Mazatlan, Mexico


Mazatlan is a large city, both in its population and its sprawl.  It’s a seaside town, which means lots of activity along the beach.  There are gringos strolling along the water’s edge, early morning fishermen going out to work, Mexican families on holiday at the beach, and all kinds of interesting people watching to do here.
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The plan was to stay for ten days, and celebrate two birthdays while here and then ride out to see more of Mexico. But after the ten days was up, I found it was hard to leave. The Hotel Lerma was a landing pad for us, and several other riders as it turns out. We met a wonderful couple from Australia, reunited with a new friend from Canada, met up with a Malaysian couple we met on Baja, met a new rider from Canada who knows several people we met in Newfoundland, met a German rider on his way to the States, a lovely couple (man from the USA who plays the violin each day, and woman from Costa Rica)…and on and on and on. All the good company is hard to leave, as is the comfort of an inexpensive hotel with inexpensive food nearby, and the beach only two blocks away.
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I spend days wandering around the city, shopping at the Mercado, taking seaside strolls, and getting some exercise climbing Ice Box Hill. The view from the top is lovely on nearly all sides.
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There are lots of hazards around town, and not just Mazatlan, all towns I have seen so far in Mexico. There are missing curbs, uneven stairs, missing stairs, missing trap doors and drain covers, etc. Mexico is an exercise in learning how to look out for yourself. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I simply mean that you really do have to keep your eyes open and pay some attention so you don’t step into a 4 foot deep hole in the middle of the sidewalk. I like that it teaches self-reliance and self responsibility. In the States we have fallen a bit much, in my opinion, into the habit of pointing the finger to others to find fault. As I walk around town, I can imagine the liability and potential for lawsuits you would have with any of the hazards present on most streets. Air conditioner units pop out of walls at eye level and have no padding on them as they protrude into the publics sidewalk. There are wires and hooks, and rebar sticking out of sidewalks, broken glass and an occasional crumbling building…but as long as you pay attention you’ll be fine.
Coming down from Ice Box Hill
There are lots of small workshops, automotive, welding, machine, engine, motor, etc. Everyone has a skill and is working as hard as possible to make a living using it. So much so, that sometimes they forget to do a little spring cleaning around the workshop.
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There are food carts on many streets and even people serving food from their homes. I try lots of it, and haven’t had a bad meal yet.
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The city is preparing for Carnaval which begins in just over a week. I’m interested in staying to see it, but am not a fan of crowds, noise and drunken multi-day events any more…..maybe a few years ago. Maybe its time to finally break the Lerma’s hold and move along.
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Statues are going up at the Machado and along the Malecon. I’ve heard this is the second biggest Carnaval in the world, and I’m sure its an incredible site. So who knows…maybe I will have to come back to Lerma. It’s been the perfect home-away-from-home.Bike Trip Mazatlan 4 019

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