The other day I had lunch with friends who are returning to Calgary for the summer. They know I haven’t been teaching much and are amazed when I tell them that my first year here in Mazatlan has gone by so quickly. Whatever do you do with your time Karen? So it appears that it’s time to reflect upon what I’ve been doing.
Last year at this time I was back in Winnipeg. I was preparing for a book launch and I had a lot of loose ends to tie up so that I could return to Mexico for an indefinite period of time. My two week visit became five and I was more than ready to return to Mexico, especially when an unexpected snowfall graced us in Winterpeg.
Living in Mazatlan is very different from living in Guadalajara. It is much hotter here and much more humid, although Guadalajara gets a lot of rain and some flash flooding. Mazatlan is a much smaller city and the air is much fresher. English is more common here, especially in certain expat areas. I actually have met people here who have lived here for years and do not speak any Spanish.
Because it is a smaller city, nothing is really far away. The traffic is lighter, and the roads are better as well. But the one big lure for me is the ocean. If Guadalajara had a beach, I’d still be there. I miss the museums, art galleries, parks and especially the canyon. But nothing compares with zipping along the Malecon here on a motorcycle with the wind blowing through your hair.
My friends have visions of me basking on a beach all day with a cerveza at my side. While I do make a point of going to the beach to relax, just the sight of the ocean from a bus window on a daily commute is calming and peaceful. I teach, I write, I volunteer and even tried my hand at acting, but I most definitely do not lie on a beach all day long everyday.
I suppose you could say that my major focus has been on writing. I’m working on my third book and am writing fiction as opposed to self-help books. I belong to writers’ groups online. I also contributed to a book published here in Mexico extolling all the wonders that this country has to offer.
At the moment I am only teaching private students. But I did find myself back in the classroom obtaining a CENNI examiner certification as well as a certificate to administer TOEIC exams here in Mexico.
I volunteer with Vecinos Con Carinos and La Vina. I also attended my first Friends of Mexico meeting this month.
I haven’t done too much traveling in Mexico. I went to Culiacan last September, Guadalajara in December and spent Christmas in Tototlan. My big trip was to Punta Cana in the Dominican for my daughter’s wedding last October. En route I spent a couple of days in Toronto.
I can’t believe I haven’t made it back to the aquarium yet. I went there a few years ago and it has expanded since. I also haven’t gone to Bosque de la Ciudad or to Stone Island yet. I also want to try out the ocean pool on the malecon.
Friends have introduced me to a multitude of restaurants and bars. And I have still have several on my list that I am eager to try.
But the best discoveries are all the beaches here in Mazatlan. Pueblo Bonito is fast becoming a favorite, although Olas Altas and Playa Bruja are also beautiful. These beaches are far less congested than the ones in Zona Dorada, and there are fewer hawkers to bother you as well.
I checked out the art gallery here but it was pretty dismal compared with the galleries in Guadalajara. The Angela Peralta theatre is an elegant historic venue with a variety of plays and concerts to offer. And there was an abundance of entertainment on the streets during Carnaval and Semana Santa. Motorcycle Week featured four nights of bands and a fabulous parade. And of course fireworks are always part of any celebration.
There are also markets featuring home-baked goods and crafts. The Plaza Machado has a weekly market and an abundance of restaurants. It was also the scene of celebrations during Day of the Dead and featured a parade.
The Malecon is an amazing stretch of about 20 km which I have yet to walk in its entirety. Beautiful statues, restaurants and bars on the beach, as well as artisans selling their crafts are found here. Benches are plentiful, and the view of the ocean, especially at sunset, is spectacular.