Monster Truck Show – Mazatlan Style

Okay, so there is nothing new about a monster truck show, right? Well, despite my efforts to never write a blog post centered on “they sure do it differently down here,” I just cannot resist telling you that what happens at a Monster Truck Show here is inconceivable in the States.

Little things first.

The event cost 80 pesos, or around $6 US. Parking (on the street) was free, cold cervezas delivered to our seats were 20 pesos, and salchichas (sausages) were 35 pesos. The event was held at a “salon.” Sounds like something indoors, right? Monster trucks indoors? Well, we approached the entrance to what looked like a large building, gave over our tickets, and rather than walking into a building we emerged through the door into an open-air arena on the other side.

Medium things next.

It is 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon. The sun sets around 7:15. It is about 85 degrees F out and the humidity is about the same. As we enter the arena, there is little shade and there are no chairs available in what little shade there is. We decide to rough it in the sun in order to sit in front. As we sit for 45 minutes and watch things get set up, I start noticing all the empty white chairs in the sunny section of the arena. They are not filling up but rather, they are disappearing! People entering the arena and not wanting to sit in the sun like us are stacking up chairs by the dozens and relocating them to the spot of their choice with absolutely no regard for space limitations or courtesies. A shady area designed to hold 50 chairs at best is now holding over a hundred. You can’t get to the restrooms, as the walkway into the area is packed with chairs. Amazing.

In between “acts”, the MC entertained the crowd in various ways. There was an ugly dad contest, a mom with the most kids contest, that kind of thing. At one rather long intermission (after motorcycles and before trucks), the MC asked for a dozen girls to come on down to the arena. After he got his 12 young girls, he asked for 12 young boys. He ended up with around 18 boys, but he didn’t mind. Once he had them there, he lined the girls up separate from the boys and announced the “sexy dance contest”. So, here we have around 30 kids, aged 5 to 11 or so and they are supposed to “sexy dance”. He would have the music play for 30 seconds, stop it, and eliminate a few kids. This went on and on until one child on the contest. From the first sound of music, it was obvious to everyone who would win. While most of the kids just stood there or swayed back and forth a little bit, two standouts emerged. A little boy, no more than 5, took off his shirt, started gyrating around and passing the shirt back and forth under his legs. A little girl around 10 or 11, who was around 30 or 40 pounds overweight, started thrusting and “dirty dancing” by herself. It was incredible. As the contest got down to the final four, the MC stopped everything and asked the four finalists to introduce themselves and indicate who had brought them that day. After that was done, the MC said to the parents, uncles and grandparents that what he was seeing performed by these children was not taught in school and asked where the kids had learned such moves. Anyhow, when all was said and done, the little boy was the winner as voted on by crowd applause. He won a poster and a T-shirt for him and his dad.

Okay moms, the big differences are for you.

We have all seen the “drive a car on two wheels” thing before, maybe at a circus, a car show or a county fair. Nothing new here, except that after the driver makes a couple of laps in his “Herbie the Love Bug”-inspired Volkswagen, the MC of the event calls for the bravest dad to come out and take a ride. One does. Next he calls for two señoritas to come for a drive. Two do. They climb in with the driver, and go for a two-wheeled spin. Then the MC calls for kids to come for a ride. A few dozen kids charge the field and after some unknown sorting process, six are chosen.

They cram into the Volkswagen, and take two, two-wheeled laps around the track. You can see them if you look closely at the picture.

We don’t need no stinkin’ liability waivers! Nor any seatbelts, helmets, or other safety equipment.

After the Herbie show, motorcycles start zooming around. Some men come out and erect a ramp, and the MC announces that he needs 15 boys on the field. Again, dozens run out, and 15 are selected. Next, the 15 are lined up on the ground, laying down, face-up and side-by-side, in front of the ramp. I guess it is too old-fashioned to jump over a school bus or something. Why not endanger a dozen kids instead?

I think maybe it’s ok for the first or fifth kids, but I wouldn’t want to be the 15th kid on the end. After the motorcycle successfully jumps over all 15 kids, they add a few more kids, and then a few more, until they have about 30 kids lined up. Again, no waiver, no safety equipment, no nothing. Moms, would you let your kids… Oh, never mind.

The kicker to all of this, if you look closely at the pictures, you will see that the wedge that angles the motorcycle ramp up was actually a guy from the crew! More kids? No problem; he just arched his back higher for more lift.

After the motorcycles and the kids, the bikes jumped through various burning things and then the monster trucks came out and smashed some old cars and that was that. There was one notable event in which a man climbed into a box, and they exploded the box. The explosion was so loud and so powerful that the earth vibrated, our seats shaking. But, hey, the man survived. Not sure with his hearing intact, but…

All in all it was an entertaining afternoon. Danny and his friend Enrique enjoyed themselves, as did Enrique’s dad and I. I like the idea that I am getting used to a culture that is not run by lawyers and insurance companies and allows people to have fun without worrying about the what-ifs all of the time. Today, however, I was a little blown away. I would think that by next year, when we do this again, I might be running out on the field! Just what most mothers want to sign their husbands and kids up for, right?

Los Pescaderos/The Fishermen

One of our dreams in moving to Mazatlán has been to be more physically active in the course of daily life, to be able to enjoy the outdoors more, and to eat more healthily of fresh, whole foods. With these dreams in mind, we’ve taken a long walk or bike ride most every morning along the malecón, the oceanside promenadehere in Mazatlán. A round trip bike ride from our house to the Pedro Infante statue is about 8 miles. A walk from our house to the pescaderos (fishing boats) and back is about 3 1/2 miles.

What is truly special for me is the fact that we can enjoy the incredibly gorgeous views, people-watch Mazatlecos of all ages and walks of life exercising, and we can buy fresh fish directly from the fishermen as they put in in the morning. This season of the year (June-August) they seem to come in between 7:30 and 8:30 am. Most of them have an axle with two wheels that can cradle their boat as they bring it up on the beach. Once they arrive, they unload their fish, put some of it up by the malecón for sale to the public, and take most of it across the street to what appears to be a cooperative store. They then head back to their boats to make fresh ceviche (cut up fish, carrots, lots of lime juice, onion) and wash it down usually with a ballena (whale, large bottle) of Pacifico beer (our local brew). 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning is already their lunch time. Most of the fishermen are very friendly and happy, and the boat launch beach is quite the community hangout, especially in the morning. You can see this photo I took of a domino game on the beach.

The boats are all small lanchas, with outboard motors, and seem to hold 2-4 fishermen. The lanchas remind us of the fishing boats in Cinque Terre, Italy, but they are not painted quite as colorfully. Most are named after women; we are guessing wives’ names, daughters’, girlfriends’.

If we are a little too early or too late, there is a sort of fishermen’s cooperative store right across the street from the boat launch beach. The prices are amazing, and so far there has always been a good selection. Over the last couple of months the people have gotten to know us already. The store manager is more than happy to teach me about the best methods for cooking which kind of fish. They seem to stay open as long as they have fish, so it’s best to go early.
Another thing that is amazing to me is that in the big supermarkets (Mega, Soriana…), they usually have frozen fish, not fresh. All the more impetus to take my daily walk or bike ride! I have a little basket on my front handlebars, and I carry a little cooler with ice. I can then put in the fresh fish, or pork, beef or chicken if I go to the mercado on the way also, and carry it all back safe and cool.
I’ve tried out a few new recipes, relying mostly on mangoes, limes, onion, chiles, cilantro, occasionally some cream or curry powder. Mmmm. I have not yet tried to make ceviche, as buying it is affordable and just so convenient, but I look forward to trying it out.