May 7, 2016

Are You High Or Are You Lost?

Furnished with three rickety wooden chairs and a stained sofa
that had seen too much and forgotten too little.
Tom Robbins

Oystercatchers, very noisy birds around here
There are always a lot of opportunities for wildlife as well as people-watching in Mexico.  People live much more in the outdoors and they are seemingly far less worried about what others may think of what they do.  Weather being so pleasant entices the wildlife to play too.

So they just Do…  Live…  Are… 

Just prior to leaving Puerto Peñasco, we watched a unicyclist balancing a hat on one of his feet.  To our amazement, he was able to kick that hat onto his head while cycling back and forth between the cars waiting for the green light.  At another junction, we watched a mime pretending to wash a windshield (the real washing of windshield being very common at lights in Mexico).  To our surprise he received donations from 3 of the 4 cars he ‘cleaned’!  Not sure how long he could keep that gig paying the bills in a small town but his creativity had an unusual twist.  A bit further along the train tracks, a couple of men dressed like shamans with masks, musical instruments, shells, and all were asked by a lady to pop over and ‘scare’ her sons.  They quickly complied, running across the tracks brandishing their gourds and other paraphernalia, making loud sounds and going in the direction of the boys who squealed with delight or fright, hard to tell which.  The ‘shamans’ were rewarded with a donation for being good sports.  When was the last time you saw something like that happen “spur of the moment” at home?  Halloween perhaps?  Here it is more common place.
So too, we learn to be a little more in the moment.  The other day I was waiting in line at a theater to purchase some tickets for an upcoming dance show given by the various dance schools in Mazatlán.  While in line I couldn’t help overhear two very elderly ladies talking about one of them wanting to go but not wanting to go alone, her friend having other plans for that night.  I jumped right in, introduced myself and told her (without consulting with Mike first) we would be happy to be her escorts, that she shouldn’t fear coming to the show.  She was shocked and surprised but eventually accepted.  Her name was Linda and it so happens she had been in Mazatlán 50 years prior on her honeymoon. She had lost her husband to cancer, had traveled the world and was here with friends. What a change this town has seen since her last time here!  She did recognize about 3 restaurants and a couple of hotels.  It was fun to listen to her reminisce.  It added a great little twist to our evening.
A few days later, a person on the cruisers’ net (radio) said they had a drogue (something to slow the boat down in case of high winds) for sale.  We have always wanted one but they are rather pricy ($750-$2,000).  We called the owners back asking to see it first; size and type make a difference.  We visited with them and took a picture of the drogue for it was a type we had never heard of before.  We asked if we could research it on-line and think about it before buying.  Meanwhile, the lady asked if I had a couple of spare stainless steel snaps for a project she needed to complete before leaving the boat for the summer in Mexico.  I said I would be happy to bring some by later on.  That evening I brought her the snaps and she offered to pay me cash.  I asked her to pass it forward instead.  I didn’t do this for the money.  We talked at length about their travels and other things and just before we left the boat, she gave a quick glance to her husband in a conspiring way and handed us the drogue for free or in exchange for the snaps which were worth about $1.20….  She had already passed it forward….  And the drogue was a good Australian made one, worth having aboard.
The other night we were invited to listen to a group of local musicians.  During one of the last songs, people started dancing.  One couple in particular caught my attention for one they were Mexicans, all others being North-Americans. For two, they were beautiful together.  Probably in their late 40s, early 50s, and looking like they were on their honeymoon.  She was looking at him with absolute love and passion, he was crying.  I almost cried watching them dance with their raw feelings for all to see.  After the dance I had to go over to thank them for being so beautiful, intense and honest.  We started talking a little bit about their lives in this country.  We never broach the subject of why he was crying.  It was not necessary. Upon their departure the gentleman left a beer for each of us…  We knew that by the way they were dressed; they probably couldn’t afford to give us these beers. 
Mike's attempt at Flamenco
A book about sailing (Get real, get gone by Rick Page and Jasna Tuta) in which we have been named as an example of electric powered vessel is now the number one ‘sailing’ seller in the UK and the number two in the US.  We have slowly but surely been receiving more and more email questions about our electric boat since the book has been out and become very popular.

It seems like April was the month of art, music, and dancing before the summer heat moves everyone to the beach or the mountains.  We went for an Art Walk where we discovered many neat galleries, artists, and restaurants or cafés.  It seems many restaurants/cafés mix art with food, a good combo.  We attended a dance show at the Angela Peralta Theater, a famous fixture in Mazatlán.  Mike also attempted flamenco dancing in the central plaza one afternoon.  He’s much more willing than I am to try these things out.  But I took the pictures…
During the art walk, at one of the smallest galleries, Mike was asked by a lady if he was high or lost?  An interesting question to say the least.  We had gone to the art walk with another couple and Mike (yep, he was also called Mike) was asked the same exact question when he toured the gallery.  Needless to say we had a good laugh at the one pick-up line this older lady was using to attract potential mate…
Meandering the streets near downtown Mazatlán, we ended up in the narrowest and steepest ones we have seen so far.  Even though the view is fabulous and it is a stone’s throw from downtown and the beach the homes along these alleys probably rent for near to nothing for there is no way to drive to them, not even a motorcycle.  How do you then bring in appliances, furniture, food, clothes, propane, etc. to your home? 

Odd food they are proud to have made in Mazatlán area
Toni Col, a vanilla based soft drink
Coconut marshmallows they call Dragon's Froth!

  • Many hotels rent by the hour in Mexico.  The main reason being that so many family members of various generations live under one roof, it is nearly impossible to get any privacy.  Couples often rent a room for just an hour or so then return home or to work…
  • On the way home from the downtown the other night our bus was boarded by ticket agents.  They wanted to see our tickets.  They were not checking on us like they would in Europe for example, they were checking on the bus driver to make sure he wasn’t letting anyone in for free.  Interesting contrast.
  • At the main market downtown, the majority of tourists (Mexican or North-American) go upstairs to eat at the various restaurants.  We decided we would skip that and eat downstairs where we noticed they feed the people who work at the market.  About ¼ of the price and much more true Mexican food with a local ambiance.  Men wearing bloody aprons after butchering various meats for customers are standing next to others with paint splatters all over their clothes or women pushing mops or brooms.  We were asked if we were sure we wanted to eat there and replied we did.  They are not used to see the likes of us at these small restaurants.  It is great to know more and more Spanish to be able to do such things.  We tried chorreadas, membrillo paste, and huaraches (shaped like the sandal it is named after).  Delicious.  Just when you think you know the food here, something new pops up as you visit a new area. 
Other than that our life is based on very simple things.  The mornings greet us with light winds, birds heading west from their nightly mangrove nesting areas away from the rising sun, towards the sea.  The evenings greet us with stronger winds, the same birds heading east, away from the setting sun, to their nesting areas, feeding for the day completed.  Sunrises and sunsets are usually watched from the cockpit with coffee in hand.  Tides come and go following their own rhythms.  Work on the boat is nearly complete; soon we will season in the Sea of Cortez.  Déjàlà nearly looks like a real boat again instead of a construction site.

As for the saying above, it feels like all of Mexico has seen a lot and forgotten little.  It has a lot to share, and we enjoy every moment of it.

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