21 November, 2022

Sometimes I think everyone else knows the things I do, but if you haven’t heard Mazatlán’s mayor (Benitez, ‘The Chemist’) resigned and a replacement (Zatarain) was installed. This was after a financial issue with replacing and installing street lights. The company involved didn’t go through a bidding process, and from what everyone seems to think, charged an outrageous amount of money for them. This issue is still being resolved, but in the midst the mayor, who had approved the deal, resigned. The governor of Sinaloa has appointed him Secretary of Tourism though. Lawsuits and possible criminal charges are being considered so that may not last long either. Sadly it appears that Mazatlán’s financial reserve is totally gone and projects such as the repaving of Av. Emilio Barragán has been halted. You should walk down and take a look – it’s not pretty, and the people living and trying to make a living there are not doing well.

I always hesitate to post anything political because the Méxican Constitution, Article 33, states that non-citizens cannot be involved in political matters. Opinions I have, I just don’t give them voice. And I’m not pointing the finger at The Chemist – others have, but I will wait for a court procedure to make a determination.

Moving on.

I have an interior apartment in a small building. We have a common door at the street. Open the door and climb the stairs and you’re at the ‘first’ floor. There’s a small open area and another set of stairs that leads to the ‘second’ floor where my apartment is. 35 steps in total 🙂 And one more at my doorstep! I have a nice balcony to look over into the area below – not that there’s reason for me to do it, but I can 🙂 The balcony is several inches of brick and cement – wide enough to put planters on. Which I had. Then one of my neighbors was concerned that the planters would fall on her head as she walked under them. Only three scenarios would cause that – 1. Earthquake; 2. Big giant bird; 3. My elbow. The first two are unlikely, but I’m a clutz at times and #3 could conceivably occur. So I purchased two sets of planters that attach VERY securely (https://www.amazon.com.mx/gp/product/B08QZC4KPR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). Before I left on my last trip I purchased a water faucet timer and a watering kit – but couldn’t get it working so I gave all my plants (not many) to a neighbor.

Now that I’m back, I bought a new more expensive timer, and several replacement plants. Plants were very reasonably priced (40 to 80 pesos each at the Sunday Juárez tianguis). Hopefully I can get the system up and running as I still have trips I want to take!

So that was the long story to get to the reason for my post. With an interior apartment, delivery people don’t have a way to deliver to me easily. I always put a note in the delivery comments to call me when they arrive, but that doesn’t always happen. And then I have to plan on being home all day on the scheduled delivery date as they never give you a time. I’ve used my property manager’s address to have things delivered – but that puts her out. And then I discovered that Amazon.mx will deliver to DHL offices! There’s a DHL office by the Jumapam office, which is not far from my apartment. Problem solved!

While I try to buy local, sometimes you just have to get something from Amazon or Mercado Libre. Knowing that there’s a simple and easy way to have it delivered just makes life a little easier. Plus, Jumapam’s payment website has been offline for months – I can stop there on the way to DHL and pay my bill!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

7 November, 2022

Well! It’s been a while!

Traveling is a good thing, but it’s also nice to be home. A couple of months in Seattle, where the weather was unusually nice. Then a week in Puerto Vallarta, a week in Acapulco, and a week in México City. 15 hour bus ride home today which wasn’t bad in comparison to the 23 hour bus ride from Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco! Did you know that the bus leaves Puerto Vallarta going NORTH – almost to Tepic? Then it goes to Guadalajara, México City, Cuernavaca, and finally Acapulco! Crazy!! I tell people that the buses in México are luxury buses, but not even a luxury bus is luxurious after 23 hours!

I’ve posted a multitude of photos from Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, and México City so I’m going to skip those. I did visit Teotihuacan, and have posted photos from there too; but there’s been one place on my list for a while and it’s been closed because of Covid. Well, it’s open now so I took a 2 hour bus from México City to see it!

Tula de Allende has an archaeological site from the Toltec peoples that is crazy fun. The museum on site is still closed, but the site is open AND YOU CAN CLIMB UP the main attraction – something you can no longer do at Teotihuacan (they first stopped people from climbing the pyramids of the sun and moon ‘because of covid’. Now they’re saying they want to stop erosion from foot traffic. Don’t get me started!). And now that I’ve visited, I can say I’ve been to the State of Hidalgo as well!

So here are some photos of the site to entice you to go. If you don’t want to take a bus there are several organized tours from México City. Teotihuacan is still my #1 recommendation – but Tula is a solid #2. Sadly, Tula doesn’t have a restaurant in a cave close by like Teotihuacan does! Enjoy the photos, and I’ll get back into the Mazatlán mode and begin posting about local things again soon!

Posted in Adventures, Culture, Places | Leave a comment

22 September, 2022

Two major earthquakes centered around Manzanillo now. Three dead – tragic, but nothing like the 1995 quake that killed 10,000. I read that approximately 200 buildings between Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta had sustained damage. Crazy!

And on a local note, the mayor has done it again. I hesitate to say anything, but this has nothing to do with politics, but rather just plain bad ideas.

I’d heard about this project, but had put it in the ‘believe it when I see it’ bin. I now a believer! Paseo del Centenario has a wonderful little plaza that when viewed from certain angles appears to be in the shape of a heart. I’ve seen people getting their wedding photos shot there, and it’s a stop on many of the pulmonia city tours.

The mayor, for some bizarre reason, decided it was being used as a toilet (I walk past it frequently and have never seen that) and needed some tables and chairs! Oh, and yes – nothing is complete without a glass lookout bridge! The tables and chairs – made of cement, are there now. Don’t see any work yet on installing the bridge, but I’m not saying it won’t happen. If it does though, will people be required to take off their shoes – or is it just going to get scratched up? Will there be someone there 24/7 to make sure shoes are off? Will they be charging a fee to go on it like at the lighthouse? Will it be maintained, or will it fall into the ocean in 3 years? Enquiring minds want to know! And the mayor just called everyone who doesn’t like the change, ‘ignorant’.

So for now a beautiful spot is no more. Let’s hope a future administration will restore it – along with the mermaid’s arm, and the missing cupid (both at the rodolfo sanchez taboada).

Three weeks and counting until I start my way back home! I’m more than ready!

Proposed changes
Paseo del Centenario Corazon Project Before
Paseo del Centenario Corazon Before
Paseo del Centenario Corazon Project After
Paseo del Centenario Corazon After

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

10 September, 2022

Five weeks until I head back home to Mazatlán!

I’ll be leaving Seattle for Puerto Vallarta. I have a timeshare there and usually book a week in October or November. It’s late enough in the season that the weather is usually cooling down, and early enough that the tourists haven’t made it down yet. Nice to have the quiet, but that also means that the headliners in the clubs aren’t there yet either.

A week didn’t seem long enough to decompress and get back into the México gear, so I booked a week in Acapulco too. I enjoy Acapulco – it has both of the things I like; beach and big city. But then I got to thinking … it’s a 24 hour bus ride back to Mazatlán from Acapulco. Not even a luxury bus is luxurious if you’re riding for 24 hours!

So I went on AirBnB and booked a week in a shared apartment in México City. Private room, shared bath, $150 for a week. Just a few blocks from Chapultapec Park! And it breaks up my bus ride into two do-able segments that only stretch the boundaries of ‘luxury’.

This year I’m going to see about visiting the fort of San Diego in Acapulco. It was one of those things I thought I’d be able to see any time, so the first year I put it off. Then Covid hit, and INAH shut down a lot of sites – the fort being one of them. Two years it’s been closed when I visit, so perhaps I’ll be able to cross it off the list this time!

It’s been the same situation with Tula de Allende. There’s a bus from Autobuses del Norte in México City that will take me there, just like the bus I take to Teotihuacan. But the site has been closed for my last two (three?) visits. I’m really looking forward to this one and am going to do a day trip while I’m down if the site is open. Of course, I’ll do another day trip to Teotihuacan as well. Can’t go to México City and pass up a trip to pyramids!

Five weeks until I head back home to Mazatlán. Eight before I actually get there! I’m so ready to be home, but the trip will be fun!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

4 September, 2022

The Méxican tienda close to me here in Seattle, Plaza Latina Shoreline, told me that they have carnitas for sale on Sundays. After a late start to my day (that bed was just too comfortable) I hiked up there to get a pound so I can make my favorite tortas ahogadas de carnitas. HUGE line at the deli counter so I popped over to the meat department and got a half pound of chicharrón to start. The meat guy said that yes, the carnitas were at the deli. The line now was twice as long so I zipped over to the end pronto!

Chicharrón

I didn’t know what they were selling – it wasn’t carnitas, but EVERYONE was getting it and they were getting quart sized styrofoam cups of it. Mostly 6 to 12 of them at a time! When I got to the deli counter I saw what it was …. BIRRIA!!! Ok, no one’s birria is as good as Taqueria El Sabor, not even in México. But I had to try theirs. I asked for a container of it and then the magic question came. I was stunned!

“¿Birria? ¿Quieres birria de res o chivo?

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!! They had GOAT birria!!!!!! I can’t find it anywhere in Mazatlán! So I left the tienda with birria de chivo, carnitas, and chicharrón – and they kept $20 of my money. I think it was a fair trade!

I tasted the birria before I put it in the fridge – very tasty. Not gamey at all – a little would have been nice, but I’m good with it. And it’s not as good as the Taqueria down the street. But it’s definitely good. And I’ll be doing a happy dance when I eat it! As I will when I make the tortas! And when I make tacos de chicharrón! The happy dance will likely stop when I weigh myself and see that I’ve gained muchas libras!

What $20 usd gets you at the Méxican tienda!

There’s a price for happiness, and this time it’s a notch on my belt.

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

25 August, 2022

Once again I find myself in Seattle. I need to winterize my house there every year and frankly I didn’t want to be in Seattle in November and December again. Cold, wet, grey, snow. No. With the ‘fake news’ global warming, Seattle’s usual 6 weeks of summer seems to have extended to 8 or 10! It’s actually near 90 f. – without humidity! I’ll admit that I’m enjoying myself!

So I’m getting yard work done, slowly – but doing it. I am checking things that need checked, and will wrap pipes and shut off hot water tanks before I leave. I also got my second booster for Covid-19, as well as the second shingles vaccination.

This time the vaccinations didn’t go as smoothly, probably because I doubled up on them. Both arms hurt – which happened with the others, so I expected it. What I didn’t expect was the day of not being able to think, the itching, and today there’s a slight rash around the shingles vaccination point. Nothing concerning, but it is annoying. At least the brain fog is gone!

I have also found that the Méxian tienda near the house here has a pretty good selection of things, including real chicharrón! One of the ‘upscale’ grocery stores now has chamorro (pork shank) in the freezer section! I’m all set! Lol. And the birria at my favorite Méxican fast food place is still better than I’ve found anywhere in México … I don’t know what it is, but theirs is crazy good. I think I’ll apply for a job and stay long enough to learn how to cook it!

Mid October I will be in Puerto Vallarta for a week, then off to Acapulco. I have a week booked, but am considering staying another week or two. I’ll have to see how I feel. One of the Youtube vloggers from Acapulco has been doing a series on the economical hotels in Acapulco – which are right up my alley! The last one was a place just a couple of blocks from a beach I like, so I’m thinking $20 USD a night for a week or two might be do-able! And, score!, they have hot water for showers! Lol. I’m not sure about how I’m getting back to Mazatlán … the bus is 24 hours from Acapulco, and even on a ‘luxury’ bus it gets really uncomfortable around hour 12. I see I can fly AeroMexico for $136. I might just have to do that! Maybe two weeks in Acapulco and one in México City? Hmmm. Now I’ll have to check Airbnb!

Groceries are about to be delivered so it’s time to wrap this one up. If you haven’t looked at my other project lately, please give it a go …. https://www.mazatlanweekly.com. I’m still updating it daily – and I brought my laptop with me so I can do it while vacationing!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

23 July, 2022

I’m going to admit that Polleria Catalina is my favorite chicken vendor in Mazatlán. I don’t know why, but occasionally whatever I buy is $100 pesos. Total. The first time it happened I had several items, including at least a kilo of chicken breasts. Today it was a kilo of legs/thighs, and a whole chicken. The price isn’t *always* $100 pesos, but it’s a nice relief to my budget when it is!

Additionally, Polleria Catalina gives you a tamarind & chili lollipop with every order! AND it’s in the shape of a chicken!! I will admit that I feel like I’m cheating on my chicken guys in the mercado pino suarez – but THEY don’t give me a lollipop (and they’re never just $100 pesos)! Polleria Catalina has a facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Polleria-Catalina-1583941151883035/.

Polleria Catalina is in the mercado hidalgo in the Juárez colonia. My suggestion is that you make a visit to the tianguis in Juárez some Sunday, then hop over to the mercado to buy your chicken before going home. Remember – DO NOT just hop on any bus marked Juárez! Some don’t go to the mercado! Either ask the bus driver if they go to the mercado Hidalgo, or take a pulmonia/cab. I don’t suggest that anyone drives there if they have a car – the Sunday tianguis makes the streets crazy!

Polleria Catalina is one of the larger vendors in the mercado – they’re hard to miss. And while you’re there, try to find the spice vendor – Productos Oaxaqueños. They have almost everything, and might order it if they don’t! If you like chili’s, ask them if they have chili pasilla mixe. These are very much like a dried smoky chipotle, but just different enough to make things interesting. They’re great to give your salsas a little smoky kick! Productos Oaxaqueños is more difficult to find in the mercado – they’re down a narrow aisle, but well worth a search. Their facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/Productos-oaxaque%C3%B1os-100453638281569/. They have another location, so don’t be concerned if you don’t see Mercado Hidalgo on their page!

If you make a visit to the Sunday tianguis and/or Mercado Hidalgo in Juárez – please be sure to bring a bottle of water with you! Summer temperatures are crazy hot and heat exhaustion can sneak up on you very easily. Be safe, but have fun!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

17 July, 2022

Costa de Oro Beach Hotel

Saturday marked the end of a 12 year journey for me! In February of 2010 I took a Méxican Riviera cruise for my late Aunt’s 97th birthday. Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta. I realized that my day trip to Tijuana in the early 1960’s was not typical and that, to my chagrin, México wasn’t some place I wanted to avoid.

Shortly after the cruise I found a timeshare week on ebay for $1 + the annual maintenance fee (then it was under $400/year). The week was in July – hot and humid, and virtually no tourists from north of the border. Coming from drizzly, cold, Seattle it was just what I needed. Having a timeshare also forced me to take a vacation, something I always seemed to put off.

Costa de Oro Junior Suite

Twelve years of my Costa de Oro timeshare week was three too many, since I made the move to Mazatlán, but I knew my contract would expire in 2022 so things were good. And now Saturday was the last day of my 12 year adventure! I actually checked out on Friday – Saturdays in that lobby are crazy!

They did try to get me to go to an owner’s update breakfast – but I skipped it. There really is no need for a timeshare week someplace you live! And it appears that they’ve recently fired all of the old bar staff – there were NO recognizable faces at all. Even Lucy, who had been there forever, was nowhere to be seen. Service has gone down considerably too – I sat at a bar table for over 20 minutes and no one came to see if I needed anything. They changed the pool, removing a rock/water feature. And a few years back they started charging a day use fee – even if all you wanted was a beer at the bar!

Costa de Oro Pool

So I now have restocked my toilet paper and travel sized shampoo supply, as well as little soaps for my sink, travel sized hand sanitizer, and 4 cup coffee packets! They put me in room 983 instead of my assigned room 683 – the view was considerably nicer. So, better view and a bunch of toiletries – and a dozen years of memories. And now this adventure is complete.

¡Adios, Costa de Oro! It was a hoot.

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

13 July, 2022

There is sometimes a benefit to hanging around other ex-pats! Today while I was doing a Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteer shift I stopped and talked to another volunteer. He told me about an app he uses that has most of the bus routes on it!

What??? There’s an app???? Yes, there is! Does it have them all? No. Sabalo-Centro is not there, nor is Sabalo-Cerritos. Many of the Juárez lines aren’t there either. But many routes ARE on the app. I cannot vouch for accuracy though. Time, and exploration will tell!

If you have an android phone, you can find the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.esoftmovil.enrutate. I don’t have an iPhone, so you’ll have to find the app on your own!

Cities other than Mazatlán are available as well, so this could be a very handy application!

Speaking of the buses, rates just went up. Air conditioned buses are supposed to be 12.5 pesos. 11 pesos for the buses without air conditioning. The Sabalo-Centro line believes they’re worth an extra .50 (because they’re painted green?), so be prepared to pay 13 pesos for each ride. If you’re disabled rides are supposed to be free, and students pay 3.5 pesos. I’m finding it a good way to rid myself of the .50 centavo coins that I’ve accumulated … the other way is by ordering a half-kilo of tortillas that are now 23 pesos a kilo! Lol.

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

10 July, 2022

A little update to my last post … El Chepe apparently still does go to Chihuahua! Evidently there are still two different trains. I had been told that the Chihuahua stop had been eliminated and that everything was consolidated into three classes of fares between Creel and Los Mochis. And that’s what the El Chepe website (https://chepe.mx/) says. Until you enter the ultra secret url: https://chepe.mx/chepe-regional/. El Chepe Regional and El Chepe Express. Two different trains with different sets of stops.

Different video about El Chepe

The caveat is that you cannot book tickets on El Chepe Regional online. You either have to visit one of the ticket counters (Los Mochis and Chihuahua both have them – not sure about the other stops) or call to get tickets. If you want to use both trains on one trip, you also have to ride further on El Chepe Express.

So there you have it – you can ride El Chepe from Los Mochis to Chihuahua city!!! Woo! Creel is definitely a stop you should spend a couple of days in, but going one step further to Chihuahua is even better!

I’m doing my last stay-cation at the Costa de Oro. The timeshare contracts all expire this year, and my two weeks there will go poof. One already has. They’re being sneaky this time – they have a separate table for owners to check-in, and they’re getting everyone to sign up for an ‘owners update’ breakfast. Fine print on the reminder note says you have to bring a credit card with you. So I signed up to get the check-in process going smoother, and then the afternoon before I’m going to leave them a note at the front desk telling them I can’t make it. I can’t – it’s a Wednesday and the cruise ship Panorama is in port. I will need to do a Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteer shift! One great thing is they put me in a different room this year – my assigned room is 683 and this time I’m in 983! The view from an extra three floors makes a BIG difference from the balcony!

My twelve years as an owner were nice, but the ONLY reason I would want to go back to the property is to visit Lucy in the bar – and she hasn’t been there the last two days, the possibility that she has retired is very high. All of the other servers appear to have been replaced as well – the only people I recognize now are a couple of security guys. Don’t get me wrong – the Costa de Oro is a great location in the Gold Zone. The beach is nice, and having dinner at Adobes with the waves crashing against the seawall at high tide is always fun. I just don’t need to get away from my apartment for a week at the other end of town!

So this week I wake up, water my plants, walk up to Benito Juárez and catch the Sablo-Centro bus to the Costa de Oro. Then I change into my beach attire, spend some time on the beach, come back for a quick shower and change back into my street clothes, then bus back home! Lol. I might stay overnight one day – just so I can hit a restaurant or two (Casita Maria is always an enjoyable experience – as is F.I.S.H.). So much fun to be had I don’t know what to do with myself 🙂 Lol!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment