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.
Whenever expats get together here, inevitably the conversation turns to how things are different here and some of the things we miss from back home. We all agree that we miss our children the most. Those who are fortunate enough to have parents, siblings or extended family also lament that they miss them as well, especially at holiday time.
The discussion then shifts to the more mundane things. Those of us who enjoy cooking and baking face real challenges and have had to adapt our styles to what is available here in Mexico. Personally I really miss Bulk Barn in Canada. Anything you can ever imagine for baking is available at this store, but many items are sadly lacking here in Mazatlan. I used to take for granted all the sprinkles, caramels, candies, chocolate and even the variety of flour and sugar. I baked up a storm when I was in Leavenworth last summer. But my choices here are limited. My apple crisp has evolved into apple enchiladas. Cheesecake is now of a much heavier texture. Cookies are not as colorfully decorated. But I did learn how to make a delicious chocolate flan in my most recent Mexican cooking class.
Expats tend to bring their own bedding and towels from home. The main reason is the poor quality available here. Small appliances such as breadmakers, toaster ovens, hand mixers and blenders cost a fortune down here. Only specialty stores carry Keurig and good luck finding the cups in any but the most ordinary coffee flavors. There is also an endless list of other kitchen items unavailable here ranging from SOS pads to household cleaners.
Heating pads? Electric blankets? Bring them down and use them only if you are prepared for the outrageous CFE bills here. Electricity is extremely expensive. Gas ovens and and grills are the norm here. And the low energy light bulbs are very prevalent and are definitely deficient in brightening up a room.
Bras and panties? Run, do not walk, to Victoria’s Secret before you come down here. Actually, if you want any type of quality in clothing, don’t buy it here unless you shop at Liverpool. The quality there is not always consistent either, although the high prices are.
But aside from my children and some of the more obvious items listed above, I actually find myself almost missing snow at this time of year. That first snowfall……….the delicate snowflakes are a beautiful sight. Sitting by a fireplace in the evening gazing out at that winter wonderland. The clean, crisp air as I venture outside. But wait! It’s -30 degrees Celsius with a windchill? No thanks. I think I’ll stay down here in Mexico a while longer.