Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Vacation starts today!

I know, our life is a vacation, but this is special. We are heading to the States for a month to see family and friends - Yahoo! As always, it is going to be a whirlwind, but we are excited.

We are also going to be cramming in lots of appointments including the French Consulate. We are applying for our 6-month Visas for the French Polynesia Islands - wish us luck!

I am dreaming of a big greasy bacon cheeseburger; Doug - Racer 5 IPA. Of course, we are going to have sticker shock after living in Mexico!

Before we leave, we have to make sure Moondance is buttoned up. It is hurricane season down here, so we have to take down the sails, remove the canvas, secure the dock lines, and lots more. Everything on the deck has to be stuffed down below - just in case...

Plus, Doug has been working on some projects - there is always a list. He has been remodeling the anchor locker, rebuilding the bilge pump, plus lots of projects associated with the new engine installation - which is still in progress. By the time we return, we should have bright shiny new engine - Yeah!

Even with all of the boat stuff going on, we have been having some fun too. You know you have been in a place too long when you know the schedule and El Cid has lots to offer:
  • Everyday is Bingo day
  • Monday - Black Jack
  • Tuesday and Thursday - movies on the lawn
  • Friday and Saturday - Texas Hold'em tournaments
  • Daily Happy Hours are from 2-3; 3-4; 4-5; and 6-8
It's amazing we have any time to work!

Here's our Summer Vacation itinerary: Maz, Puerta Vallarta, Dallas, Albuquerque, Alameda, Pasco, Portland, Puerta Vallarta, and back to Maz. Starting and finishing with an 8-hour bus ride - oh my.

Looking forward to seeing all of you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Maz transportation...

Another reason we love Maz - the transportation. Since we don't have a car and Maz is a big city, we have been exploring all of the different ways to get around town. Check them out when you come to visit!

Pulmonias: $80 pesos ($6.50 US), but negotiable - Maz is famous for its Pulmonias, which were invented here and unique to Maz. They look like a souped-up golf cart and range from flashy to simple. They are definitely the most popular way to travel around town. If you catch a good one, they will even blast the music for you. My favorite - "Pretty Woman" - of course!

Fancy Buses: $9 pesos ($.72 US) - This is our favorite transportation - cheap, great A/C, and a wonderful place to take a nap. Plus, the drivers will wake you up so that you don't miss your stop - El Cid! Unfortunately, they don't go everywhere we want to go and there isn't as many of them...

The Water Taxi: Free - This is an Marina El Cid luxury. It is a short trip from the docks, to the beach club, to the Marina office, but we enjoy it. It is great for hauling our laundry, hitting the showers, and buying my Coca Lites in the morning. Just leave a tip for Gilberto.

Arregas (Red Trucks): $50 pesos ($4 US) - Now these are just a fun way to travel around town and very popular. A/C is supplied (while you are moving), plus it holds lots of people. Seat belts aren't provided so hang on!

Green/Red Buses: $6 pesos ($.48 US) - These buses are a very cheap ride, but NO A/C! We actually ride these more than you would think - they go where we want to go. Just be sure to hop on one of the fast buses, grab a window seat, and bring a bottle of water to replenish.

Taxis: About $60 pesos ($5 US) - The taxis will take you anywhere you want to go, plus wait for you. We don't use them often, but love them on grocery shopping days and for dragging boat parts around. Just be sure to negotiate the price before hopping in.

And walking - lots of walking - which we both enjoy. Plus, it is a wonderful way to melt off our love handles and do some sightseeing along the way. A comment from some of the locals: "You walk a lot!" - so true!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Road Trip Part II - Cosala

Next stop - Cosala.

Cosala was named a "Pueblo Mágico" for its natural beauty, cultural riches, and history - it truly was beautiful! It is about 110 miles North of Maz, but takes about 3 hours to drive it. Maybe a little longer because of some major road construction.

There is actually two paths to Cosala, but one is considered very dangerous - good thing we didn't pick that one!

We stayed in Cosala two nights and did some sightseeing. We even hired a guide, Albert, who took us to through the Museum of Minerology, the macaw sancturary/reserve, around the Royal Mines of Cosala (still active), and a general tour of town. Lots of birds and everything is so green (lots of rain and beetles) We really enjoyed exploring!

Again, not a tourist town, but still found lots to do and lots to eat. My favorite Suizo Enchiladas at Dona Tichi - they were amazing, plus served in her beautiful home - Saturdays and Sunday only.

Just like the States, Saturday night is for seeing and being seen. The young folks drive around town while the older folks sit around the plaza - good people watching!

They are installing a new Zip Line at the reserve (triangle) - it was interesting watching it being built. This guy had to pull himself back - he was exhausted.

We are going to have to return to Cosala - Doug really wants to try the Zip Line - not me!

PS: While exploring the non-existent Valo Honda waterall, we found a cow (Bessie) in the swimming pool. Hope the locals were able to save her!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Road Trip Part I - El Quelite

We decided to take a break from our boat projects (and the heat in Maz) and head North for a few days - why not?

So, we rented a car and hit the road. Our first stop - El Quelite - a pueblito. It is just 20 miles out of town, but took about an hour to get there. Worth it though!

El Quelite is a beautiful small town known for cockfighting (still legal), raising fighting roosters, and a prehistoric game called “The Ulama”. We didn't witness any of those, but enjoyed strolling the colorful cobblestone streets!

We didn't do a lot of research or planning (big surprise), but figured it would all just work out.
  • Who knew that there were no hotels?
  • Who knew the 2 restaurants stopped serving at 5pm?
  • Who knew there wasn't any nightlife?
  • Who knew there was another name for El Quelite - Tranquil!
But, it all worked out just fine.

A very nice lady, Marta, rented us a beautiful room at her Casa - Familia Osuna Aramburo. Very quiet except for the roosters crowing in the morning. Did we mention that Mexican beds are hard? You kind of get used to them!

We did find a bakery and we stocked up on fresh breads and sweets. Another local treat is Queso Fresco (fresh cheese) that El Quelite is known for, so we added that to our dinner menu.

Just when we were heading back to the Casa for dinner, we discovered that there is a lady (by the square) who opens up at night and serves enchiladas, tacos, etc. right out of her house - and it was all very yummy. Just remember to bring your own cervezas!

We will have to go back to El Quelite to eat at the famous restaurant - Mesón de los Laureanos. Doug really wants to try the specialty - cow tongue - YUCK!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The belly rules the mind...

Well, that's an old Spanish Proverb and certainly true for the Moondance crew!

Since we are now "residents" of Mazatlan (at least through November), we decided to try as many different places as possible and we ask everyone to share their favorites. We don't want to miss a one!

Below is a list of our current hot spots - in no particular order!

El Guamuchilito - two locations on Avenue Insurgentes. Fried Pargo - I selected mine from the crate that was just delivered. It was excellent!

La Tertulia - or as we call it - The Bull Bar. It is just off the Plaza Machado on Dominguez and a great place for drinks and people watching. In is owned by one of Mazatlån's most famous bullfighters, Rene Tirado.

Pizza Moreno - just a block away from the Plaza Machado and the best pizza we have had in Mexico, inexpensive wine, plus an excellent Caesar salad. We are going back for sure!

Topolo - still our favorite for a nice dinner - what a treat! We love everything about it, but especially the table-side salsa. Alejandro and crew will take excellent care of you.

El MontaLayo (corner of Colima and La Marina. The best lamb (borrego) tacos ever - barbecued and served with all of the fixings, plus chips to die for - really. No bar, but the staff will go next door to buy cerveza's if you ask. As you can tell, Doug's loving it!

Puerto Viejo (Old Port) is on the Olas Altas and an excellent place to watch the sunset. Ice cold beer on tap, fresh shrimp, and a very nice staff. Watch out for the Cameron Aguachile though, it is HOT HOT HOT!

Plus, a No-Name Taco stand at the Sunday Juarez Market. Doug loves the carne gorditas.

That's a pretty good list so far and we have only been in Maz for a month.

We will keep exploring and let you know what we find!

PS: Do you have your own list of Maz favorites? If so, let us know and we will check them out!