Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas Story

This city, and the people whom we have met here, never cease to amaze me.

Years ago, when we first came to Mazatlan, we lived in a little house on Azueta, and didn't have internet or a telephone. When we needed to use the internet we took Abi and walked to Fish Taco where we were able access WiFii.

Telephones were a bit trickier. We bought long distance calling cards at the local pharmacies and then found public telephones along the street. It was all a bit tricky as often the telephones did not work, or the traffic noises were so loud we couldn't hear. After much trial and error we discovered a telephone outside a small hospital several blocks from the house. It was our first full term visit and we called home regularly, much more than we do now. We spent a lot of time at that telephone, reassuring our family that we really were fine, and incredibly happy!

After several weeks of standing on the side of the street, hollering into the phone, the homeowner of the house across the street wandered over and offered us the use of his Vonage phone. He had seen us out there, often, and took pity on us.

However, at the time we had no idea what a Vonage phone was. Nor did we have any idea how open and generous people are to strangers in Mazatlan. We never did take him up on his offer, and shortly afterwords, moved up the hill to the Casita, where we had both a Vonage phone, and the internet. But, I always remembered him.

Last night we attended a party to celebrate Hannukah and it was a simply amazing evening. We ate latkes, and way too much other food, listened to some wonderful music, and also, as a group, made our own. It was a wonderful chance to learn more about the customs and traditions of our Jewish friends and we had a marvelous time.

However, imagine our surprise when we arrived at the house, which we had never before visited, to discover that it was THAT house!

The hunt for a telephone and the kindness of the man who offered the use of his has always been one of my fondest memories of our first months in Mazatlan. And now it is one of my Christmas stories.

I don't think it matters if you are Christian and celebrate Christmas, or Jewish and celebrate Hannukah. It also doesn't matter if you are Muslim, Hindu or Agnostic.

It's just all about being kind, caring and considerate, and helping out in any way you can.

So, to all, in whatever language you speak, and whatever religion you practice, "Peace on Earth and Love to All".

Monday, December 19, 2011


Well, Mazatlan is certainly never boring. Saturday evening we were watching a Flamenco performance, and Sunday evening we went to a Ball Game.

The Venados, our local heros, have been are not doing very well this season, but we were hopeful that our presence would be of some assistance.

A bit of a history lesson here. The Venados are part of a winter league, at the AAA minor league level and have been a team since the 1940's. They have been in the January playoffs for years, however are struggling this year. In the 2004-2005 season, the Venados won the Mexican Pacific League title for the seventh time. During 2008 they won the Mexican championship and represented Mexico in the Caribbean World Series in January 2009.

Home games are played at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal, which was constructed in 1962. It is 325 feet down the stadium's right and left field lines and 400 feet to the center field wall. In 2000 the stadium underwent a major remodeling that expanded capacity from 12,000 to 14,000. I just threw in the measurements for fun - I have absolutely no idea how big ball stadiums usually are!

There were probably 20 of us, all hanging around the first base line, cheering loudly, and doing everything in our power to inspire the boys on the field, but to no avail. The final score was 7 to 4, and the Yaquis, from Obregon, were the victors. The seventh inning was very exciting, the Venados had the bases loaded and a home run would have put them in the lead, but, alas, the batter struck out. At times, watching baseball can be very stressful.

Our team lost the game, and hopefully we were not too much of a hindrance as the hooting and hollering from our side of the field did get a bit loud at times, however, win or lose, we had a lot of fun.

We ate (the hot dogs were delicious)

and had a few drinks.

We admired the hats and noisemakers

and several of the male members of the group also admired the girls.

Oh, and yes, we actually did watch a lot of the game!

There is absolutely nothing like a beisbal game, Mexican style!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The Museo Pérez Meza is a close walk from the Casita and consists of a Heritage Museum with tables available for coffee and a sweet treat, with spaces for children's activities and conferences. There is also a music forum, the garden of the Trova. The aim of the Museo is to investigate and preserve the history of the Pérez family, whose musical legacy has been shared by several generations.

We are not fans of Banda music, but it is wildly popular in the State of Sinaloa. Luis Pérez Meza, who is referred to as El Trovador del Campo, was a composer, a singer and a pioneer in the recording of Banda. Other family members have continued the tradition and the Museo has been established to collect anecdotes and material pertaining to these Sinaolese troubadors.

Last night we attended a Flamenco performance at the Museo Perez Meza, featuring Citlali Iglesias, a teacher at the Mazatlan de la Compania de danza Mirabras Flamenco, and several of her students.

It was a marvelous evening and the dancers and music were amazing. The pictures really don't do them justice, you really do need to be there to hear the music, the clapping hands, and the pounding feet!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tis the Season

Yes, it is the season and we are starting to get jolly. The people of Mazatlan love Christmas and decorations have been popping up all over the city. I love the store selling Christmas Pinatas and also the fact that you can buy your tree and lunch at the same location.

These are part of the holiday display at Plaza de Revolution, in front of City Hall and the Cathedral.

It's a true Christmas wonderland, complete with a creche, donkeys (including one very tired little guy who just gave up and laid down for a nap), and of course, Santa Claus! The tree at the Plaza is huge, with rather interesting decorations. The Coca Cola tree is a tradition and this is the third variation we have seen.

The children are loving it, and the adults are having a good time as well.

We have seen numerous live trees being transported home on the roofs of cars, some as early as mid-November. I can only imagine what these trees will look like by Christmas Day, but right now the ones I have seen through the odd open doorway are lovely. The trees are often burnt after the holiday, but some are just left to completely wither away, tucked into an outside corner near the house. Our neighbours have had such a tree in their outer courtyard for several years and this year, dead or not, they decided to go ahead and decorate it anyway. It is truly spectacular. As well as multiple strings of lights and dozens of brightly coloured balls, they have set up, on one side of the tree, a winter wonderland scene, reminiscent of the Dickens Villages so popular 'up north'. On the other side is the village of Bethleham, and of course, no tree is complete without a toy train.

The tree on the top of the Pacifico Beer Plant has been up for several weeks now.

At home we always had a beautifully decorated 'real' tree (I know, we all think our trees are the best) but, although I decorate for Christmas every year in Mazatlan, we have not had a tree. This year, however, a friend is spending Christmas Eve and Day with us, and she felt that we simply had to have a tree. So, on a recent visit to New York, she bought one and brought it all the way back to Mazatlan, in her suitcase. This is one special Christmas Tree! It came with it's own decorations, and lights, and with the addition of a few extra baubles found lying around the Casita, we now have a tree.

Just can't wait to see what surprises Santa will bring!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Start and the End of the Day

I'm back, as Mike has managed for 'fix' whatever was wrong with my blog. I have no idea what the problem was and I suppose I really should learn to correct these things myself, but then again .... I have Mike! I can now post, so I guess it's time I got serious here.

Right, like that is ever going to happen!

Once again, we find ourselves enthralled by the stunning sun rises and sunsets. We are often awoken early in the day (more on that later) and just couldn't resist pulling out the camera on a recent early morning.

Could there be a better way to start the day? I really don't think so.

I also think that every day should end like this: