(Note: This post is several weeks old as we have been cruising in an area with no connectivity)
Tomorrow we will cast off the docklines and head out into the open ocean once more. Hurricane season has ended, daytime temps have dropped into the 80s, Anjuli is sporting a new coat of bottom paint, and we have flown home and back to renew our tourist visas. It will take us 2 days to reach Isla Partida, an island about 25 miles north of La Paz (La Paz lies up around the corner from Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula). We have enjoyed our visit to Mazatlan, but I doubt we will be back. Although the city is charming, Marina Mazatlan is poorly maintained, and the anchorage is not safe to leave the boat unattended due to rampant theft.
Our visit coincided with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican holiday which takes place Nov. 1. While commercially this holiday has been associated with Halloween, it is not about ghosts, or evil spirits or anything like that. Instead it is a time to remember departed loved ones and celebrate their life. Families head out to the graveyard and enjoy a meal with their loved ones and leave favorite food and drink items on the graves – it is a time of celebration rather than mourning. The city also celebrates with a parade, cultural shows, live music and fireworks.
We were fortunate to obtain a pair of tickets (by standing in line 3 hours) to the free cultural show at the Angela Peralta Theater, located in the heart of the historic city center in Plaza Machado. We went with two other boat crews and made a night of it – had a wonderful dinner of Indian food before the show, then strolled the streets and had a few beers after the show. Kind of nice to wander the streets at night in November – without a jacket.
Some of our favorite food items are found here in Mazatlan. We had a friend take us to lunch at the “car wash fish taco place”, which consists of four tables under a blue tarp adjacent a car wash. But the fish tacos were amazing – an entire fish lightly breaded and placed on fresh, hot tortillas. Served with a condiment plate and a cold jamaica (hibiscus flower tea), it’s hard to beat for a buck and a half. Shrimp are also cheap and plentiful in Mazatlan, and the best place to buy them is at the shrimp ladies stalls downtown. From dawn til about noon, one side of a street is occupied by blue-tarp covered stalls which offer last night’s catch at the best possible prices. And a visit to Mazatlan would not be complete without having a chorreada. We found these little gems deep inside the Juarez flea market – a thick flour tortilla smeared with sauce and topped with cheese, then grilled. After grilling, they are covered with beans, your choice of meat and whatever condiments you like – typically chopped radishes,
cucumbers, cabbage, limes, as well as guacamole and hot sauce ranging from kinda hot to super hot. If you are lucky enough to get a seat at the counter the people watching is good too!
The Juarez market takes place every Sunday morning from dawn until about noon in the outlying neighborhood known as Juarez. You can find just about anything there, new or used. Lost your TV remote? They have ‘em. Need a haircut? You can get one. Parts for your propane stove? Yep, they’re here too. So are used clothes, fresh baked goods, bootleg
CDs and DVDs and just about anything else you can imagine. And if you have a sweet tooth, you are never very far from a sweets cart – these are everywhere. The vendor carries a small scale, and you can mix and match and get a sack of goodies for just a few pesos. I am always amazed how the vendors negotiate the crowded isles without overturning the cart.
Having completed the boat work and enjoyed Mazatlan’s food delights, the only thing left was a quick flight home to renew our tourist visas and say hi to our kids and grandkids. The plan was to meet at a small Washington town, Cathlamet, located on the Columbia River where we had rented two cabins. We had spent 10 days at the marina there when we first left last year, and found it to be a charming small town. As luck would have it, we broke down on the way at a wide spot in the road (Goble Landing). With
minutes to spare before the local Napa Auto Parts closed, our oldest son was able to get a new serpentine belt and bring it to us. A few minutes later we were back on the road, and Dan even got to have quality time with the boys working on a car! We ate too much and drank too much, but I think a good time was had by all.