Easy Social Distanced Day Trip

During the day on New Year’s Eve I was going stir crazy, an all-too-frequent condition during this pandemic, sadly. Just after noon I asked Greg if we might go for a drive. We headed south towards Villa Unión, past the old textile mill to Walamo, winding around and eventually getting to Caimanero. Once we got there we had a picnic on the malecón, then turned around to head home as the sun was already beginning to set. Why did it take us so long, you might ask? We had originally set out for Agua Verde, a town we never reached.

Well, as you probably well know, yours truly loves her camera. First of all I had to take photos of all the cool vehicles and riders we saw along the road, from a couple of guys carrying a propane tank, to others with a big piñata for that night’s fiesta, to pickups and dump trucks and bicycles with migrant workers commuting home from the fields. Click any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

The landscape out that way is just magnificent. The ocean, of course, but the farm fields and palm plantations with the Sierras as a backdrop make for some incredible views. There are farm animals everywhere, particularly horses and cows, and I was fascinated with all the birds of prey we came across. There are huge, gorgeous haciendas and more humble homes, in addition to all that migrant labor housing. You’ll see fish and shrimp farms as well. It’s a great half- or full-day trip if, like me, you are needing a breath of fresh air and some safe social distancing. We didn’t get close to any other human all day. 

Most of the farm workers were being shuttled home by the time we got there—early quitting time on New Year’s Eve—but there were some people working in the fields. The most heartbreaking for me were the families out there with the children. I know very well that it’s best that migrant parents have their kids with them, as it’s dangerous leaving them alone in the absence of school or child care. But it wrenches my heart to see them working the fields, despite the huge smile on this little girl’s face (note the bag of produce she’s just picked on her back).

The other heartbreak for me was a pair of young men who were spraying in the fields while working barefoot! I am not sure if they were spraying fertilizer or pesticide, but I sure did wish they had eye gear, ventilator mask, long pants and footwear. Still a gringa at heart, after all these years.

I’ve saved my two favorite experiences of the day for last, of course. The first was my virginal visit to a pineapple farm! I grew up in the US Midwest, and am well familiar with the sweet, aphrodisiacal smell of a strawberry field. A pineapple field has much the same effect! The air was heavy with the honey-like smell of these delicious treasures. The fields were gorgeous, and I was amazed by the baskets that the workers put on their backs to harvest the pineapples. I can not imagine how heavy they are when filled! While the workers had already retired, a few full baskets remained in the fields, so heavy that I couldn’t even budge them.

My final delightful experience of the day was meeting two guys plowing a field—again barefoot—with horses. I was so happy to find them! Last spring when Danny and I visited Puebla state we met two young men doing this. The morning sun, however, backlit the guys and the photos did not show off their labor as I had hoped. This time I was lucky that the setting sun perfectly lit their hard work.

I know it’s a challenge during COVID-19 to socially distance, but a drive out into the country, and some walks around sparsely inhabited areas, can be a huge sanity infuser. Enjoy!

Caimanero & Walamo: Day Trip from Mazatlán

Though Danny’s been in school a week already, tomorrow is the “official” first day of school. He took off with a bunch of friends to Isla de la Piedra, so Greg and I figured we should head out for a day trip as well. Where to go? We’ve been wanting to get back to Cosalá, but since it was already late by the time we were ready to leave that seemed too far to go.

We hadn’t been to Caimanero in a while. How about some zarandeado? Yeah! Even in the heat of summer, the beach has a nice breeze, so as long as we’d be under a palapa at one of our favorite restaurants, fresh fish, a gorgeous drive and an incredible view sounded great!!!!The drive to Caimanero is super easy and very scenic. You basically only make one turn, through Walamo, to get to Caimanero from Mazatlán. The drive is very relaxing, with lots of rural vistas and small town scenes. Estuaries with waterfowl (cranes, storks…), beaches and palm trees, mountains, and aguaculture farms (both shrimp and fish).

We left at 11:30, we were home by 6:00, we stopped a dozen or more times, and we ate a very leisurely and delicious lunch that only cost us 250 pesos with tip for two people with beer. Get your day trip gear on and take a trip, people! Enjoy! Be sure to watch the slideshow below to see just how incredibly lucky we are to live in Mazatlán, with so much to offer in the city and nearby.