Busy Mexican Tourist Town: Take One

2008 December 31
by Levi
Mazatlán's fantastic coast

Mazatlán's fantastic coast

On the 27th, we made it to Mazatlán in the late afternoon after a relatively easy ride from Culiacán. I expected it to be beautiful, touristy, warm, and with a fair number of Americans. What I (and my father) failed to grasp, however, was how big a deal the time between Christmas and New Years is in Mexico. Everyone here who can afford to takes that time off, and from what I can tell, they all head to the beach. Mazatlán was beautiful, touristy, warm, and stuffed with vacationing Mexicans. The traffic on the boardwalk, both on foot and in cars, was a force to be reckoned with.

We had a recommended hotel thanks to the Diaz-Popuch tribe, friends from Chicago with family there, and despite directions from the Pemex employees (who pointed different directions, for what wouldn’t be the last time of the trip), we ended up at a different hotel that wasn’t too expensive, and counted ourselves lucky.

We stayed on the Malecon, or boardwalk, directly across the street from the vast, beautiful beach. The water, skirted by a long sloping golden beach baking in the sun, was as warm as a bath tub. Imagine the inverse of that scene, and you have my father. In the throws of what we can only assume was Pneumonia, he was winded, put off by the heat, and in sub-par shape. We picked up some hardcore antibiotics over the counter at a pharmacy, and they have since seemed to do the trick.

I meanwhile, worked on appreciating the surrounding area. I walked down the entire length of beach and back drinking cheap Mexican beer. I swam in our hotel’s pool and practiced my Spanish with some very young kids from Mexico City. At night, I again took to the streets. There was hardly an American to be seen on the strip, and the place was jumping. Music blared from gridlocked cars and night clubs everywhere. Young Mexican boys done up like Jersey Shore club rats, down to the popped collars, big sunglasses, and thickly-oiled and spiked hair ushered scantly clad women with heels to the stars. I’ve never really been one for the club scene, and I certainly wasn’t feeling the Mazatlán take on it, which alternated between whatever you call the “Da me más gasolina” song (which must be the most popular thing in Mexico right now after beer and mota) dated American club music, and some Mariachi-club hybrid which features accordian and bass. Instead, I relagted myself to walk up and down the boardwalk people watching and drinking. As perhaps the 5th tallest person in Mexico right now, it was easy to watch a lot at a time. Aside from talking to an extremely drunk kid who couldn’t keep his eyes open and seemed to defy gravity by remaining upright and someone trying to sell me drugs, I didn’t really have much social interaction that night. That was pretty weird for me in a place so full of people.

In the morning on the way out of town, we came up to a man at a stop light who didn’t quite look hispanic riding a crazy looking motorcycle with cases that could have been made of cannibalized stringed instrument cases strapped to it and a Taiwanese woman on the back. He gave us an excited look at the first light and I told him I liked his bike. At the second, he motioned that he wanted to take a picture of us, so we got off the road and talked to him for a bit. It turned out he was Argentinian, and he has a friend who’s a Federal Policeman in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and our likely final stop on the southward thrust of the journey. Needless to say, he was very excited to meet and talk to us. On his way to Mexico City for work, we were on the same path, and ended up seeing each other a couple more times that day. We traded information and he’s promised to send us his pictures.

A beautiful city on the coast

A beautiful city on the coast

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