Ice Skating in Mazatlan, Part 2

1.IMG_4822So many of you have asked, in response to my initial post, “So, how is it? How is the Christmas Fair and the whole ice skating thing? Post some pictures!” And, I’ve been so busy with work and partying that I haven’t gotten to it. ‘Tis the season. But, finally, here goes…. I’m using WordPress’ new slide show feature. I’ll post photos of the ice skating as well as of the fair itself, lit up at night. If you haven’t gone, it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s on the road right in front of the Bosque de la Ciudad/City Park, by the baseball stadium.

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I’ve been over to the fair a couple of times since it opened. It’s a whole lot of fun volunteering to help people with the skating. Bless those “Blue Shirts,” the Tourist Aide Volunteers or “Smurfs,” as the locals seem to call them. I was an honorary Smurf for this volunteer gig, but the real TAVs do this sort of thing all the time!

The skaters are just sooooooo very excited to be on skates and on ice! And to know that it’s free!

They are letting people in every hour on the hour. It takes about ten minutes to rent skates and get them laced. They clear the ice ten minutes before the hour, to give people time to turn their skates back in. So, everyone gets about 40 minutes of skating time. Most of the kids seem to go back in line and get right back out on the ice. And, I’ve seen the same kids there both nights I’ve gone. It’s a great deal! Lots of families in the bleachers, taking loads of photos. What a terrific holiday gift to our community! So so good to see!

The rink is staffed by volunteers from different government offices, in addition to the paid staff. All are very helpful and kind. Most everyone gets help putting on and lacing up their skates. Sure is better service than in the ice rinks and on the skate ponds I grew up with! The skates are not brand new but they are in very good condition. The ice isn’t as hard as what I’m used to, but, hey, I rarely was able to ice skate in shorts up north, either!

In addition to the skating, the Christmas Fair has loads of shopping opportunities (commercial and handicraft items), many snacks and drinks from which to choose, about a dozen carnival rides including the gondola and tilt-a-whirl, a petting zoo, Nativity, and a performance stage. Below is a video clip of a school marimba group we heard and watched. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

New Skate Park

We are soooo happy about the new skate park that was built late last year right on the beach in Playa Norte, accessible from the malecón. Built with federal funds and after lots of campaigning by the city’s young people, it is a MUCH-needed space for teenagers to gather, stay out of harm’s way, and get some exercise.

Every morning when we take our walk, we’re amazed that there are kids out there fooling around so early. They’re on BMX bikes, inline skates, as well as skate boards. They have their music blasting, and it’s terrific to see all those smiling faces and physically active kids!

We’ve been a bit worried that construction didn’t seem to include reinforcement of the underlying structure, which to us seems really weathered and rusted, but so far the structure seems stable and the park itself, with its ramps and jumps, seems highly successful.

The first major event we know about occurred when we were out of town: Urban Fest on December 17, with break dancers and graffiti artists as well as skateboarders. We heard the turnout was great; a wonderful kickoff to the new space!

One day last week when Danny was running he met a lady who told him that she and her three children had lived for 32 years in the abandoned beachfront building that is now under the new skate park! That space is open to the elements, frequently floods with the tide coming in, and as far as we know there is no running water or sewer nearby, so it must have been quite a tough life for her raising three children there. She makes her living by selling fresh coconuts, and fortunately she told Danny that her business is on the uptake now with the skate park there. The other good news is that, when the government kicked her out in order to build the skate park, they gave her land and a two-room house. Now she has much better living conditions as well as a better income. Sometimes things work out.

Anyway, this last week Friday we were eating at Puerto Azul on the malecón. We were psyched because in addition to the incredibly beautiful view and perfectly sunny day, there was great music coming from the skate park next door. A huge crowd gathered, and it felt like the vibra of the old, pre-economic crash Mazatlán that we miss so much! Luckily for us, that afternoon was the “Reyes de la Calle” skateboard tournament. We enjoyed an incredible show of skateboard and in-line skate tricks, as well as BMX bike acrobatics and spray paint artistry, while we ate our shrimp and fish. Mazatlecos placed first and third in the competition, and there were about 100 kids who participated.

Below are two videos, made by young Mazatlecos, about the skate park. Enjoy! ¡Viva el Skate Park Mazatlán!