We’re Going to the World Series!!!

team shot 2

team shot 2 It’s not every day you hear that around Mazatlan, but such has been the case since April, when the Mazatlan Pony League baseball team (Colt Division) won a tournament in Guadalajara with 8 wins and no losses and the chance to represent Mexico in the World Series in Lafayette, Indiana, USA from August 7 to August 12 of this year.

Competing in the World Series requires a lot of commitment by players, coaches and their families. Also, making a trip like this requires money. The good news is that the kids will not have to pay any hotel costs, but instead will be hosted by local families as part of a global outreach for international sports. However, the team has many other hurdles to jump in order to make this trip happen. By winning the tournament, the team received $3,000 USD to help with transportation costs. The team has also received a verbal commitment from the State of Sinaloa for $10,000 MXP. They will need more, and the team has held some fundraiser events and has been selling tacos every weekend since the big win.

The cost for the bus to Indiana (36 hours each way) has been negotiated down to 187,000 pesos. The team has managed to collect in cash and pledges 119,000 pesos, including the tournament winnings and the Sinaloa support. The rest has come from families like ours, local businesses and fundraising. That leaves the team short 68,000 pesos. For this, they are asking for some assistance.

Readers of this blog can show support by dropping off a donation to Post & Ship in the Golden Zone or by contributing via PayPal by clicking on the link below the video. The team did not have time to set up a special bank account for donations via PayPal, so instead, we asking you to donate to my PayPal account trusting that all of the funds collected will be given to the team.

In addition to transportation-related costs, the team also has to purchase a special uniform and has hired a professional trainer to aid the coaches. The team has a commitment and at this point they will go. If they do not raise the needed funds, the families will find the money themselves, somehow, some way—most likely by high interest credit. Please help them out if you’re able and willing!

Here is a little video of these great kids.

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Thanks in advance for your support.

Gracias

Warriors!

DSC_0849This morning Real del Valle was filled with warriors—of the obstacle course variety. LeTour Fitness held its annual “Warrior Race,” which was a 4k race that included a run up a hill and obstacles such as jumping over rolled bales of hay, scaling walls and fences, doing burpees, running obstacles, and crawling under barbed wire. It was my pleasure to watch Greg and Danny compete in the race. And, honestly, Mom enjoyed the eye candy, too. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

There were at least three athletic events in Mazatlán this morning, including the CicloRun up the lighthouse/faro. This Warrior Race was fun because people dressed up and everybody had SUCH a good time: families—parents, kids, siblings, uncles and aunts—groups of friends and work colleagues—including a large group from UAS, and there were quite a few senior citizens. Two of my favorites included a pony-tailed woman who came in about 3rd or 4th place among the women, and a 68 year old lady who completed the race, but had a hard time with the final climb. The cool thing was that, in this race, people helped each other out, as you can see in the photos below, where people are actually pulling and pushing each other over an inflatable. Everybody finished the race muddy, wet, sweaty and happy.

As usual with events like this, there were at least three emergency calls that I witnessed—heat stroke, despite the fortunately overcast morning. Below are photos of who I believe to be the male and female winners; at least they came through in first place by a safe margin at the point in the race I was located.

Way to go, everyone! Thanks for the fun!

New Museum of Mazatlán

PROYECTO DE MUSEO DE MAZATLÁN (9) You know how excited I am about the plans for upgrading the Bosque de la Ciudad into Mazatlán Parque Central—I wrote about it back in December. This gorgeous park will serve as an anchor between the historic downtown and the tourist zone, and connect the oceanside promenade/malecón with the estuary/Estero del Camarón. I repost a few of those photos below; click on any picture to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Today I received an update on the Museo de Mazatlán that will be the main feature on the northern side of the gorgeous park. It has been designed by Siete Colores Ideas Interactivas and architect Fernando Romero—who also recently won the bid to design Mexico City’s new airport (he also designed the Soumaya Museum)!

The 20,000 square meter museum will be in the form of a pearl, in recognition of Mazatlán’s nickname as the “Pearl of the Pacific.” I am very supportive, but I will say that to me the design looks more like a UFO/spaceship than a pearl… The building will have two stories and a view to the ocean. It will be green construction, built sustainably. I sure hope that’s true, because we have so very little left of our precious estuary here in town, and that estuary is key to the beauty of Central Park! Don’t get me started on why the city permitted building in front of the Gran Plaza, a project which has already partially filled in Estero del Camarón.

Plans for the museum include interactive multimedia exhibits. The ground floor will be dedicated to the people of southern Sinaloa: the history of our city, customs, traditions and cultural identity. The second floor will focus on the principal trades of Sinaloa, including agriculture, cattle, fishing, and tourism.

First floor features that are most exciting to me include an 18 x 24 meter IMAX screen with laser projection, a shrimp boat simulator, and a virtual street that will transport the visitor to Carnavál de Mazatlán—enabling us to interact with the event, see the gorgeous floats in the parade, dance with the comparsa troupes, wave to the royalty, and otherwise enjoy the annual festivities in simulated reality.

Rounding out the ground floor are 2900 square meters of permanent exhibition space, a round exhibition hall for the major themes of the museum, a travel agency from where tourists can depart on tours of Mazatlán and the surrounding area, a store filled with high quality regional handicrafts, and a bookstore dedicated to our regional heritage.

The second floor will have a terrace with a panoramic view of the Pacific, a restaurant featuring regional delicacies, a regionally-themed fast food outlet, the city’s historical archive, and training rooms for the development of tourism professionals. Miranda Servitje, President of Siete Colores, reports that INAH (Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History) has agreed to support the museum with exhibitions on Mexican archeology and history.

Neto Coppel Kelly, the visionary behind the project, feels Central Park and the Mazatlán Museum will strengthen the identity of Mazatlán and help generate new touristic offerings, thereby contributing to the welfare and economic growth of our city. State Secretary of Tourism, Francisco Córdova, says this is the type of infrastructure project that Mazatlán and Sinaloa need to keep growing and strengthening. Involved in the project, which has been over two years in the planning thus far, are Fideicomiso Unión Mazatlán and the municipal, state and federal governments.

Reflections on a Seven-Year Anniversary

Kasbah Telouet

Kasbah Telouet, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco

June 16, 2008: Seven years ago today we moved full-time into our home in Mazatlán. We’d already owned the condo for a few years—chosen for its strategic location on the malecón, in the middle of the action and close to everything in the city we’ve loved since the 1970s.

Before we moved to Mazatlán, I often took our son with me when I travelled for work. He joined me on trips throughout the USA, Canada and Mexico; to Amsterdam, Berlin, and Prague; and to Bulgaria and Japan, among others. I very much treasured these times together.

Moving here, however, surprisingly and sadly brought an end to our very treasured, shared international travels. The first couple of years, Danny was too busy learning the language and acculturating to life here; we couldn’t take him out of school. His summer breaks were only a few short weeks—time we felt was time best spent reconnecting with family in the USA. During high school, he also had very short breaks, and the curriculum was difficult enough that he just couldn’t miss school.

As with any major life choice, there are pros and cons. Moving to Mazatlán has opened new worlds for us, fresh opportunities, friends and perspectives. On the downside, it has seriously curtailed our joint travel time. Suddenly, Danny was ready to leave for college, and I realized that the three of us, as a family, had never travelled outside North America! How could that be?

A high school graduation trip didn’t pan out due to the tight turnaround between Mexican high school graduation and the start of new student orientation at the US college. A trip this year, however, spontaneously presented itself. I was traveling to Spain for work, and Danny would be coming home from school just two days prior to me leaving. Having not seen him since January, this really upset me! I didn’t want to leave knowing he would be here! But Greg came up with the solution. They would fly to Madrid to meet me after my work was completed. Together, we would travel for three weeks, after which Danny could begin his summer internship here in town.

I am so very grateful to have had this time and this adventure together. The three of us enjoyed three glorious weeks of 24/7 family time, of watching each other’s eyes light up at new experiences, or at recollections of prior ones. We ate so many new foods (including camel) and drank so many new drinks, we met some extremely cool and talented people, and we walked more than we’ve ever walked! I feel the trip brought us closer together and allowed us to transition out of treating Danny like a child and into a more adult family relationship. Thank goodness! Things could have, of course, gone terribly wrong when people are together 24/7 for three weeks.

The other very cool thing? You! Our family, friends, and social media community! So many of you accompanied us on the journey, telling us you were joining us vicariously via our photos, giving us recommendations on places to go and things to do, sharing in our excitement. Thank you, most sincerely! That sort of support and virtual camaraderie is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, and was really a thrill.

Our first stop together was Spain. It was the first time there for both Danny and Greg, and they loved it: the ease of communication, the incredible architecture and art, the fun-loving people, the green spaces, and the tapas, beer and cava. I had lived and studied years ago in Salamanca. Madrid and Barcelona were both huge hits with our family, and my boys now join me in my love of Gaudí. You can view the slideshow below if you’d like to see a bit of the Spain portion of our trip.

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Next we travelled to Morocco, where we enjoyed the warmth of the people, the depth of the culture, the artistry of the craftsmen, the gorgeous architecture, natural scenery, and the general foreignness of the milieu. We spent almost a week in Marrakech, and also a couple of days in the High Atlas Mountains with the Berber people. We rode camels in the desert, ate camel burgers, drank lots of fresh mint tea, and enjoyed ourselves heartily. There were so many commonalties between Morocco and Mexico, as well as, of course, so many differences. Below is a slideshow with some of our photos from Morocco, if you’d like to take a look.

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Finally, we travelled to Italy. And, while we all loved Rome—the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the rivers and bridges and seven hills with their incredible views, the Vatican—none of us enjoyed the crowds and the constant need for planning and coordination that navigating throngs of tourists entails. A slideshow with select photos from the Italy portion of our journey follows.

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Along the way we stayed in AirBnB apartments. I imagine most of you travel this way as well? If not, be sure to check it out. We stayed in some lovely, large, and extremely well-located apartments. The space was so much better than a hotel room would have been for a family, and much more affordable as well. And, usually we were able to be based right in the middle of where we wanted to be, so that coffee shops, restaurants, bars and sightseeing were just a few minutes’ walk from home.

So, readers, not much to do with Mazatlán in my post today. Rather, a realization that our trip was sort of a seven year anniversary gift, which provided us a renewed commitment to an intercultural life as global nomads and world citizens. I am most grateful to have a family that enjoys sharing these commitments with me, as well a community of family, friends, colleagues and readers who are like-passioned. Thank you so much for your willingness to join us!

Photo Safari and Hike in Delfín

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Panoramic photo of the first estuary, right by the new bridge in Delfin

On Mothers’ Day Greg and I took a photo safari up north of Delfín, to where Greg has been riding his bike the past few weekends. We took a cooler filled with drinks and lunch, so we could have a picnic. It was a truly gorgeous place to visit. I imagine those who live in Delfín hike this area often. But for me, it was my first time going up quite this far, and I highly recommend it. It made for a most wonderful Mothers’ Day!

The area where we went parallels the railroad tracks, and is full of estuaries. It is secluded enough that it lends itself well to really enjoyable hiking. I loved how we could hear the surf so loudly, but the second we got back in, even just a little bit, we couldn’t hear the surf anymore.

The beaches felt so private to a “city girl” who lives on the malecón. A man lives up next to the tracks (see his home below), and there are lean-tos that I suppose were built by the railroad workers to shelter them from the sun during construction or repair of the tracks. The grass up this way is really cool. It grows so thick, and the wind whips it all one way or the other. You could tell the area floods during high seas, as there was sand and beach debris everywhere. I was especially fascinated with the railroad trestle. I grew up next to one in Wisconsin, and the reflection of this one in the water was quite captivating. About five minutes after we crossed the trestle the second time, sure enough, a train came by. I was quite happy we were, by then, getting out our picnic! Click on any photo to enlarge it, or view a slideshow.

We saw loads of gorgeous flora and fauna—birds, reptiles, insects, mammals, trees, flowers, plants and cactus. We found quite a few different bones and skeletons along the way as well. It was a bit too overcast for my taste and for great photos, but, on the other hand, it made for comfortable hiking. I will most definitely hike up this way many more times.

To get to Delfín, just drive north on Camarón Sábalo to the road to Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. Turn left and go past PBEB, and just keep driving. Eventually the unpaved, very rustic road will fork. The right-hand fork takes you through a ranch and out to the highway. The left-hand fork is the one we took. We planned to park at the estuary by the train trestle, and hike north from there. However, we ended up spending quite a bit of time at the first estuary right by the new bridge, as it was filled with every kind of waterfowl you can imagine—herons, storks, ibis, pelicans, spoonbills… We also spent a significant amount of time at the second estuary—just walking around and enjoying ourselves. So, in the end, we didn’t end up hiking north of there along the dirt road, as had been our original plan. I guess we’ll just have to go again!

Please, share with me one of your favorite hiking spots!