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Mexico at Last

Updated: 2018-03-17T05:38:05.363-07:00


Mazatlan Sunsets


Well it's that time again for the post on sunsets. For anyone that has seen one too many sunset pictures then you should go on to another site.If you are addicted to sunsets like us then read on.Mazatlan has the most beautiful sunsets. There really is no better way to put it. Every night is different; it could be a huge orange ball sinking into the ocean or a multi coloured sunset as viewed from our deck which is where these pics were taken from.Either way it is unique and we will usually stop whatever we are doing to grab a look.We also have a great little restaurant right beside us called La Callectia. It is run by a very nice neighbor by the name of Zenada. When she was younger our house was part of her family home. Her and her two sisters grew up in it. The house was later split into three homes and she and her sister are our neighbors. Zenada is an excellent cook and decided to start up a small restaurant on her roof specializing in local Sinaloan foods which she grew up with. Inexpensive, delicious and you bring your own refreshments. And I can walk across the roof to get there! Although after a few adult beverages I don't walk over the roof to get home.So there you go, sunsets 2013. And I'm sure there will probably be many more.[...]

Christmas 2013


This was the first year we were able to have Christmas in our new house.Sandie brought down a number of decorations to spiff up the house. We needed a wreath so Sandie wandered off to the local fabric store and bought the wreath, some material, some ribbon and assorted decorations. An hour later ... voila, it's Christmas at 71 Venus.Because we don't have a lot of space anymore Sandie also takes a few of our favourite decorations and just puts them in an old Mexican bowl we had found in a small used furniture shop.She also has a number of homemade decorations from a time when she had her own buisness with a friend in Edmonton. They did home parties and sold their homemade decorations to groups of ladies.We also had our own Xmas tree. Although they do sell real trees here in Mazatlan they tend to be a little pricey and we don't really have any room for one in our small home. So a friend brought us a fake tree in New York a few years ago and that is what we continue to use. One tradition we have started is to invite many of our Canadian friends over to Stone Island on Boxing Day for shrimp, beer and a killer game of men vs. women Trivial Pursuit. Lots of laughs and some down time after a very hectic Xmas in Mazatlan.Many people enjoy the beach the day after Xmas. It was quite funny to see this group playing beach volleyball. Not wearing the regular bathing suit you would expect to see on the beach.And if you don't want the traditional Xmas leftovers you can always stop the tamale cart and order a homemade tamale from him. It is always interesting in Mazatlan.[...]

Day of the Dead 2013


I thought I would take some time this summer and go back into our last year in Mazatlan and post a few of our most enjoyable things we did.Day of the Dead is one of our favourite times. It usually runs over a couple of days and is basically a celebration of your departed relatives and friends. The Mexicans build elaborate displays to their relatives which show some of their favourite things. They will also go to the cemetary and eat and usually drink while gathered around the grave site. Here in Mazatlan there is a large parade in Centro which many people dress up for. There are also beer wagons pulled by donkeys that distribute beer to the waiting crowds.At the end of a very long night we relax at Macaws, one of our favourite hangouts in Mazatlan.[...]

A mural of Mazatlan


Since we are always thinking about ways to put more of Mexico in our Casita here in Mazatlan we thought (after indulging in a couple of refreshment) why not have a large painted mural done on one of our outside walls????? A few months ago I had found a small picture online of an artists version of Old Mazatlan. The picture is probably a painting depicting the era around the early 1800's So we contacted a local muralist who has a great reputation here in Mazatlan. He has done a mural at our local watering hole, Macaws and knew he would a great job. The wall is about 2.5M high and about 10M long, a great canvas. So we met with him, showed him the wall and picture and negotiated a deal which we were very happy about. Our artists name is Tikio, a real gentleman and a great craftsman / artist. We are absolutly thrilled with it. And we can now say we have a water view from our deck.

Four Directions


We haven't published any house pictures yet so thought we would show you our upper outside deck. The first one is looking South, then East, then North and then West. A few changes from last year. A new mural on one wall painted by a very talented, local artist. I will do a post on the mural. And that has been about it. The weather is nice and warm; 28 - 29 deg. The sun is bright and the Pacifico beer is very cold.

Mazatlan Storms


Usually when we come down for the winter to Mazatlan we manage to miss the bad weather. The summers here are very hot and humid and they get some huge rain storms. But by the end of October the storms have passed by and there is nothing but sunny warm days until we leave at the end of April. This year has been a little different. When we arrived here the first week of October the weather was still very hot and humid. We were showering 3 - 4 times a day and not even turning the hot water on! The water in the tinaco on our roof was so warm it was fine even turning it on. And we also got a number of storms. It poured buckets as you can see by the water in the street by our house. And we had a tropical storm while we were here. It was called Sonjia. As you can see in the pictures it really soaked the city. What I can't show you though is the wind and the sound. The wind howled, literally you could hear it roaring like a freight train. We took everything off the deck as we were afraid we might end up having to pick things off the street. The good side of the storms is they really clean everything and for just about the first time everything around the city is very green. Since the storm though everything has settled back down. Although so far this year we have had the nicest weather since we have been coming here, a big yeah for living in Mexico in the winter and not Winnipeg.

Roller Art


One of the things we really enjoy about Mazatlan is the wide range of cultural events available to us at a very low cost. We have a world class symphony, a great music school and of course the Angela Peralta Theater which hosts events ranging from modern dance, to flamenco,to a Bee Gees knock off band. Cultura Mazatlan also puts on a number of free events which we try to take in every year. This year we saw a classical guitarist playing at the Art Gallery and a classical pianist also at the Gallery. Then we saw a German Techno Rock Band who were set up at the Plaza Machado, which is about a 5 minute walk fro our house. But one of my favourites is the demonstration of Roller Art. It's very unique. Basically a number of local artists are asked to particiapate. The theme this year was Day of the Dead. Each artist carves a reverse image of their chosen design on a large 3' x 4' board. Then she will ink it with a thick layer of printers ink. The inked board is then put in a frame on the ground and a paper put over the top and then a board to protect everything and an industrial roller is rolled over the inked board and paper. And when it is done you end up with a one of a kind ink print that is sold and typically mounted in someones house. They usually sell for 5000 pesos and up depending on the artist and the design. This is our friend, Dave Robb who is very talented local artist holding his finished print. Something a little different that we have never seen before. And it's all in Mazatlan.

The Hood


Sandie and I have been asked many times what it is like to live in Mazatlan? In particular what is your neighborhood like? Well the area we live in is called Centro Historico. It is located in the old, original, central part of Mazatlan. Many of the homes including ours are more than 100 years old and some even 150 years old. Some of the streets like ours which is called Venus (in Spanish it is pronounced Bay - noose) are very narrow and date back to when the transportation was by horse or carriage. Here is Sandie standing on our street just down from our house. (image) The other street near us is Romanita de la Pena. Again a very old street but with more modern homes. Unfortunatly man of the old homes were torn down in years past and replaced with modern concrete boxes. There is now a Mexico wide society called INAH which is working to preserve the old buildings but unfortunatly many once beautiful old homes have already been destroyed. (image) (image) (image) At the end of Romanita is the Malecon and the ocean. It is about a 5 minute walk for us to go down to see the sunset or enjoy a small beach called Olas Altas. (image) (image) We thoroughly enjoy our little slice of paradise. Sometimes the neighborhood dogs are too loud, sometimes the music is a little loud, sometimes the cars drive a little fast but all in all we are trying to relax and remember we are living the life in Mexico next to the Pacific Ocean so there really isn't that much to complain about in our hood.

Mexico at Last ... Again


(image) (image) Well here we are back in Mazatlan ... Again. This is our sixth winter in Mazatlan! Hard to imagine. It seems like only yesterday we stopped working, got Sandie healthy and drove down here. And Wow were we ever newbies. We didn't know where to buy anything, or how to get anything at all done. Crazy but great times we'll always remember. Well this year is a little different. We have our new house all finished except for some decorating and we are here for seven months. The prov of Manitoba now allows it's citizens to be out of province for a month longer now. So we had to decide if we wanted to come and extra month or stay and extra month. We opted to come early and miss the early cold weather. It has been interesting lets say. When we got here on Oct 5th we found only a few winter tourist already here and of course the folks who stay all year. AND IT WAS HOT< HOT HOT< HOT!!!! Did I mention it was HOT. Temperatures in the high 30's every day and extreme humidity. We were taking 3 -4 showers a day. It was so warm we never actually turned the hot water on, the water in our tinaco (which is a large storage container on our roof) stayed so warm you didn't need to turn the hot water on. Sure saved on gas though. We didn't do very much the first month. It was just too warm to do much. Relaxed and got settled mostly. Caught up with friends and planned a couple of projects for when it got a little more comfortable. And yes we managed to get to the beach a few times. Actually twice as much as last year already as this year we didn't have to be here for the house reno's and Sandie is healed up from her broken ankle. We will try to be more diligent in keeping our blog up to date for everyone this year. We have some projects and things that we will share with you as we go through this winter. And we always like to get comments back if you read this and suggestions as to what you would like to see or hear about while we are here.

Mazatlan 2013


Sandie and I are regularly asked why we picked Mazatlan to live half of our lives and why we would ever actually buy a house here. Sometimes it is difficult to put into words the attraction to this city so we thought we would send along the newest Mazatlan promotion video which says it all in pictures. The people in the video are people we know here in Mazatlan. It is a few minutes long so grab a comfortable seat, a cold cerveza, put your shorts on, turn up the heat to get that local feeling (about 27 deg. today) look outside at the snow and cold if you are up north and enjoy. And maybe The Pearl of the Pacific will lure you down here to.



Arrangements had been made to rent a little house on Ninos Heroes, just around the corner from ours, on Venus, but only for 2 months. We knew the pressure would be on and that we would be busy, but I don't think we realized just how hectic it would be. We simply had to have everything finished by the end of December, or we would be homeless. I was determined that we would be in our new home by Christmas Day. We had accumulated some larger pieces of furniture before we left Mazatlan last spring, and had stored it with friends, but there were still countless things that were needed. We were lucky to hit the sales when we arrived early in November (similar to the 'Black Friday' sales in the USA) and purchased all of our appliances and TV at a considerable savings. It did mean getting up at the crack of dawn to get to the stores to do this, but it was worth it in the end. That was the easy part. We needed tiles, lots and lots of tiles. We found tiles we liked for the floors easily enough, but they were either not in stock, or if they were, there were not enough of them. Finally Jesus took us under his wing and spent the day shopping with us and we found what we were looking for. We then started the search for the tiles necessary for the bathrooms and kitchen. We knew we wanted Talavera tiles, but they are difficult to find in Mazatlan in the quantity we required. We had friends who had `left overs` from their renovation projects and we were able to purchase three different patterns from them, and after more days of searching, found a store that was able to supply us with the plain colours we wanted. Of course, nothing is ever simple and at first they told us that the blue we needed was discontinued. I was quickly moving into panic mode, until we realized that `discontinued`is just another way to say `not in stock`. After what seemed to be forever, but was really only a few weeks, the blue tiles appeared in the store, and we were set to go. The staff at Home Depot were getting to recognize us. We needed light fixtures, ceiling fans, faucets for the bathrooms and kitchen, everything imaginable for building a house from scratch, the list went on and on. Our stack of receipts is close to two inches high! When we first heard that a Home Depot was arriving in Mazatlan and I was a bit put off, it just seemed so `nothern`and just not right. Don`t feel that way now, no way, don`t know how we would have managed without them. Other than the range hood for the stove, and the under the counter lights in the kitchen, we managed to achieve our goal to purchase everything that was required for the house right here in Mazatlan. And so, it is finished, and we are in. We made the move on December 29th, not by Christmas Day, but close to it. We still have things we want to do, and there are blank spots on many of the walls, but it doesn`t matter. We are in, it is home, and we are thrilled. [...]

So Close, So Very Close


At times, it seemed to take forever, but we were finally almost ready to move in. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust, but we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Every night, after the crew left, we came over to clean up. But we never did manage to completely control the chaos. Rubin finished the floors, a special challenge in the living room as we opted to use a porous clay tile around the perimeter of the room. Our home was built in an area that was once even closer to the beach than it is now and there is still a great deal of water in the ground. It was suggested by INAH, the National Preservation Society, that the use of these tiles would allow the water to evaporate and not move up into the walls of the building, which because of their age are considered historic. We have never seen this done, but felt that if it helped preserve the integrity of our home, it was worth the aggravation. We are not sure if Rubin felt the same way! I have to confess I was not too thrilled about the idea, but now that the tiles are laid am pleased with the results. The tiling had been completed in the bathrooms. Notice the dust! Mario and the crew had finally finished the staircase and railings for the upper landing and installed the circular stair case on the terrace to enable us to reach the upper roof top. At the moment we have no plans for this space, but perhaps, someday. Mario is a really nice guy, but extremely unpunctual, and we joked with him about buying him a watch, and a calendar! We learned never to expect him on the day he said he would be at the house and certainly not at the time he mentioned. The staircase was removed after the first installation as it was not level (high frustration level here), but, eventually, the job was completed and it looks great. The generator is 50 years old by the way, it is a wonder any of these men are still alive. Augustine did an amazing job laying the talevara tiles in the kitchen, which we immediately covered with cardboard as there was still other work to be completed. Why were the tiles laid before everything else was finished? We never did figure that one out, and just kept our fingers crossed that the cardboard would do the trick and keep everything intact. Elias, our carpenter, had started work on the interior doors. All of the openings in the house are different, so each and every door was made to measure. We showed him a picture of what we wanted and the doors are perfect. We were unable to save the original exterior wooden doors as they were just too dilapitated to repair, but Elias duplicated them exactly and we are thrilled with the results. We will have him back next season for a few additional projects. The electrician Mike installed the light fixtures and fans and after a struggle managed to get the vent hood installed in the kitchen. Mike, who told us his real name is Javier, works without a level, ruler or tape measure, so getting the fan level was a challenge. That project came close to driving my Mike out of his mind. Martin arrived to do the painting. We knew it was almost time to make arrangements for moving day. There were times we laughed, and times we felt like exploding. I learned a new phrase in Spanish, “Que estabas pensandos” which means "what were you thinking!" and I used it more than once. We arrived one evening to find piles of wet black concrete on the kitchen counters (so much for the cardboard). We realized that when Mike aka Javier figured that when a light fixture or fan was installed, it didn't matter if they were crooked, or if he had left a six inch hole in the ceiling beside it. If it worked, it was “OK”. We knew that eventually the wa[...]

Our Casita is looking like a house!


Well things moved along very quickly after we arrived on Nov 1. We had our plan all nailed down and got to it the very first day. We already mentioned our contractor, Jesus. He had all of the sub's lined up and the work moved along very quickly. Fabio was the young fellow who did most of the final concrete work before tiling. He would build forms out of old pieces of scrap wood and mix the concrete on the floor and build the final shape and let it harden over night. He spent a lot of time in the kitchen and as you can see the counters are just about done, then we tile!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus and Chico unloaded all the tiles and thinset and grout for the whole house. I jokingly kept telling him that if he brought in many more bags I was afraid the house would sink in the mud! It just never seemed to stop. The final shape of the upstairs deck and landing were completed. We decided to move the large door used to get to the deck. It was in the middle of the wall so we asked to have it moved, a little worried it was going to be a big hassle. But we had forgotten Jesus's famous words, "It's only concrete" so sledge hammers and chisels went at it and next day we had our new door. And finally we get to see some tiles. They work from the top down so the ensuite bathroom was first to be tiled with the talvera tiles and we loved it. Bright and just the right colours. They took a few trips to Chosa our tile store but we eventually tracked down what we needed. Our main tiler was a very nice fellow by the name of Rubin (Rubin is actually Fabio's brother in law, lots of family ties in the renovation business in Mazatlan). He and his helper, Chico did all the floors and the bathrooms. I must also tell you how unbelievably hard these guys work. It was very hot in the house when we first got here but they worked through it every day. Rubin also was a very good singer and we would always hear him just burst into song while he worked. And we got our main deck finished. The tile and grout looked great and the first night it was done Sandie and I went up there after dark with some wine and beer to have our very first drink on our new deck. It was very dirty all around us but we could sit and imagine what our Casita was finally going to look like. We also got our new window which will be great to keep the bugs out. We usually don't notice any but we do have a large tree just outside our window and just in case the screen would take care of any little creepies that we would rather leave outside. Sandie also put the final touches on the tile design for the end our kitchen counter. We found if you make up the pattern first on the floor then have the tiler put it in place as is then we always get what we were looking for. When you don't then sometimes the idea gets lost in translation and the design is a little off. Then out comes the chisels and it gets knocked off and redone. Remember, "It's only concrete" [...]

A Little Bit of History


Our new home is located on one of the older streets in Historico Centro and it is estimated that it was built approximately 125 to 150 years ago. Our street, Calle Venus, is especially narrow in front of the house and was, in effect, simply a carriage lane, As the houses are built right to the edge of the sidewalks, there is no room to widen it, ever. Works for us, keeps the traffic down to a minimum! The homes in this area were huge, and our new casa was once part of one large hacienda, which has been in the same family for generations. As has happened to many of the older homes, many years ago the hacienda was split into 3 separate dwellings and given to the daughters of the family. Alterations were done to interior of the homes at that time. In the case of ours, from what we can figure out, the terrace at the rear was enclosed and the space was turned into a bedroom and bathroom. At some point a second story, not visible from the street, was added and the original peaked roof was leveled, which allows us to have a roof top terrace. Our casa is the middle house and two of sisters are our neighbours on either side. They were very patient with us through the renovation progress, which can be very loud and messy at times, and have told us that the finished product is 'gue bonito'. We really do feel lucky. As well as finding a house in Historico Centro, on flat land, on our favourite street, in our favourite neighbourhood, we also have been blessed with good neighbours! We have wandered around with the camera, just capturing a few images of our new 'hood. There is a real mixture of very very old, beautifully maintained, and also ultra modern. We have a huge ruin directly across the street from the house, and it fascinates me. The very old I love, the ultra modern, not so much. Guess it's all a matter of taste. Where are we on the street? We are No. 71, and this is the 'Before' ... and the "After'? We are moved in, and the house is done. I have just decided that you will have to wait to see the finished product, just like we did! Soon though, very soon .... [...]

It's Only Concrete


Once we finally had the official ownership documents for our new Casa, we had to work quickly as we had only a month before it was time to leave Mazatlan and head north once again. We had a crew lined up and ready to go, and they were at the house the day after we had possession. There was so very much to do, it was hard to know where to start but our contractor, Jesus Guadalupe Castrejon Sanchez (he also answered to Chuie, Jessie, Maestro or Jefe)has done many homes in Centro and knew everything that had to be done. But Mike always was at the house asking him what was going on. He has worked with gringoes in the past so he was prepared for our pestering. The first, and most important, issue for Mike was the height of all the doors. Each and every door was at least 4 inches shorter than he is, which was involving a lot of ducking, and the occasional very painful head bang. We really had no idea what would be involved to raise the heights of the doors, and were a bit apprehensive until we heard Jesus, our contractor, utter the phrase we would hear over and over again: "No problem, it's only concrete". He wasn't kidding. Out came the sledgehammers, and after a very noisy day, Mike was able to walk into every room without endangering his life. Concrete is the main building material in Mazatlan, that and bricks. We arrived at the house early one morning to discover that the bricks necessary for building the walls on the roof top had arrived and were piled on the street in front of the house. How did they get upstairs? One by one, tossed up by one crew member to another. The concrete and mortar are all mixed by hand. The sand and gravel required had also been delivered and they were piled in the corner of what would, someday, become our living room. We had no plumbing in the house at that point, and so an immense tank filled with water had materialized in the future kitchen. The sand, gravel and water were loaded into 5 gallon pails and were carried up the stairs to the second floor and then out to what would become our terrace. The materials are all carried up a flight of stairs, the concrete is mixed by hand, it was hot, and they worked at it for days, with just a short break for lunch. And they still smiled at me when I arrived with my camera, and laughed with Mike as he attempted to 'help'. Mike tried everything. He swung a sledgehammer (said it was very very heavy), laid a brick (somewhat crooked) and attempted to apply mortar to a finished brick wall (more mortar on Mike than the wall). Mike is very talented, knows how to fix toilets, install light fixtures, install drywall, just about everything a good Canadian man should know about basic construction techniques. He has discovered however that building a house in Mexico is a whole different story. Despite Mike's efforts at assistance, work processed smoothly, and we were still pretty much on schedule by the time we were ready to leave for Winnipeg in April. [...]

We bought ... now we shop


Well the house is now ours. So while there is heavy duty construction going on at the Casita we .. sorry, actually Sandie decided we should go shopping. Although we wouldn't be ready for anything like tiles, or sinks or anything really for 6 months at least it was nice to take a break from grey concrete and look at something a little prettier. So we jumped on the bus and headed up to the Sharks Den. A great place in the Gold Zone where we had shopped before. They have everything you want, many of the beach vendors buy from Guadalupe and her son Gustavo so we knew we could find what we wanted there. And what we wanted were a couple of Talavera sinks for the bathrooms and a couple of light covers for the outside lights on our decks. And tiles to go along with the sinks. The house is over 100 years old and we wanted it to look like an old Mexican style home with all the modern amenities in it. As we would learn from our contractor over the months that meant we wanted "Rustico" or as nearly as I could translate, nothing will ever be square in the house, or smooth, or fit together right so don't worry about it, "It's rustico!" Well we weren't disappointed. The number of light covers was overwhelming as you can see. We ended up choosing 3 nice size ones. And the sinks were crazy. They had them all over the walls, the floor and in the back room. They had big ones, smaller ones, round ones, oval, square, modern designs, fish designs ... just about anything you could think of. You wander around the place being very careful not to knock anything over, believe me there isn't a lot of room so you have to be very careful. Then you pick out what you want. Gustavo goes and gets an extension ladder and deftly gets it past everything without hitting something then climbs up and brings down what you had asked to look at. We picked out two that we thought would go well in our new house. Then we had to find tiles to match. That was a job. Think of hundreds of colours and styles and patterns and then for you folks that know Sandie and I,to actually agree on the tiles we like. We did eventually manage to find a couple that we thought would match the sinks. Then you get everything together and start negotiating. That takes quite a while. Gustavo starts really high, we remind him we are regular customers, he comes down a bit. We tell him "aqui vivo ey Mazatlan no soy touristo" or I live in Mazatlan I am not a tourist, he drops his price a little more. I ask for my seniors discount and remind him we'll be back for more things, he comes down a bit more. We shake hands and have a deal. He wraps them up and we take them home. Unfortunatly we don't have finished walls yet, or counters to put the sinks in, or paint picked out, or any plumbing but we have a crazy vision what is under all the dirt and rubble and now we have something pretty to look at instead of just grey walls.[...]

Well ... we went kind of crazy


I guess it was inevitable that we would at some time want our own house. I thought we might rent for a few more years but Sandie had other thoughts. One day last Jan she was walking to work at Look gallery which is on a pretty and very old street in Mazatlan. She saw a small, old home which was listed for sale by a local owner. After a couple of phone calls we had a chance to look inside. I've enclosed a couple of pictures of the place which actually might convince people we went, ... well, a little crazy. We had a contractor check it out who told us that it looked OK and used an expression we would hear a lot in the next year when we asked our contractor about doing something, (It's only concrete!)and decided to go ahead and make an offer. And then just like that we were home owners in Mexico!!!! Well home might be an exageration, we had walls which needed desperatly to be repaired, no water, no electricity, no lights, no toilets, basically nothing. But we both thought we could see the possibilities. We then had to go through the process of buying a home in Mexico. Although we have bought and sold and renovated a number of homes in Canada when it came to Mexico homes we were absolutly virgins. But we learned quickly. First down here you have to realize the buyer pays all of the closing costs and you need a Notario which is like a super lawyer to handle the paperwork. He checks land titles, taxes, other debts and ownership and guess what; one of the owners listed had passed away a number of years ago. Then the drama starts; the paperwork goes of to the state capital in Culiacan and on the Mexico City. The Mexican legal system does it`s thing and eventually all the corrected paperwork shows up back at the Notario to sign. We also get what is called a Fedicomicio, or bank trust. The bank actually holds the papers on the property for 50 years when you renew it so it is a real leap of faith that some government doesn`t come along and change the rules and foreign owners are sent packing but the chances of that happening really are virutually nill in the modern times. We sign the paperwork, every page of the Fedicomicio front and back (roughly 100 pages), they give us the keys and the house is ours. And then, `We went kind of crazy` journey began. For the next few posts we`ll bring everyone up to date on the work we had done to the house, some pictures, Mexican renovation stories, our selling of our townhouse in Winnipeg and the purchase of a condo and the final push and move in at our new house in Mazatlan.[...]

Is Mazatlan Safe ???


We still get asked by many of our friends and relatives, Is Mazatlan Safe?? Well I could quote you many, many statistics but thought you might like to see a new little video done by some folks here in Mazatlan.

Everyone who comes here to visit or live has to make up their own minds re what they are comfortable with. For Sandie and I we have decided that this is what we will continue to do as long as we physically can.

Enjoy. Copy the whole address to view the video.

Jackie Peterson


This is not a blog I like to do but I feel it is important to share the passing of a true friend of Sandies and mine and a great friend of Mazatlan. I know many of you reading this post will not know Jackie but she was what we envision as the spirit of Mazatlan. I won't dwell on her history but want to say how much of a spirit she was to us and to Mazatlan. In my humble opinion the measure of a person is the effect the person had on her fellow citizens and the community she has decided to make her home; in that respect Jackie was a citizen and leader of our community.

She will be sorely missed.

Sunset in Mazatlan


I know, not another picture of a sunset in Mazatlan !!! But it is one of the great things about living here. A beautiful warm evening, a refreshment of your choice (an ice cold Pacifico for me, white wine for Sandie), good friends and a view that can't be beat. Like the commercial says so well, "Priceless".

These pictures were taken from the patio of our very good friends who live in the marina. They own a very nice condo and a 42' sailboat. Decadent indeed but they are living the life they worked very hard for. Right now they have finished a sail down the coast to Ixtapa and are working their way home stopping in all the small moorings along the way. About a two to three month trip.

Maybe some day there might be a sail for us somewhere
, who knows. The possibilities are endless.

Flowers of Mexico


So we're back ... After a very long delay in posting we have decided to start sharing the responsibility between Sandie and I for keeping this blog up to date. Things happen, people get busy and some important things get dropped but we wanted to make sure that sharing our experiences here in Mazatlan continue; especially for the folks that faithfully have read Sandie in the past.So this will be my first post which we will make sure we update regularly from now on.We recently were invited to some friends house to have a look at an amazing cascade of bright orange flowers which covered much of their courtyard. From what I have been able to figure out they are called either an Orange Flame vine, or a Dunny vine, or a Golden Shower vine or an Orange Trumpet Creeper.We see these flowers around Mazatlan quite often and never really thought much about them but the display we saw this evening was spectacular. They don't last very long on the vine and as our friend said; "They sure look nice but it sure is a pain sweeping them up all the time". We are trying out some new settings on our camera so some of these pics may look a little different then normal.It was a great evening; good friends, a beautiful home, unique flowers and some very tasty martini's. It doesn't get much better than that and why we love this city.[...]

My Christmas Story


This city, and the people whom we have met here, never cease to amaze me.

Years ago, when we first came to Mazatlan, we lived in a little house on Azueta, and didn't have internet or a telephone. When we needed to use the internet we took Abi and walked to Fish Taco where we were able access WiFii.

Telephones were a bit trickier. We bought long distance calling cards at the local pharmacies and then found public telephones along the street. It was all a bit tricky as often the telephones did not work, or the traffic noises were so loud we couldn't hear. After much trial and error we discovered a telephone outside a small hospital several blocks from the house. It was our first full term visit and we called home regularly, much more than we do now. We spent a lot of time at that telephone, reassuring our family that we really were fine, and incredibly happy!

After several weeks of standing on the side of the street, hollering into the phone, the homeowner of the house across the street wandered over and offered us the use of his Vonage phone. He had seen us out there, often, and took pity on us.

However, at the time we had no idea what a Vonage phone was. Nor did we have any idea how open and generous people are to strangers in Mazatlan. We never did take him up on his offer, and shortly afterwords, moved up the hill to the Casita, where we had both a Vonage phone, and the internet. But, I always remembered him.

Last night we attended a party to celebrate Hannukah and it was a simply amazing evening. We ate latkes, and way too much other food, listened to some wonderful music, and also, as a group, made our own. It was a wonderful chance to learn more about the customs and traditions of our Jewish friends and we had a marvelous time.

However, imagine our surprise when we arrived at the house, which we had never before visited, to discover that it was THAT house!

The hunt for a telephone and the kindness of the man who offered the use of his has always been one of my fondest memories of our first months in Mazatlan. And now it is one of my Christmas stories.

I don't think it matters if you are Christian and celebrate Christmas, or Jewish and celebrate Hannukah. It also doesn't matter if you are Muslim, Hindu or Agnostic.

It's just all about being kind, caring and considerate, and helping out in any way you can.

So, to all, in whatever language you speak, and whatever religion you practice, "Peace on Earth and Love to All".



Well, Mazatlan is certainly never boring. Saturday evening we were watching a Flamenco performance, and Sunday evening we went to a Ball Game.The Venados, our local heros, have been are not doing very well this season, but we were hopeful that our presence would be of some assistance.A bit of a history lesson here. The Venados are part of a winter league, at the AAA minor league level and have been a team since the 1940's. They have been in the January playoffs for years, however are struggling this year. In the 2004-2005 season, the Venados won the Mexican Pacific League title for the seventh time. During 2008 they won the Mexican championship and represented Mexico in the Caribbean World Series in January 2009. Home games are played at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal, which was constructed in 1962. It is 325 feet down the stadium's right and left field lines and 400 feet to the center field wall. In 2000 the stadium underwent a major remodeling that expanded capacity from 12,000 to 14,000. I just threw in the measurements for fun - I have absolutely no idea how big ball stadiums usually are! There were probably 20 of us, all hanging around the first base line, cheering loudly, and doing everything in our power to inspire the boys on the field, but to no avail. The final score was 7 to 4, and the Yaquis, from Obregon, were the victors. The seventh inning was very exciting, the Venados had the bases loaded and a home run would have put them in the lead, but, alas, the batter struck out. At times, watching baseball can be very stressful.Our team lost the game, and hopefully we were not too much of a hindrance as the hooting and hollering from our side of the field did get a bit loud at times, however, win or lose, we had a lot of fun. We ate (the hot dogs were delicious)and had a few drinks.We admired the hats and noisemakersand several of the male members of the group also admired the girls.Oh, and yes, we actually did watch a lot of the game!There is absolutely nothing like a beisbal game, Mexican style!![...]



The Museo Pérez Meza is a close walk from the Casita and consists of a Heritage Museum with tables available for coffee and a sweet treat, with spaces for children's activities and conferences. There is also a music forum, the garden of the Trova. The aim of the Museo is to investigate and preserve the history of the Pérez family, whose musical legacy has been shared by several generations. We are not fans of Banda music, but it is wildly popular in the State of Sinaloa. Luis Pérez Meza, who is referred to as El Trovador del Campo, was a composer, a singer and a pioneer in the recording of Banda. Other family members have continued the tradition and the Museo has been established to collect anecdotes and material pertaining to these Sinaolese troubadors. Last night we attended a Flamenco performance at the Museo Perez Meza, featuring Citlali Iglesias, a teacher at the Mazatlan de la Compania de danza Mirabras Flamenco, and several of her students.It was a marvelous evening and the dancers and music were amazing. The pictures really don't do them justice, you really do need to be there to hear the music, the clapping hands, and the pounding feet![...]

Tis the Season


Yes, it is the season and we are starting to get jolly. The people of Mazatlan love Christmas and decorations have been popping up all over the city. I love the store selling Christmas Pinatas and also the fact that you can buy your tree and lunch at the same location. These are part of the holiday display at Plaza de Revolution, in front of City Hall and the Cathedral. It's a true Christmas wonderland, complete with a creche, donkeys (including one very tired little guy who just gave up and laid down for a nap), and of course, Santa Claus! The tree at the Plaza is huge, with rather interesting decorations. The Coca Cola tree is a tradition and this is the third variation we have seen. The children are loving it, and the adults are having a good time as well.We have seen numerous live trees being transported home on the roofs of cars, some as early as mid-November. I can only imagine what these trees will look like by Christmas Day, but right now the ones I have seen through the odd open doorway are lovely. The trees are often burnt after the holiday, but some are just left to completely wither away, tucked into an outside corner near the house. Our neighbours have had such a tree in their outer courtyard for several years and this year, dead or not, they decided to go ahead and decorate it anyway. It is truly spectacular. As well as multiple strings of lights and dozens of brightly coloured balls, they have set up, on one side of the tree, a winter wonderland scene, reminiscent of the Dickens Villages so popular 'up north'. On the other side is the village of Bethleham, and of course, no tree is complete without a toy train.The tree on the top of the Pacifico Beer Plant has been up for several weeks now.At home we always had a beautifully decorated 'real' tree (I know, we all think our trees are the best) but, although I decorate for Christmas every year in Mazatlan, we have not had a tree. This year, however, a friend is spending Christmas Eve and Day with us, and she felt that we simply had to have a tree. So, on a recent visit to New York, she bought one and brought it all the way back to Mazatlan, in her suitcase. This is one special Christmas Tree! It came with it's own decorations, and lights, and with the addition of a few extra baubles found lying around the Casita, we now have a tree. Just can't wait to see what surprises Santa will bring![...]