Comunidad Isla de la Piedra

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    • Day 30

      Itinerary Change #6

      January 10, 2023 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 66 °F

      We love Oceania. When it comes to communication, however, it isn’t the company’s strong suit. I think everybody would agree with that statement.

      It was purely by chance that I learned about the changes to “Pacific Panorama” … the next segment of the world cruise from San Francisco to Santiago de Chile … starting on 15 January.

      No serious changes … arrival time changed here and there … departure time adjusted here and there. That said, I have canceled the tour I had arranged for Acajutla on the way south … the timing is too tight for a pleasurable DIY tour.
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    • Day 5

      Mazatlan pt1

      May 12, 2023 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Wow Mazatlan!! Couldn’t of started any better with some amazing tacos and horchata across the road from the hotel. After the day in La Cruz and lots of swimming in the pool and spa we finally got to explore the city. Driving along the Malecon/Seaside promenade we arrived at the faro/lighthouse. After 336 long stairs we arrived at the top, sweating and dehydrated the beautiful view fixed us instantly. Afterwards we visited the observatory which was basically a museum, aviary, iguana sanctuary and distillery all in one. We saw some cool birds, fed them and made a new friend who hung around on my shoulder. We had a lovely lunch on the rooftop, beer in hand of course, specifically a Pacifico which famously comes from the city. A quick try of the local reposado tequila and we were on our way back to the hotel on a pulmonia/a Mexican tuk tuk basically, like a golf buggy. Later that night we met up with the cousins for dinner before I went out with a couple of them which in hindsight wasn’t the smartest idea the night before the wedding. The rooftop club we went to was awesome with incredibly loud music and some sort of fire/sparkler every 5 minutes, it was completely different to Sydney. We drank about 5 bottles of tequila mixed with sparkling water and a bit of lemon soda which is the customary way in Mazatlan. Got absolutely smashed on tequila before returning back to my cousins Airbnb at around 3 where we played uno and jammed out as they had a full dj setup. Only got home at about 5 am but was well worth it.Read more

    • Day 7

      Mazatlan pt2

      May 14, 2023 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Mazatlan only got better with as you’d expect more beer, tequila and dancing! Saturday was wedding day with the first stop being the church. I put my suit on that I nearly left in Sydney and stopped for an impromptu photo shoot next to some colourful buildings before attending what I would call marriage counselling. Being in the church was fun but the whole ceremony was a little bit different. Anyway, next was the state ceremony which we skipped in favour of lunch before heading to the nicest wedding party ever. It was on a massive outdoor area that overlooked the whole city plus ocean and had the nicest sunset view. Initially it was a little hard to get into the Latino dancing but after a while and a few tequilas I had picked up some new dance moves and didn’t stop dancing till 2 am. I witnessed a spectacular dance between the newly weds including fireworks and Alicia keys, what’s not to love! Spent a lot of time talking with my cousins Luis Carlos and Rosalia as well as the other 300 people in attendance. Eventually it got to that time of the night where the spicy tamarind vodka got passed around which was surprisingly very good, to the extent that even John was having multiple turns of people pouring it into his mouth. The mariachi band arrived at 1 am where the bride, Julissa sang a Mexican classic that I didn’t know. The night ended with more dancing and a sick feeling in my stomach probably from all the cubas/rum and cokes I drank. The festivities continued the next day at this seaside hotel event space for the post boda/wedding party. Unlimited ice cream, carnitas/pork tacos, drinks and gorgeous views were provided as I was able to spend one last day with my cousins. I highly recommend coco horchata, best drink ever!!⭐️ We didn’t quite get to eat lunch with them as we had to catch our flight at 5 but it was a nice way to say goodbye. After what felt like an endless amount of hugs and kisses we left Mazatlan after the best 4 days!! ❤️Read more

    • Day 8


      May 3, 2023 in Mexico ⋅ ☁️ 81 °F

      We had a very unusual day in Mazatlan. The city was not what we expected. But we found a nice beach, enjoyed the warm water, eat good food and had fun with the 2 yo dauther of our uber driver. After a short visit in the local brewery, we learned so much about history at the neighbor table and saw people having fun at a silent party.Read more

    • Day 3

      Vegan in Mazatlan

      December 15, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      On our first night in Mazatlan, we went to La Ruta Vegana, the best vegan restaurant in Mazatlan... well, OK, the "only" vegan restaurant in Mazatlan but it nonetheless deserves the accolade that "best" conveys.

      Roch ordered a plate of 3 quesadillas and I ordered a couple of tacos along with an order of crispy potato wedges to share.  The only thing lacking was a good bottle of Dos XX.  The restaurant doesn't serve alcohol so we had to settle for non-alcoholized beer which was surprisingly satisfying with our meal.  Our dinner altogether was a mere $18.11 and we left the restaurant thinking, we gotta come back to this place...

      ... and indeed we did go back the very next day.  We didn't realize that La Ruta Vegana was the only vegan restaurant in Mazatlan until we went to Bliss Tienda Vegana which we thought was a cafe as well as vegan store.  Nope, it was just a small vegan store so we happily went back to La Ruta Vegana.

      This time I ordered the quesadillas and Roch ordered "Pozole", a Mexican soup typically made with hominy (processed corn with the germ removed) and pork. The thick soup is seasoned with a combination of spices and garnished with radishes, shallots, shredded cabbage, limes and tortilla chips. We'll never know for sure if the vegan version that Roch had was as good as a traditional meat version.  All I can say is, there wasn't a drop of soup left when it came time to pay for the meal.

      The owner of La Ruta Vegana told us that there were a few other vegan restaurants in Mazatlan but they have consequently closed.  How odd, when everywhere else we've travel to has seen an increase in the number of vegan establishment in light of the plant-based revolution.  La Ruta Vegana will be celebrating its 5th anniversary next week, and we have every intention in joining in on their celebration.

      Although dining out here is a challenge, the local markets offer a plethora of beautiful fruits and veggies. They even sell large packages of trimmed and diced mixed vegetables that is made into soup. In fact, that's what we had for dinner last night. Strangely, however, Sinaloa province is reputed to be the mango capital of Mexico (and home to most cartels), but we've rarely sen any. Those we did find were expensive even by Canadian standards.

      On the other hand, papayas and pineapples are plentiful and succulent, so we can't complain too much.
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    • Day 48

      Mazatlán, SIN, Mexiko

      February 14, 2023 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Ich erreichte die 550 000-Einwohner -Metropole Mazatlán, die sich im berüchtigten Bundesstaat Sinaloa befindet, am frühen Dienstagmorgen des 16. Februar 2023 kommend mit der Fähre aus La Paz. Es war ein kühler, aber sonniger Morgen, an dem ich mit dem Isuzu den Hafen Richtung Zentrum verließ. Leider gab es in und um die Stadt Mazatlán keinen Campingplatz und ich wollte mich auch nicht zu weit außerhalb begeben. Streetcamping war für mich deshalb eine gute, wenn auch neue Alternative.

      Da ich mich an die vielen Einbahnstraßen in der Stadt erst einmal gewöhnen musste, und mich Google Maps ständig in die falsche Richtung navigierte, fuhr ich 1x verkehrt in die Straße hinein und hatte prompt die Policia Municipal am Hals. Ich stellte mich blond und kam nochmals ohne das gefürchtete „Ticket“ aus der Sache heraus. Trotzdem viel es mir schwer, die informellen Campsites, die auf der IOverlander App markiert waren, zu finden. Glücklicherweise konnte ich dann aber in der Calle Mariano Escobedo, die sich mitten im historischen Viertel befindet, einen Parkpkatz ergattern. An der Ecke befand sich die Cafeteria El Faro, wo es noch zu mexikanischen Preisen (Pesos 22) sehr köstlichen Kaffee gibt. In der Gegend bewegt man sich normalerweise im europäischen Preisniveau und darüber. Nachdem ich die umliegenden Straßen etwas ausgekundschaftet hatte, versuchte ich im Hotel um die Ecke, die Gästetoilette für mich zu nutzen. Es klappte super. So konnte ich mich morgens und abends abseits der belebten Straße waschen und meine Zähne putzen. Es war ein kostengünstiger Aufenthalt in der sonst recht preisintensiven Hafenstadt.

      Am Tag der Ankunft spazierte ich noch eine Zeit durchs historische Viertel, traf mich mit deutschen Reisenden und ging früh zu Bett. Die Erkältung hatte mich noch sehr im Griff. Leider war an Schlaf nicht wirklich zu denken. Im Viertel herrschte Hochbetrieb, zum einen wegen dem heutigen Valentinstag, zum anderen weil der berühmte Carnaval de Mazatlán 2 Tage später starten sollte, übrigens der weltweit 3.größte Karneval. Die Stadt war im Partyfieber und ich lag müde in meinem Auto. Wenn ich auf die Nächte an der Straße zurück blicke denke ich nur eines: der Isuzu ist wirklich unscheinbar und niemand ahnt, dass möglicherweise Leben darin herrschen könnte. Wirklich sehr vorteilhaft in einer Drogen-Hochburg wie Mazatlán.

      Am zweiten Tag ging es nach einem feinen Kaffee bei El Faro auf Stadterkundungstour. Morgens ist es in mexikanischen Städten immer am angenehmsten und fast menschenleer. Ich begab mich auf den Weg zur Uferpromenade und wollte die Steinschrift der Stadt finden. Diese war recht weit außerhalb und deshalb genoss ich auch auf dem Rückweg in einem lokalen Seafood-Restaurant noch ein gutes Mittagessen. Danach ging’s ins historische Zentrum Mazatlàns, wo ein Mix aus restaurierten Gebäuden, vor allem auf dem zentralen Platz, und vom Verfall bedrohten Anwesen zu bestaunen ist. Die Markthalle der Stadt ist ebenfalls einen Besuch wert und wartet auf der zweiten Etage mit verschiedenen Schnellrestaurants auf. Es war ein interessanter Tag mit bleibenden Eindrücken.

      Die Nacht war wieder recht schlaflos und ich freute mich auf die Weiterfahrt am nächsten Tag. Für den Karneval hätte ich meinen Parkplatz in der ersten Reihe sowieso räumen müssen und so hielt mich nichts mehr in der Stadt. Mein Ziel war das ca. 180 km entfernte Tepic.
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    • Day 78


      November 24, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      The ride on the cargo ferry wasn't as bad as expected. There was a small room with some seats, so Meike slept on two seats and me on the floor. They supplied blankets so it wasn't too hard on the floor. We also got dinner and breakfast.
      After arriving in Mazatlán, we explored the old city center with its beautiful colonial buildings.
      For the night Meike had organized a place via couchsurfing at Irene's home. So we cycled to the beach restaurant of Irene's parents where we were spoiled with a couple of yummy fish and seafood dishes. We talked about our trip and listened to different types of music. I tried to advertise German Schlager and apres ski music but I wasn't very successful 😔
      In the evening, we went out for some ice cream and a drink. The atmosphere in the town was very nice as there was live music and dancing people at many places.
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    • Day 46


      May 5, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      La Paz 3 und Mazatlán vermischen sich etwas, aber jeder, der mir bisher folgen konnte überlebt auch Weiteres.
      Nach dem Aufstehen und einer weiteren heißen Dusche, fühlte ich mich restlos vom Sand des herrlichen Strandes befreit. Lediglich die Schultern reagieren noch sensibel auf Kleidung. Da half auch Sonnenschutzfaktor XXXXXL nicht.
      Ich flüchtete aus dem Zimmer, um mir keine Unterkühlung zu holen (ich übertreibe), und kam mit einigen Leuten ins Gespräch. Ein 74-jähriger Mexikaner erzählte mir, er machte eine Rundtour zu Fuß durch sein Land und wenn er keine Lust hat, nimmt er den Bus. Jeden Tag braucht er aber seine Tabletten fürs Herz, und Zucker hat er auch. Eine junge Deutsche studiert in La Paz Ozeanographie, einer der größten Universitäten auf diesem Gebiet, ich kenne nur Kiel, und ein verwegend aussehender Typ reist mit seinem Motorrad durch Mexiko. Er hat früher als Architekt gearbeitet.
      Meine Beine sind immer noch müde von der langen Tour. Beim Tennis dürfte ich den Ball momentan zweimal aufkommen lasse.
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    • Day 4

      Airbnb Nb Nb

      December 16, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      AIR BNB
      For most of our travel, Brenda and I book our accommodations through Airbnb and we have, for the most part, been very happy with our lodging and with the service provided by Airbnb.

      In June, when we were booking our Mazatlan stay, we were already a little late to get the choicest spots in our desired location. We figured that our options would only diminish as we got closer to tourist season, so we booked our entire 85 day stay at a listing in Centro, Mazatlan's historic area.

      Before we arrived we had several email exchanges with the host, who was always responsive and helpful. As we were uncertain of our ETA she left the keys for us in a lockbox at the entrance door.

      By the time we arrived night had fallen, but we couldn't initially get the lights to turn on. There was an overwhelming chemical smell in the apartment that I thought might be insecticide. We couldn't find the wifi address or password to contact the host. The last straw was the bathroom layout. When we opened the door we realized the shower stall and toilet shared the same space, which we've seen before in Europe. However, in this case, one had to go through the shower area to get to the toilet. In other words, if we had to use the toilet after we had showered on the morning, we had to walk over the wet floor.

      Things were not going well.

      After we got our phones working, we contacted the host and told her we could not stay under these conditions, particularly since we were scheduled to be here for three months. She came and met us the following morning and agreed to let is out of the contract with no penalty, which was very nice of her.

      In the interim, Brenda and I had been scrambling to find alternative accommodations, but as we suspected, picking were pretty slim. Brenda found a place in the relatively upscale Machado area, but it was already booked from December 24 through January 3. We decided to book it for all the available dates through March 6 and moved in here for the first part of our stay to December 24.

      So what are we to do over Christmas and New Year's? Brenda has generously invited me to spend the holidays and my birthday with her in Mexico City until January 4. We've heard there's a booming vegan culture there and were excited to try it out.

      Our hosts at our Machado Airbnb have agreed to hold the bulk of our luggage while we're in Mexico City so we can just travel with our carry ons.

      So that's it. After our European trip where we were packing and unpacking continuously, we were looking forward to arriving here, unpacking only once and repacking when we returned to Vancouver. Sometimes the best laid plans find a way to go awry.
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    • Day 2

      ¿Hablas Español?

      December 14, 2019 in Mexico ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

      For 1305 consecutive days I have religiously completed at least one Spanish lesson on the Duolingo app. So, naturally, I was quite anxious to test out my finely honed language skills in a Spanish speaking country.

      We landed in Mazatlan at just after 5:00PM local time and, dropped off our luggage at our Airbnb at about 6:00. We couldn’t locate the wifi code in our apartment, which made getting a local SIM card for our phones our first order of business. We had researched the best plans for expats before we left Canada, so we knew exactly what we wanted and even where to get it. Or so we thought.

      We walked into the closest Oxxo convenience store (a Mexican 7/11) and I confidently asked for two Telcel SIM cards and the 200 peso telecom package. The clerk replied with what sounded to me like, “nonovendemostarjetasSIMaquí, tienesquecomprarloenotrolugaryluegoregresasaquíyte venderemoselpaquetequedeseas.”

      Have you ever noticed how the contestants on TV game shows seem to get stupider and tend to choke as the pressure mounts? That was exactly how I felt. In response to the clerk, I blinked a couple of times, picked my jaw off the floor and could only manage to blurt out,”Errr.......ok, gracias.”

      In the end, after visiting several stores, we were finally able to acquire what we needed and get our phones connected to the network we wanted.

      In the process I learned that 1305 consecutive days studying Spanish on Duolingo did not really prepare me for real world interaction in my third language. But I am a very stubborn old goat and I am intent on being comfortable conversing in Spanish by the time we leave Mexico in March.

      Hasta la vista, baby!
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    Comunidad Isla de la Piedra

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