Friday, December 27, 2013

Going to Town (downtown Mazatlan)

I’ve been having such a good time on the Isla the past 2 weeks, that I’ve only gone into town 3 times so far.  But, the trips have been lots of fun and quite different from any “trip to town” in the States!

First, there’s the question of just how to get to town—if you drive, it’s at least an hour one-way to get all the way down the peninsula and around the harbor.  Fortunately for Isla residents, there is 24-hour panga (boat taxi) service that only takes about 10 minutes and costs only 7 pesos each way (around 55 cents).
You board the panga at the Isla’s embarcadero

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One water taxi is reserved only for the pelicans!

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The harbor is decent sized, but always a flurry of activity, from giant cruise ships, to freighter ships, to fishing boats, to panga taxis.  There’s always something to see and good fresh sea air to breathe along the way.

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When you disembark on the city side, there are usually taxis to drive you where ever you need to go in town.  But, like the pangas, Mazatlan does those with a unique twist as well!  The taxis are called pulmonias and are essentially souped-up gas engine-powered golf carts.  Most trips run between 40-70 pesos ($3 to $5).

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On my first trip to town, I headed to the Telcel store to have them look at why my SIM card had stopped working (it turned out to be just a simple setting to update, so I was soon on my way down the Malicon back towards the older part of town.  Lots more color and character than the large high-rise hotels and condos in the “Golden Zone”

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Every casa is different, and most don’t have clothes dryers so they hang laundry up on the roof!

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A typical corner store…

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A typical residential side street…

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Evelyn and I went to lunch at the Panama restaurant next to the Marcado, and as we waited for a table, we admired (but did not sample!) their elaborate bakery.

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After lunch, we took a few photos of the main cathedral across the street with vibrant yellow-colored spires.

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and then it was time to experience the central Marcardo (market) where you can buy just about anything from fresh produce, meats, and sweets to tourist t-shirts, hats, purses, sandals, and sun dresses!

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On subsequent trips to town, I explored the Centro Historico and the Plazuela Machado where all the most colorful and best-preserved buildings are located.

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Contessa posted great pics of this trip on her blog.  So much more to still explore here!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Winter, Happy Dog!

To celebrate Winter and the shortest day of the year.... we went swimming at the beach!  For all our northern friends, hope this video brings a little fun, sunshine, and warmth to your day!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

First Weekend on the Isla

After getting the RV all set up and homey, it was time to start kicking back and enjoying the Isla.  Contessa made sure we had a grand introduction to how to do just that!  The first recommendation was to walk the beach in the morning while it’s still cool and quiet.  Millie (and the rooster that lives behind the RV park) did a fine job of waking me up just as dawn was breaking, so Millie and I did a nice 2 mile walk along the beach.

This island doesn’t have a formal name (as far as I know), but folks call it “Bird” island for all the birds that call it home.  Lots of pelicans fly along these shores gathering their breakfast in the mornings.

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Hard to capture the beauty of the sunrises here, but the beach is long, wide, and mostly deserted, making it a wonderful way to start the day.

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About a mile down the beach is this old lifeguard’s station.  It makes a convenient marker and turn-around spot for our walks…

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Heading back north towards the RV park, we get to enjoy the full view of the islands that guard Mazatlan’s harbor (and also get to see our long shadows on the beach!).

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This stretch of beach is mostly a coconut plantation, so there are endless rows of palm trees lining the beach.  Word has it that a developer has been buying up land the past few years with visions of creating a new stretch of high-rise hotels and condos like the Golden Zone in northern Mazatlan.  But, no signs of that just yet, so we can enjoy the sand and surf all to ourselves.

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Is Millie still liking the beach?  Oh YES!

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On Saturday evening, Contessa and Colin invited us over to their place for sunset and a potluck dinner.  They’re both vegetarians, so it was easy for us to find foods we all would enjoy.  Their site is the first one along the beachfront and has a magnificent view of the sunset (as Contessa’s blog features regularly!).  We wasted no time clicking our shutters as the sun set behind the harbor entrance.
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Soon, the horses were galloping past on their way home for the evening…

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And the dredging ship was leaving the harbor for the evening as well.  The main harbor is currently being dredged to allow for heavier ships to navigate more easily.

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As nightfall descends, the steep footpath up the side of El Faro lights up to it’s lighthouse at the very top.  Just spectacular!

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With our visual senses satisfied, it was now time to attend to settle our appetites!  Colin grilled up some terrific slices of zucchini and yummy vegan sausages.

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Dinner was served out overlooking the beach.  It was just a tad bit cool, so Colin fired up their wonderful LP firepit that provided plenty of warmth and ambiance.

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Our after-dinner conversation did not keep Colin’s dog very engaged…she was soon out like a light!

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To end our wonderful evening, Colin treated us to some of his soothing classical guitar music.  No better welcoming to the Isla than I can ever imagine!  Thank you 5Cs!!!

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On Sunday, Evelyn, Contessa, and I hopped into the Tracker for a tour of the Isla’s town and then out to the very end of the peninsula, known as Chivo (“kid goat”) island.

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Why is it called Goat Island?  Because of the goats that live there!

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There’s a great view of the RV park as you look back east from the island.  The RV park is actually divided by a large palm-covered restaurant and white hotel that are in between.  We’re in what’s known as “RV1” to the left of the restaurant.  “RV2” is to the right of the white hotel.

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On our way back through town, we found these 3 peacocks guarding their houses from the rooftops.  Quite a sight!

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The weekend finished off with a neat nearly full moonrise over our Views.  A big bonfire is planned on the beach this week to celebrate the full moon (as well as my neighbor, Rolf & Jackie’s big pile of wood that they need to use up!).

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