Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Jeff flew home yesterday, back to the land of ice and snow. It has been unseasonably cool here for the past few weeks and I was disappointed that the weatherman did not co-operate during his visit. We had several mornings of intense fog, the days were far cooler than normal, and the evenings were downright chilly. However, Jeff is waking up this morning to temperatures hovering around -30C and a windchill that has pulled the temperature down to -45C so I guess our average temperatures of 22C to 24C during his week in Mazatlan are really nothing to complain about!

I have finally been able to lay claim to my camera again. Jeff captured hundreds of images of Mazatlan while he was here and it was quite entertaining watching him move through the streets of the city with the camera always at the ready. I think at times we all become a bit jaded, used to the beauty of the city, and it is refreshing to explore with a `newbie`, someone who has a new experience everytime a corner is turned.

One of the things Jeff really wanted to do during his week was to visit the Aquarium, something we have never done, so off we went. I wasn`t sure what to expect, but realized almost immediately that 75 pesos, the price of the admission, was a steal. The seemingly endless varieties of fish are displayed beautifully in spotlessly clean tanks filled with stunning displays of coral.

We spent ages at the huge outdoor pool watching the manta rays and I loved the bird sanctuary, and the turtles.

I am not so sure, however, about the crocodiles!

We also took him to the Petroglyphs at Las Labradas. Mike and I have been several times and we knew that it was a place that Jeff would love as much as we do. It was a special visit as, other than the security guard and his endlessly entertaining pet, we were the only people on the beach.

There were times when I felt a bit guilty that we didn`t take Jeff everywhere and do everything, but he reminded me several times that he was on holidays and there were times when he just wanted to hang out at the Casita with his dog and his Kindle.

Smart child!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Company, Day 1

I have lost control of the camera for the week.

Our son, Jeff, is here for his first visit to Mazatlan and he has been wandering the streets of Centro with the camera close at hand, just as I did when we first arrived. I've been browsing through his shots and have decided to share some of his images.

So, Jeff's first full day in Mazatlan:

The streets

The grafitti

The Art Gallery (we all loved the Sergio Navarro exhibit!)

and, as I do, Jeff apparently likes the birds at Casa Etnika!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Pulmonia

Pulmonias are a method of transportation unique to Mazatlan.

The Pulmonia was invented in Mazatlan by Don Miquel Ramirez Urquijo, who sadly passed away in October, 2010, at the venerable age of 90.

During the 1950's, in Mazatlan, it was frowned upon for women travelling alone to take a taxi, which of course involved travelling in a closed vehicle driven by an unknown man. Don Miquel, a man of stellar vision, decided to provide the citizens of Mazatlan with an alternate method of transportation, one which used little gas, was safe of the town's roads, and allowed women to navigate the city streets, unescorted. (To be honest here, I don't think women at this point were his primary concern, but we thank Don Miquel anyway!) The first fleet of 15 vehicles hit the streets in 1965 and by the late 1960's there were 100 pulmonias cruising through the city.

Don Miquel's original model, based on a Cushman golf cart, was modified in the early 1980's and the present four-wheel pulmonia with a Volkwagon engine has became an integral part of the city landscape, used regularly by visitors and residents alike. As Beetles were produced in abundance in Mexico from the 1950 to the 1990s VW parts are plentiful in Mazatlan.

There are the pulmonias which you can hail down just about anywhere (but don't foget to negotiate the fee before you take off) ...

There is the monument along the Malecon, no fee here .......

And then the are the pulmonias owned by local residents, to the envy of the rest of us!

Pulmonia, in Spanish, means 'pneumonia' and trust me, some evenings this is a darned chilly method of transportation!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beans and Beer

A number of my friends have asked about this "Beans and Beer thing?" I have talked about it a few times so Sandie has let me explain a bit about our group in her blog. But as I started to write something, an article came out in our local Mazatlan magazine written by Nola Dyck, whose husband Les is a member of B and B and it is so much better than what I could do that I thought I would just reuse her story here.

It happens every Wednesday, midday, and has since the ‘40s. Like moths drawn to a flame, male expats from all corners of Mazatlán migrate to the Cantina La Alemana on Zaragosa, just east of Aquiles Serdan. This intrepid lot are officially known as “La Hermandad de Cerveza y Frijoles” and freely admit to being an anarchist bunch with no rules and no leaders. These greying boys just want to have fun. They spend this sacred couple of hours swilling beer, eating bean soup and tortillas made especially for them, spinning yarns and telling jokes.

La Alemana is rumoured to have been around in one form or another since the 1930s. Ol’ Jim, one of the most senior members of the group, recalls his working days as a mine foreman near Copala. One of his tasks was to go into Mazatlán to search bars, jails and houses of ill-repute to round up his workers when their monthly leave was over. Let’s just say that La Alemana was on his list, fulfilling two of those requirements.

The institution of Beer & Beans as it is today was started by RV’ers from the old Ole Trailer Park when the first campers found Mazatlán. Depending on the time of year, as many as 55 guys are on hand to share the soup, the beer and the stories; some of which may even be true. Contrary to the macho/anarchist label, they can be a very generous group. For example, a waitress from a few years ago never smiled. Someone in the group discovered it was because she had no teeth. They took up a collection and bought her a new set of teeth. The next week, the line was drawn when all her neighbours showed up with wish lists of their own. There are other instances, but one must be careful to protect their macho/anarchist image.

By Nola Dyck

Thanks Nola for helping me add to Sandie's blog.