21 March, 2019

Mazatleco.com is a nice site to visit when wanting more information on Mazatlán, and they have some pretty good videos too!

This video shows you the Malacón here in Mazatlán – the whole thing! Most of the time my walks take me from the beginning of the Olas Altas area to the end of the Paseo del Centenario. Nice walk that gets my 10,000 steps in and can be done in less than 2 hours. Not to mention the amazing views!

Here’s the video – enjoy!

Mazatlán’s Malecón. Video by Mazatleco.com
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19 March, 2019

Yesterday was the day México celebrates Benito Juarez’s birthday, so all the government offices were closed. Today they were open so I thought I’d open my Google Translate app on my phone and see if I could get enrolled in Seguro Popular before the big medical insurance change rolls through Sinaloa. I’ve heard that several states have now taken residents off of the list of eligibility, so getting signed up now was a priority.

The Seguro Popular offices in Centro are in a building on Benito Juarez and Miguel Hidalgo. It’s at the top of the hill on Benito Juarez as you’re heading West from the mercado (the Sabalo Centro bus goes right past it). When you walk in the door there’s a very nice woman who speaks no English, but has excellent command of hand gestures! I showed her my google translate screen saying I wanted to enroll in Seguro Popular, and she directed me to go through a side door. Finding myself in the parking lot, I was just a little confused, until I looked around and saw the Seguro Popular sign over a door to my left!

Once in the Seguro Popular office proper, I was told to take a seat and wait my turn. No numbers to take, no screens to watch – people just keep track of their place in the proverbial line. When it was my turn, I went to the desk, sat down there, told the woman behind the desk that I wanted to enroll in Seguro Popular and handed her the copies of my documents that the website said to bring (passport, residency card, proof of address, and CURP). She did ask me a couple of questions. She wanted to know if I was working (if I was, I think I’d need to enroll in the other medical insurance, IMSS). She also asked what streets my apartment was between.

Type type type shuffle shuffle shuffle print print print. She had me sign three or four documents, then took one and stamped it twice. Handed it to me and told me that I need to show it to the hospital/doctor when I have medical treatment. That was it! It couldn’t have taken longer than 15 minutes, including the time I sat and waited for my turn! My insurance ‘cards’ are printed at the bottom of the page – just made a copy, cut them out, and put them in my wallet!

My Seguro Popular insurance is good for three years, so it’ll end a few months before I’m eligible for Medicare in the US. México’s medical insurance is in a state of reorganization right now, so I may have gotten enrolled just in the nick of time!

Later this week I have to pop in the INAPAM office to pick up my senior discount card – then I’ll have all the Méxican benefits my little heart desires! Ok, I do want a drivers license, just in case I want to rent a car and do a road trip – but I just renewed my Washington State drivers license, so I’m golden!
¡Gracias Seguro Popular por tu servicio!

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16 March, 2019

Today’s topic is garbage. Trash in México is not like most of the USA or Canada, well at least not in Mazatlán.

In the early 1980’s I lived in New York City for several months. Garbage there was bagged and put on the street for pickup. Larger establishments may have had dumpsters in alleys, but in the mid-afternoons, sidewalks would suddenly contain large amounts of bagged trash. This is why garbage strikes in New York City always made national news – can you imagine a city of that size with trash accumulating on sidewalks? I’m pretty sure that we only had pickup twice a week, but I could be wrong; It’s been a few years and remembering trash collection schedules wasn’t on my list of things to treasure.

Mazatlán is very similar in the way they handle trash. My neighborhood has pickups three times a week; on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There are also street sweepers (yes, people with brooms and trash cans on carts) that go through the neighborhoods keeping the sidewalks free of debris. Well, at least in theory.

The reality is that neighborhoods have very different appearances depending on the quality of pickups and sweeping. The upscale neighborhoods always look immaculate. You won’t often find trash littering the sidewalks and streets there. In the working neighborhoods things are a little different.

First, we often have people who go through the bags of trash on the streets before pickup. They are looking for anything they can sell, and in the process the trash is now lose and takes up twice the area it did when their bags weren’t violently ripped open. I will say that the trash pickup guys do a pretty good job of getting most of the trash into their truck, and are well deserving of any tips they may receive at holiday time. They also go through the bags, but as they’re putting them in the truck, not on the street.

Second, the sweepers play a BIG role in the appearance of the neighborhood. The woman who does mine is more intent on talking on her cell phone than doing the job, so only the larger items are swept up. No propinas (tips) for her. There are lots of street animals in my neighborhood, and for some reason the sidewalk is their baño of choice. You might think that the street sweeper could take care of some of it. Nope. But knowing it might be there keeps you focused on where you’re walking and you avoid the notorious uneven sidewalk accidents!

Third, it seems someone is always doing construction, and when they do there are piles of sand, bricks, and demo materials left on the sidewalks. Being México, there isn’t much of a sense of urgency – these can sit for a couple of months before the project is done, then another month or two before someone decides to clean it up.

Someone in government here came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. When they repaved the streets, they didn’t go all the way to the sidewalks. This left a little gutter on each side of the road, and when it rains, the water clears from the streets (instead of flooding) and washes the smaller trash away. It worked pretty well last rainy season! Unfortunately, the rainy season is only a few months of the year.

You may think that I’m upset that there’s trash in my neighborhood. I’m not. It’s part of the experience and after a couple of weeks here your brain doesn’t even process it any more. Could it be better? Yes. Does it matter? Not unless I step in poop (haven’t yet)!

** Someone just gave me a 5 minute firework show! They were very pretty, but now I have to check on my four legged amigos. They don’t care for booms.

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15 March, 2019

Temporary residency has landed! I decided to pay a visit to Immigration today instead of calling like they had suggested. The office is just a 15 minute walk away, so I get a few steps towards my daily 10k by making a personal visit. And – shocking as it was, the card was ready!!!! So as promised, here is the saga of how to obtain Méxican residency using the Seattle consulate and Mazatlán’s immigration office! I’m assuming that people have done their research on the documents needed and fees involved. My saga is to detail the steps that I went through in Seattle and in Mazatlán, as other consulates and INM offices have different procedures (there seem to be many roads to the same destination).

Step 1 – 18 December, 2018: Make an appointment at a Méxican consulate in your home country

The Méxican consulate in Seattle makes it’s appointments via email (visas.seattle@sre.gob.mx). It took a couple of back and forth emails with them to finally get my appointment. I confirmed my appointment on December 18 for January 23.

Step 2 – 23 January, 2019: The Appointment

Be a boy scout. BE PREPARED. I brought originals and two copies of everything. I even brought an apostilled copy of the deed to my home in Seattle (they still wouldn’t consider it a retirement asset). Bank statements going back 12 months. Investment account statements going back 12 months. Required photos. If you own property in México worth a couple hundred thousand dollars US, bring copies of the deed – and the original. Bring it all, even the rainy day account that just has a little $$$ in it. There’s a residency application online that you will need to fill out and bring with you as well. You can find it here: https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/220491/Solicitud_de_visa_Espanol_CNTSE_julio_2015.pdf . DO NOT forget to bring your passport, and two black and white copies of it, and payment for the processing fees (currently $36 USD/$44 CAN).

The Seattle consulate is nice. They just moved, and things haven’t had a chance to get dirty yet. When you enter, talk to the clerk at the window. Tell them you have an appointment for residency. They’ll confirm, and then buzz you into the offices.

When you enter the offices, stop at the first desk on your right. The person there will again confirm your appointment, and will give you a ticket with a number. The desk number that you’ll be going to is also on the ticket. Make your way to the waiting area near your desk. Watch the monitors for your number to appear. Go to the desk that shows on the monitor – it’s like an airport, your original desk may have changed!

Answer all the questions (tell them you’re retiring). Give them ONE of the copies of your paperwork when asked for it. Sit and smile while they verify you qualify for either temporary or permanent residency. Once approved, they will put a visa in your passport, so you need to leave it with them. They refused to consider my house in Seattle as an retirement investment, so I was only able to obtain temporary residency. Temporary residency is issued for one year, and is renewable for three more years (total = 4 years), at which point you can exchange it for permanent residency – or start the process for temporary residency over again. There are reasons you may want to do it that way (keeping a foreign plated car is an option for temporary residents, but not permanent residents).

Step 3 – 29 January, 2019: Pick up passport with visa

Return to the Méxican consulate and retrieve your passport. You can now travel to México to complete the process.

Step 4 – 4 February, 2019: Fly to Mazatlán

This is very important. When you enter México you MUST show them the visa and make sure they issue your FMM (visitors permit) for 30 days AND mark it “CANJE”. If this doesn’t happen, you will need to return to your Méxican consulate and start the process over again! I should mention that once back in México, you have 30 days to start the process at the immigration office. Also, if you need to leave México for any reason before you get your residency card, you will need to have them issue you a travel letter giving you permission.

Step 5 – 6 February, 2019: INM in Mazatlán

Make your way to the immigration office (INM) in Mazatlán. The office is on Aquiles Serdán in the Playa Sur area. Their hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. On your way there, stop at Holga’s and have her complete your paperwork and take your photos. Holga is one block away from immigration in a little tienda with a red awning. She currently charges $500 pesos. THIS IS CHEAP AND WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASY. It will also make the clerk in the immigration office happy. It will make Holga happy. In addition to the paperwork that Holga gives you, you will need your passport and the 30 day FMM that you received when entering México. I brought the second copies of everything I took to my consulate appointment, but they weren’t needed. The clerk from the immigration office will give you a piece of paper with information on it – you need to show this to her every time you return to their office. You will also receive a document you need to take to a local Bancomer bank to make the payment for the fees (there’s one in Olas Altas). When the bank completes the document, return to the INM office so they can complete your application. Yes, that means you have two visits to INM today.

Step 6 – Wait

This is the fun step! Once immigration has entered your information into their computers you’ll get an email with a web link and a password. I couldn’t figure out a way to get it to work on my phone, but it did on my laptop. You will want to watch this EVERY DAY. Do not be alarmed if your account disappears for a day – mine did! It was back the next day though. Do be alarmed if it’s gone for more than a day or two. Be patient. The clerk may have told you this part should take a week. It took almost three weeks for me. When the website says “Registre los datos para la expedición de su documento migratorio”, return to the immigration office for the final steps. Here’s the website: https://www.inm.gob.mx/tramites/publico/seguimiento-tramite.html

Step 7 – 26 February, 2019: Fingerprinting and signing documents

Return to immigration for fingerprinting and to sign a couple of documents. They told me fingerprinting only happens from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, so go early. Note that they want you to just press your fingers on the paper – don’t roll your fingers. Also, when they say to sign within a certain area, make sure NOTHING goes outside the area. When done, the clerk will hand you a few items – one of them is your CURP (like a US Social Security Number). Be sure to keep this in a secure location. You can also print it from this website: https://www.gob.mx/curp/. This is a fairly quick and painless visit, so treat yourself to lunch afterwards!

Step 8 – 11 March, 2019: Pick up card, attempt #1

They told me to come back in 10 days to pick up my residency card. The clerk also said that nothing would show on my online account when the card was ready. Of course, when I arrived at the office they told me the person who processes the cards was on vacation and to call at the end of the week!

Step 9 – 15 March, 2019: Pick up card, attempt #2

I only live a 15 minute walk away from the immigration office here, so I just put on my shoes and went in person. I’m glad I did, because …. MY CARD WAS READY!!!! I have temporary residency, so in less than a year I will need to start the renewal process – but hey! For now it’s over and I can travel outside México! By the way, the website DOES show that my card was ready today. I’m not sure if that was put in as a result of my going to the office, or if it was there prior – I didn’t check the website before I went!

So my journey to residency took from 18 December to 15 March. Almost exactly three months. Not a huge chunk of time out of my life, but a necessary one that now opens other doors. Currently, a residency card will get you enrolled in one of the insurance programs (may or may not change – México is making a lot of changes to it’s health care systems right now). It will also get you an IMAPAM card (senior discounts) – bus travel is often 50% off, so this is an option you may want to consider. Some say that since only a couple of seats on each bus can be discounted, you are taking the discount away from someone who may need it. I don’t feel that way, but if you do – by all means, don’t get the card, or only use it for other discounts offered.

There is some good information on this process at both: https://www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/living-in-mexico/visas-and-immigration/ and http://www.soniadiaz.mx/. Mexperience.com contains additional information on renewals, and Sonja Diaz also has information on many other things and is a very valuable resource. Here’s a link to the Méxican government’s website about temporary residency: https://www.gob.mx/tramites/ficha/visa-de-residencia-temporal/SRE260 . It also has a link to the initial application you need to fill out for the consulate, and a link to the reservation system for those consulates who use it.

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15 March, 2019

Spent Pi day at my favorite beach, La Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island). It’s not really an island, but unless you want to drive almost out to the airport, you do have to take a panga (water taxi) from Mazatlán to get there. While I was enjoying the sound of the surf and my chips and guacamole I thought perhaps a post on how to get there and back might be appropriate. Here goes!

The first step is determined by your comfort level with local transportation. You can pay a bunch of pesos for a tour or hire a pulmonia/taxi to take you to the Embarcadero Playa Sur, but my preferred method is the eleven peso green & white Sabalo Centro bus. The Sabalo Centro bus runs, I believe, from Cerritos (North of Mazatlán) to El Faro (the lighthouse). If you are coming from the Zona Dorada (Gold Zone) you want to catch it on the West side of Av. Camaron Sabalo, which is the main drag. If you’re South of Valentinos, you can flag it down anywhere on the West side of Av. Del Mar. From Centro, you want to catch it at the mercado, on the Av. Aquiles Serdán side (NOT on Benito Juarez, that side takes you North to the Zona Dorada and Cerritos). Eleven pesos no matter where you board. Ask the driver to let you know when you need to get off for the Embarcadero (say something like, “Dime cuando estamos a el Embarcadero Playa Sur, por favor”). It’s not a long walk back to the embarcadero if you miss it and wind up at El Faro. The Sabalo Centro bus is usually green with white trim – but always look to see what the sign, or the words on the windshield say.

You’ll know when you are at the right spot from the very long chain-link fence on the South side of the road. It’s also at a spot where the bus makes a 90 degree turn. The entrance to the embarcadero is at the corner, right at the turn, and can be identified by the unobtrusive sign declaring “Embarcadero Playa Sur”. ** Note: There are TWO embarcaderos to Stone Island. This is the one that drops you off just steps from the beach. The other embarcadero is used primarily by residents of Stone Island that work in Mazatlán, and is located a bit further down the street, past the cruise terminal and Naval base. If you find yourself there, you’ll need to find transportation to the beach once you’re on the Stone Island side. There are usually aurigas/taxis waiting on the road, or you can take about a 20 minute walk. You will also need to come back from the same embarcadero – the tickets are not interchangeable between embarcaderos.

Entrance to the Embarcadero Playa Sur

Once you arrive at the Embarcadero Playa Sur, you’ll walk down a gravelly road to the cashier. The current rate for the round trip is 30 pesos per person. You pay the cashier and they give you a ticket. You show this ticket to them when you return, so don’t throw it away – otherwise you’ll have to pay another 30 pesos! Put your ticket someplace safe, then turn to your right and walk down the stairs to the dock. There will be several pangas there. If one has people in it, that’s the one you want to get in! If you’re the first on the dock, wait for the captain to come down and show you which boat to get into. Once in the boat, put your life jacket on. You don’t have to buckle it, but do put it on. When there are enough passengers to pay for the gas, the captain will depart and the very short ride to the embarcadero on the Stone Island side will begin. Interesting views of the maritime traffic, birds, and the Naval shipyard can be had, but for less than 5 minutes! Have the camera handy if you want to take pictures, it’s a short ride!

When you disembark, walk up to the road. If you turn to your right and walk a ways, you’ll hit a little cove that is usually quieter and the water is even calmer than the main beach. I suggest going to Cerro de los Chivos if you’re down that way. This isn’t the area I suggest for your first time to La Isla de la Piedra, as the views are very different, and the sand is coarser – however I do recommend that you try this part of the beach at least once, and Cerro de los Chivos is a really nice place to chill and enjoy the day. It’s also a great place if you have younger kids as it’s easier to keep an eye on them. Also good for those of you who don’t care for the beach vendors.

If you don’t turn right, but instead walk straight across the street, follow the path between the houses and you’ll quickly find yourself on a long expanse of beach with coconut groves in the background. This is where you’ll want to take off your shoes and begin your beach fun! If the tide is in, it can go all the way up to the tables/chairs in the restaurants – you won’t get a beach view, but you can have the ocean lapping at your toes as you enjoy your day!

On the main beach, I suggest Restaurant Lety’s. It’s a little walk down the beach – further than you think it would be, but then when you get there it seems that it wasn’t very far at all. Keep your eye out for the “Lety’s” sign, or for Ramón who is usually on the beach directing the tourists to a lounge chair or a table at Lety’s. I recommend Lety’s because it’s far enough from the beginning of the beach to remain quiet for longer; the food is very good; the beer is always cold; and the staff is great. Remember, this is México, so if you want something and they’ve been leaving you to enjoy the ocean and sand, speak up and they’ll take good care of you. One caveat – the nachos are a little sparse. Taste is good, but it’s a very small dish. The “Tostada Lety’s”, on the other hand, is an excellent choice.

Restaurant Lety’s at La Isla de la Piedra (Stone Island)

When leaving La Isla de la Piedra, just do everything in reverse. Walk back to the embarcadero and make your way to the dock. If a panga isn’t there just wait for a couple of minutes. Once you’re back on the Mazatlán side, someone will usually ask to see the ticket you got when you paid your 30 pesos. You did keep it, right? If you make your way down the gravelly road to the street. You can flag the next Sabalo Centro bus down here – just stick your arm out as the bus approaches. Again, eleven pesos (currently) will get you back to the mercado, playa norte, zona dorada, or Cerritos. If the day is hot, you can watch for the bus from the shade under the trees in the median – just be sure to cross back over to flag the bus down!

Sabalo Centro bus approaching at the entrance to the embarcadero playa sur

A little sun, a lot of sand, some botanas and cervezas – La Isla de la Piedra is an excellent way to spend a day when you’re in Mazatlán!

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13 March, 2019

First task today was to cut my hair. It wasn’t too long, but was getting annoying. Half hour in the bathroom with my clippers, plus 5 minutes of sweeping, and now I feel much better!

Dedicated the rest of the afternoon to some errands! It was sunny, but really breezy today. It’s been a while since we had rain, so walking down the streets was a hazardous dust-in-my-eyes journey. Stop number one was the bus station for my tickets to Puerto Vallarta. MANY websites in México take debit/credit cards, but only those issued by Méxican banks. I do have a debit card from my Méxican bank, but alas – the websites don’t like it. So I went on the website and copied all the pertinent information so the clerk at the bus window wouldn’t have to go through a lot of google translate with me (THEY pull it up on their computers)! Put on my tennis shoes and started the hike to the station. Google Maps says it’s 2 miles. Did the second half of the walk down the malecón, watching the waves and listening to the surf.

Pretty easy process, and I did ask for (and received, one way at least) the 10% discount they offer for online purchases since I would have done it that way if I could have. Didn’t ask for the 50% INAPAM discount because I know they would have wanted to see the card – that I don’t have yet (see previous post).

TAP tickets Mazatlán to Puerto Vallarta and back

Made my way back to the malecón. Decided not to use one of the publicly available bikes because I really needed the walk, and wanted to enjoy the ocean a little more. Turned down Aquiles Serdán (ok, I went one past and had to back track) and then made a pit stop at Las Changueras – Mazatlán’s “Shrimp Ladies”. Picked up a pound of 16/20 shrimp for 110 pesos (about $5.70) for tonight’s dinner, then on to the next stop.

Shrimp and pasta dinner.
Shrimp and Pasta dinner.

The Mercado Pino Suarez is just a few blocks past the shrimp ladies, and I didn’t have any chicken in the fridge! I also needed some horchata after the walk – my 10,000 steps fitbit fireworks had gone off around the shrimp ladies. So I stopped at my favorite jugo/agua place on the corner of the mercado. There was an older couple there (older than ME? Yep, they exist!) speaking English, trying to decide on what to get, and trying to ask the gals running the stand what flavors they had to chose from. The girls don’t speak a lot of English, so I butted in (it WAS a cruise ship day – I just wasn’t doing a volunteer shift) and offered assistance. After I talked them into getting some horchata, we had a little chat, and then I pointed them back to the landmark they were using to get their bearings (you can see the church steeples from a lot of places, but the opposite side of the mercado isn’t one of them).

Something has happened to my chicken kids. They haven’t been in the mercado for a couple of weeks now. All their signs are still up, but I think they’re gone. Could just be because the floors are still torn up from the renovations in the mercado, but I doubt it. So, I’ve been going to the place next to them. My property manager recommends them, and their chicken breast, like the kids chicken breasts, don’t have little bits of bone that need to be washed off. I’d gone to another vendor that has that issue, and am lazy enough to not appreciate the extra prep while getting my dinner ready.

Hair cut. Bus tickets. Pound of shrimp. Kilo of chicken breasts. Horchata. A little more than 4 miles of walking. Tired feet! Time for a siesta, then back to marathoning my Netflix shows! I’m thinking maybe I’ll go to La Isla de la Piedra tomorrow. We’ll see if I wake up early enough.

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12 March, 2019

Another delay in the saga of getting temporary residency in México! I didn’t plan on things happening quickly – things rarely do in México, and it’s even rarer that they do for me!

On 27 February I had my fingerprinting session at immigration. After pushing my digits firmly onto the paper, I was told to come back in 10 days for my residency card. So my head automatically added a few days to that. 10 days would be 9 March, which was a Saturday (they’re closed on Saturdays), so I thought that perhaps going in on Monday the 11th might suffice. Hahahahahaha (or in México, jajajajajaja)!!! Second in line Monday at 9:00 am, to find that the person who creates the cards (apparently they’re done here, which is different from other locations) is on vacation. Of course she is!

The desk clerk, whom I smile at as I secretly wish that hoards of hormigas will invade her home, tells me to call on Friday to see if I should come in. Gives me a number and an extension and says that yes, they will be able to speak English. We will see. I am not going to hold my breath – but both my INAPAM (senior discount) and Seguro Popular (medical insurance) enrollments require that I have the residency card in hand. I was hoping to use the INAPAM discount on my upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta (50% off on bus trips), but I’m going to get the tickets without it to be safe. Seguro Popular is being reformed and rolled into the other medical insurance available in México – and won’t cover pre-existing conditions any longer. I don’t think it’s happened in Sinaloa yet, but waiting isn’t the best of ideas. If I can get enrolled, I’ll have at least 3 years of coverage before I have to enroll in whatever flavor of insurance is available then.

So, saga on hold. Tomorrow I will run to the bus station for tickets. Friday I will call immigration. Maybe by the time I get back from Puerto Vallarta the card will be ready!

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10 March, 2019

Last night I took the big step! I used WhatsApp to get a pizza delivered! Woo!!!

Sometimes I just don’t want to walk 15 minutes to get dinner, then haul the leftovers home. But talking to someone on the phone here throws me into a language coma. I think I am relying on body language a great deal when I converse in Spanish. With just the phone, my “I can get by” Spanish suddenly becomes “Huh? What?”.

WhatsApp is a very popular messaging app in México. Many of the restaurants monitor it for their delivery orders. Seems like a win-win for everyone, especially the Spanish-deficient like me!

If you follow the Mazatlán FaceBook groups you’ll see there’s an ongoing debate on the best place for pizza. And by best, I mean something that reminds people of what they get in the USA/Canada. While Rin-Rin does a brisk business with the locals, it is México’s version of Little Caesars. Not that it’s bad, well – ok, it’s bad. I’d still eat it if it was sitting in front of me. Via Condotti is the spot I go to when I do feel like walking 15 minutes. They have a nice selection and they do the dishes. Piccola Roma is good when I’m already out and in their area. On the FB groups, many people agree that La Rustica has an excellent pie. They deliver, AND they use WhatsApp!

So, last night I Google Translated my order, cut and copied into WhatsApp and cut/copied the response back into Google Translate so I made sure I knew I needed to be waiting in 45 minutes. I asked them to please send me a message when they left (they’re about 3 minutes away by scooter, enough time for me to run downstairs), but it didn’t happen. I did go down to the street at the 40 minute mark, just to be sure things went smoothly, and I’m glad I did. A lot of places don’t want to deliver to places with an ‘interior’ address (my apartment is behind a door at the street, and there’s no doorbell/intercom), so I just plan on meeting drivers at the street.

Pizza was spot on, speaking of the delivery time. I had ordered the thin ‘gourmet’ crust, and it was appropriately thin and crunchy. Toppings were all present, but the distribution needed a little work (some slices were just cheese, while others were piled with toppings). Flavor was excellent – both hot, and then again today cold for breakfast! The one thing that @La Rusticaneeds to do differently is to update their website. They list combination packages that come with spaghetti, calzones, wings, salads, etc., but I don’t see any of these items listed for sale separately. I would have ordered wings if I’d seen them at a good price. Just sayin’.

So now I’m not a WhatsApp newbie … This might be an excellent way for me to try new places while throwing my budget to the wind 🙂

Pizza from La Rústica
Pizza from La Rústica

***UPDATE: Three times now La Rustica has not responded to WhatsApp messages. The first time I tried to call them, but no one answered either of their numbers. The second time I got through, and was able to navigate the language barrier, barely. Third time I just gave up and have written them off of my list for now. El Burro Gordo delivers and the gentleman answering the phone will accommodate by speaking English. And Via Condotti delivers through UberEats.

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6 March, 2019

My laundry had been taken hostage! Last Thursday I took my laundry to my favorite (and closest) lavandaria. When it had been weighed, and I was given the receipt, the owner told me to come back the next day at 1:00 pm to pick it up. Then she said something I didn’t understand. I did catch ‘miércoles’ in there but that was it. I told her I didn’t understand, and she just said to come back tomorrow at 1:00 pm. Ok! Will do! Until Friday, when I took what I expected to be a short little nap, and turned out to be longer. Ok, that’s fine. I’ll pick up the laundry next Monday.

Nope. Closed. I had walked past Saturday as well, on my way elsewhere, and noted that they were closed. Hmmm. ¿Miércoles? ¿Verdad? Yesterday (Tuesday) was a Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteer shift, so on my way home I walked past them – just in case. Nope. Closed. I’m guessing that they used Carnaval as a good excuse to take a short vacation. So, finally – today (Miércoles) the doors were open and my closet is now stocked back up! Lavandaria Denisse – I love you, and I will never put a nap ahead of you again! Well, I’ll try!

Lavandaria Denisse
(from Google Maps)

That didn’t get me 10,000 steps for the day, so I grabbed the backpack and headed out to do my walk along Paseo del Centenario. It was one of those, “I need one beer” days, so instead of following Paseo del Centenario down to the ocean, I went further up the hill to La Marea. Imagine my surprise when one of my tequila train companions was there as well! Said our hellos, and met one of her friends that is staying here 2 months this year. After the Carnaval festivities La Marea was out of both my Negra Modelo and my second choice Bohemia Oscura. That forced me to have a michelada con clamato. Sad, sad me! Michelada and a hamburguesa de camarón, and I was set for the walk home! 11,500 steps!

Hamburguesa de camarón
(not today’s photo, substitute a michelada for the negra modelo and it could be!)
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5 March, 2019

I’ve been getting hungry for tortillas lately. I’m going to admit that they aren’t usually my favorite food, especially the corn variety. It’s part texture and part remembrances of trying to eat cardboard as a child. And tortillas in the USA always fall apart, so if you’re eating tacos you wind up with a handful of taco filling. Just a lot of fuss for something that doesn’t quite do the job.

Tortillas in México are different. They’re thicker, so they don’t fall apart as easily. They still remind me of the taste of cardboard, but I will admit, when fresh, warm, and rolled up properly, they do get the job done.

So when I was shopping at the mercado the other day, I saw a vendor with bags of the little taco sized tortillas. I bought one and thought that I’d stir it up and make tacos one night this week. Until I opened the bag. These are the strangest little tortillas I’ve seen! They’re twice as thick as the typical (Méxican) ones and don’t bend much, even when heated. I’m thinking I’m going to have to use them for enchiladas, to fry for tostadas, or to thicken soup/sauce. Weird.

After my Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteer shift today (lots of people asking lots of questions!) I decided to stop in the neighborhood carne asada joint (Abraham Carne Asada) and get a package #1. This includes 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of grilled beef, a pint of rice or beans (with or without pork) or macaroni, a grilled onion, several grilled jalapenos, salsas, and …. tortillas! They’re up to $210 pesos now (about $10.75 usd), but it gives me around 3 meals so I’m staying within my budget 🙂 Plus, it’s darned tasty – even when wrapped in cardboard flavored tortillas! Craving satisfied!

Abraham Carne Asada Paqueta #1
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