February has been more of a countdown for me. You see, I’d been expecting the birth of a new grandchild and it finally happened on Monday the 26th of February when Madeline Annette made her debut in this world. Exciting! Lots of international phone calls and what’s app messages. My daughter has requested that I post no photos on the internet but I will tell you that Madeline is absolutely adorable and I can hardly wait until next month to meet her when I return to Canada. How the times have changed. I completely understand my daughter’s reluctance to post photos. There was no cyberspace when my children were born, and the idea of complete strangers viewing photos of my granddaughter is quite daunting. However I have been able to show pics to people here in Mazatlan and when I return to Leavenworth in May I will be able to show everyone there numerous photos of Madeline.
The artesan fair is here in Mazatlan and the timing is perfect. Of course I was on the hunt for baby items and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a pink world out there for babies, even here in Mexico. And my daughter’s favorite color was always pink. Whenever we traveled to the USA Oshkosh was where we’d find pink jeans and pink overalls.
Needless to say, I’ve been finding other things to distract me from the fact that I won’t be headed back to Canada for over a month yet. I went to my weekly Tuesday card games where it was nice to take a break from having my cell phone attached to my ear.
We went to Diego’s to hear some great music by Marco and The Truth. Another unexpected event captured our attention that afternoon. It has been cold and extremely windy here in Mazatlan. The view of the beach was distorted by the sight of a catamaran straggling toward the beach. Thankfully all the passengers had been rescued with only minor injuries reported. We were all quite surprised that the catamaran had even ventured out when all the red flags were clearly visible all up and down the beach. By the following morning, this vessel was in pieces on the beach. Here’s a shot I snagged as people crowded the beach watching this spectacle.
I also enjoy the weekly jazz jam sessions at El Recreo. While the regular musicians are primarily snowbirds, there are also locals who show up as well. These musical hours are most enjoyable.
My favorite theater is the Platino at Galarias. Comfortable reclining seats, as well as food and beverage service at your seat are great features. Operation Red Sparrow was a great movie, although a little high on the blood and gore for me.
I have attended several concerts this winter. I have described some of them in previous blog posts, but the month of March has so far been a whirlwind of amazing performances.
Last Friday we went to a percussion concert at Angela Peralta. In addition to the usual drums, these talented musicians used a variety of household items and textures to create some very interesting sounds.
On Saturday the venue was La Chupiteria to hear some big band music.
Last night, tonight and tomorrow night the concerts are for the Guitar Festival. The ensemble of eight play a variety of classical and contemporary music. The musicians are from Mexico, Cuba and Uruguay. And there is no admission charge for these performances!
This Friday we are attending a dance performance at Angela Peralta. This troupe aspires to tour internationally but the admission charge is a mere 120 pesos or $8 Canadian.
Next weekend the ballet of Romeo and Juliet is on the agenda, again at Angela Peralta. And I cannot even begin to list the other cultural events happening, although the jazz festival is just around the corner.
But I will publish this post before I get distracted once again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The weather reports are starting to filter in from my friends up north. Snow and cold are the predominant comments. I won’t complain too loudly then that my stroll along the malecon last night found me sporting jeans and a long sleeve top. After all, it is winter.
But the cooler temperatures don’t scare me. This evening I’m joining friends up at the top of The Freeman Hotel to view the sunset and sip a margarita. However I will take a light jacket with me. The last time we met there the temperature outside was quite a bit higher.
The temperatures are predicted to rise tomorrow so a friend and I are going out to Playa Brujas. This will be the first beach day and I’ve been here a month already. I have this rather unusual tan on my feet from wearing sandals so something needs to be done about that.
It’s December and Christmas decorations are beginning to appear. I was at the Playa Mazatlan the other day and snagged these photos.
I visited The Cathedral the other day and took some photos. I’ve been there several times, but somehow never took any pictures before.
In sharp contrast was a rock concert happening at Plazuela Republica right across the street from The Cathedral.
As I continued my stroll through Centro I came upon this beautiful display of winter foliage.
And I will leave you with photos of the lobby at Teatro Angela Peralta the evening I attended The Nutcracker Suite.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?