Friday, March 05, 2021

This is for the Birds

Late Arriving Today  
In Mazatlán our apartment has a large, open terrace. We saw pigeons from the first day. Initially, Jay threw out some rice. Suddenly, we had new friends!  Now Jay buys seeds specifically for our visitors. 

We count four as belonging here. There are another four that come and go. A single dove feels it owns the area and hates the pigeons.  Jay has now begun setting limits as the aviary started believing that they could come for food the whole day. Now, they only get breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, and some dinner at round 5:00 pm. Wait, that kind of already sounds like the whole day, doesn't it?
I never knew that pigeons spent so much time cleaning. They do seem to have unique personalities too. There's much more to a pigeon than I might've expected.
  Coming for Food A Regular Visitor They Spend More Time Cleaning Than I'd Have Expected

Thursday, March 04, 2021

What are Gloves?

It's Good Being OutsideWe walked to the Centro Market today in order to buy some smoked tuna. A block of around a half kilo cost 77 Mexican pesos or approximately US $3.65. 

We were walking and the sun was shining brightly.  The temperature was headed towards a high of around 25° C today. 

As we walked, I stopped to consider how delightful it is for us to spend winters in locations where it is reasonably warm. For a number of years, I've not worn a shred of winter clothing.  I cannot remember the last time I donned boots.  My feet are usually in sandals or nothing!

Humans are amazingly flexible animals. Yet, it seems to me that spending time in places where it's cold, whether the precipitation is completely frozen or just damp, is a type of coping.  So many people have no choice but to cope.  We are lucky to be Canadian snowbirds as it is a healthier lifestyle for us.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Miguel Hidalgo, Centro, 82000 Mazatlán, Sin., Mexico

It's fine to remove one's mask when being photographed, provided, of course, no one is within a couple of meters.  We generally do.  I'll add that there have been a few times when I've forgotten.
Oh yeah: That Winter We Wore Masks!A neighbourhood park, named Angel Flores, near our place here.
(I can hear myself in 2028: Oh, yeah! Remember that winter in Mexico when we wore masks every time we left the apartments in Playa del Carmen and Mazatlán?)

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

This Colour Blue Should be Bottled

After breakfast and cleaning up, we walked out in a search of buying another month of cell phone service. Since 2010 and my Nexus One, I've always had unlocked smartphones. I simply pop in a SIM when travelling to have a local phone number and data. One of the biggest Mexican telephone providers is called Telcel. Shops that offer reloads are everywhere. A cashier simply takes the number and rings up the purchase. Within seconds, I was automatically set and ready to go. I wrote this on Facebook:
Only in Canada is cell service a major budgetary decision. Today, I just renewed for a month with 3GB of data for around US $9.50. In SE Asia and elsewhere it is even cheaper.
We noticed this morning's sky was so blue that it became hard not stare.
  D'Samy's Cathedral  
Of course, it was so nice that we continued the extra few hundred meters to enjoy the scenery at the Mazatlán Cathedral and plaza as well as the Centro Market.  Inside the market, Jay bought a bag of seeds for pigeons now that our terrace has become a neighbourhood feeding area.  Jay counts 10 regulars as guests and a determined but ornery dove that really doesn't play well with others.

Jay Buys Seeds for the Pigeons  
He also picked up some fresh fish.  Marlin are a very popular fish in Mazatlán.  We tried some other type today and it was a little soft but had a good taste.  The seller told us the name but we've both forgotten.
  Jay Buying Fish in Mazatlan

On the return walk, we stopped at our regular supermarket too.  I needed a few things and picked up a 990 ml bottle of Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Reposado for around $US 8.20.  I do not know what that bottle would've 'set me back' in a BC Liquor Store.

All's fine in Mazatlán.  Wishing you were here!

Monday, March 01, 2021

During Winters Away, We Shop A Lot

US $0.19 / KiloThis morning our walk to the vegetable store was about the most interesting thing to report. We always end with several bags of fruits and vegetables from a store that's several blocks away. In fact, I just ate a bit of fresh soursop from our last visit. 

We usually spend CA $5 or $6 on the mighty hauls. Fresh food is cheap here.  In Mexico, both tomatoes and onions are super-cheap at this time of year. The big, white onions cost 3.90 pesos a kilo. Today's onion price works out to be US $0.19 / kilo (2.2 lbs). We can't afford NOT to eat a lot of them here! I do like onions, luckily.

I took a few pictures yesterday. A lot of our time seems to be spent grocery shopping during winters. We had spotted a Soriana supermarket up near the Golden Zone last week. Today, we decided to take a Green Bus to see this branch of the popular, Mexican hypermarket chain. We've found that this company's stores are either a hit or a miss.  Today's seemed pretty good and we ended up buying a couple of bags of things including rolls from their bakery and a roasted chicken.
  This Is Getting to be a Habit Never Far Away  
The plans were to grab an Uber to come back. Surge pricing means the 15-minute ride would've cost 40 pesos, or about US $1.95. That seemed excessive, so we enjoyed the views when coming back by bus too. We each paid the equivalent of 53 cents US.  Even if we had a whole lot of money, we'd still live cheaply.  It's our nature.
  Hiper Heading Home w/ Some Groceries

Saturday, February 27, 2021

An ATM on the Way to the Beach

The Bank  
We brought cash in the form of pesos with us from Playa del Carmen. For all supermarket and pharmacy transactions, we use a credit card from Canada with no foreign transaction fees. However, here we have been using an independent fruit and vegetable seller and using up cash. 

We have made a few more cash transactions than usual too.  For example I paid pesos for yesterday's hair cut. We frequently walk by a little, old barber shop in the neighbourhood.  The boney old guy looks like he must be in his mid 80s and generally he doesn't' seem to ever have much business.  So, when I figured it was time to cut my hair, I wanted to give him some business. His chair was original, I think from the 1940s. Nothing much had been done with the place for decades. He had on his ill-fitting COVID mask and spoke no English. I motioned that I wanted to keep the bulk of my hair but he could use the #1 clipper to cut the sides. I don't think he had cut many heads during this millennium but he tried!  The cut isn't great but I will get a better one before going back to Canada after a month. I dutifully paid the wrinkly gentlemen his required 70 pesos, or around US $3.35. 

Anyway, back to the original point: We needed to visit an ATM today. We do some banking business with HSBC and it has turned out convenient during our retirement winters. We've never been dinged with a transaction fee because they've had branches in Puerto Vallarta, Egypt, Bali, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. Although there weren't branches in Cambodia for the several winter months we stayed there, HSBC covered the ATM fees for us.  

The downtown Mazatlán branch is in the old colonial section of the city. We walked to Olas Atlas after getting some cash. I took pictures at the original beach, but I'll just include three I took as we enjoyed the walk along Calle Gral. Angel Flores.
  Colourful Mazatlan, Mexico High on Flowers Dove in a Flower Pot

Friday, February 26, 2021

We Have Flights Back to YVR. April Fools!

I meant, we got Expedia to re-issue American Airlines tickets for April 1st. We were initially scheduled to return home on April 2nd but the flights were cancelled. We are going to have to fly a day earlier. We were on a Skype call with Omar, our Expedia representative, for one hour and two minutes! He had to do a lot of work to get us the MTZ-->DFW-->SEA-->YVR confirmation. The last leg is on Horizon/Alaska Air.  It feels better knowing that this routing will provide us with choices too.  

We can continue to check the unfolding hotel-stay requirements for Canadian airport arrivals and if the options look too expensive, we can opt for a land border crossing from SEATAC. To get home at Blaine requires just a recent negative COVID-19 PCR test which we'll need to board the plane in Mexico regardless ...
  Quick Food in the Market  
After such a long time listening to muzak this morning, we were ready for a little walk in the balmy 26°C but a bit overcast day. We had not walked up to the second-floor restaurant area at the back of the Centro public market. We didn't eat there but saw that many folks were.  There are a few places in the regular vendors area to grab something to eat too.  As it was lunch time, even the pelicans along the beach were seeing what was available.
  Checking for Lunch

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Colourful Place in B & W

Today we needed to buy fruit and vegetables again. Our favourite shop is only two blocks from the house but we chose to do a daily walk and get them on the way back to the apartment. 

We walked a bit south of the fishermen's boats and along the Malecon.  Then, we cut across on a road heading up the north side of the hill hosting the many telecommunications towers. The circle brought us back to our shop in a little less than an hour.

What's Up with All This B&W Lately? Not Well Choreographed 
For some reason today, these four photos seemed to indicate the need for a little bit of black and white photography. It's weird because a lot of Mexico is brightly coloured.  In fact, it is probably among the most colourful countries we've ever visited. Perhaps because of my usual image oversaturation, I wanted to focus more on the shapes today. Occasionally, switching to monochrome is a nice change that lets me pay attention to other important details in the shot.

Old Artillery Three Islands

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Necessities vs. Habits

Mazatlan Market Mercado Pino Suarez: The Central Market in the Mazatlan
A Habit Totopos and Salsa: My New Pre-Dinner Snack w/ Beer or Tequila

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Today is Tuesday

This picture is representative of our day for two reasons.
First, we walked to the Central Market to buy some fruit today and continued the extra block to the main cathedral and park.  More importantly, it shows a bit of high clouds today. We have seen primarily, crystal-clear, blue sky since getting to Mazatlán more than two weeks ago.

On a completely different state of affairs, Jay received an email from American Airlines today stating there are 'changes to our flights' on April 2nd.  We were rebooked, but on flights which don't connect to each other!  An Expedia search shows there is now no way to fly from Mazatlán to Vancouver on their airline.  

Oh my!  Last week, we had to accept voucher credit from AeroMexico because they are no longer flying into Canada either.   Between this and Justin's ill-conceived hotel-stay requirement as an additional COVID-19 precaution, I am not exactly sure of when or how we'll get home.  Oh, the joys of travel in 2020 continue right into the spring of 2021!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Ley Plaza

We've been getting pretty much all our groceries at the Centro Ley Supermarket. It is labeled as an Express location because of the small size. We like going there because it is only a short 10-minute walk from our Airbnb apartment.

We decided to branch out today though and called an Uber to try Ley Plaza.  It's probably less than five kilometers away.  It has a seriously larger format and had expanded merchandise on offer. 
  Ley Plaza

Uber is so convenient here at approximately the same prices as bus tickets for two people. The little extra is worth it for the door-to-door service.  Plus, money is going into the pockets of entrepreneurial families.

We gladly found a roast chicken restaurant at the same location. In all previous Mexican cities, we've always had easy access to roasted chickens to go, whether at  franchise restaurants or as part of a supermarket. In Mazatlán, however, they seem extraordinarily rare. That is another reason for us to occasionally do grocery shopping where we did today.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday in the Golden Zone

The North Beach End  
Sunday morning sounded like a great time to visit the Las Gavioyas Beach for a stroll. The morning weather was just as it's been since we got here.  It starts off chilly but warms up as soon as the sun rises.  Today was 25°C (77°F).  Many of Mazatlan's hotels and beach-vacation activities can be found in the area just to the north of the North Beach. So, we first walked to the Centro Market to get on a public, north-bound, Green Bus.
  MAZ(DENNIS)ATLAN Jay on the Rocks  
We signaled to get off near the MAZATLAN letters at the far end of the beach, near empty Valentino's Restaurant that looks somewhat like a castle.  Far more people were enjoying the sunshine and sand than during the week.  We spotted a few other snowbirds from Canada and foreign winter residents.  However, foreign tourism is pretty non-existent due to COVID-19.  There's a push to attract Mexican locals to keep tourism-related businesses afloat.  

It was an interesting walk through the neighborhoods near Puerto Dorada.  It is an area where I'd feel at home in a condo.
  Access Pacific Ocean I Could Live Like This!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Getting Vegetables Via the Beach

South Beach

Our favourite place to buy fruit and vegetables only a few blocks away on Zaragoza Avenue. Yet, as it was a nice Saturday morning, we walked by the way of the end of South Beach.  The temperature does not change much, for each and every day is about 24C or 75F.  The air here is dry and sky is generally cloudless.  In other words, the weather is nearly perfect.

At the south end of the South Beach, fishermen keep boats.  A bit further down, some nice, open-air gym equipment sits near the giant tourist letters spelling, Mazatlán.  In the next photo Jay is sitting on the Z.

MAZ(JAY)ATLAN Testing 1-2-3 Action by the Water

Friday, February 19, 2021

Centro to Punta Cerritos

The End of the Line

The Mazatlán Malecon, or seaside walkway, runs a total of 13 miles!  Internet sources say it it one of the longest in the world.  We had walked a section from Olas Atlas Beach to Avenue Zaragoza.  Also, the other day, we walked from the fishing boats along part of South Beach.  

However, one can see miles of beachfront from those points!  We knew that riding on the public 'Green Bus' would be a good way of looking at the main tourist area called the 'Golden Zone'.  The busses, running every 10 to 20 minutes, pass most every hotel.  They even run the other way from Centro to El Faro, the historic lighthouse.

We caught the bus on the back side of the public market in Centro Mazatlán.  We could tell it was going north because most streets here are one-way.  We stayed on, passing the new developments in the Marina area to the very end of the line. 

The Point Playa Cerritos

We disembarked at Playa Cerritos and stretched our legs by walking around a bit.  There were a few fishermen trying to sell their day's catch.  We boarded another green bus as it was leaving.  On the return trip we were on the lookout for the points of interest along the route.  We'll be able to just visit the Golden Zone at our pleasure.

Presently, a one-way ticket on these large air-conditioned busses is 11 Mexican pesos.  That means today's four, separate tickets cost us a total of US$ 2.15.  That is a bargain!

On a Green Bus

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