A Walk in Cerritos

The weather this time of year is so absolutely perfect here in Mazatlán: cool nights and warm, sunny days. Greg and I love to take hikes, breathe some fresh air, and see what we can see. This week we set out north, in order to avoid the craziness that is south right now. We went to Cerritos and hiked in from the coconut stand on the road to Manantial, where Danny and the Scouts often used to camp. Greg sometimes runs the trails out there; this time we walked and my loving husband waited while I took photos.

Right now the elephant cactus are in full bloom, and boy are the birds having a field day eating the juicy red fruit hiding inside the fluffy yellow buds! There is a road you can easily walk along, and there are quite a few trails winding in and around the new housing developments they’re building back there. You’ll see a lot of flora and fauna, and the telltale signs that you are on the edge of the city, as well. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

The “yellow roses” (Rosa amarilla it’s called here in Sinaloa), or Cochlospermum vitifolium were absolutely gorgeous this time of year! I couldn’t resist trying to capture their color and texture.

Arnica are also in bloom this time of year; I always love their exuberant yellow flowers. The insect below seems to be thinking, “I’m on the top of the world!” I also loved the “inevitable” shot: life and death.

A few other plants caught my fancy, as you can see below.

But mostly I was fascinated with the hundreds of birds we saw! I’m not very good at capturing them; they fly so fast, and my lens isn’t long enough to capture them unless they decide they’re not afraid of me. It can be easier to catch birds in a backyard garden or city park, where they know they’ll be around people.

My friend John is quite the birder, and he recently gifted me a Peterson Field Guide. I love it, but I still am never quite sure what a bird is (yes, I have the Merlin Bird ID on my phone, too). I believe the birds below are a Mexican Cacique (there were sooooo many of these!) and a Black-Throated Magpie Jay that was quite fascinated with me.

Before the heat and humidity set in, I do hope you’ll get out and enjoy this wonderful weather. It’s been cloudier than usual, which makes it more pleasant to be out and about as well.

Mazatlán’s New Olympic Pool

The largest swimming pools in Mazatlán have been 25 meters long. And they are private: Rex, Montfort… Last month, before Mayor Felton left office, IMDEM (Instituto Municipal de Deporte Mazatlán) inaugurated a new, public, 50 meter Olympic-sized pool. This morning I went to check it out.

The pool is beautiful, heated, and clearly built for lap swimming. There is no zero entry, no lift for special needs, but as of 11 February (updated) there is a ladder, and a second one is due on February 18. The depth of the full length of the pool was very welcome; no shallows to worry about scraping your hands or feet on. Each side has a ledge for standing if you need a rest.

There were 20 or so swimmers at 7:30 this morning, everyone smiling and friendly. It was a very welcoming space, full of people caring for their health.


Rafael Garcia is in charge of the pool. An affable man, he told me he’s instructor, janitor, night watchman…everything right now. He is currently not giving classes, but was highly engaged walking around helping and coaching anyone who wanted advice.

The pool is located on the west side of Ejército Mexicano, just south of UAS (Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa) and Avenida de los Deportes. The entrance is just north of the giant Tecate sign. Initiation fee is 200 pesos, with a monthly 500 peso fee; much more affordable than private options. Bring two photos (infantil-sized) with you when you register. The pool has no shade. Locker rooms, showers, changing rooms and bathrooms should be open within two weeks. The pool opens at 5am Monday-Saturday. It closes from 11-4 Monday-Friday, reopening 4-8pm. On Saturdays it closes at 1pm. From March plans are for the pool to be open 6am to 10pm. Monday and Tuesday of Carnaval it will have morning hours only.

There is a very large diving pool also, with equipment for boards or platforms of three different heights. These are not yet finished.

Bleachers are on top of the very large pool house, with a huge central hall, offices, and at least two additional good-sized rooms.


The Olympic pool and installations are a terrific new addition to Mazatlán, and I look forward to making the most of its availability.

This is the first post I’m writing and publishing from my cell phone. Let’s hope it works!

UPDATE 15 February: Still no bathrooms or showers, but Rafael tells me that within the month. It seems in the hurry to inaugurate the pool in December, the workers who installed the interior walls perforated the plumbing in the concrete floor. Rather than repair it, Protección Civíl has ordered that all the pipes be drilled out and replaced. Obviously a lengthier job than it would have been to just complete the project… At least the pool itself is sound, and the filtration system works fine, I am told. I know I am very happy swimming here!

Peer Pressure

15267703_10210798921186234_466070210640050474_n.jpgWhen you move to a new place, what makes it become home? I had the good fortune of moving to Mazatlán with my two main men, and having compadres who live here that we’ve known for decades. Plus, I’d been in love with our port city for decades myself, as had Greg, so calling it home was pretty easy.

However, the key when you make a new place home is creating community, and that takes friends. Like-minded friends, differently-opinioned friends, intelligent and fun-loving friends, friends who enjoy some of the same pastimes as you. And, I believe, the older we get, the more selective about those friends we get.

Thus, I am very grateful on this Thanksgiving Day weekend for the good friends in our lives. And, I am enormously grateful as well for the “peer pressure” of living on the malecón. I’ve written before how the malecón is the world’s largest gymnasium. In the nine years we’ve lived here, Kilometro Zero, the Bosque de la Ciudad, and the malecón, have been converted into one great race, marathon and triathlon event after another. Greg and I can’t help but be susceptible to the contagion.

Tomorrow morning Greg will run the 21km in the Gran Maratón del Pacífico. I am so proud of him, recovering from his broken leg and nerve damage from two years ago. This year, as last year, I ran the 5km. The big news for me this year was two-fold: FIVE of my local girlfriends did the 5km with me! Better yet, they  brought their families! Second, despite the fact that I have a horrible head cold, and didn’t sleep well at all last night due to my coughing, I made a personal pace record this morning.

I’m slow, there is no doubt. But, hey, it’s my personal best for the 5km, despite the head cold and lack of sleep, and I’m happy about that! It was tempting at 6:30 this morning not to get up. It was tempting on the way back around the Bosque to quit, to say it wasn’t meant to be, as I couldn’t breathe. It was tempting at the 3km mark to join the 3km people. My lungs hurt, my nose was running, I kept coughing… But, I didn’t quit. I persevered. Me, who hasn’t run since being state champion in the 100 and 500 yard dash in junior high school, has started running again at 55. Woot woot. I still prefer swimming and zumba, but it’s nice to be able to run. At least a 5k.

We move to a new place in the hopes of creating a healthy and fulfilling life. I am grateful for the peer pressure I feel in this city of athletes, grateful that Mazatlán has become just such a city, and that we live in the middle of the athletic zone. I am grateful that Greg has led the way, running for so long and enjoying it so much that he eventually motivated me to start. My cousin Mary helped with that motivation, too. And, I am very grateful that I have a group of middle aged “Bellas Mazatlecas” girlfriends whose smiles light up rooms and who are healthy and motivated enough to join me in the “marathon”!

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God bless friends who love life!

Good luck tomorrow, Don Goyo! You’ll do great! Viva Mazatlán! Una meta más cumplida mis Bellas!

Go Venados! Mexican Champions!

12592409_1072415836134049_2505605241908316075_nBy now everyone knows that our hometown baseball team, the Venados, won the championship series against Mexicali and will be representing Mexico in the Caribbean League World Series in the Dominican Republic February 1 – 7. CONGRATULATIONS! We very much enjoyed the cheering every time the team won a home game, and the fireworks were spectacular.

Can you believe they’re doing the series during Carnavál? What’s up with THAT?

Like the great hometown team they are, the new champions held a parade (after a Mass in the cathedral) around downtown and then down the malecón, ending at the Saenz Venados baseball player statue right in front of our house. It was awesome to see! The bus and two flatbeds full of players, coaches, and their families stopped ocean-side while heading north, gave out free shirts and caps, and spent well over an hour signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone. It cracked me up to see how everyone wanted to hand their baby up to players on the truck to take a photo. Do they think the baby has any clue who the guy is? One thing that puzzled me, however: where was the trophy??? I would have thought they’d be holding it up high and proudly!

The players and the coaches all looked so happy! I loved that the Carnavál lights were up and lit, adding to the festivities. Here are a few pics (you know I can never take just a few). Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

There had to be about 1500 people gathered in front of Olas Altas Inn, and I can only imagine how many hundreds more had lined the parade route and attended Mass. Patas Saladas do love their team! Especially when they win 😉 There were a few bands, one of which got down off the flatbed to set up on the malecón, and all of whom added to the merriment. Vennie was there, eager to take photos with the kids, engaging in his normal antics. Guys were selling flags and banners, the Pacífico girls strutted their stuff, and there was a killer sunset. All in all, not a bad way to spend an hour on a Monday afternoon!

Once the parade stopped so the team could greet the fans, the fireworks guys who lead parades here walked down to the beach, and from there they lit a good 15-20 minutes worth of fireworks. You know how they hold the bottle rockets in their hand, much braver or more foolhardy than what I think is safe? I was able to get some very cool shots of the fireworks blasting up from the beach, with our islands and the setting sun in the background. I hope you enjoy them.

As usual, we had a stunning sunset that served as a backdrop to this wonderful event. We are so blessed to live here. With the ships, ferry, tour boats and private boats out in the bay, it was a glorious sight.

I should also mention that it’s not the existing Venados team that plays in the Serie del Caribe. They assemble a sort of All Star team, with some of our players and other star players in the league. I loved that the sign in the front of the bus said, “Venados de México”!

Muchas felicidades, Venados!!! Thank you for loving us back! And éxito in the DR!!!

4 Cruise Ships and a Lighthouse Walk

Fisheye view

Some fun with the “fisheye” setting on my little Canon PowerShot.

Sunday was so clear after the rain, but I hadn’t taken a camera. Today I took my little PowerShot, and then wished I’d taken my good Nikon. On today’s trip up the lighthouse we saw butterflies and birds galore! And, of course, four cruise ships and loads of passengers out for a stretch.

I was fascinated watching the final cruise ship come in and have to “parallel park”—the other three were already moored, and this final one had to work sideways to squeeze its way into the berth. Pretty cool. I felt really sorry for all the tugboats idly standing by waiting to help. It hurts my soul to think we have this much ship traffic and the tugboats aren’t getting paid.

I’m not adept enough with the little camera to catch butterflies or birds, but I was able to photograph a couple. They are below. Enjoy!

Here’s wishing you’re able to stay out of traffic today—10,000 extra people in town. And, if you service tourists, may you earn a lot today! Have a great one.