. Yes, I took my hand sanitizer! 🙂
They’re not too far from me, so I decided to go on another walk to see the sunset. I decided since I was near, I might as well stop in the new Italian restaurant, Piccola Roma, and try the chicken cacciatore. It was different. Not in a bad way, just not what I was expecting. All the other cacciatore’s I’ve had have been tomato based. This wasn’t – it was olive oil, balsamic, and a few other things. It was tasty, just not the taste I was expecting. I would order it again. Strangely, the cook brought it to my table – just a plate of chicken pieces with sauce over them. The owner and my waiter brought bread and my salad separately. I’d suggest that they stop serving it on a plate, and purchase some oval bowls that are more appropriate to sauced meals. Oh, and they forgot to give me a napkin, which thankfully I didn’t need 🙂 My next item to try here is the lasagna. Am looking forward to see what they do with it to make it unlike other lasagnas!
The week is coming to a close – lots of happenings in a short time!
I arrived home Monday evening after way too much fun with planes and weather. I always schedule my airport shuttle to come pick me up even earlier than they suggest, and this time it proved to be a good thing. The driver said he almost didn’t make it up my street – the snow had frozen and it had started snowing again. I know the tricks on how to get up the hill, but if you aren’t a resident you’re at the mercy of chance. Ok, loaded up the towncar (free upgrade again!!! Woo!!! – I am enjoying Shuttle Express) and then took a quick, but unhurried drive on the freeway to the airport. Weather forecast said more snow accumulating and schools already delayed.
American Airlines counter doesn’t open until 3 am, and I’m there at 1:30 am. And there are a few others waiting too. There are employees behind the door – why they can’t have someone there just to check bags I have no idea, but they don’t. 3:02 am two counter employees come out and begin helping us. Of course, they tell us to check in on the kiosks – which they JUST turned on (couldn’t do that earlier, either). Can you tell I get angst in airports? So my kiosk demands visa information from me that I can’t find. I have to check my bags anyway, so I run back to the counter where it takes THEM 20 minutes to get me checked in. Then off to the gate for the wait. Wait. Wait. 4:30 am we start loading, everything goes surprisingly quickly and easy! Get settled in and I have an entire row – BOTH SIDES to myself! Woo (again)!!!!
“Folks, we’re going to be on the tarmac about 20 minutes while as the plane is being de-iced” the disembodied voice of the pilot informs us. That’s fine with me, I’d rather wait a moment if it means we won’t plummet from the sky. 20 minutes go by; “Folks, the ground crew is having trouble de-icing the plane. It shouldn’t be too much longer”. Another 40 minutes. I know people from the check-in line are now missing connections. De-icing is complete, but … “Folks, there’s a problem with the taxiway. The tower told us to use a taxiway that we can’t see, so we’re waiting for them to snowplow it”! Did I mention it’s still snowing? 30 minutes. At least a half dozen snow plows come out and make TWO passes on the tarmac to our right. I can now see lights and road stripes. In the next 15 minutes we maneuver to the freshly plowed taxiway … “Folks, we’re good to go, but we’re third in line for takeoff”! At this point I want a drink! First class has been served! Give it to me! Lol. TWO hours after our scheduled departure, we are in the air and headed to Phoenix!
By the time I get off the plane in Phoenix I have 20 minutes to get to the other side of the terminal. That’s 20 minute before the plane is scheduled to leave, it should already be boarding! So, I hustle my behind and do a fast-walk on the moving sidewalks to the departure gate … to find the flight has been delayed a little and hasn’t even started boarding! Yea!!!! I originally had a two and a half layover, that turned into a 20 minute layover that turned into a 40 minute layover …. but. I. Didn’t. Miss. My. Connection! AND, there was no one in the middle seat, so both the window occupant and I had a little comfort room to expand!
And now I’m home. The weather is in the low 80’s. The sunsets are beautiful. Made the trip to the mercado and have food in the fridge. I’m back to doing my walks, so I’ll lose the extra weight I gained in the US (I haven’t weighed myself – but I feel fat). The vision of snow and 27 degree weather is quickly fading from my mind!
I came upon a realization today that made me both a little happy and a little sad.
While discussing travel options with another Facebook user, I mentioned how now that I’m retired I was enjoy the ‘getting there’ as much as the destination when I travel. After I said it I realized that I could have had that outlook from the beginning. What did I overlook by rushing to my destinations? What would I have seen or done if I’d driven, or taken a bus?
About a year ago, before retirement, I took a weekend train from Seattle to Sacramento. Then I hopped into a Lyft, went to the airport and flew back. I did the same to Chicago. I shifted my outlook and made the trip the vacation and not the destination. In September I’m going to Europe. Two weeks and I’m planning on visiting six cities in as many countries. People are telling me that I’m going too many places, and that I should pare my selections down to two or three. They’re seeing the cities as the focus of my trip while I’m counting the trains between them as well. I’m not taking a trip to Paris or Vienna or Budapest. I’m taking a two week train trip with stops to smell the roses along the way. It’s a difference I probably wouldn’t have considered previously.
The light bulb has been turned on. Sometimes it takes a while.
Last trip to the Méxican Consulate today. I now have my passport back, with a “Mexico Visa” covering page 13!
The woman at the desk (same one who processed my application) gave me the spiel about what to do next. Having obsessed about this for the last several years, I knew enough that she’d left some pretty important things out of her instructions. I hope others do their own research, as if the process isn’t followed to the letter, you have to start all over.
I’m also now full of Chinese buffet, Indian food, and Phở. I think I can make it a few months before the cravings come back! Well, maybe one more trip for phở before I go home 🙂
Today was the day. Appointment at the Méxican Consulate – 11:00 am. My application for residency was completed. I had 12 months worth of statements from my retirement accounts. I had an apostilled copy of the deed for my house in Seattle, as well as a copy of the deed for my apartment in Mazatlán and the associated fideicomiso. Copy of my passport plus a passport photo – check. Cash to pay the processing fee, yes. Started to leave the house and realized that I also needed my passport! ¡Dios Mio!
I hate traffic in Seattle, and parking on Capital Hill (new location for the Méxican Consulate) is expensive and hard to come by, so I drove to a park and ride and did the bus shuffle. Only one transfer so it wasn’t too bad. Arrived 20 minutes early, but they buzzed me in and didn’t make me wait outside in the cold and rain (this is Seattle). Forty minutes later I was called to desk #6 where I started the process.
Asked and answered all the questions. Why do I want residency? [retirement]. Where will I live? [my apartment]. Handed over all the paperwork when asked. She refused to consider my home in Seattle as a retirement asset though – kept telling me that it had to be worth $5,000,000 dollars. No, I don’t think so – that would be property in México that may need to be that much – in PESOS, for permanent residency requirements. But I kept my mouth shut and took the temporary residency she offered. I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to argue with people who have control over major events in your life. Paid my fee and then was told to wait up to 30 minutes for someone in México to give the final approval.
Forty-Five minutes later was called back up for photographs and fingerprinting. The visa stamp in my passport is going to be ready to pick up next Tuesday between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm!!! She also made me pick a date to return to Mazatlán, so I’ll be home on 4 February! Booked the flight when I got home, so now I just have to scramble to pack up all my kitchen wares and arrange transportation to the airport.
Big sigh of relief today, as without residency, all plans for retiring permanently in México would fall through. I had a mini-celebration at the Indian Buffet!
I’ve been coming down the back side of the hill that paseo del centenario is on, just for a little variety. Lots of newer homes with what must be great views, but still a few interesting buildings as well. Part of the fun of Mazatlán is that every neighborhood seems to have a nice mix of old and new.
Short walk today, only 6,000 steps. Will have to go out later and finish! Stopped at one of my favorite local places for lunch though. I don’t make it to Tacos y Tortas Ahogadas “El Mono” as much as I’d like, primarily because the walk there is short and not too interesting. Plus, it takes me past both the panadaria where too many pan dulces are available, AND the malvaviscos factory.
I’ve been stuck on El Mono’s birria. I know they have a few other items, but I really like birria, and theirs is good. It’s not chivo, but it’s a solid good, and as said not too far away. I’ve been wanting to try the torta ahogada, but when I’m nearby I don’t have any hand sanitizer, and the traditional way of eating it is either by hand, or with a spoon. It can be very messy if you eat by hand, and the bread has to be pretty soft for the spoon method to work. Today I stuck the hand sanitizer in the backpack before venturing out, so I was boy scout prepared in case I made my way to El Mono.
The more steps I took, the more my head decided that lunch at El Mono was on today’s agenda. I made my way down the long way to the beach, then decided to come back along Aquiles Serdan. Took me past the flower shops and the shrimp ladies, to Calle Zaragoza, where “El Mono” is situated. Walk down Zaragoza to Calle German Evers and there I was! And today was the day! I skipped my typical orden de birria and went for it! Dos tacos dorados con birria y queso, un torta ahogada (con carnitas), y una coca cola.
After having deep fried tacos in Guadalajara, I learned that it’s a preparation called ‘dorados’. The tacos are bigger than the typical Méxican street tacos, and more like what ‘North’ North Americans think of as a taco. Sometimes a little change is nice, so I went with those. They were served with a cup of the birria consumé too – which I’m going to make my place in Seattle do for me when I’m back there! Today’s were quite tasty, but one of them would have been plenty along with the torta!
My torta ahogada had a LOT of meat! I added some onion and salsa con guacamole to spice it up a little. They brought the pretty orange sauce that I love to eat – until the next day arrives. Let’s just say it’s more than habañero hot and about 12 to 18 hours after eating it my body goes into a TMI zone. This time I listened to my head and ignored my taste buds! The torta was really good. The spoon method worked very well. I ate it all, including both tacos! I could only finish half of the coca-cola though, even with burping pretty loudly several times.
And the damage, was a whole $100 pesos. That’s $5.00 usd. A big sandwich, two tacos, and a half-liter coke. Add another $20 peso tip and lunch cost me a whopping $6.00 usd.
I think perhaps a short nap is in order, then I’ll venture out and get the rest of my 10,000 steps for the day! El Mono needs to go on my list of places to visit more often!