A Travellerspoint blog

Birthday Celebration

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Started off my birthday with a nice breakfast and a Happy Birthday banner that Donna and Lyle had hung up out on the balcony. Great start!
Start your day with a good breakfast!

Start your day with a good breakfast!


We caught the bus downtown and walked around some of the streets just looking. Browsed thru one store that had everything from pottery to wooden toys and implements and no pressure to buy!
We went by the Shrimp Market where there is a block of vendors selling shrimp! I've never seen so much shrimp before!
Shrimp Market

Shrimp Market


We worked our way over to one restaurant on our list of possibilities - it didn't open to 3 - the next one was also closed. So we ate at Casa Canobbio, which is on Plaza Machado. So nice to sit outside in the shade and enjoy a great meal. This restaurant is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Mazatlan.
Casa Canobbio

Casa Canobbio


After lunch we walked over a couple of blocks and had some gelato - also very nice. We wanted to catch a different bus, so we could go to a big supermarket that Donna had been to previously. So we asked a few people, found a bus that went that way and away we went. Had a good time in the supermarket due to a manager(?) who one of the staff called to assist us. He had worked in Canada, in Athabasca, until the oil prices dropped. He said he liked winter and knee deep snow!!! He was very helpful, but they didn't have any gluten-free bread. I think they eat so much corn in Mexico, the gluten-free issue isn't as big.
After several different discussions with locals, we decided to walk a few blocks over to the main drag instead of waiting for a very unreliable bus (it is Sunday, after all). So we did that and got back home, hot and tired.
After beer, rest, swim, shower, etc. we went out for supper to Mr. Lionso, which is on the tip of the peninsula. We took a pulmonia, which we decided are the cause of everyone's wind-blown look!!
Pulmonia

Pulmonia


This restaurant has a live band on Sunday nights and really encourages a party atmosphere. Even the staff participate in the dancing. There was a clown making balloon hats and corsages for everyone.
Donna and Lyle at Mr Lionso's

Donna and Lyle at Mr Lionso's

Clown with Lyle's hat

Clown with Lyle's hat


We had lots of fun dancing and enjoying the music as well as the great food. They only do this on Sunday night at this restaurant so I lucked out!
I forbade Lyle from telling them it was my birthday and later got to see what they did for someone else's birthday. A huge balloon hat, lots of whistles, cheering, and holding up a big frame around the person for pictures! So glad it wasn't me! We had the pulmonia ride home again - a great end to a great birthday!
When I woke up early this morning, this was the view out our bedroom window.
The moon and Venus

The moon and Venus

Posted by katdill 06:04 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

To Market, To Market

Saturday, December 5

Don, Lyle, and Donna started the day with a swim in the ocean. It was quite wild and dumped them several times. After showers, coffee, etc. we set off to go to the organic farmer's market downtown. We caught the bus and had a long ride. We stayed on the bus too long and got off at the end of the line. We started walking to find a restaurant for breakfast. Finally, after consulting with some locals, we found Macaws and had a great brunch.
Light fixture at Macaws

Light fixture at Macaws


Then off to walk to the market, but by the time we got there it was almost all done. There was one vendor who wasn't all packed up, so we got a few things. Then we walked over to the central market and got fruit, vegies, fresh fish and shrimp.
Don and Donna buying fish

Don and Donna buying fish


We had to catch a bus home immediately so we could get the fish and shrimp into the fridge. So back we came on a very crowded bus and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Don played some ping-pong. We had a swim in the pool and just sat and read and enjoyed the ocean breeze.
Don cooked a delicious fish supper and we went for a walk up the street after supper. We found lots of leaf cutter ants doing their thing in several places along the sidewalk.
Leaf cutters at work

Leaf cutters at work

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

Living room

Living room

Sunset view

Sunset view

Posted by katdill 21:30 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Travel to Mazatlan

Friday, December 4, 2015

We made a quick shopping trip to the fabric store this morning. Don had noticed how cheap the Xmas fabric was and suggested we need more. We use it for gift wrap and the kids often keep it to use again. So I got 4 meters of fabric for about $16!
We finished packing and took a taxi to the bus depot (Central de Autobuses) to catch our bus. We had to wait quite awhile because we were so early. We had some cheese quesadillas at the little food concession before we left. It's an 8 hour bus ride with one stop about halfway in Tepic. Nice bus with lots of room between the seats, toilets at the back, leg rests, screens and headsets for watching movies, listening to music, playing games and even WIFI on board! The stop was only 15 minutes long so not enough time for a real meal - and not much of a restaurant, either. On the way back, we will be sure to bring more food with us.
Donna and Lyle met us at the bus depot in Mazatlan and brought us in a little open air taxi to their condo. It is a very big two bedroom suite on the fifth floor. A balcony looking out to the ocean and a big resort complex with a restaurant, store, pool, etc. It is quite a bit north of the town so we will likely be traveling back and forth often. We had a walk around the property and down the beach in the dark - very nice sand. After a little visit, it's time for bed.

Posted by katdill 05:32 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

A Day at the Beach

Thursday, December 3, 2015

We set off this morning to catch the bus to go south to Boca de Tomatlan. On the way to the bus stop, we were asked for "spare change" from a white woman! She said she needed to take the bus to pick up her pay cheque, but didn't have any money for bus fare. Don gave her 20 pesos ($2.00) but we were pretty suspicious - she was dressed inappropriately, I'd say! I had seen her asking a Mexican man for money before us - I wonder what he thought?
We got on our bus and then had to wait for 10 minutes or so, because apparently the bus had hit another vehicle just before we got on and they had to sort that out. Finally, we were on our way. There was a young man on the bus with two special cardboard boxes made for transporting chickens and yes, they did have chickens in them. We have experienced bus rides with the chicken in someone's arms - so I guess the cardboard boxes are a big improvement.
When we arrived at Boca and were walking down to the pier, we were approached by some boat men - Don wanted to go to Colomitos beach, which is the next one south. It is a very little beach, with not much there. The boat men said the snorkeling wasn't very good today - the water was too cloudy - and that we should go to Yelapas instead. We had heard about Yelapas a few days ago and so decided to go there in the water taxi. It was about 1/2 hour boat ride with several stops at different beaches along the way to let people off. At one beach we picked up a man with his iguana and took him to the next beach.
Water taxi

Water taxi

Man with Iguana

Man with Iguana


We've frequently seen men with iguanas walking the beach asking people if they want to hold it and get their picture taken, for a small fee of course. In fact, when we arrived at Yelapas, there were 3 men with 4 iguanas at the start of the beach. Strange way to make a living!
After Don tried out the snorkeling and found it wasn't any good, we trekked along the beach to the village - had to pass a water channel, which Don waded thru and I got a ride in a punt (I wasn't in my bathing suit at the time). We had to climb 64 steps up to the main street of the village. As we walked the main street to find a restaurant, we met a pack train of donkeys carrying bags of cement.
Pack train

Pack train

Part of main street

Part of main street


On our way back later, we ran into them again and some of them were dragging long rebar pieces along the road. Supplies are delivered by water to the pier (as there is no road to the village) and then by donkey or ATV or wheelbarrow to wherever it is needed in the village.
We had lunch in a little restaurant, the Eclipse, and walked up another steep path to the waterfall. We had a little dip in the pool at the waterfall to cool off. Then back down we went and got back over to the pier to be picked up by the water taxi again.
Waterfall up hill from the town

Waterfall up hill from the town


After we got back to town and cleaned up, we had supper at Momma Rosa's restaurant - very nice and watched some more of the processions - they seem to all be alike to me - the same dance groups perform for different groups apparently. We don't really understand this procession stuff all that well.

Posted by katdill 20:14 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Tour of San Sebastian

December 2, 2015

We were picked up early this morning and went over to the Vallarta Adventures main office to check in and have some breakfast, before leaving on our tour. There were 27 people on the tour and our guide was Rubi. She was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We had a stop at a little place for a bathroom break and to buy snacks if you wanted them. We also stopped at an old silver mining hacienda, which was later owned by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (we seem to keep running into mention of them!). It must have been a grand place in its day. It is now a bed and breakfast and the main floor is really a museum. Our guide explained the silver mining process and how laborious it was to extract the ore from the rock. There was a huge poinsettia plant which was just gorgeous.
Hacienda Jalisco

Hacienda Jalisco

Poinsettia Plant

Poinsettia Plant


Then we finally went on to San Sebastian, which was also a silver mining town. It was one of the prime reasons the Spaniards stayed in Mexico, silver to mine with lots of cheap labour. There are not very many people living there now, no more silver mining, just tourism. It's a classic colonial town with the old stone and adobe buildings.
Standing in the street of San Sebastian

Standing in the street of San Sebastian


We visited a coffee plantation and I bought some ground coffee mixed with cinnamon and chocolate, as well we bought some guava leather. We also visited a silver workshop and a cigar workshop, but didn't make any purchases there.
Cigar maker who adds agave syrup and vanilla to his cigars

Cigar maker who adds agave syrup and vanilla to his cigars


There was also a museum run by one of the old families of the town - a couple of rooms in their house, with lots of pictures of their ancestors. We got a very complicated description of the family tree, which demonstrated how inbred the pure Spanish became in order to protect their Spanish "purity". Then we had a very nice four course lunch at a restaurant or eatery just for tours. They had an outdoor cooking area with their grill, clay oven and wood fired wok/tortilla maker.
Wood fired tortilla cooker

Wood fired tortilla cooker


As we started our trip back to the city, we stopped at a tequila distillery that is a small family business and had taste tests of all their different flavours of tequila. Very interesting and delicious and we did make a purchase there!
We got back to the city about 5:30 and shared a cab with another couple back to our part of town. After a rest for awhile in the hotel, we went to Joe Jack's Fish Shack for supper. We had just sat down on their balcony when a family procession for the Festival of Guadalupe went by. After a good supper, we walked along the malecon to the church and waited for the next procession to happen. Tonight they had the dancers, a marching band with singers, and a float with a young girl depicting Guadalupe and a couple of young angels. Apparently it get more complex every night - hard to imagine how they can keep this up for 10 more nights!

Posted by katdill 20:47 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

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