07/25/2012, Sinaloa, Mexico
Jaime, a friendly employee who works at the restaurant Palapa at La Marina Isla, drove my brother Douglas and I to the pueblo of El Quelite. The village owes its name to a shrub that grows every where in Mexico. It is located in the coastal hills, some 60 kilometers North of Mazatlan. We took highway 15 and drove for some 45 minutes. The highway was very good with little traffic.
The village is built on the Rio El Quelite, which flows right thru the town. It is a farm area and everything is green and luxuriant. The land is fertile and due to the weather, everything grows extremely well.
Because it is so picturesque, El Quelite is a tourist mecca and people come by the bus load to spend a day enjoying to local hospitality.
There are two very good restaurants and a small hotel. We choose El Meson De Los Laureanos Restaurante located in the center of town and we did not regret it. The venue was fabulous, the food typically Mexican and the prices most reasonable. All the employees were most gracious and helpful. As a bonus we had the company of a very smart Cotorro (parrot) who kept wanting to go to the kitchen for food. The staff kept bringing it back to the public area to do his talking in Spanish.
After lunch, we walked to a small hotel on a hill side with a spendid view. From there, we walked to the local bakery (panaderia) which you find in every village. I could not resist buying a fresh bread which I ate on the spot. Very hummy!
We visited the old church following which we drove 3/4 of the way to the top of a hill and walked the rest to the top so as to enjoy the view of the village and its surroundings. We have a few pictures of our visit in our Photo Gallery under the title of El Quelite.
My brother Douglas (Doug) arrived in Mazatlan on July 13th and we have been very busy visiting and experiencing first hand the Mexican hospitality. He has taken to our friends Nacho and Maria Teresa's music and we try hard to be where they play twice per week. He is really enjoying his vacation and I am delighted to be able to spend quality time with him. We had not seen each other since we left Canada for Mexico in the summer of 2010.
We have every intention to see each other annually, from here on in.
06/10/2012, El Centro
Yesterday was another annual festival in Mazatlan. This one was a musical festival, featuring 19 different bands, with as many types of music. They had set up platforms in 5 different venues throughout downtown Mazatlan. The shows started at 19:30 and wounded up past midnight. Musical groups alternated every hour.
The venues were covered by local television stations and Lynne was interviewed in Spanish. It was all very exciting. One of the venues featured the Maria Teresa Barreda Quartet. We know both Nacho and Maria Teresa well and are friends of ours.
We arrived downtown with four friends, and had an early dinner at the very good Restaurant Molika, located close to Plazuela Machado. We were 10 minutes from Escenario Fusion, where our friends were playing, starting at 19:30. Four different bands succeeded each other every hour. That is why the stage appears cluttered with speakers etc on the pictures in our "Photo Gallery".
The performance was memorable and we really enjoyed that "Dia de la Musica" or Day of Music in Mazatlan.
Here is something I recently read which touched me!
Before human die, they write their last Will & Testament, give their home & all they have, to those they leave behind. If with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I'd ask...
To a poor and lonely stray I'd give:
-My happy home.
-My bowl & cozy bed, soft pillows and all my toys.
-The lap, which I loved so much.
-The hand that stroked my fur & the sweet voice that spoke my name.
I'd Will to the sad, scared shelter dog, the place I had in my human's loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.
So when I die, please do not say, "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand."
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope and give MY place to HIM.
This is the only thing I can give...The love I left behind.
05/13/2012, El Centro, Mazatlan
During the past month, we have been frequent visitors to Macaw's in downtown Mazatlan. It is on the ground floor of Casa De Leyendas Bed & Breakfast. Their webpage link is: (http://www.casadeleyendas.com). They have five nice rooms reasonably priced. The complex is well restored to its original glory and very well located.
In addition to a very nice ambiance, good food, good service, Nachos and Maria Teresa play terrific latin jazz as well as pure jazz and blues every Sunday starting at 18:00. They are simply great performers. They are married, barely 31 years old with so much talent.
We have been there with different friends, including Carey and Brian Pollock from s/v Copernicus and Eva and Rene Ethier from s/v Babeeze.
They also play at another venue, a great restaurant located on Plazuela Machado, named Bohemia. Every Tuesday evening, musicians congregate here to jam till the wee hours of the morning. It is worth a visit.
Last week, following their jam session, Nachos and Maria Teresa drove us to their house, located near our marina, for a few drinks. We got home past 2:00 AM. It took me 36 hours to get back to normal life!!!!!!
We are still having fun in Mazatlan.
We have recovered nicely from a serious virus, infecting our two laptops this past week. It looks like we acquired the virus from a friend's external hard drive, in an exchange of data.
We were referred to Charles Swarts of www.mazpc.com by our friends at Total Yacht Works. Charles can be reached at 176 3564 or 669 110 5034. He comes to your boat. An added bonus is the fact that Charles is from Fort Worth Texas and has run his legitimate business here in Mazatlan, for the past 6 years. He is very competent and his fee very reasonable.
Our big concern was with the fact our two laptops are used for navigation on our boat and we are not sure how to set up the charts with our MaxSea etc. Charles managed to find the virus and to successfully remove it, without erasing our hard disk completely, which is routinely what is done in most cases.
So happy is an understatement, and we highly recommend this very nice young man for your computer/software/repair needs. You will be elated with the experience of dealing with Charles just as we have been.
02/12/2012, Marina Isla
Our projects are coming off our list one after the other.
This past week our newly rebuilt bow thruster electric motor was reinstalled and works like a charm.
Our new bilge monitor is installed and working fine.
I need to apply one more coat of paint on the air diffuser which I hope to install this week. I fitted it this afternoon and it is ready for the isolating foam after the last coat of paint.
The genset is being worked on by Raf, a competent mecanic from Total Yacht Works. The head has been removed and the valves will be replaced etc. The genset needs a major overall.
The temperatures are getting warmer and warmer every day. We have been seeing the mercury hitting the low 90s almost every day, during the past few weeks. In a month we will need that a/c unit working during the day. In two to three months we will need it 24 hours a day until November.
We are comfortably installed on slip A-12 at marina Isla and we like it very much here. We have the Restaurant/Bar Palapa close by and the maritime traffic is low in this part of the Estrela Sabalo...so no wake.
All of our friends have now gone down South for a few months and many will return starting in April to go up the Sea of Cortez for the Summer.
02/06/2012, Isla Mazatlan Estrero El Sabalo
We moved Taya yesterday morning to a new marina, where we have signed up for one year from today. We are on slip 12 close to the Restaurant Palapa, the showers, the bridge etc.
We are a short distance from the road where we can take buses to Mazatlan. We are close to Marina Fonatur where Lynne will continue to do her laundry and where we will continue to receive our mail. We are in very good terms with the management there as well as all the employees.
We are also close by the grocery store Santa Fe (Holly Faith) and many restaurants and other tiendas.
We are busy cleaning up Taya and today we started on our stainless steel.
Not much has been happening since our last posting. We have had a few outings and dinners with friends during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, but otherwise uneventful.
We just enjoy our retirement and take a lot of meals on board. We have just obtained our FM2 - Mexican residence permit. We now have our CURP (social security number) and are poised to get our Mexican driver's license. It looks like we are taking roots in this beautiful and exceptionally friendly country. Next we will join the Mexican health care system (IMSS) because our country will drop us off in July, following the two year extension they granted us when we left Canada.
I have been battling a tenacious bacterial/fungus infection for the past 1 1/2 months and with the excellent care of Dr. Adrian Fernandez, Dermatologist, (300 pesos per visit) I am now back in good health. With the high level of humidity and temperature prevailing here in Mexico, it takes a lot longer to heal any lesions or infections. One has really to be very careful. We know of someone who almost lost vision in her right eye, as a result of a very benign irritation.
We have decided to take a one year hiatus here in Mazatlan, and will be moving our boat to the Isla Marina nearby on February 4th, because they include power in their moorage fee.
We have just purchased a new household air conditioning unit that we will install on our coach roof. It will be running 24 hours per day starting in March. We will build a wood canopy to channel the cold air into our large salon hatch. This will insure we are comfortable aboard Taya during the very hot summer months ahead.
Lynne will be going to Quebec from June 16th to August 18th, to visit her aging parents. I will remain in Mazatlan with Pacha, our beloved siamese cat, who is not getting any younger...just like his dad! Under no circumstances, woud we leave our pet with anyone.
We have been exchanging DVDs with friends and have spent a lot of time on that. I have also been reading a lot during the past few months. In fact we are preparing a European trip we are planning for hopefully the not too distant future. Our plan so far would take us to Spain, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. There are a lot of sights we wish to visit and we would most likely lease/purchase a car for 6 months to facilite our displacements.
On the boat maintenance side, we had to rewire our pullpit navigation lights. The welding melted our old wires in the stainless steel tubes when we replaced our lifelines in San Carlos. The electric motor of our bow thruster has been rebuilt and should be reinstalled shortly. We need to fish 4 wires from our bilge pump midship to our navigation table, to hook it up to a new Water Witch BA 200 monitor/controller we have acquired. This instrument records how frequently the pump runs, how long each time, has a high water alarm built in etc. The last project is to reseat the valves on our genset.
The first Friday each month, a number of shops and residences in el centro open for visits. It is well organized with a map with numbers on the map and a large sign in front of each house/shop indicating they are part of the organization of the art walk.
This time we visited a number of shops with friends that we had not had a chance to visit on prior visits. It included a few private homes, which are renovated old 19 century colonial homes. It was well worth the visit.
We finished our visit with dinner at Cavot de Leon Restaurant il El Centro.
On Christmas eve with had a few friends over for drinks and food. We had a blast and the evening went by rather fast. The Next day we had dinner aboard s/v Babeeze with Eva, Rene and friends. She had cooked a traditional turkey which was absolutely delicious. We all contributed something to the dinner and it was frankly a huge success.
A few days later we were invited to dinner aboard s/v August Moon and friends and following great food we all played Mexican Train which is one of the favorite pass time of cruisers.