Expat blogs in Mexico
The Truth About Mexico!
The Truth About Mexico!

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  • 06Feb


    Guanajuato City had been on Paul’s wish list for a long time – I had spent a day there when traveling with my daughter-in-law’s family (before she was my daughter-in-law) in about 1994 or 1995.  So it was high time for the two of us to get there together and explore for a longer period of time.

    We bussed to Guanajuato on the luxury bus line ETN, dozing, watching a movie, and reading for the six hour trip from México City.  When we got to the bus station we grabbed a taxi to take us to our Air B & B apartment.  Well, in Guanajuato’s Centro usually you can only be dropped off somewhere near your destination! The city is primarily a city of callejones, or pedestrian only streets, and most of these are quite steep or have stairs. Guanajuato is bowl shaped and it really is unique. In our case we had to trundle our luggage two normal blocks and two blocks straight up that were part stairs and part paving stones.

    A dog must have stepped on the tile before it dried!

    A dog must have stepped on the tile before it dried!

    Our place was super well located and very comfortable.  I was having a lot of trouble walking at the time (long story, don’t ask) so being so centrally located made it perfect for us.  Our host was wonderful and we got hooked up right away with the local Cultura offerings and were able to attend a piano recital (in a space similar to Casa Haas in Mazatlán) and a symphony program in the Teatro Juárez.

    On the way to our place

    On the way to our place

    Our neighborhood near the San Francisco church had a street party the weekend we were there.  Crammed into the small square in front of the church were children’s rides, bouncy rooms, and all the food vendors you could imagine.  It was such fun. The photo at the top of the post was the papel picado they strung up ahead of the festivities.

    Very atmospheric setting

    Very atmospheric setting

    Guanajuato (similar to so many other Méxican cities like Durango, Oaxaca, San Cristóbal de las Casas and Queretaro) has many pedestrian only streets. (Are you listening, Mazatlán?)  It makes these streets such lively places to stroll, both day and night.  They are real magnets for people – both locals and tourists.

    Just a street scene

    Just a street scene with La Pipila in the background

    We explored the city on foot a lot with frequent rests for my feet on the ample benches and public squares.  We took a tourist bus tour.  We skipped the mummies,  and also unfortunately skipped the funicular because the line was too long. (my feet again, sigh)

    Another block to our place

    Another block to our place

    We found lots of the restaurants our friends had recommended. Cafe Tal has the most delicious coffee – be sure to take a couple kilos home with you.  Delica Mitsu had wonderful Japanese food. La Vie en Rose was a fantastic French bakery and coffee shop.  We ate twice at La Capellina for their excellent Italian food.  We ate one night at La Trattoria with our table in the Juliet balcony overlooking the square. (location good/food not so much) After the symphony one night at around 11 pm we went for dinner at Casa Valadez along with all the movers and shakers of the city it seemed.  We felt like we had a front row seat to the who’s who of Guanajuato as they greeted each other and table hopped around this incredibly disorganized restaurant with servers looking more at their iPads than at the customers.  We had a great time.

    We went to a few museums (the Casa Diego Rivera museum was good) and to the main mercado.   The produce at the mercado was incredibly inexpensive.

    We had a wonderful time there and would love to go back sometime now that my feet are nearly well and spend at least a month.  It is a wonderful city, friendly and interesting.

    So what’s going on here in Mazatlán, you ask?

    Thousands of new palms are being planted along the malecon

    Thousands of new palms are being planted along the malecon

    The monigotes are up, teasing us that Carnaval will be here soon.

    The monigotes are up, teasing us that Carnaval will be here soon. You can see the beautifully redone Fisherman's Monument and the new sail-like cover over the basket ball court behind the monigote in this photo.

    The houses on Angel Flores are even more photogenic than usual!

    The houses on Angel Flores are even more photogenic than usual! Notice the new and improved balustrade?

    An artsy picture of palm tree shadows

    An artsy picture of palm tree shadows

    I hope you are all enjoying your winter!  See you!

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  • 05Nov



    Mazatlán has a wonderful city gym,  a gym that is totally free to all city residents and guests.  Free!  No cost!  Open 24 hours, too!  Yes, you guessed it, it’s the malecón. From the Pedro Infante monument in Old Town (Olas Altas) at the South end to Valentino’s at Rafael Buelna at the North, it is a four and a half mile gymnasium with a world class view. At the top of the post is a picture from this morning, after a rainy night as Tropical Storm Vance passed by.

    Who could consider trudging along on a treadmill while watching the news when you could be out running or walking by the water?  And it really is like a gym, too… there are regulars, and we all look for each other each morning and greet each other with a smile and a hello. A map of the malecón is below.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.27.29 AM

    People run, walk, bike, roller blade, and swim every day. People do sit ups and twirl their ankles.  Heavy people, slim people, ladies in matching exercise gear, people wearing old clothes and folks doing zumba or climbing ropes all coexist happily.  I really hate to miss my walk in the morning.  And amazing even me, I don’t just walk anymore, I also jog part of the way.  I believe my journey back to health after ovarian cancer has been thanks to my daily exercise in this lovely place.  How can you not start your day being grateful for what you have when you can see the sun come up and feel the salt air on your face each morning? Check out the short video below that I also took this morning.  The diehard swimmers at Playa Norte just have to get their morning swim!

    When we were auditioning locations to live in Mexico, one of the things we insisted on was a good place to walk.  We really hit the jackpot here in Mazatlán.


    The malecón is a popular place to exercise both in the morning and in the evening.  Our Mayor, Carlos Felton uses the malecón frequently, too… as he bike rides, runs, and even participated in a triatholon.  The city is also working on a renovation of the malecón, with new benches and planting mature palm trees in place of planters and shrubs. There will be a dedicated bike lane, too.  The work has begun at the North end and is continuing to the Fisherman’s Monument. A graphic rendering is above.

    If you need a bit more of a workout, don’t forget that you can surf or boogie-board many places along the city’s coastline as well as hike to the lighthouse, El Faro. (See the hill in the background of the picture at the top of this post?  That’s El Faro.)  I see people kayaking frequently, too. If you want to be active, I believe Mazatlán is a perfect spot.

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  • 31May

    Mazatlan Malecon

    This summer is going to be the summer of getting in shape for me.  I wasn’t able to work out a lot while I was having chemotherapy, and I realized recently that I had lost a fair bit of strength in my muscles.  So it is time to really get to work!

    Mazatlan Panga Fishing Boat

    Every other day I have been using my Nordic Track cross-country ski machine (which I love) for a half hour and working my arms with hand weights. I either listen to my upbeat exercise playlist or watch a movie on Netflix on my iPad while I ski.

    Restaurant being rebuilt in Mazatlan

    Click here for larger photo of the restaurant being dismantled or renovated, above.

    The non-Nordic Track days I have been just taking a walk and of course my walks here take me over some beautiful terrain!  The pictures with this post are all from our walk today.  It was a bit cloudy so it made for a perfect cool walk.  Summer isn’t here yet as the breeze still has delicious cool undertones.

    Mazatlan mural

    Once I feel like I have my strength built up a bit I am going to go back to my (aborted last summer) Couch to 5K program.   The program leads you through strength and endurance building workouts over eight weeks to get you to where you can run a 5K. I am really hoping to lure some of my marathon running family down here for next December’s marathon and to be able to run 10K myself.  That’s an ambitious goal for so soon after surgery and chemotherapy but I am going to give it my best!

    Club de Natación Mazatlan

    I have been doing a lot of reading about how to train and have decided I want to get started with a zero drop shoe.  That’s a shoe that doesn’t have a built up heel so that your stance is more natural. This is a bit controversial among runners – I don’t plan on using the foot shaped barefoot shoes as I’ll need more protection for the bottom of my foot but I am considering several styles.  The Under Armor Speed Form looks pretty cool but $120 is pretty expensive.  I will probably end up buying something like this Merrell or this New Balance. The question is whether I’ll be able to find anything similar here in Mazatlán or if I’ll have to wait until I visit the US in late July to do my buying.  That would delay the start of my running program, but I’d still have plenty of time to train.

    Playa Norte, Mazatlan

    I hope you all are enjoying Spring wherever you are.  I am having a great time every day here in Mazatlán!



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