Tag Archives: beaches

Semana Santa

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Semana Santa

Semana Santa has arrived, that dreaded time of year when the beaches here in Mazatlan are packed due to the invasion of vacationers from inland areas in Mexico. Children have two weeks off from school and the beach is always a popular spot. Of course there is also the added nightmare of the rerouting of traffic in an attempt to alleviate some of the congestion.

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I will be hiding out at the pool in our condo complex for the next three days.

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Then I will escape to Culiacan for a long overdue visit with my Mexican family.  We will attend the procession Friday morning to the cathedral. There are also special masses to be celebrated. Although I am not Catholic, I enjoy attending church and observing the traditions with my family.

Semana Santa is a busy time for all modes of travel, especially buses. Buses are crowded and it’s necessary to purchase tickets in advance, as opposed to merely showing up at the bus station and purchasing a ticket at the last minute, which is usually the norm here.

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When I lived in Canada Cadbury creme eggs symbolized Easter. When I lived in Guadalajara empenadas were prominent. I miss both of these, but I do look forward to a pina colada raspado in Culiacan. But most of all, I look forward to spending Easter with my family. After all, family is what life is all about.

Christmas And The Beach

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Christmas And The Beach

December has been a hectic month with an abundance of Christmas celebrations and posadas. I especially enjoy the festive lights and trees so I headed out to Galerias and Gran Plaza, the two major shopping malls here, to check out their decorations and displays.

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On Christmas Day my friends and I enjoyed a fabulous traditional turkey dinner at Twisted Mamas, a popular restaurant in the Zona Dorada.

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This week has been relatively quiet and I found time to see a movie, play cards, meet friends for coffee and even do some grocery shopping. And I have set aside time to enjoy the beach.

I love the beach. The sand is a cushion beneath my feet. I breathe in the salty air and it tantalizes my nostrils. I gaze out at the waves and a feeling of peace and tranquility washes over my body. This is why I live here now.

Mazatlan boasts several beaches. I have not been to all of them, but I do have some favorites. Although I prefer the more secluded beach areas, I do frequent those in the Zona Dorada and Olas Altas. These areas are usually filled with hawkers who sell everything from jewelry to hammocks and everything in between. But I am a people watcher, and I do enjoy observing the interchanges with tourists.

This morning I was out at Playa Brujas. It was bustling with activity as it’s holiday time. Usually it isn’t crowded and there aren’t as many hawkers are around to harass you. The waves here are a surfer’s heaven.

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Another favorite beach is in Sabalo Country, where I often sit out on the rocks gazing at the sea and ponder what is happening in my life. Occasionally I sit at a table beneath an umbrella while sipping an ice cold cerveza.

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As this will be my last post for 2016, I’d like to wish my readers a Happy New Year. I pray that it will be a year of happiness and good health for everyone. May all your wishes and dreams come true in 2017. 

My Last Post For A While

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My Last Post For A While

My daughter is getting married this month and I start my travels tomorrow night. When she got engaged and mentioned destination wedding, I was hoping it would be in Mexico where I live. But she has her heart set on Punta Cana in The Dominican Republic, so that is where I am heading. Tomorrow night I take an overnight bus to Puerto Vallarta. Saturday night I have booked a hotel room in Puerto Vallarta. Late Sunday afternoon I fly to Calgary. After a four hour layover I board a flight to Toronto. With the many time changes I arrive in Toronto at 6:45 am on Monday. I am looking forward to spending Monday with a friend and Tuesday with a cousin. Then early Wednesday morning I join the group and we all fly to Punta Cana together.

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Then I can relax. Seeing as I live in Mazatlan which boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (pictured below), the beach in Punta Cana does not have the same lure as it does for the other guests from Canada attending the wedding. But I do intend to unwind for a week.

My daughter has requested that we all abstain from using the internet for the week that we are there. However I doubt that this is really possible. We have all become far too reliant on the internet. I check the weather and news daily and chat with friends on What’s App and Messenger. I submit contributions to writing groups. And of course I have my blog posts. I also practice my Spanish on Duolingo daily.

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I have developed a strategy that I feel is a fair compromise. I will limit my time on Facebook and ignore Candy Crush. I will not submit any contributions to writing groups or write any blog posts. I seldom check email as to me it’s snail mail. But for my friends on What’s App and Messenger, I will be there both in English and in Spanish. And I will use Duolingo.

I vaguely recall vacations before internet. In many ways they were more relaxing because I could distance myself from the stresses back home. But I live in Mazatlan now and it’s paradise. And I don’t feel the need or have the desire to distance myself. I will be watching to see what others are doing, and I guarantee you that forty-three wedding guests will not be turning off their phones and tablets for a week. While it is an interesting concept, I highly doubt its practicality.

To all my readers and followers out there, have a great couple of weeks!

Adios y hasta luego!

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Wow! I Live Here Now!

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Wow! I Live Here Now!

I’ve been in Mazatlan for three weeks now. Temperatures have been hovering in the mid 30s during the day and mid to high 20s at night. It’s extremely humid here. Three hurricanes have barrelled up the coast with no significant effect.

Mazatlan is a much cleaner city than Guadalajara in terms of both the streets and the air quality. Because it is a smaller city there is considerably less industry to contaminate the air. The streets themselves seem to be well maintained and there is a great deal less litter on sidewalks.

I had to deal with an immigration issue the other day and had some time before my classes in the afternoon. I was only a block away from the malecon, so an Oxxo cappuccino in hand, I went for a walk along the beach. The surf was definitely up, due mainly to Carlos heading up the coast. This is the third major hurricane since the season began a short time ago.

I saw a man fishing and he actually caught a fish while I was watching. One of the beach peddlers walked by displaying jewelry. Another came by shortly after selling pails and shovels for kids. I had my hair up in a ponytail, but I really don’t think I look that young! But apparently he thought I needed some toys.

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I noticed several white flags warning people of jellyfish. One of the security staff at the hotel where I teach enlightened me on the subject of jellyfish. During hurricane season they wash up on the shore due to the strong tides. Unsuspecting swimmers as well as those strolling along in the sand are in danger of being preyed upon by these tiny poisonous creatures.

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I spent over an hour on the beach, fascinated by the rhythm of the waves and the sounds of them crashing ashore. I spent over an hour in contemplation of my life. The water is soothing and calms me. And I think about all the changes that the past few years have brought.

I have moved several times. The first move was Oak Bluff to Winnipeg. Next came Culiacan, Irapuato, Tlaquepaque, Winnipeg, Tlaquepaque and now I’m in Mazatlan. And I hope to stay here for a long time. Here is the house where I live now with a Mexican family.

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I live in Colonia Libertad de Expression. In a way it reminds me of Tlaquepaque except that there is no Jardin Hidalgo or Calle Independencia. There are small tiendas, taco and hamburger stands, grilled chicken and pizza all within walking distance. Mariscos are readily available but I have to pass on those due to allergies. There is a Kiosko across the street and an Oxxo a few blocks away.

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Along my street some of the businesses include a glass shop, a vulcanizer, a mechanic, a butcher, a tortilleria, a tool rental, a dress shop and a Tecate outlet. And that’s only in one direction. I haven’t ventured out the other way yet.

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I must admit that I rather enjoy the buses here. The men at the wheel do not drive like maniacs the way they do in Guadalajara. The buses are in much better condition. There is also a 10 peso air-conditioned bus that I took today for the first time. It also is in better condition than the Tur buses in Guadalajara. But I must admit that I miss the musicians and clowns that used to entertain us back in Guadalajara. But I spend mere minutes a day on buses rather than hours as I did in Guadalajara.

Because this is a large tourist area, English is quite prominent here. Although I do make a point of using my Spanish whenever I can, I must admit that I was quite excited about finding the Vineyard Church this morning and attending a service in English. I made some new friends and we all went out to breakfast after the service.

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Although I’ve only been here three weeks, I have seen a fair amount of this city and I look forward to exploring new territory. Mazatlan has much more to offer than beaches, restaurants and bars. I have already been back to the Centro Historico and look forward to revisiting the aquarium. There is a magnificent lighthouse here with hundreds of steps. For those of you who know me, you will understand the significance of a lighthouse in my life. So stay tuned for future posts from here in Mazatlan. 

So I Went To Manzanillo

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So I Went To Manzanillo

I love my life in Mexico. Tlaquepaque is a delightful place to live. The one drawback is that there is no beach close by. By bus it’s just over five hours to Puerto Vallarta or seven hours to Mazatlan. I decided that the time had come to explore new beaches.

I headed for Central Nueva and boarded a bus for Manzanillo. I enjoyed the scenery as we traveled out of Jalisco and into the state of Colima.

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As well as a popular tourist destination, Manzanillo is also a major cargo port and has a small malecon. The Centro area is that of a typical Mexican puebla with a sizeable mercado and streets lined with small tiendas. 

I stayed at a hotel in the hotel zone area. There was very little within walking distance of the hotel itself; only a small mall and a few taquerias. However when I stepped out of my room, the view was spectacular.

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Steps down from the pool was the beach. The red flags were out and the tide was high. But I really did enjoy the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. This beautiful music lulled me to sleep at night and woke me from dreamland in the morning.

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I also enjoyed seeing the ships at a distance. Some were fishing trawlers and others were cargo. There were no cruise ships in view in the time I was there. Here are photos I took at sunset.

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 There is something so peaceful and serene about watching the sun slowly disappear from view in the evening. Do you agree?

Where To Go……What To Do

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As I write this, my daughter has just returned from New York and Broadway plays, and my son is in Las Vegas. And I am here in Guadalajara planning my holiday travels.

I am spending Christmas with a friend in Tototlan, a small pueblo about an hour away from here. It’s a quaint little place, and I’m looking forward to returning there again. It will be interesting spending Christmas in a small Mexican town and will be a different experience from the other tourist areas or large cities where I have celebrated Christmas in the past few years.

The first stop will be for grocery shopping in Ocotlan, another pueblo, as we are planning on having a traditional Christmas dinner rather than the pisole and ponche that are common here in Mexico.

My current housemates and I are planning on spending New Years together on the beach somewhere. Yes, somewhere, because we haven’t decided exactly where yet. We know we don’t want to encounter the frenzy of snowbirds that flock to Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan.

Possibilities include Sayulita, Bucerias, Guyabitos or maybe even Manzanillo. The inevitable snowbirds will be there, but hopefully fewer in number.

One of my housemates lives near the beach in Australia, and my other housemate is from The Netherlands. We are all looking forward to leaving the hustle and bustle of Guadalajara behind for a few days.

Living here in Mexico, the possibilities for travel are endless. This is a magnificent country, and every area boasts its own treasures.

The highlight of my time up north was a train ride up in the mountains to Chihuahua.

The pyramids outside of Mexico City were amazing.

My favorite beach so far is still Mazatlan, although I have yet to explore the east coast of Mexico.

And I hope that my travels will take me to the jungles of Chiapas this coming spring.

My students constantly suggest new territories worthy of exploration, and my list continues to grow.

I will be returning to Winnipeg for a launch of my second book, Alive Again, on May 5th. While it will be nice to see my family and friends again, my heart is in Mexico and the many adventures that still await me here.