Last Week In Mazatlan

After leaving the island we went into the city and booked a week at San Fernando RV Park.  It is centrally located in the Golden Zone so that we could easily get transportation to wherever we wanted to go.  It was a comfortable week as every time I went into the city from the island it seemed to be a few degrees cooler and less humid.  After one week at San Fernando’s I am positive that is true.  The one really bad drawback to the island was the gnats and noseeums.  I, and many others often avoided sitting outside because of being pestered and bitten.  Steve’s thoughts on the noseeums were rather optimistic though: “At least the noseeums here have the decency not to bite me in the crotch like they do in Kansas.”

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San Fernando’s has a nice open air sitting area with many books.

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A nice pool

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A couple from Switzerland arrived and stayed a couple of days before taking a ferry over to the Baja.  We talked to them quite a bit about their travels as they had shipped their RV from Germany to Argentina.  They, like others we have talked to that RVed to S. America, said their overland RV was overkill and that a motor home like ours would have worked just fine.  This one is a modified former Swiss army vehicle.

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To explain why Steve is sitting under the laundry; he is sunbathing just his legs because he had melanoma on his chest 15 years ago. I first thought it was because the laundry smells so good.  I bought softener in the supermarket here and it had a very strong fragrance that was so familiar.  In the middle of the night I woke up and it hit me:  1983…….Germany……Fenjal soap!  I lived in Germany then and there was a soap that could be purchased in drug stores that was deep turquois in a turquois plastic case.  It smelled so good that when I moved back to the U.S. I cleaned out the shelf of the local drug store of all 22 bars.  Then when I moved back to Germany in 1984 the formula for the soap had changed, it was pale turquois, and barely had a fragrance.  Funny thing is I just did a search for Fenjal and saw that Amazon sells it.  One reviewer also said that it wasn’t the same anymore.  Too bad.  Guess I’ll just bathe with the Mexican softener.

We walked and rode parts of the 13 mile long Malecon several times.  It is the longest promenade in the world and because the bay curves you can see for miles along the shore from almost any part.  The malecon is a fun place.  People walk, ride bikes, roller blade, and enjoy the beach right along side of it.

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Tall statues have been placed all along the Malecon recently in preparation for Carnaval.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steve and I took one last trip to the Mercado.  I bought about a quart of pure vanilla and another of honey.  And now that we are leaving,  another sundress that I could have used two months ago.

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We see some of the most interesting beverages so I tried the red one.  Delicious and I’m not even sure what flavor it was…..not citrusy or tart.  But there are chunks of fruit in the drink like water melon and oranges.

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A couple of last few meals at beachside restaurants and it was Hasta La Vista Mazatlan!

Semi-Stranded On An Island

As a vegetarian and an almost vegan, it was an experience being semi-stranded on a so-called island with practically my only access to food being the daily vegetable trucks.  There was a small grocery store a mile away but I very rarely went there and hardly bought anything.  I went to a large super market in the city just once in two months and only spent 92 pesos (less than 7 dollars).

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I had brought down a large supply of five different kinds of nuts, quinoa, barley, almond flour, flax seed, flax meal, buckwheat groats,dried black-eyed peas, 4 pounds of frozen blueberries, coconut oil, agave and maple syrups, Stevia, 8 bottles of seasoned rice vinegar that was not enough, cooking wines, black olives, capers, black rice, oatmeal, hemp seed, sunflower seeds, dried apricots, dates, chia seeds, tofu, spices, several bags of frozen mushrooms, a couple of bags of frozen spinach, one of peas, and a huge bag of frozen broccoli/cauliflower/carrots that I really didn’t need.  There are a few more items but basically this is what I used the most of.  As a vegetarian I should be eating beans but never opened a single can of what I brought.

I actually brought way too much as we will be returning with about 1/2 of everything.  In the non-vegan department I brought two pounds of butter which I used the last of this morning and I did buy eggs from the veggie truck.  For beverages I brought a case of hot and spicy vegetable juice, a case of apple ale, and a pound of special order Earl Grey loose leaf tea.

What kitchen appliances did I bring?  A crockpot, food processor with citrus juicer attachment, high speed blender, dehydrator, small juicer, and a toaster.  I also brought a coffee grinder for nuts but ended up having a coffee craving that lasted a week, so that got some extra use.  I did not have a coffee pot but someone in the park picked up a French Press and coffee beans for me.  Steve must have his coffee so that is now getting more use.  Technically not an appliance, I brought our big canister Doulton water filter which was indispensible as I never bought bottled water once.

What did I prepare?  A couple of times I made a big pot of throw-everything-in soup (barley, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, onions, veggie soup base, etc.) which I then froze into smaller containers.

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Twice I made a couple of trays of veggie burgers in the dehydrator which I then froze into sandwich bags.  No recipe but I shredded carrots in the food processor, and added them to sautéed mushrooms and onions, along with oatmeal, flax meal, sunflower seeds, spices, and whatever else sounded good and was necessary to achieve the right consistency.

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I made juice often using oranges from the veggie truck and am so glad this food processor has the citrus juicer attachment. 

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I made a lot of tomato salads with onions, cilantro, rice vinegar, and Stevia. Also cucumber salad the Austrian way where you slice cucumbers very very thin, put salt on them and let them sit for at least an hour. Pour off most but not all of the water, add season gourmet rice vinegar, Stevia, garlic.  Add oil if you like but in a lesser amount than the vinegar.    The veggie truck only sold iceberg lettuce and every now and then romaine lettuce so I didn’t eat a lot of green leafy vegetables which I have missed.

I made my own bread with oatmeal, sunflower seeds, ground psyllium husk, nuts, coconut oil, flax seeds and a few other ingredients.  This is the only bread that I make these days because it is so good and unbelievably easy.  You don’t even need a bowl……just mix it in an ungreased teflon loaf pan.  It includes no flour, no yeast, just pure nutrition.  And now I just looked and can’t find the recipe on the web anymore.   Note:  After I posted this, I received an email from my friend Tessa who knew exactly where to find this recipe on the web:  http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/ 

Dessert consisted of the same two things over and over:  Chia pudding made with homemade almond milk, chia seeds, and agave syrup.  Or rum balls made with dates, nuts, almond flour, rum, and coconut.  Both are no cook – no bake.  Speaking of almond milk, try making it from scratch one time……cheap and so much tastier than store bought. Make with four cups of water, 1/2 cup almonds, 1 TB of vanilla, 1/4 cup or less of agave syrup, blend in a high speed blender and then strain through a mylk bag.

Since cauliflower is so inexpensive here I ate a lot of it.  I cut it into small florets, tossed it with some melted butter and salt, and roasted it.  The other thing I made often is carrots because the carrots in Mexico are so fresh, tender, and sweet………..absolutely no comparison to carrots in the U.S.  I made fruit salad often from pineapple, melon, oranges, and occasionally strawberries. Breakfast was alternated between an egg and my bread or oatmeal with blueberries, dried apricot, nuts, and almond milk.

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All this cost about four dollars and that includes the eggs and avocado.

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So on our last day on the island we waited to leave until the veggie truck came, which is temporarily smaller because the regular truck is broken.  What I wouldn’t give to have a produce truck drive through our neighborhood each day in Colorado.  Maybe it’s not cost effective with all the licenses, inspections, regulations, and permissions required in the “land of free enterprise?”

Afterwards, we made the slow drive down the gravel road towards our next destination which by the way, ALSO has a veggie truck that comes through the park. 

Into The City With Bill and Bonnie-Part 2

From the Colonial District we walked through the Plaza Machedo where we sat for a bit outside the Angela Peralta Theatre.  This theatre, founded in 1874 was named in memory of one of the best operatic singers in the world at the time.  Angela Peralta died in 1883 of Yellow Fever.

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Mazatlan is preparing for Carnaval the 1st of March and it is a shame that we will miss it.  There are huge statues in the Plaza and again along the Malecon.

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Steve wants to eat at this outdoor café one more time, that we had gone to in 2010.

IMG_0050We left the plaza and stopped in a couple of shops.  This one was decorated so nicely that it was practically a museum in itself.  We walked across the pool with flower petals to see the back part of the shop.

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Then it was on to the the main plaza in the city center where Steve and Bill bought ice cream.  I normally don’t care for ice cream but tasted Steve’s and it was very good.  The ice cream shop is on the corner by the plaza if you go there.

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Bill counted 18 shoe shine stands around the plaza.

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I counted one donut man. Although I didn’t make a purchase, the seller graciously posed for a picture.

IMG_0068We browsed the market for a bit and I bought a cool sundress two months too late.  The women who sell clothes in the market are real hustlers.  None of the other vendors are bothersome.

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Steve, Bonnie, and Bill had not been on the rooftop of the Freeman Hotel so off we went in a pulmonia to enjoy the views.  The sunset put on a nicer show this time than my last visit there.  Looks like this photo could have used some straightening.  I fixed all these pictures but can’t find where I put them.  Up until now I’ve relied on my memory to know where my pictures are so it looks like my next big project is organizing a few thousand photos.

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The sky was lit up on the east side too

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It is a long way down

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Back to the dock.  Note that Steve is carrying my purse – the true test of a good man!

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It’s refreshingly cool taking the panga at night across the harbor but many Mexicans are bundled up for the ride.

Into The City With Bill and Bonnie–Part I

A couple of days ago Bonnie and Bill, Steve and I, decided to go into the city for a late lunch, a walk around town, and then to see the sunset from the top of the Freeman Hotel.  First we went to the Fish Market to eat and sat on the patio overlooking the beachfront known as Olas Atlas.  I didn’t take any pictures at the restaurant but we had a very enjoyable meal with great views.  After that we walked through the Centro Histórico district also known as the colonial district.  Bonnie and Bill were oohing and aahing and I don’t believe they realized this part of Mazatlan existed.  And we only saw a very small portion of my favorite part of the city.

This 175 block area has been undergoing a restoration for the past 20 some years.  The location is ideal, being a short walk to the central part of downtown with the large market, many stores, and  most of the area is five minutes or less to the shore.

The Plaza Machedo, situated just three blocks from the central downtown, is surrounded by restaurants and hotels with a small park area where musicians often play.  Some evenings the street around the plaza is completely covered with tables for eating out.

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I doubt any two buildings in the historic district have been painted the same color

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Looking closely, several buildings need a lot of work, but the outside is kept up for appearances.

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Not noticed until I went through my pictures, is a German phrase on one of the buildings above.  I’m tempted to go back and see what the complete phrase says.  The first part translates to “God Alone…..

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Someone is at least is working on the façade of the bottom floor

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I’m showing you the picture above because I have taken a picture of this shell of a building before:

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I took this one in February 2010

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Here’s a wider view

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Some of the abandoned buildings are overgrown inside with foliage and even flowers.  A place like this one is very likely to be next door to a house that has been immaculately restored.

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Above in 2014:  I photographed this house in 2010 because of the flowers spilling over out the bottom floor windows.  Now those windows have been boarded up.

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The same building in 2010.

I got carried away with too many pictures of buildings.  I will finish “Into The City” on my next post.