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12/14/2011, Diego's beach bar, Mazatlan
As the time nears that Sharon will be returning to the States for Christmas we continue to check things off our "to do list". Since arriving in Mazatlan we had wanted to see one of the local performers who goes by the name of Brenster, Brenster does a combination of his own songs, some Buffett, some country and a little rock and roll. Brenster does a show every Tuesday from 2:00 till 6:00 at a place called Diego's beach bar, there is a 50 paso cover charge (4.00 USD). Diego's has a special that enables you to pay 200 pasos which includes the cover charge and all you can drink during the show. So just to clarify it... we could get into the show and drink as much as we wanted for FOUR HOURS for a total price of about $15.00 USD, for those of you that don't know Sharon and I....this was not a good business decision for Diego's. We had heard that you needed to grease the waiters palm if you wanted to get served very quickly....however this was not the case with our waiter Mitchell, Mitchell never let one beer get completely empty before he had another one in front of us. Mitchell would then encourage us to guzzle down whatever was remaining in the one he was replacing by yelling "come on drink up, it's free".
Yesterday Shaybo and I decided that we were going to hike to the top of El Faro, El Faro is the lighthouse that marks the entrance to the main harbor of Mazatlan. Si Bon is currently in the new marina harbor of Mazatlan which is about 5.5 Nautical Miles north of the old Mazatlan harbor, this was to be our first trip (by land) over to the old harbor. So we boarded the Sabalo Centro bus and rode it to the end of line. El Faro is one of the highest lighthouses in the world so we figured once we got to the general area we should be able to spot it....right? Wrong, although at over 500 feet tall, El Faro sits on top of a very high mountain and is not a 500 foot tower as we were expecting, but rather sits 500 feet above the ocean. Anyway after walking around for awhile and passing the entrance once or twice we finally were headed up the road to El Faro. The well maintained dirt path turned into some cliff hugging, unevenly spaced stairs about 2/3 of the way up and we trugged onward and upward, stopping occasionally to catch our breath while admiring the breathtaking views...(hard to catch your breath while it's being taken by the view...ha ha). Once at the top of El Faro we chatted with the Lighthouse keeper who works for three days straight then has six days off, then we snapped a few photos and headed back down. Not only did we get in an unbelievable workout but the views that we had during the entire climb can only be described as incredible.... and we were able to cross one more thing off our list of what we wanted to do while visiting the beautiful city of Mazatlan.
Over the past few years I have been gathering information on different peoples opinions regarding the Mexican health care system. Most all of the reports that I have read have been very positive and yesterday was our turn to find out just what to expect from the Mexican health care system. Sharon was VERY uncomfortable going to any dentist other than the one she had been going to in San Diego, this included ANY other dentist, even other dentists in the U.S.. We were both overdue for our routine cleaning and Sharon had a filling that she was concerned about, so after receiving a referral from another cruiser we set up an appointment (online) and yesterday we made our way to Dr. Cesar Gavito's office. Sharon went in first and I waited with baited breath (no pun intended) hoping that when she came out she wouldn't have a look of horror on her face.....she didn't. I was next up and as Dr. Gavito (pic) began cleaning and inspecting my teeth he would occasionally ask me questions about past dental work I had had done. Dr. Gavito found a small cavity which he showed me with a mirror and told me that I probably didn't need to do anything about it now, but to be aware of it for the next time I go to the dentist.
Negotiating in MexicoSteve
12/08/2011, Anywhere in Mexico
As everyone knows you can always negotiate for a better price for things here in Mexico. Examples of this range from taxi drivers to restaurants to souvenir stores to...well you get the idea. After being here in good old Mexico for nearly a year I have come to the conclusion that although I am always looking for a good deal and a good value, I am not going to hammer some poor Mexican taxi driver or shop owner for 10 or 20 pasos (.80- 1.50 USD). It in fact kinda pisses me off when some gringo with a shiny, fancy boat brags while sipping an expensive margarita in the pool how they bargained some poor unfortunate soul down and saved themselves 75 cents.
12/07/2011, Mazatlan countryside
In our constant quest to become submersed into the local culture we recently decided to take an organized tour of a Tequila factory. OK....I know what you're probably already thinking....maybe Steve-o and Shaybo are getting a little carried away with the drinking part of the Mexican culture, but this was to be a day of education. As our tour van left the city limits and wound it's way through the beautiful countryside of Sinaola, our guide Chilly was giving us a detailed lesson on the local culture in general and the Mexican Tequila industry in particular. Once arriving at the Tequila Factory we were surprised to find not what you would think of as a factory, but more like a winery, there were lush grounds and beautiful old buildings and spread across the rolling hillsides were the Blue Agave plants of which Tequila is made from. This pic is Chilly explaining how the plants are grown for 7 years before being harvested by hand. We were taken through the complete process and Chilly explained why you want to make sure that the Tequila is not only 100% Agave, but that the very best tequila is 100% Agave Azul. Once Chilly finished showing us the process of making Tequila he sat us all down and we began the tasting process, we learned that you shouldn't really gulp down a shot, but you should savior it by slowly sipping the fine Tequila. So after we savored a couple of shots we boarded the van and headed to our next destination, the small town of La Noria.
El Salvador meetingSteve
One of the nicest things about not working is not having to go to meetings. I can remember that the work meetings all seemed to start about the same way, get up early, rush off to the meeting place, eat some stale donuts while waiting for the people that didn't get up so early to arrive. Most of the thousands of Mortgage and Real Estate meetings I attended in my 30+ years in the industry had about the same content and I always wondered why we had to be there in the first place.
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