Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Finding community

I was somewhat hesitant to come to Mazatlan for two months, thinking that I would feel a little lost without my friends and connections at home. But there was no need to worry; in the 10 days we've been here we've made so many new connections that we're finding ourselves double booked. Mazatlan's centro is so full of couples here from Canada and the States that it's simple to meet wonderful people wherever you go.

Of course we've met the couple from Courtenay who rent the apartment above us. Christine is also a painter but hasn't done water colours, so today she and I spent a couple of hours painting at our dining room table.  On Thursday we're going to have a joint shrimp fest using their barbecue and upper patio.

We've also met Stu and Rose from Peachland and spent yesterday afternoon with them at Stone Island. We met them at the bus stop a few days ago and then ran into them again two days later having breakfast at one of the three excellent coffee shops within walking distance of our house.

Here's Rose on the stairs outside their apartment in the Belmar, an iconic hotel built in the 1920s and covered with tiles. The Belmar has suites as well as hotel rooms and many of the suites are rented year-round by gringos.

On Sunday we went to Macaws, a restaurant near the Plazuela where Jock, the saxophonist we meet last week, was playing.  We sat at a table with Nancy and Jim, a couple from Wisconsin who are very interesting. They've travelled widely in Mexico and also study Spanish. We're meeting them in a couple of days to see where they are staying and grab some dinner.

Then there's Diane and Brian who are in our twice-a-week yoga class. They are here for two months from Nova Scotia and I know that we'll be connecting up with them soon too.

One afternoon while wandering in behind the Plazuela Machado we met this woman who comes to Mazatlan every winter from Saskatoon. That's her new little rescue dog Chica looking a bit nervous. We talked with her about her rental apartment, which she is staying in for the second year. We didn't get her name, but that's ok. We'll probably run into her in the grocery store or at the movies and can deepen our connection if we wish.

For everyone the common interest is where people are staying. Everyone is on the hunt for the perfect accommodation. When you meet people you first ask, "where are you from?" and that leads into "how long are you here for?" and that segues into "Where are you staying?" and then "If you don't mind my asking, how much are you paying?" and finally, "How did you find it?"

Our calendar is filling up with dinners and drink dates plus Spanish classes plus for Harry dentist appointments and possibly a gym schedule. I will be painting and also playing Mah Jongg with our old friend Peggy, who lives up in Marina Mazatlan north of here and has organized group to play weekly. Plus there are movies a few times a week at Recreo plus performances of music in the centro.

There was no need to worry about community. Down here in the Centro it's everywhere you look--from the grocery store to the bus stop to a restaurant.  Everyone who's here is somewhat displaced and so connections are instant.  It makes for a very full calendar.  And it's a lot of fun.

Here's your pretty for today. A photo taken as we wandered up Icebox Hill just behind our apartment at sunset. These banners are set up during fiestas and sometimes remain. Beneath them is a lovely Guadalupe.


  1. It sounds like you are have a splendid time.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Hi Harry and Joanna, We are having a great time reading your posts and wish we were there. It sounds wonderful. Would love to hear more on the nuts and bolts of being there, such as how you found your place, price ranges, what to look out for, etc. etc. When we were in Mazatlan in 2008 we found the centro much more interesting than the hotel zone.It seems you made a great choice to be there. We look forward to reading more of your dispatches.

    1. Hi Ches and Allison, we wish you were here too. We love being in the centro. Just headed down to the central market. It's amazing and reasonable. As to finding this place, we went through a rental agency that specializes in this area. Mazatlan Realty is the name. We are happy with our place though it's nothing fancy at $550 US. There is no noise barrier to keep the sounds from the Mexican family downstairs and their screaming child though so we are looking around for something else for next time. J


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