22 November, 2021

And so the vacation comes to an end! A week in Puerto Vallarta, México City, and beautiful Acapulco … ¡Te veo el próximo año!

Puerto Vallarta was pretty much the same as last year. Bus ride down from Mazatlán still about 7 hours. Got an early check-in so I didn’t have to wander around with my heavy backpack! Workers were wearing masks, but not very many tourists were. Day of the dead was happening and there were decorations on and around the malecón. I made it a priority to walk into town and back from my timeshare … 3000+ steps each way, and a lot of uphill on the way back. I don’t think it was enough to counter the calories I ate!

Bus and plane weren’t that different in price, so I hopped on a plane to México City. Was meeting my nephew’s ex-girlfriend later in the week, so I wanted to make sure I knew what was open and what wasn’t (because of covid). Templo Mayor, Teotihuacan, Bosque de Chapultapec, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Xochimilco – open! Castillo de Chapultapec, and Tula de Allende are still closed.

Found that I was staying near an El Moro. Not having tried them before because of my (now lessened) problems with lactose, I decided to give them a shot. Not a big fan of sugar either, but I felt that if I was going to do it, I should do it right! The hot chocolate was really tasty. Churros were meh. Good, don’t get me wrong, just not something I’d want regularly. Better dunked into the chocolate!

After my friend arrived we hit the sites. Almost all of them in ONE day! I haven’t done 40,000+ steps in one day for YEARS. But I did then! Chapultapec park, Angel of independence, Monument to the revolution, the Post office, Zocaló, Templo Mayor, and a walk down Paseo de la Reforma (from Chapultapec to Palacio de Bellas Artes). Countless steps and rides in the subway as well. Next day Teotihuacan! Many more steps, but didn’t hit 40k! Then we took it easy … One day was Xochimilco, and we wandered around centro. I did the touristy things I haven’t done before like coffee at Sears to get the good view of Palacio de Bellas Artes, and breakfast in the Torre Latinoamericana building (the view really is excellent). Xochimilco was one of the ‘hadn’t done before’ items too. Difficult to get there and back as Uber kept cancelling rides, but the experience was worth it. And of course there were the trips to the Museo Nacional de Antropología as well (I visited twice). Can’t miss seeing the Aztec Sun Stone when in México City!

Decided that another bus ride would be fun, and I hadn’t taken one from Autobuses del Sur … so we threw caution to the wind and bought tickets to Acapulco on the day we wanted to go! I was still able to get a discount with my INAPAM card, but we didn’t get seats together. Five hour ride to Acapulco, so not bad. And they gave us a beverage and snack. Still not the pre-pandemic ham and cheese sandwich on white bread, but it was something!

We were going to do the zip line across the entrance to Bahia Puerto Marques, but even though they’d sold me tickets in advance, they were closed for the season (yes, a call to my credit card company is in the plans). We *did* do a turtle release/lunch at pie de la cuesta/boat around barra de coyuca tour ($40 usd – couldn’t say no). We also took the glass bottom boat to Palao on Isla Roqueta. Do yourself a big favor if they try to sell you the nature hike after you’ve bought your tickets – SAY NO!!! Our guide told us he’d be with us in 30 minutes. 120 minutes later we wandered out on our own. When we got back he said he’d give us the tour – then all he did was point in the direction we needed to go! Then, when it was time for the first boat to go back, we were the only ones who wanted to go (we had plans) and they tried to keep us on the island! They ‘offered’ to take us to Caleta (a popular local beach) – and we took them up on it since it was closer to where we were going. I’ve done the $150 peso Palao trip twice now and that’s it. From now on I’m taking the normal boat from Caleta for $70 pesos.

When we got to Caleta we walked to La Quebrada. We were several hours early for the cliff diver’s first evening jump so we parked ourselves at the Mirador’s restaurant, La Perla, and enjoyed some food and beverages while getting a little more sun. This was my one extravagant spend during the trip … it’s nice to just sit back and relax for a while. Cliff divers were spectacular, but there weren’t as many as the last time I saw them. Still well worth it, and the perfect end to the day. A little fyi – drinks weren’t very strong. Ask for the booze on the side or drink beer/wine if that’s a concern.

Shout out to the Fiesta Americana hotel. They did our covid-19 tests for us at no cost! Don’t know if they’re doing the one required by Canada or not, but this one worked to get in the USA! Views definitely not as good from the rooms as from my normal place at the Playa Suites, but the grounds are nicer. Pluses and minuses to everything in life. Spent a little time during our last night watching the lunar eclipse from the pool area … life is just so hard sometimes! Lol.

Flew from Acapulco to México City, then on to Seattle. If you are traveling in/around México by plane, you currently need to complete health attestations. There’s one for travel within México (can’t find the link right now), and one for international travel (this one is for Aero Mexico: https://formatosatos.aeromexico.com/declaracion-covid?lan=en). Fill them out and take a screen shot of the QR codes. Then, when you’re at the gate for your flight from México City, people in neon colored vests will come up to you – one verifies your health attestation, your covid-19 test results, your proof of vaccination, checks your passport and boarding pass and then puts a sticker on your passport. The other one checks to make sure your passport has the sticker and then signs your boarding pass. It’s all pretty easy if you know what’s going on – but there were several people there who didn’t and were stuck at the last minute scrambling to get it done.

And now I force myself to remember the primary reason I moved to Mazatlán. Seattle is COLD, the air is damp, and I have my lights on during the day because it’s so cloudy! January can’t come soon enough … but I’m going to get in a few good real-chinese-food eating extravaganzas before going home!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

25 October, 2021

Today’s topic: Mercado Libre

Mercado Libre
Mercado Libre

I thought I’d covered this one before, but I searched my archives and nothing came up! Mercado Libre is Latin America’s answer to Amazon dot com. Not quite the selection as Amazon in the USA, but more variety than Amazon dot Mx. Things can be crazy cheap, or crazy expensive too – and you can get a wild mix of prices for a single item. Mercado Libre = https://www.mercadolibre.com.mx/ .

My initial reason for wanting a Mercado Libre account was Asian food/kitchen items. There are things I can’t find at Toyo. Of course, the item I had in mind was Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp. If you haven’t had it do yourself a big favor and never taste it. It’s addictive! It’s just as bad as Costco crack chickens (those rotisserie chickens they sell for $5 usd that I swear they rub with crack seasoning [disclaimer: I don’t know that for a fact])! Anyway, evidently Mercado Libre believes it contains crack, because a 210 g. bottle of it is $1,258.98 mxn or $62.36 usd according to today’s exchange rate! See for yourself! https://articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-779263089-lao-ma-gan-picante-chile-crujiente-741-oz-210g-_JM#position=4&search_layout=stack&type=item&tracking_id=ee883f1d-5125-4d3a-95e6-795d9bb2f177 . My solution was to grab a 700 g bottle from Amazon dot com when I was last in the USA and schlep it down. Yes, I had to explain to customs it is not seeds, but salsa – and it’s cooked so any seeds will not ever sprout. They were in a good mood that day and my 700 g bottle is still half full!!!!!

Back to the topic! Getting yourself a Mercado Libre account is not always easy. If you are a Méxican citizen they want a copy of your voter registration card. Their website told me I needed to give them a copy of my passport. I’m almost 64. I’m not a millionaire. I live in a tiny apartment in a working class neighborhood in Centro. I sincerely doubt Mercado Libre wants to steal my identity, and I doubt hackers are knocking down doors to get to the data either. So I gave it to them, and got an automated response that it could take up to 3 days to approve my account.

After 3 days still said 3 days. After 3 more days still said 3 days. After 3 more days still said 3 days. After more 3 days still said 3 days. You get the picture. I couldn’t find a ‘help me’ email address anywhere. I searched the internet for answers. After literally weeks of off-and-on searching I ran across a post that said you have to use social media and contact them that way!

Wooooo! So, here you go. If I remember correctly I got a response from the ‘help’ account on Twitter. They wanted me to hold my passport next to my face and send them a photo of that – in addition to the copy of my passport. Did it, and now I can order Asian food (and even caraway seeds!!!) to my heart’s content!

Keep in mind that Mercado Libre maintains branches in many Latin American countries, so you have to use the Méxican one(s) when you contact them. Here are some links:

Mercado Libre, join in on the fun!! Get your own account and stop having to ask your neighbors to order stuff for you!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

21 October, 2021

Trip to Concordia and Copala today with Julio from Mazatlán Travel Club! Hadn’t been there since 2010, so I thought it might get my mind off of the upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta, México City, and Acapulco.

9:00 am – hit the road and first stop at the brick yard. Still hard to think that people do this for a living and it’s not something that’s gone the way of automation. Clay, manure, sawdust, water, a little baking = brick.

Next stop down the road was a family fruit stand selling mangoes and white cucumbers. I’m one of those people who thinks mango tastes like soap (but I love cilantro), and cucumbers remind me for hours that I had the audacity to eat them, so I don’t. But I bought a mango and will make a little slushie tomorrow! Next we stopped in Malpica for the ceramic tile place, then at a ceramic shop on the highway, and finally one of the furniture shops. The other time I did this trip we missed the ceramic and furniture shops because we dilly-dallied at the tile place.

Concordia was the next stop. Nice walk around the town and the option of getting a raspado from one of the street vendors. The day wasn’t overly hot so I saved room for lunch 🙂

Back in the van and on to the last stop – Copala! Sleepy little town that used to hustle and bustle from mining. Not so much of either any longer, but they have a sculptured leather shop with interesting pieces. Didn’t get prices because that would tempt me to buy! Lol. I’m not going to mention the restaurant other than to say they doubled their price for my meal from what the menu stated. Didn’t want to make a fuss but if I do the trip again I’ll have the raspados and skip the restaurant in Copala.

Note that the girl told me that I needed to take her picture, so I thought if she was that adamant I’d cooperate and even give her some exposure!

And now I’ve been home for a few hours and it’s quite apparent that I missed my daily nap! I also realize I haven’t had dinner yet – and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich sounds really good to my diet hazed brain! Nine days to Puerto Vallarta! Woo!

Posted in Adventures, Culture, Places | Leave a comment

20 October, 2021

Carpe Olivera
Carpe Olivera

Two cruise ships in port today, and there was one yesterday too! I did two short Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteer shifts, but almost everyone was on a tour bus. Yesterday’s most popular question was ‘is this the way to the beach?’. Another volunteer had told them to turn at the Kodak store (my go-to landmark for them), so they were going in exactly the right direction!

A moment ago I went to wash one of my glad containers and noticed that the water was brown. Has a smell, but not the typical ‘dirt’ smell I usually get when there’s a problem down the line. My property manager said she’s had several calls about it too, so I looked online. Here’s the answer if you’re getting greyish-brown water with a funky smell … https://www.noroeste.com.mx/mazatlan/reportan-que-ya-hay-agua-en-mazatlan-pero-sale-sucia-ND1511917 . Evidently with the road work on Gabriel Leyva almost done, they’ve connected all the water pipes that had been re-routed, and this is the result.

I’ll say that I walked to Juárez the other day and traffic on Gabriel Leyva was back to normal, and the street, and nice new sidewalks, were almost done. It was nice not having to circumvent big mud puddles – BUT … if you walk that way, be VERY wary and look for open utility accesses in the sidewalk. They haven’t put covers on them and every couple of feet there’s a 3 to 4 foot hole in the sidewalk. And the holes don’t always line up, so really – be VERY careful.

Speaking of the walk the other day … I think perhaps I was a tad ambitious. I didn’t mean to be – really, I planned on taking a cab/pulmonia. I started here in Centro, made my way to Juárez, then I did a zag and a zig and took a long way to Home Depot. I was really ready to go home after picking up a few things there, but being so close to Soriana (old Mega), I thought I’d see if they had tahini. No – but I found some hot paprika! Woo! Anyway, came out of Soriana and asked a pulmonia driver how much to my apartment. He quoted me double what I normally pay – which immediately causes me to forget any aches and pains and brings out my indignant side. I walked down to Valentino’s and caught the Sabalo-Centro bus (now $11.50 pesos). 22,000+ steps for the day, which also included leg cramps and a big blister on my right heel 🙂

Walking Map
Red = Walked; Blue = Bus

Tomorrow I’m doing a trip to Concordia and Copala with Christian Blancarte at Mazatlán Travel Club (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2010652582596130). I haven’t been in eleven years so I thought I’d treat myself and see what’s new! Should be a fun day – but I’ll have to wear my sandals so my blister doesn’t slow me down. The bigger trip doesn’t start until a week from Saturday (Puerto Vallarta for a week, a week in México City, and a week in Acapulco) and tomorrow’s trip will ease the travel urge a little.

In closing shoutout to Gaspasa. I really am impressed with them. No hot water for the shower today – not a big problem, tinaco water is warm enough. Call Gaspasa and 30 minutes later I have a new cylinder. Price has gone up again, but even with the tip it still works out to be about $50 usd for 5 months of gas. And they haul it up the 35 steps to my apartment.

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

7 October 2021

You may have noticed that several months ago I moved my primary platform off of Facebook and over to a dedicated website. I made the move more because I’ve been around a while, and remember places like CompuServe, Q-Link, AOL, and MySpace. Perhaps you remember them too. My point is that one of the constants of the internet seems to be that it’s like the rest of life; Change is inevitable. I still cross post on Facebook, it’s just not the main place my memories live. And if you are thinking of stepping back from Facebook and still want to read my occasional ramblings, there is a place on the right side of your screen where you can enter an email address and have posts sent to you. Realize too that these are the first drafts – if I later realize I’ve made an embarrassing spelling or grammar mistake, you’ll be able to see it even after I’ve made it go away!

TAP bus

A little more from INM has come out recently. Last time around I talked about how they had revised the requirements for converting temporary residency to permanent before the four year term had completed. This time there’s an update to long haul bus travel in México. You can read more from México News Daily here: https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/tourists-must-show-immigration-doc-to-buy-bus-ticket/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=jeeng.

In a nutshell it appears INM has asked sellers of bus tickets to verify that their passengers have legal residency before selling them a ticket on a bus. I’m sure that this could be as simple as showing an unexpired FMM and passport, or a temporary or permanent residency card. I’m also pretty sure a big reason for this is to slow down migration of undocumented people through México to the USA’s southern border.

I’ve said before that I travel by bus frequently. If you have an INAPAM/INSEN card, you frequently get 50% off your ticket price, so it’s an incredibly cost effective way to travel. In the past, on EVERY overnight trip, the bus I’ve been on has been stopped. Every passenger gets off and shows their documents to immigration officers. Carry-on luggage/backpacks are sometimes given a once over. It is important that if you are not a Méxican citizen and are traveling by bus that you carry your ORIGINAL documents. A residency card OR an FMM with a passport. More and more I’m hearing of people being deported because they were traveling without documentation, or their FMM had expired and they didn’t think it would be a problem. I don’t consider a visit to a detention center and being processed through the system as equal value to the free flight back to the country of my origin – I’m sure those who have done it don’t either. PLEASE. Carry your original identification on you. You’re able to manage carrying your wallet/purse with credit cards and driver’s license without getting it lost … I’m confident you can take the same amount of care with the documents showing you’re in México legally.

And yes, you can buy your bus ticket online and they don’t ask for id then (I just bought a ticket – no questions about my citizenship or residency online). Tickets are looked at before you board the bus, and I always check in at the ticket counter too because they’ll write down the bus number for me so I don’t have to worry about not realizing the bus saying ‘México City’ is the one I want to Guadalajara. They do ask to see my INAPAM card so I would imagine they’re now asking to see ID as well.

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

28 September, 2021

Today’s topic is social media and who can give you the best information.

If you don’t follow Sonia Diaz on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/www.soniadiaz.mx/) or her website (http://www.soniadiaz.mx/) and you have an interest in residency in México (you either have it, or are thinking about getting it) then you might want to give her a visit and read her posts.

Sonia is in San Miguel Allende, and I’m not recommending her services, or those of her partner in Puerto Vallarta, but her information is always accurate and when changes happen she seems to be the first to know.

For example, she posted yesterday that INM seems to be requiring anyone who is converting from temporary residency to permanent residency before the 4 year period, to be of ‘retirement age’ (65) as well as meeting the financial obligations. Previously there have been some consulates that have been particularly fussy about not granting residency to people who aren’t retiring – but even Seattle, where I got mine, wasn’t concerned that I hadn’t hit 65 yet.

She also says that more and more consulates are requiring ‘retirement age’ as a condition of permanent residency (again, in addition to the other requirements) as well. Sonia’s facebook post is here if you want to read it: https://www.facebook.com/www.soniadiaz.mx/posts/1724306081091447

While I’m on the subject of residency and gathering information – Q-Roo Paul and his wife Linda have a website and a YouTube channel with lots of information as well. Again, I haven’t seen them post anything that wasn’t accurate or that was misleading – as I’ve seen from a few other YouTubers. Q-Roo Paul’s website is here: https://qroo.us/, and their YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TwoExpatsMexico/videos. While some of their information is more applicable to Akumal, where they’ve been living, most of it is general and very helpful. They’ve just sold their condo and are going to be traveling as well, so I expect they might show a broader perspective in their videos.

As far as YouTube travel vloggers go, I recommend Tangerine Travels (channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TangerineTravels/videos). They recently ended their 5+ year relationship but they’re still vlogging. While their viewpoint is from a very youthful vantage point, they have been to a lot of places and you can glean some good information for potential trips of your own. I used to follow the Kinetic Kennons, but when they couldn’t get residency they decided they were still going to ‘live in México’, and even started selling Méxican import items online. Personally I find it very disrespectful to México to hawk overpriced tourist trinkets while residing in a country on a visitors permit. Not the kind of people I want to promote or emulate – but your mileage may vary and you’re welcome to your opinion as well. If you want to follow them or see their videos you’ll have to find a link because I won’t be posting one 🙂 Lol.

I also follow some Méxican YouTubers. For Mazatlán I recommend the ‘Mazatleco’ channel. Gustavo has some really good videos, and you can turn on closed captions and translate. His YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/c/Mazatlecom/videos and his facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/mazatlecom. Antonio Zazueta also has info here in Mazatlán, but some of his posts have a lot of T&A. His videos are also a little more ‘party’ oriented. You can find him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AntonioZazuetaOficial/. I do have a few others that I follow, but they’re either in other cities (Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta), or they travel in lots of countries, not just México.

There are also some irresponsible vloggers who I think you should stay away from. I’m going to repeat my ‘this is VERY BAD advice’ warning again – DO NOT hop on any local bus, without first confirming with the driver, that it goes where you want to go, even if someone has told you to do it. Just because a bus says ‘Juárez’ doesn’t mean it goes to the mercado or tianguis in Juárez; and the buses in Juárez going the other way that say ‘Centro’ don’t all go to El Centro. When you see a vlogger telling you otherwise you should drop them immediately. If you think I’m being extreme go ahead and ask a local how fun it’d be for you to take the Parque Bonfil bus (whose window clearly says ‘CENTRO’) at dusk when you’re headed to Centro Historico from the mercado in Juárez.

So, to wrap it up – for information about residency & living in México I recommend Sonia Diaz and Q-Roo Paul. For travel I recommend Tangerine Travels. For Mazatlán I’d go with Mazatleco and Antonio Zazueta. If you have any recommendations please feel free to leave a comment on my facebook post of this entry!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

25 September, 2021

I realized a few days ago that I hadn’t been to a beach in a LONG time, so I made a point of making my way to Olas Altas, and walking down to Playa Norte. That kept my beach needs in check for a few days, but it’s just not the same as spending some time under a palapa with a beer and something to eat.

So yesterday I hustled out of the apartment about a quarter past nine in the morning and headed to the embarcadero playa sur. It was an extra lazy morning, so it took me about twenty minutes to get there. One of the boats was just about to leave, so timing in that respect was perfect!

One thing of note – a new house is being constructed over on Stone Island at the spot the path leads to the beach. They’ve blocked access to the back area, so if the tide is in you’re stuck. Yesterday the tide was in. I think I’m just going to trek down to the street access from now on, even though there’s still a sign that points down the path for beach access. When you exit the embarcadero on the Stone Island end, turn left. Just past the nice white house on your right you’ll find a dirt road. This takes you to the beach side of the restaurants (and the beach). OR, you can turn right from the embarcadero and go down to Cerro los Chivos. Beaches and views are different, so it all depends on your mood!

It was a pretty decently high tide yesterday – high enough that the ocean occasionally tickled my toes while I sat at my table at Lety’s. I had arrived around 9:45 am, and had the whole section of beach to myself until just after 11:00 am. It was like a light switch though – one minute I was alone, and the next there were people all around and Lety’s had several tables of families!

Here’s a few minutes of beach break in case you too are needing to relax! This was taken on my schlep around camera, so it’s not high quality – but if you need a little Stone Island beach, it should do the trick!

Stone Island beach

When I came back I stopped at the ferry terminal for a minute. At some point I plan on taking the ferry over to La Paz, then Topolobampo, and then grabbing a bus back home. One YouTube video I watched said that the cabins were too expensive since you had to share them. Wait – you have to share your cabins? When you look on the baja ferries website (https://www.bajaferries.com.mx/) you’ll see the price of the trip, and then optionally you can book a cabin. It’s like taking Amtrak in the USA. Cabins on the ferry have a listed capacity, so the YouTube poster thought that they were like communal hostel rooms and each person pays the upgrade fee. They aren’t. It’s one price, and a cabin can have one person, or a small family (up to the capacity of the cabin). It’s a fairly long trip, so if you want to be comfortable and get some sleep, most people recommend popping for a cabin. I’ll be sure to post when I do the trip, so you can learn from my mistakes!

Now I’ve had a beach day, I’ve taken care of some business, and I’m ready to go home. Standing at the entrance to the ferry terminal I need to either turn left and add a walk on Paseo del Centenario to my day, or cross the street and make my way through Playa Sur to my apartment. Decisions, decisions! Remembering that I flat lined on my weigh-in this week (didn’t lose or gain any weight from the week before) I decided perhaps I’d do the walk. And I did bring my new camera with me, so I broke it out and recorded it so you can see the sights too!

Paseo del Centenario is one of my favorite places to walk. The views are incredible and the hill isn’t nearly as steep as El Faro. There are also several places to stop and enjoy the views – and you can swing over to calle Observatorio and make your way to the tippy top of the hill and have a beer while you enjoy the vista from La Marea if you’re so inclined. I wasn’t today – but perhaps next time! Once you’re at the end of the walk, you find yourself in Olas Altas so you’re conveniently located to take a pulmonia or taxi or head over a few more blocks and grab the Sabalo Centro bus to get you to your final destination!

Here’s the video of the walk on Paseo del Centenario. YouTube is taking its sweet time in making the high definition version available, so if it’s not yet available check back in a day or so.

Paseo del Centenario

Now I’m off to find a little something for lunch. I think I have a torta ahogada in the fridge calling my name!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

21 September, 2021

Cruise ships are back in town, which means the Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteers are back in operation. Well, sort of. Two weeks ago I was the only one to sign up. The typical cruise day in Mazatlán is Tuesday, but for some reason Carnival has decided to alter their route. Instead of the typical, Cabo San Lucas to Mazatlán to Puerto Vallarta route, they’re going directly to Puerto Vallarta, then Mazatlán, and lastly Cabo San Lucas. This puts them in port here on Wednesdays.

So, two weeks ago I started off at the cruise terminal. A few people came out of the port – but the majority were taking pulmonia tours. The few that were walking the blue line weren’t in the best of moods. One would think that if they knew what the blue line was, they also would know what the person wearing the blue shirt that says, ‘Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteer’ is about. Nope! I sign up for roving shifts where I walk around and help people I come across … and after about 20 minutes of grumpy people it was definitely time to rove. On to the Plazuela Machado. Pulmonia drivers said very few had made it to them, and a group that had been walking behind me must have veered off of the blue line path as they didn’t make it to the Plazuela! I *did* tell them they could follow me, but sometimes grumpy people just know better! Lol.

Olas Altas was a little better. I think there are some that take a pulmonia from the cruise dock and just ask to be taken to the beach. I know I didn’t see them walking. I was able to help a few people here, then on my way to the clavadistas. ONE tourist bus was there, when usually there would be two or three. I didn’t see the fun bus at all, and the segway tour only had two tourists.

By this time I am getting hungry, and I have to pass Via Condotti … so it was a perfect opportunity to get some breakfast and take a short break … turned out to be very short as some cruise ship passengers came by and needed a little help!

And now on to the cathedral. Here there were a lot of tourists, but they were all in tour groups. I didn’t see any without the little stickers on their shirts. I’ll answer questions from these tourists if they ask, but pretty much leave them alone as the tour guide operators have things well in hand. So, back to roving and my next stop is the mercado. I always swing through the mercado because it’s a tourist spot – but I rarely find anyone who wants/needs help there. Nothing was different this time. A few tourists at the trinket stalls, no one looking lost or in need of help.

I usually rove from 9:00 am / 9:30 am until noon. This gets me my daily 10,000 steps, strengthens my tan, and noon is about the time when my bottle of water is getting low.

Heading home I go past the Abraham Carne Asada joint. I’ve said before how good their carne asada is, but now I’m going to tell you why I haven’t bought anything from them in a year. I would usually get the package of 1 kg. meat, tortillas, and a side. Well, I was on my diet that last time and decided I was going to portion things up so I could figure out how many calories each ‘meal’ was. Imagine my surprise when the meat weighed a total of 600 grams, not a kilo. No, my scale isn’t off. I’m pretty sure their scale isn’t off either. The woman who runs the place uses her scale for every order too, so I’m pretty sure she was just scamming me. And she knows I live in the neighborhood, and had been a fairly good customer. Not a good move, because there are far too many other places to shop than hers. Her shop is just more convenient, but I’ll take honesty over convenience any day. El Pechugón isn’t all that far from me either, and I usually prefer chicken over beef.

Since I’m on a ‘give people a warning’ rant, I’m going to let you know about ‘Mokja’. Mokja calls themselves a Korean restaurant and is located just a couple blocks north of the mercado Miguel Hidalgo in Juárez. I like Korean food, and their menu certainly looks like fairly authentic Korean food. I ordered the Jjajangmyeon. This is one of my favorites when I’m in Seattle. Chinese restaurants call it ‘Noodles in Beijing sauce’. I even had it when I was in Beijing! Unfortunately what Mokja served me had zero resemblance with real jjajangmyeon. The sauce was not made from black bean paste. The noodles were fettuccini noodles, not the spaghetti noodles as shown on their menu, or better yet – hand made fresh noodles. There were no cucumber slices (thankfully – they make me burp all day) on top. What there was, was a brown gravy with lots of little chunks of potato and maybe six little pieces of pork. The portion was large, but large and not very tasty wasn’t what I wanted. It really was disappointing. $135 pesos, not a crazy high price for jjajangmyeon, but for what I got it was out of line. I also ordered some kim-chi. I just took a bite and can say that … it’s kim-chi! And it’s pretty good! $210 for the large (they say ~750 ml) jar. Definitely on the high side of the price scale, but where else are you going to get it in Mazatlán? So, I would go back for more kim-chi. I would not go back for the rest of their menu, nor for the packages of noodles they sell (Toyo has a better selection). P.S. If you want to see what real jjajangmyeon is, here’s a recipe:

Another cruise ship tomorrow, and I’m signed up for a roving shift. I missed last week because I came down with a little case of pleurisy. A week of painful/uncomfortable breathing and I’m now back to my normal self. I went out walking yesterday and racked up 15,000 steps, and gave the top of my head a little sunburn! I was totally drenched by the time I hopped on a bus and made my way home … walking in 90 f. weather isn’t for the faint of heart, but I did score a couple of HUGE chamorros at the mercado Miguel Hidalgo!

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

6 September, 2021

You might think that keeping the floor clean in a 600 sq ft. apartment would be fairly easy, but it’s not. Regular sweeping aside, when I CLEAN the floor, it involves dusting the day before, then taking everything off of the floor and piling items on the couch, bed, and kitchen counters. Oh, and the couch ‘cushion’ is a large rectangular thing that I take a brush to, make sure all the crumbs are off, and then undo from the frame, swivel it in the other direction, and reattach it.

Once everything is off the floor, I give it a sweep. Then I get the mop bucket, add water, a little bleach, and a little fabuloso. About thirty minutes later I’m done, and if I step carefully I can position myself in a little area by my living room windows that always seems to dry first. Another 15 minutes and I can make my way to the kitchen where I put my computer back together and check my mail. By then the bedroom is dry, so things get put back there – and now the living room is ready to tidy up.

I used to have someone clean it once a month, but she had schedule revisions – and really, I can use the exercise, especially with the whole ‘covid-19 stay at home’ thing. And the $200 pesos I save buys me 2/3 of a pizza from La Rustica.

And so today my floor is clean. In anticipation I ordered a pizza last night, and I am eating it responsibly in order to stick to my diet. And now I can walk around my apartment barefoot again! Woo!

I ventured out last night because my fitbit was telling me that I was severely under my daily step goal. Made my way through town to Monos Bichis, then to Olas Altas via the malecón, and home. Added about 8,000 steps to the day. Still not where I wanted to be, but I was breaking in some new sandals, it was sunset, and I had pizza at home!

Since hurricane Nora went past parts of Mazatlán have had issues with water. Specifically, there was damage to one of the water sources that Jumapam has, and other sources clogged with silt. So they reduced the amount of water they were processing and delivering to the city. They say that they’ve been rotating who gets water to try to be equitable, and that service is going to be restored fully starting tonight and finishing on Friday. I have not run out of water. My tinaco holds three days of water under normal use. If I’m careful I could probably stretch it to 5 days. If I’m REALLY careful, maybe a week. As I said, I haven’t run out – but the water purification store on the corner is doing a hopping business, so at least some people in my neighborhood are having problems. Or perhaps they’re preparing for a potential problem.

At the end of June I stopped at a mariscos restaurant, La Tradición del Chuma, that I’ve passed several times while on my walks. Totally forgot to take a photo of their name, so I didn’t post anything about them then, but I remembered to take a photo yesterday! They’re behind the playground near Monos Bichis, and then up a block on the corner. I ordered the garlic shrimp. Came with rice, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and the shrimp. Not a large portion, the shrimp were the small ones, and they were very overcooked. And they were pricey. The flavor was good, and the sides were fine, just not something I’d order there again. Frankly, based on what I had I wouldn’t go back unless I had a reason. BUT, I’ll say that I’ve had things at El Changuirongo that were very similar – and I like other things they offer, so this could just be a case of ‘you ordered the wrong thing’.

And on that note I’m going to go rest my back for a couple of hours and then take another walk! My goal weight is in sight, and I want to hit it before I take my next trip (YES! Another trip in the works!).

Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment

31 August, 2021

For the past two months I’ve been watching a friends two perritos. They were lots of fun and it was nice to have company, but they would howl any time I left. Yes, I could hear them from the street. So I didn’t leave unless I had to. I made it two months with only two visits to my lavandaria, and two grocery runs – that’s pretty good!

Then the minute they left, hurricane Nora was on her way. Add a couple of days of constant rain, keeping me inside again.

Today the sun was shining and the birds were singing, so I decided on an adventure! I needed chicken so I hopped on the 20 diciembre Juárez bus and rode to the Juárez mercado. Traffic on Av. Gabriel Leyva is still a nightmare because of construction. Even worse than when I was doing my walks to Juárez, especially after the rain. I saw a Jumapam crew trying to fix something, and one of them was standing in a hole filled up to his neck with water!

I like my chicken guy at the mercado Pino Suarez, but the big polleria in the Juárez mercado just calls to me. So I bought two whole chickens there. They were about 4 lbs each, and the total was $200 pesos (~$10 usd). Not the cheapest chickens in the world, but they were big! And they gave me a lollipop! We’ll see what the chickens taste like when they come out of the instapot!

The neighbors who used to live across from me, and now live below me, have an inflatable pool that their little boy plays in when it’s extra hot. He doesn’t have any pool toys, so after buying the chickens I popped over to the ‘fun stuff’ store across the street and bought him a little inflatable penguin. Not as large as the one I have, but it’s something that’ll fit in the pool.

Then I got the idea I’d walk home. The chickens were pretty cold, so I wasn’t too worried about them. Started on my way and as I was walking I thought perhaps I’d stop at the asaderia, Carnes y Pollos Asadas ‘El Diablito’. They’re at the entrance to Parque Bonfil – pretty hard to miss because this is a busy intersection. They were busy. And near their closing time. And they were doing the chickens to order. I waited anyway. Most of the neighborhood asaderias were charging $150 pesos for two chickens last year, now this one is up to $160. Keep in mind these are little chickens. I could easily eat one as a meal. Not while still staying on my diet, but I could! Easily!

Got the chickens. Ran across the street and grabbed the first bus home. Threw the whole chickens into the instapot, then I had a little lunch from the pollo asado. First, it was still piping hot – the packaging was that good. Second it tasted great! It was worth the wait. Is it better than El Pechugon? No. Not much can beat El Pechugon’s seasonings. Same tiny chickens. It is cheaper by a little. But El Diablito doesn’t have the roasted potatoes that you can get at El Pechugon either. If I lived in the neighborhood I’d definitely frequent them. Note that the photo below is from google maps, so these are the options you can buy – but not the current prices!

El Diablito. At the entrance to Parque Bonfil off Av. Gabriel Leyva.
Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment