Today was supposed to be a beach day. I’ve been back in Mazatlan for almost three months and have yet to spend a day at the beach. Yes, I walk along the malecon every day. But that’s walking BY the beach, not ON the beach. And I go to restaurants and bars that overlook the beach. I even play cards by a pool that has a view of the ocean. But I have yet to feel that cushion of sand beneath my feet.
I had really set this day aside to lie on the beach. But then the clouds rolled in. Then the drop of rain spattered against my bedroom window. Instead I have opted to stay indoors today. It’s actually been a productive writing day. But I am going to brave the rain and wind shortly and head out down the malecon. It’s Wednesday which means that there is a jazz jam at El Recreo. And after that there is a dance performance at Museo de Arte.
The weather this winter has been strange. Above normal temperatures greeted me in November when I returned. But December was cold and January even more so. Jackets are a necessity once the sun goes down. Jeans have become a regular part of my wardrobe.
Of course the tourists who come for a week or two still think this is paradise as there is no snow or windchill factor. They are easily identifiable by their pale faces and wardrobe of shorts and tank tops. But even they remark on how the global warming idea has actually had the opposite effect on the climate.
While the weather is not the greatest right now, there is so much to do indoors. Music is everywhere. There are malls and movie theaters. Pre-Carnaval events are underway. Yes, we are only a week away from Carnaval, the third largest celebration of its kind in North America.
Construction crews are in a frenzy trying to complete the work on the malecon. The parade routes have been announced and it’s imperative that the malecon be open. This season it has been a nightmare of traffic delays and rerouting of vehicles due to the closure of several streets in Centro as well as the malecon itself.
I think back to gloomy winter days back in Winnipeg. Somehow a little bit of rain and clouds just don’t seem so bad after all.
I came downstairs to get my coffee one day and the dining room had been transformed into an exam room. An eye chart was prominently displayed on a wall and my friend was seated comfortably in a chair. The optometrist busily changed clunky lenses around until he was satisfied. The exam was complete and the new glasses were ready within a couple of days. Hmmmmmm………
I love shopping at Oxxo. It puts 7-11 and Mac’s to shame. Milk, beer, wine and more. Cleaning and laundry supplies. Fresh brewed coffee and cappuccino. Cell phones and memory sticks. Bread, cookies, pastry. Fruit, vegetables. Pay your utility bills here. And so much more. These stores are conveniently located on just about every other street corner.
A friend and I had breakfast on the second floor of the mercado last week. Bacon and eggs, beans, rice and tortillas a mere 20 pesos. Fresh squeezed orange juice 18 pesos.
The other day a woman came to my house. For a mere 600 pesos, my housemate had a one hour massage, a manicure and a pedicure. I think I need to find some time for this.
Last night we went to Museo de Arte and saw an amazing performance of contemporary dancing. The dancers performed outside on an uneven brick floor. This afternoon we enjoyed a spectacular concert of Handel’s Water Music. The venue was the majestic Angela Peralta Theater. The best part is that everything is within walking distance of where I’m staying this year.
Carnaval is just around the corner. Last weekend we saw the parade of the king and queen contestants. Today was the coronation. And there are a variety of events yet to come. The large statues are beginning to appear and strings of lights adorn the malecon.
Ah yes! Did I mention the absence of SNOW? Yes, things are interestingly different here.
One of the things I love most about Mexico is the variety of music that fills the air. When I lived in Guadalajara Mariachi was the prominent genre. But here in Mazatlan Banda is the big one.
On Friday there was a mini-parade for all the candidates for queen and king of the upcoming Carnaval. We viewed this from Plazuela Republica and listened to an amazing band for almost two hours. They only took a short ten minute break and really sang their hearts out.
On Saturday we went to a 60s rock party at La Chupeteria on the malecon. The group was called The Continentals and their performance was awesome. Three hours of all the favorites from the 60s. The place was packed and the dance floor crowded. Interestingly enough, admission was only 50 pesos (just over $3 Canadian) and included a margarita or pina colada.
Jazz is the word at La Bohemia on Tuesday nights. This week the music of Santana was featured. Last week there were two keyboards in addition to the brass and percussion.
This coming Sunday I’m looking forward to hearing Handel’s Water Music at the Angela Peralta Theater.
My music teacher in middle school introduced me to Water Music and it has been a favorite of mine for decades. I actually have a CD with me here in Mexico that I listen to often.
As I walk along the malecon in the evenings, there is always a variety of music that fills the air…..even karaoke in Spanish as well as in English.
Today is Wednesday and I’m headed over to El Recreo shortly to listen to some jazz. This is more of an open mic type of thing so not sure just what I will hear today.
This week in music…….banda, 60s, jazz and classical.
Carnaval ended yesterday and I, along with hundreds of other residents of this city, breathed a sigh of relief. Traffic has returned to normal as the barricades along the malecon have been removed. Thousands of people no longer crowd Centro and Olas Altas. The deafening noise level of loud music has subsided. The fireworks were amazing, the food incredible and the parades entertaining. And a new queen was crowned.
Carnaval is celebrated in more than two hundred communities throughout Mexico, but Mazatlan has one of the most renowned celebrations. The Spanish brought this tradition to Mexico, and the year 1898 marked the first Carnaval in Mazatlan. Although Mazatlan is a tourist destination for snowbirds, the throngs of crowds are mainly Mexicans. Thousands of people filled the restaurants and bars day and night from February 4th to February 9th. The Sunday parade this year gave stiff competition to the American Super Bowl.
Prior to Carnaval, new structures such as this appeared along the malecon.
During the event, hotels were packed with tourists. Tickets were sold out quickly for seats in restaurants and boat cruises with the best viewing spots for the fireworks. And the fireworks were spectacular. The re-enactment of the Combate Naval is definitely a highlight.