Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wading in the water

When we return to Victoria on Friday, I think the one thing I will really miss is the beach with the silky turquoise water.  We have beaches at home of course but they're not like Mazatlan beaches. The water there is icy cold.

Here wading in the water here is sensuous and soft and I do it every chance I get. Whenever we're near a beach I drag Harry over and take my shoes off and walk along the shore.

Some people like to go out in a boat or fish or swim or read under a beach umbrella....

But when I'm at the beach you'll generally find me wading in the water.

Of course there are other waders too, of both the human and avian variety...

The birds are a lot more focused than I am, having to find their dinner in the waves.

My experience is more of a meditative one. I'm trying to memorize the silky feeling of water over my ankles. I'm hoping these photos will help me remember it.

I'm hoping they'll help you remember too.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whirlwind intro to Maz

Our friends Liz and Ritchie are here for a very short time--only four full days. So we've been giving them the whirlwind tour.  Yesterday was a walking tour of the centro area including the mercado, the historic old town and the Olas Altas area. Here are a few highlights.

 Oranges and nuts outside the mercado...

A hibiscus in the park beside the cathedral...

A beautifully restored building for sale down by the Plazuela.

A peek inside the restored Angela Peralta Theatre and a photo from before the restoration.

A quick look into one of the centro art galleries....

A quick tour of the Belmar Hotel, built in the 1920s and now rather dated.

Dinner last night was a big blow-out at El Presidio to celebrate Ritchies birthday and his attaining Canadian citizenship.

Today included a bus trip into the Golden Zone for some jewelry shopping, a little swim in a hotel pool and a walk around a  more upscale neighbourhood. This evening we took in the sunset at the top of the Freeman and then walked back over  Icebox Hill for a quick Mexican antojito dinner at La Copita just down the road.

Liz going down a water slide...                                 posing on a vintage street...

The evening event was going up to the top of the Freeman Hotel (built in 1944) with its gorgeous rooftop view. Hey you three, you're supposed to look down at the view not up in the air!

The sunset faded slowly and the lights came on to welcome another beautiful evening.

Walking back over the hill we came upon a lighted Guadalupe and a street full of food vendors.

Our food was pretty authentic at la Copita too, nothing fancy but very delicious.  

In the next two days we plan to cram in a panga trip to Stone Island for some beach time, cycling on the Malecon, and a shrimp barbecue on the roof.  We'll see how much we get done. The sultry climate here doesn't encourage rushing around.  Whatever we manage to do will be fine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mazatlan Carneval weekend

This is my favourite photo of Carneval, taken at last night's parade with a float that shot out huge gobs of confetti that filled the sky.

The carnval weekend is almost over, although there are still some fireworks taking place tonight and a smaller parade tomorrow. We took in the Saturday night gathering at Olas Altas where several things were going on.

Walking down we saw the results of the afternoon's rain storm. At the Plazuela there was six inches of water in the streets. And much of the ice that's ready to cool beer in huge ice chests was melting.

But the rain stopped and the crowds came, many of them wearing carnival hats or bright coloured wigs and carrying giant plastic containers of Pacifico beer.

Saturday's tradition includes fireworks. First is the burning of the bad humour, to banish ill-feeling from Mazatlan. Each year the figure is different, generally representing someone
that people love to hate, a local figure or a politician, we never did find out who. We saw it carried down the street followed by many people but somehow the burning happened outside of our view. It doesn't take long as it's like a giant piñata filled with exploding fireworks.

Later in the evening there was another huge fireworks display dramatizing the defence of Mazatlan during the French Colonial invasion of 1864. Here's a link to a website with videos of the fireworks.
There were so many loud bands playing that we headed home fairly quickly, missing the recreation of the naval battle.

The big event for us was Sunday's parade. On the advice of some of our Gringo friends we purchased tickets to a parade party at one of the big hotels along the Malecon. The party included lots of beer and mixed drinks (open bar for 4 hours) plus a big buffet meal. We arrived at 1:00 pm as we were told to come early to get the best seats.  The parade didn't start until about 5:30 or 6:00 so we spent the afternoon sitting in the pool area waiting around and eating. Drinking in the afternoon doesn't really agree with us so the open bar was kind of wasted.

I headed out to the Malecon to take some photos of the lead up to the parade. Mexican families were setting up early as well. They bring tables and plastic chairs and have picnics all afternoon while waiting. There's a palpable sense of excitement.

Up in the stands at our parade party people were wearing coloured wigs and masks and gradually getting drunk as the afternoon wore on. Above us kids were flinging confetti around and taking photos of each other.

Even the older folk got into the act with wigs and masks.

The first part of the parade features the sponsors with trucks carrying pretty girls in high heels and low cut dresses gyrating to loud music.  By this time we we'd been mingling for over four hours and were kind of tired of it. From our seats in the middle of things we couldn't really see anything with all the people walking by with drinks and standing up in front of us.  So as the sun set we left the hotel and headed down into the crowds lining the Malecon. 
As we left I passed this dad with his young boy who was captivated by the parade. (This is my second favourite photograph.)

Down on the street we got a much better sense of the parade. The vibe was more relaxed and fun and since we weren't carrying any valuables we felt confident in walking through the crowds and stopping when something caught our eye.

We could see the floats better as they moved slowly by. Some had elegantly dressed young women and men waving and posing. 

I believe this gorgeous young woman is this year's queen.
Many of the floats featured scantily dressed young people gyrating and dancing to loud music.


Some were quite creative...

Of course there's more to the parade than the floats. There were vendors of all kinds, many of them young boys selling things like candies or tamales....

And there were so many girls in the audience wearing this year's favourite accessory--the long coloured wig.

After the big floats passed there were smaller ones featuring clubs and organizations with large numbers of boys and girls in costume performing dances along the street.


I really loved watching these groups to see the many different personalities of the dancers. I also loved seeing the audience reaction when someone in their family passed by.  In this photo (pretty blurry because it was getting really dark), you can see the reaction of a couple of little girls who wanted very much to be dancers too. They kept moving right out into the parade and dancing along.

We walked against the direction of the parade for about two hours and finally at the end we came to the dancing horses and their cowboy riders waiting their turn.  By then we were ready to head home all we needed to do was turn up our walk three blocks to our place on Luis Zuñiga Street. 

It was a visually exciting evening. Sorry to have included so many photos. It was hard to know what to leave out.