Lighthouse Renovations

IMG_4320-1A welcome investment of over 14 million pesos of federal and state funds have gone towards the renovation of our long neglected yet incredibly wonderful lighthouse, a major tourist attraction as well as a popular workout space for residents here in Mazatlán. The design plans included a transparent, cantilevered overlook, and there was talk about a zip line to Paseo del Centenario as well.

While the lighthouse walk was closed for a while, it is again open and just as crowded as ever with happy people out for a walk in the fresh air. Most of the way up the formerly dirt path is now covered with concrete and faced with rock—it looks really nice. I feel for the workers who have to haul their equipment plus the sand for the concrete up the hill. I guess they will be in shape once this project finishes!

In most areas there is a two to three foot wall protecting visitors from falling; in one key area, at the last major turn to the right up the hill, the wall has not yet been built. At the bottom, before the stairs, there is still a lot of walkway that remains concrete and has not yet been faced. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.


At the bottom of the trail they have installed a rock wall in the roundabout and are in the process of building a nice sign. At the top, they have completed a round viewing platform, with stepped seating for visitors to take in the view. Supposedly they will install a statue of a whale in that space, which I find a bit confusing as it will block the view.


The lighthouse keepers will be moving to a new building just to the west of the lighthouse; the lighthouse building itself is scheduled to be turned into a museum. I have noticed a whole lot of trash from the renovation project. Hopefully workers will be cleaning all that up before they finish the job.

What I don’t see any sign of, yet at least, is a transparent, cantilevered overlook. Likewise there has been talk that the zip line is history. If you haven’t climbed up in a while, now is a good time. I find it interesting to watch projects as they progress, and adding some safety and beauty to the natural beauty of Cerro del Crestón is very welcome.

Update on the Olympic Pool

DSC_0023Back in January I reported to you about the opening of the Olympic pool. Well, I have sooooo enjoyed the past nine months swimming there! The people are great, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about Profe Rafael, who heads up the pool and teaches everyone willing to learn who shows up. He has an incredible work ethic, is an all around nice guy, and he really knows how to teach!

Rafa tells me that the pool now has over 1000 people registered to use it. That is terrific! Despite the lack of state or local funds to finish the project (I told you in January how the bathrooms, showers and bleachers weren’t yet finished), Rafa has managed to squirrel away enough money to get the bathrooms, showers and changing rooms for the women finished! Hooray! They are spacious and functional. There are ladders to get in and out more easily, and during kid swim times they put in platforms so the kids can rest without having to tread water.

Many of the Playa Norte Swim Club members come to the pool when they are not swimming in the ocean, as it’s easier to keep track of distance in the pool, time yourself, and they enjoy Rafa’s teaching. He doesn’t really tell you a whole lot about what to do, he just gives you a lot of different exercises using pull buoys, kick boards, swim paddles, and even flippers/swimfins. Using these items you really begin to feel (rather than think about) how you should be stroking or kicking; it’s quite amazing. There are also lots of swim teams that work out at the pool, primarily training here before major meets. The young energy is a hoot, and there are loads of older swimmers, too. It’s great to have a group of dedicated, fun-loving people to work out with.

The pool hours are pretty amazing, given the fact that there are only two instructors and they are out in the hot sun every day:

  • Mon-Fri, 5am-11am, 4pm-9pm
  • Sat, 5am-1pm

The price is still 500 pesos per month, and you can take classes if you don’t want to just free swim. The pool is on Ejército Mexicano just south of Avenida de los Deportes (the with University Autónoma de Sinaloa and the Aquarium), on the west side. Entrance is under the giant Tecate sign.

I usually swim in the morning, but last week I had early morning appointments a few days, so I ended up going at night. I was amazed at what a family hangout the pool has become! Parents sit around in the cool night air chatting and snacking as they watch their kids in swim classes. It was really wonderful. So, tonight when I went for a swim I took my camera. The donut man has found the location, so you can now easily eat three times the calories you burn swimming. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

If you haven’t checked out the new pool, be sure to do so. It rocks. And remember, come winter, it’s heated.

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”!


God bless friends who love life!

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