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Saturday, January 13, 2007

First Week in Mazatlan

13 January 2007
Marina Mazatlan

We've been in Mazatlan for a week now and are really loving it. The weather is significantly warmer than it was in San Carlos, and we're back to wearing mostly shorts and T-shirts or tanks around the marina. Even though Mazatlan is a resort city, we try to wear long pants and nicer shirts when we venture into the city proper so we don't stick out as tourists. Our disguise isn't foolproof though because we still are approached by the time share salesmen! The long pants are also good for preventing no-see-um bites (we hope). We don't know when/where we're getting bitten, but we each have a few bites already.

Life in the marina has it's ups and downs. We love the dock we're on. We moved to an end tie in order to save some money by paying for our documented length (33 ft.) instead of the slip we were in (41 ft.). As we walk the full length of the dock up to the gate we get to say hello to all the cats, dogs, and people along the way. I think we're on one of the more transient docks because it's farther away from the office/bathroom/lounge building, and it's interesting to meet all the boats coming and going. The major downside is that since we arrived at Marina Mazatlan the internet here has been spotty at best and mostly just not working. The WiFi is definitely down which is beyond the marina's control, but even the hard connection is unreliable enough that one wouldn't want to carry a laptap and peripherals up to the office just to find that the internet isn't working again.

Little things like the gate cards not working and the pilot lights going out on the bathroom water heaters are more easily solved. For the former you can reach in and turn the knob to get in the gate, but the bathroom entry is trickier since you have to wait for someone else to go in or come out. When a woman warned me about the cold water showers one evening, I simply went back to the boat and asked John to bring a lighter and come with me to the bathroom building. The three hot water heaters are easily accessible outside, and he managed to light the two out of three pilot lights that had blown out. Ten minutes later I had to turn the cold water faucet on to mix with the hot!

We've started learning the bus routes and after a few missteps are getting better all the time. Learning the streets is complicated by the fact that we have four freebie maps of varying scales and detail, and none of them is really useful on its own. One good map is on my list of things to get. We're lucky in that we have three major buses that run right by the marina, and it's very easy to pick up any of the several other bus routes to get where you need to go. Once we have our truck here (John is driving it down from San Carlos today) we'll probably do more driving to the mega stores, but I think I'll feel more comfortable riding the bus to the busier, more congested parts of town.

Carnaval is fast approaching (February 15-20) and is one of the reasons we chose Mazatlan to lay over for part of our winter refit. Last night Vicky and Fiona of Caravan joined me for the "Second Computation of the Votes" for Carnaval royalty. We had one detour after going to the wrong church square (my bad), but I asked a policeman for directions and, after a long bus ride to a completely unknown section of town for us, we arrived in time to see the candidates for Queen of Carnaval. Nine young woman were competing for the honor, and the square was packed with family and fans cheering and holding up signs with pictures of their favorites. At first it didn't seem as though we'd be able to see a thing with the crowds, but we found a little corner of a raised section upon which we first hoisted seven-year-old Fiona. Vicky and I didn't want to climb up ourselves for fear of blocking the view of the elderly man standing there, but he finally beckoned us up for a better look. It was so fun to be part of what appeared to be a completely local event, and we didn't see any other tourists in the crowd. The queen candidates were in beautiful evening gowns, and what we took to be four past queens were in full Carnaval regalia complete with hand held masks (the kind on wands) and two inch eyelashes. We think a new queen was chosen at the end of the evening (one of the candidates received a bouquet of flowers and was flanked by two women wearing tiaras), and there were two candidates each left from the competition for King of Joy and Child Queen. Vicky and I were a bit disappointed by the king candidates as they didn't quite measure up to the prospects for queen. Is the king traditionally supposed to be short and portly?

Linda and John