Tag Archives: Plazuela Machado

February……. A Dreary Month?

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February……. A Dreary Month?

This is my eighth winter in Mexico and I can’t recall ever having such dreary weather. Clouds have permeated the skies all month, what the weather forecasters here term as “intermittent clouds.”  My heart goes out to the tourists who have come for only a week or two. It has also been unusually cold in the evenings. I can’t remember the last time I walked along the malecon at night without a sweatshirt. And some of those ocean breezes are quite strong as well.

What do you do in Mazatlan when the weather is so grim? There is a lot to do here aside from indulging in tequila or cerveza at the local cantina. It’s true that there are restaurants and bars in abundance. But February has been the perfect month to immerse oneself in the Mexican culture.

One of my favorite places here in Centro is the Plazuela Machado. While the days are relatively quiet aside from cruise ship days, the nights come alive with a flurry of activity. Music resonates from the numerous restaurants in the square. There are often musicians and dancers performing in the square itself. Vendors have their stalls resplendent with jewelry, clothing and souvenirs. Traffic is quite congested as pulmonias and taxis clog the narrow streets. And holidays find colorful displays of lights and festive decorations.

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Teatro Angela Peralta is conveniently located just off the square. The variety of entertainment here is absolutely amazing. Sunday afternoons feature classical music. I attended a concert of Handel’s water music and the renowned Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra pales in comparison to this performance. On Friday night I attended Los Diez Pianos and was totally enchanted with the music and the vocalists.

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Another favorite venue is El Recreo. I’ve gone to movies and jazz jam sessions here. There are a variety of other activities such as travelogues, fashion shows, yoga, Spanish classes and other musical events that are held here. Also popular is a book swap. The snowbirds all flock to El Recreo during the winter.

Museo de Arte is home to numerous musical and dance performances. Many are free or charge a nominal admission fee. I even attended a play there where the dialogue was entirely in Spanish. Tonight I’ll be going to a guitar festival.

Of course February began with a bang with the celebration of Carnaval. Over half a million people lined the streets to attend the main parade. I also went to the second parade and it too was crowded. The fireworks were awesome and the music was excellent, highlighted by a performance by BandaMS. There were other events held at various places as well. Busloads of tourists came to Mazatlan for this popular festival.

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I did escape to sunshine and soaring temperatures one weekend when I went to Culiacan to spend time with my family. It’s interesting how you go a few miles inland and north and the humidity drops and the heat rises. We spent quite a few hours outdoors as we were at an event at my grandson’s school, the same school where I taught when I first came to Mexico. In this photo my grandson is sporting his medal.

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I belong to a Red Hat group and we get together for lunch twice a month. We all wear purple and red clothing and jewelry. We even accessorize our purses and wallets in these colors. We go to different restaurants and always have our photo taken.

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I also belong to the Mazatlan Solo Snowbird group. In addition to the monthly meet and greet, this past week we went on a day trip to El Quelite. This charming town is one of the magic towns in Mexico and we are transported back in time to a place where the natural beauty has been preserved and there is not an Oxxo in sight.

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I also volunteer in a kitchen at a Christian mission in my neighborhood. At the moment there are approximately 150 young adults from countries all over the world. Some live at the mission and study there. Others come and go for days or weeks. The program offered provides a wonderful opportunity for people to experience life in another culture.

I still play Hand and Foot with my friends out in Sabalo Country. I had never heard of this game until I arrived in Mazatlan almost three years ago. Until then I had only been an ardent bridge player up north, especially in Leavenworth.

One of my neighbor’s has a catering company. In addition to buying delicious prepared food from her, I enjoy her weekly luncheons. In the past there had been a mixed market, but it has evolved more into a social gathering place and a book swap.

If there were more hours in a day, I could be playing bridge and cribbage. I could be attending numerous fundraisers and musical events. I could be spending hours on the beach daily instead of the mere one day at Stone Island earlier this month. I could be doing more exploring on my own although I did get to Villa Union a couple of weeks ago. I could go more often to the air-conditioned malls.

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However I am determined to focus more on my writing. When I am at home, I am working on my book or on a blog post, except for the courses I take on the internet through coursera. I just completed a course from Stanford on nutrition and this week I start a course on relationships from University of Toronto.

The weather this month may have been dreary, but my life certainly is far from dreary.

Sunrise Sunset

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Sunrise Sunset

Mazatlan has spectacular sunsets. I discovered that years ago when I first came to visit. I’ve seen sunsets all over North America but none compare to the beauty of sunset over the Pacific here in Mazatlan. I’ve taken hundreds of pictures over the years and am still mesmerized by the rainbow of color as the sun disappears into the ocean at sunset.

I’ve never seen a sunrise here in Mazatlan. But I hope to wake early one day and head down to the malecon to view this spectacle and of course take photos. I’ve seen photos others have taken and they are breathtaking.

Of course there is lots to do here in Mazatlan when I’m not gazing at sunsets. On Sunday I went out to Sabalo Country to have breakfast with friends from Salt Lake City. I wandered around Centro after and found some music close to Plazuela Machado. The kiosko at Machado was a perfect setting for young ladies in their ball gowns celebrating their quinceaneras. Fifteenth birthdays are huge here.

On Monday I met a friend for breakfast at the Mercado. Bacon and eggs, rice, beans and fresh tortillas for 20 pesos. Accompanied by fresh-squeezed orange juice. Well worth the trudge up the steep flight of stairs to the second floor.

In the afternoon I went to El Recreo to see a movie called Fireworks. An intricate tale of life in another culture. Subtitles were in English and I am so very thankful that I had that cataract surgery done last winter. No idea what language the actors were speaking.

We went out to a Mediterranean restaurant for dinner and the food was amazing. It’s a small mom and pop place with lovely ambience. The chef is from Jordan and his wife is Mexican. We shared a platter for two that was accompanied by fresh pita bread.

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Tuesday was a busy day. I went to Telcel to renew my phone plan. Next stop was an ATM. Then I went to pick up some coffee that a friend here imports from Chiapas. Home for a short period only to change clothes and then off to Plazula Machado to meet friends. Dinner was at La Bohemia where we enjoyed the jazz performance that included two keyboards along with the usual brass and percussion.

I belong to a Red Hat group here in Mazatlan and our luncheon was at Margaritas in The Gold Zone on Wednesday. We all have a variety of red hats and purple tops and it’s such fun when complete strangers ask to take our photo.

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Back in my own neighborhood later on, I discovered a bakery with delicious empenadas and wonderful cinnamon rolls. I sat at Plazuela Zaragoza for a while before heading for home. And I passed on an event at El Recreo to stay at home and color. Yes I am still coloring. Thank you to my friends back in Leavenworth for introducing me to this relaxing pastime.

My leisurely morning at home is over. It’s almost time to head to the movies at El Recreo again. Tomorrow is a mixed market down the street and a card game. Saturday is a 50s-60s music event. I guarantee that there will be more walks along the malecon before the week ends.

Three Weeks Already????

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Three Weeks Already????

The older I get, the faster time flies by. I’ve been back in Mazatlan for over three weeks now yet it feels like just yesterday I was in Leavenworth. I am also living in a completely different area now so there is a lot of exploring that needs to be done. I still marvel that there is so much within walking distance, a feature I enjoyed about living in Tlaquepaque.

I must admit that my favorite pastime is still my strolls along the malecon. I haven’t been up early enough to see sunrise, but I have seen many a sunset. The lapping of the waves against the shore is calming. Every day at 6 pm the malecon in Olas Altas is closed to vehicular traffic, an added bonus to the peace and tranquility of the ocean.

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I’m going to see The Nutcracker at the Angela Peralta Theater tonight. I’m sure that the experience will be quite different from that in Canada. The theater itself is historic and takes you back in time. I’m certain that the children performing will be a delight.

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Yesterday was Art Walk. We only went to one of the venues, but were entranced with the art and the jewelry on display. There are some 30 venues scattered throughout Centro so there will be more to see in future exhibits.

El Recreo features a variety of events in addition to the movies each week. Last night there was a play reading and the other night I attended an evening of poetry and music where the participants were all associated with a Christian mission here in Mazatlan.

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Macaws had a great singer last night which added to the enjoyment of sitting outside with friends sipping a cold beer on a warm evening. Music fills the air in Centro and it is all within walking distance of where I’m staying.

Wednesday was cruise ship day and my friends from Winnipeg were here. It was lovely having lunch with them at a restaurant in the Plaza Machado. Now if only more of my friends from Winnipeg would come here.

I’ve been out to lunch and dinner with old friends and new. Red Hat group has started getting together again. Weekly card games are back in progress. And I will be doing some new volunteer work beginning in January.

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This winter the plan is to focus more on my writing. I’m currently taking a course from Weslayan University that focuses on Plot. My current WIP is fiction, very different from the two self-help books I published in the past. It’s fun to juggle around characters and scenarios.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas decorating is underway.  I will be sure to have a post with some of the highlights. In the meantime, this is my creation atop my dresser in my room.

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This Is What I Did Saturday Afternoon

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This Is What I Did Saturday Afternoon

Aside from stressing out over my work visa, I have really enjoyed the time I have spent here in Mazatlan so far. I teach part-time and I write. I’m also in the midst of a university course online. Despite the scorching temperatures and high humidity here, I venture out exploring every day. i used to come to Mazatlan, check into a hotel in the Zona Dorada, and bask on the beach all day. But now that I live here, I am discovering places other than government buildings associated with renewing my work visa.

On Saturday I spent some time at Plazuela Machado. I was there during the day and I look forward to returning at night when this area comes alive with music in the many bars and restaurants. I’m a people watcher by nature, so I parked myself close to the kiosko on a bench in the shade. Shortly thereafter, I was inundated by vendors selling jewelry to toys and everything in between. The women often had a baby in their arms or young children in tow. I also watched groups of tourists posing for photos in front of the kiosko. Although they spoke predominantly in English or Spanish, I did hear other languages too.

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Growing thirsty from the heat, I sought refuge at a small cafe at a table outside with two enormous fans creating a most welcome breeze. Never was an ice cold cerveza in a frosty mug more appreciated!

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I then ventured down the street to explore the Teatro Angela Peralta. Built in the style of a European opera house in 1874, this building has been restored as a performing arts center after it was almost destroyed in a hurricane in the 1960’s.

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I opted to leave the upstairs museum for another visit, but I did view the small display of artwork in a hallway outside of the theater.

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Future excursions will include museums, the lighthouse, churches, the aquarium and the 20 kilometer malecon. I’d also like to watch the cliff divers and the surfers. And of course there are the boat excursions out to the other islands. And did I mention the incredible sunsets?

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