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!

1 comment:

  1. I want one, too. The red one, I believe is Steve's and is so darned cute. There is a luscious green and yellow one parked up from the library most days, too. The only place I am going to get pneumonia these days is at home! When is this cold snap going to go away, although up here on the hill near the ocean I feel it a bit more. brrrrr.