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Friday, February 27, 2015

Looking for a new Mazatlan header picture.

Yesterday morning we went out for breakfast again at Torres. What a neat way to start a day. Good coffee, excellent service and food and a beautiful peaceful setting. Just watching and listening to the blue ocean and the sound of waves.
From there we took a drive as I want to change my heading to something reflecting Mazatlan. Driving along the ocean looking for good pictures. Passing the fishermen. Lots of people looking at the fresh fish, the birds flying around hoping for a snack with blue sky, a palm tree and the city in the background. That could work
Two Amish or Mennonite women watching the fishermen. Their dark dresses, head covering and sensible shoes.
Then we found some Carnaval decorations still up – I bet this is pretty at night.

A divider with musical notes on it.
Continuing on around the corner I think I found it. The Fountain of Life on the Malecón.
We also went out to dinner last night with Ron and Janet. To the Casa Loma. Very pretty place. They have inside and outside dining. I had excellent chicken and Ron enjoyed his beef. Neither Bill nor Janet were impressed with their pasta. But at least we tried a different place. 
This bush is growing right outside our front door. Flowers
Bulbs and green shiny leaves
and something that looks like it might be pomegranate eventually. 
On our way up the road we were detoured off the Malecon - they were setting up for this years Triathelon that runs today and tomorrow. Makes getting to the central district interesting.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Errands in Mazatlan

Wednesday was a quiet day and much cooler with low humidity. Really enjoyed it. In fact got cool enough in the evening we had to close the door early.
Didn’t do much. Went out for breakfast then dropped of the laundry. Then on to the TelCel center to put time and bites on the Internet stick. It was really busy in there. Long lines. But it is done now for another month.

Came home and visited with the neighbors for a while and both of us took a nap! 
Today is another beautiful day - the humidity has dropped to a comfortable level and the night cooled off enough to use both the blanket and the quilt. Ah - good sleeping weather. 
No plans for today but hope I can get a new picture for the header. Something "really Mazatlanish"

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Quiet day in Mazatlan and some more of our adventures in Guadalajara

Oops – woke up and discovered we left the door open all night. But it sure is cooler in here with it open.
Got a notice from TelCel that my time will expire on 2/25/15 at 11:40 hours – so guess we’ll be making a trip to TelCel today to buy more time. We can only buy 3GBs for 30 days. So which ever runs out first – the GBs or the days it is done. Three days ago they sent me a notice that I only had 922 bites left so I was expecting to run out. This is the first time I’ve been notified about the days. In fact sometimes I’ve gone over the 30 days until I run out of bites?... Either way it’s time to go spend 400 pesos for more Internet. US $26.00.
Our son in Las Vegas, NV sent some pictures of the snow around his house. Guess it is cold everywhere – in Indiana it was a high of low 20s. BRRRR.

Had a quiet day yesterday. Went to breakfast then relaxed until dinner time. Our friends Ron and Janet have returned from their adventure further south so we all went out to dinner at Christy’s in the Marina.  We got there just in time to watch the second half of a Barcelona soccer game – they won. Serendipitous event.
Because we had such a quiet day here in Mazatlan it will give me another chance to share more of our adventures in Guadalajara - I have so many more pictures.
One day we parked, wandered around some then went in search of the beads Bill needs for his art work. We walked about 5 miles - I think even more because we did a lot of backtracking and such. 
One place we ended up was the square in front of the Cabanas. Never been here before. Some info about it. 
 If anyone has ever been to Puerta Vallerta they you have seen similar sculptures along the malecon there. They are just plain weird. Figures of all sorts made into chairs etc. 
 There are two sections of them one on either side of the square. These I got closer pictures of. The legs of the sofa are feet!
 A table with legs as legs. 
 Another weird "sofa" with little head and shoulders and arms stretching out to make the sofa. 
 Want to sit here?
 From there we went back to the big central market but will save that for later. Further along our travels we came upon this. Bill immediately knew what it was. A fortune teller who uses little birds to grab the fortune. Says it is very common in all Latin American countries. 
 A closer look the little birds, one yellow and one white are in the cage like part under the steeples. The prices are on  the sign. Of course I wanted my fortune told!
The man explaining how it works. You pick a bird and he picks a fortune out of a box. 
 Bill paying for the fortune. Of course the guy was trying to sell him on the more expensive one - didn't get that part. 
 Not a good picture but that is the box with all the little fortune cards in it. The birds pick a card out. 
 First I picked a bird - white or yellow? This is the white one coming out of his cage to pick a card. 
 The man doesn't look at it. He just shoos the bird back into the cage then picks the card up and puts it into an envelope and hands it to me. 
Bill read my fortune - "If I work hard I'll have lots of money" I think it lost something in the translation. 
No idea what we'll be doing today - but if we do nothing noteworthy I'll just write more about Guadalajara. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

:Deja Vu" all over again - Tequila and Mazatlan

I'm kind of backtracking here a little bit but want to include this in the blog. On Thursday while still in Guadalajara we decided to take a trip to the little town of Tequila. A 99 miles round trip. We took the 15D out to Magdalena then the old road to Tequila. From Tequila we took the old road back towards Guadalajara until hooking up with the main road again.
You surely know where you are headed. Tequila signs all over the place. Also fields and field of agave plants. Most of the fields of plants we saw were young plants - be several more years before they can be harvested. 
 And here we are. We had no real plans except for not going to a distillery tour. Been there done that a few years ago. 
 The narrow cobblestone street leading into the center of town. No parking anywhere. 
 One of the tour vehicles. This one a barrel. Some are shaped like tequila bottles. 
 Agave rules. This is an over crossing decorated with the plant. 
A picturesque little street with cafes and stores selling souvenirs and setting up tours. 
 Big man little moto. Just struck me as funny so had to take a picture. 
 Driving by the main plaza and church. Like the statues of angels out front. 
 One of the big distilleries - oh, oh. This street dead ends - don't go up it. Quick turn left. 
 Oh what a pretty little street. So we took it. You can barely make out a van backed towards a building and a box truck in front of it blocking the street.  We drove as far as them and waited for them to move. Eventually they did and we went by. 

 More buildings on the little street. Wonder how long it took for that vine to cover the building? Just beyond this building we reached the end of the street...there was no way out. It ended in permanent barricades. Oh, Oh! Nose of car up to dead end street. We've done this before in this town. In 1978 in the motorhome with the trailer in back. See book - chapter on Tequila! An snippet from the book - available as ebook or hard copy. 
In fact, we were going to pass through a town named Tequila. Reading the guidebook I discovered there were 24 distilleries in Tequila and I thought it would be interesting to visit one. 
The day was beautiful, the boys were content and Bill was agreeable. “Just tell me how to get there.”  
I did. “Turn right here,” I said, my finger tracing the route on the map.  “Now left there.” The distillery I picked to visit was down towards the center of the old part of town where the streets were still cobblestones. Cobblestones were very rough to drive on, everything inside bounced and rattled around and the motorhome creaked in every joint. The bunk bed bounced up and down, each time getting closer to The Driver's head. In the mirror I could see the scowl on his face getting more intense. But he just gritted his teeth, clutched the wheel and continued to follow my directions. I pretended I didn’t notice the look or the racket or jarring and continued to call out directions. By now we were into a very narrow one-lane, cobblestone street. 
“Now turn left,” I told him, "it should be just around this corner." 
Warily he turned the motorhome and trailer into another one-lane, cobblestone street. The tequila plant was smack dab in front of us. In fact the street ended at the entrance of the plant.  
Bill braked, threw his hands up in the air and turned to look daggers at me. I carefully folded the map in my lap while acting as if I was very interested in looking at the massive stone buildings that surrounded us on three sides. John came up to sit next to me and we sat there looking out the windshield at the four or five blue clad workers who had been lounging next to the building in the shade.  Now, cigarettes hanging from their lips, they were staring opened-mouthed at us.
This time though it was a little easier to get out of. The Jeep could turn around and go the right way. I wonder why neither the van nor truck drive told us the street dead ended? By then we had had enough of Tequila and headed out of town. Never did find close to center parking that had open spaces. 
A statue honoring the field workers. He is standing on a pile of pinas - the core of the agave used to make the tequila. 
 Cutting off the leaves from the core. 
 Selling all things agave.
And thus ended our day in Tequila. If you want to read about our last time there and visiting the distilleries click here.
So now back to Mazatlan. Yesterday our first day here we went out to breakfast at Torres. Beautiful there - right on the beach and very good food. 
From there we headed over to the Centro Historico to do some errands. First off we parked in our favorite parking lot so we could get poor Willie washed. He sure needed it. Then we walked towards the central market. Some signs of Carnaval still up in the main plaza. Decorations on the government building. 
 And floats from the parade. Pink flamingos. 
 Music of the Samba.
 And a witch and a crow. 
 Walking by where all the shoe shine/repair men work. Spotted this cowboy boot sitting out to dry. The shoe shine man was working on the other one. Looked like he was repainting them. 
In the Central Market. Little girl patiently waiting for her mother woho worked there. 
 Bill looking for some little item he can put his beads that he bought in Guadalajara on. [still need to post about that.]
 He also found a couple pair of shorts - the kind he likes with button pockets and made out of manta - kind of a wrinkly cotton. 
Walking back to the car - want your blood pressure taken - no charge?
 Passing the government building again we got curious about all the people waiting to go inside. What were they waiting for? 
 Bill asking one of the officials. They were waiting to pay their property taxes and it is a very involved affair. Some times up to three days to get it done. Especially if there is a question about the amount assessed. IF it can be changed - they have to go to another official - in the back of the line. When it is approved they have to go to another official to the back of the line to get it stamped. Then back into the first line to pay it. Cannot be paid over computer, cannot be paid by check in mail. Must be paid in person. If two people on on title they both must be there. Sometimes it can take up to three days to get it taken care of. Egad! I'm not going to complain anymore. There even was a portion of the Mazatlan news last night about how messed up it is. 
From there we went home. Bill rested, his cold is getting much better. I read and gossiped with the neighbors. Then later we went out to the Italian restaurant for dinner. Just to hot and muggy to cook.
Nice to be here. On my next blog I'm going to write more about Guadalajara as there was a lot I didn't share. And we aren't doing too much here.
Here is a well written article about the wreck my favorite NASCAR driver, Kyle Busch, had at Daytona. 
There's a wreck, a car slides through the grass, brakes locked, but still traveling faster than the rest of us will ever drive on the local highway. There's a wall in the distance and it's closing quick. Television viewers at home, fans in the grandstand, spotters atop that grandstand, and the driver behind the wheel of the out-of-control race car are all scanning that wall up ahead with one question in mind:
Does it have a SAFER barrier?
That's exactly what happened on Saturday evening at Daytona International Speedway, in the closing laps of an Xfinity Series race that ended up becoming just another bizarre chapter in this most calamitous of Speedweeks. Kyle Busch slid sideways out of a multicar crash just past the start-finish line. His Toyota Camry skidded toward the towering wall that separates the racing surface from the infield. From the TV booth to the media center to his wife, Samantha, sitting in the team's pit stall, everyone looked ahead, picked out the spot where he was going to hit and asked that same question:
Does it have a SAFER barrier?
The answer was no. Busch emerged from his car and collapsed to the grass at the feet of the safety crew. Later, as Ryan Reed celebrated his unlikely win, Busch was being transported to a hospital complaining of leg discomfort. The eventual diagnosis: a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a fracture in his left foot. On Sunday he will not be in the Daytona 500.
Here is the full article - worth reading for everyone = NASCAR fan or not.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Trip back to Mazatlan

Hello from Mazatlan. First thing this morning we got up got dressed and headed across the street to our favorite breakfast restaurant. The Torres hotel where the restaurant is right on the ocean. As always good food and beautiful scenery.
Yesterday, Sunday, morning we left the campground at 8:30. Picked a good day to leave very little traffic. We were out of the city of Guadalajara in ½ hour. Amazing – It took us over an hour to travel the same road coming in on a week day afternoon. Stopped to get diesel – 38 gallons, $142. About 3.74 a gallon. Then headed to Mazatlan. The road was good 98% of the way. Which is good because it cost US $144 in tolls for 300 miles! Only a couple of small bits of construction and only a few miles that need repaving. Took us 7 hours. Bill says that is the last time he wants to drive 300 miles in a day. Of course he wasn’t feeling well. On Saturday he came down with a terrible cold and we both spent most of Saturday night awake with his coughing. Anyway we are here now for at least three or four weeks.
Just a picture of one of the agave fields.
The landscape is covered with them between Guadalajara and the town of Tequila down there nestled in the valley. We had a “déjà vu all over again” time in Tequila this year. But that will be another post.
The drive from Guadalajara to just past Tepic is mountainous – drop about 4500 feet in elevation. And going north lots of steep downgrades.
And lots of curves.
This sign says. “Vehicles without brakes follow the red line. You can see it in the inside lane.
A better look at it.
If you don’t have brakes does this make you feel better or worse – “Runaway Ramp 1 KM.” Also another steep grade sign and a get out of their way sign. 
And this sign I love – “Let the vehicle without brakes pass you.” Duh – no kidding.
Getting closer to the ramp the red line is crossing to the right lane.
Here is a look at the GPS – mainly I’m showing it because the orange route is the old or free road. That is the one we took in 1978 when we drove our motorhome to Argentina. And one of those curves is the one we stalled out on. It is continually up hill going south in this area. 
You can read all about that trip in our book All The Way To Argentina available as an e-book.
Nearing Tepic we started passing lots of sugar cane fields also tobacco and sorghum fields. I like the color of sugar cane kind of a light yellowish green.
A cemetery out in the middle of nowhere – no towns in sight.
Going through Tepic. This road is MUCH improved – has been entirely repaved.
And they are sprucing up their overpasses too.
From there on it was pretty much a straight drive to Mazatlan. However right at the beginning of the new bypass around Mazatlan they are already repaving so it was down to one narrow lane for a few miles. Got to the RV park and discovered some one was already in OUR favorite spot – how dare they? Anyway parked a few spaces over and all is well. There are four of us here in the back of Las Jaibas. Usually it is only us.
Everyone probably knows that I’m an avid NASCAR fan and my favorite driver is Kyle Busch. On Saturday evening while driving in the Ixfinity [formerly Nationwide] series he crashed into the wall at 150 miles an hour and the part of the wall without safer barriers. So he has a compound fracture of his right leg and broke his left foot. Pretty well takes him out of the races for a good long while.
Last evening we went to WalMart and Bill saw the doctor and got some pills to help with his congestion and cough. They seem to be working, we both got a good nights sleep last night.
And the weather – well the weather is not to warm, only highs of 82/83 but high humidity. Can’t have it all I guess.
We have a small leak in a water supply hose in the Alfa – so getting that fixed today. Otherwise all is well.