Yes, there has been lots going on in the Countdown to Mexico neighborhood, lately – here’s a bit of an update:
I’ve been getting together with various women friends pretty frequently – for coffee, for a walk or a bike ride, to share knitting, to discuss books, and probably much more. One of the things that I love about life here is having so many women friends. Some are here year round and some just come for the winter but their friendship truly makes my life rich.
I’ve been long overdue to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon. Well, I actually have always been a healthy eater but I have been eating too much and not getting enough strenuous exercise. A month ago I hosted a health talk here at the house for about 40 women given by a friend who is an expert in natural foods and therapies. It was a great morning, surrounded by other women who care about eating well and are skeptical about conventional medicine. It was the kick start I needed and I have been working out on the Nordic Track or spinning bike every day and every other day with weights. So far I’ve lost 5 1/2 pounds, and love the way I feel. A funny thing is that when I was working full time and jamming my days full I could get up a bit early and exercise before work – be all done and showered and off to work by 7:30 am. But now… by the time we get up, have breakfast, feed the birds, walk the dogs, etc. I am lucky if I am exercising by 10 am! That’s ok, though… I just noticed the contrast.
The other morning Paul got the car out of the garage thinking we would need it (we only use it once in a while) and it was a lucky thing because a few minutes later we heard pounding and jackhammers and the underground utility people started digging right in front of our garage! Two days later it was all fixed up but we were glad we didn’t have the car trapped inside. There is lots more work to be done on the street (side street, actually) including chipping up the wall for the new wires to the electric meter, etc. It will be great when all those wires are GONE!
We have connected with a group of friends who like to bike ride a couple times a month on Sunday mornings – usually around Centro and then on the malecon with the lure – of course – of breakfast at the end. Last time we went down to the base of the lighthouse and then over Cerro del Vigía (Lookout Hill) which was a pretty steep one for me since I had even forgotten how to shift my bike into low gear! It is a fun way to spend a Sunday morning and we take our time over a nice breakfast somewhere and have fun catching up on each others’ lives.
There has been drama in town thanks to the drug cartels. A few days ago two men in a car were being chased and pulled in to a hotel parking area trying to evade their pursuers and both were shot dead. The killers zoomed off, leaving a bunch of stunned people looking on – many of whom were from the three cruise ships that were in port that day. The following day one scheduled cruise ship cancelled and they are considering pulling out of Mazatlán altogether. I just read in the paper a moment ago that the cruise line has decided to come back to Mazatlán after all – which is important news for the city.
Friday was a big day, too. The new governor, Mario López Valdez (a man the people call familiarily, Malova) and the new alcalde (Mayor) of Mazatlán Alejandro Higuera Osuna, along with the Friends of Mexico and Sinaloa Tourism Bureau invited all extranjeros (expats) to a meeting, and gave us online access to submit our concerns. It was mostly a feel-good meeting where we were assured that the government heard our concerns (with security being the top one) and where the biggest surprise for me was that the Malova gave the audience his office phone number, cell phone number, and email address and said his door is open to us. A desk even will be made available in the tourism office and an expat will be on an advisory board. The picture above is from the room at the convention center and shows more than 2,000 of us gringos in attendance!
At that meeting also, Malova – this really shocked me – gave one month of his own salary to a homeless man who runs a shoeshine stand in the Plazuela Republica as a reward for his good deed a few weeks ago. He saw a purse sitting unattended on a bench, put it safely away and then when he had a moment he inspected it and found it contained passports and papers that showed it belonged to a cruise ship passenger. He closed up his shoeshine stand and took the purse to the cruise ship and turned it in. His picture with Malova is below, when Malova went down into the audience to shake his hand.x
Yesterday I also lucked out when a friend had an extra ticket to the Sinaloa Symphony and I had a wonderful night listening to the symphony and two fantastic opera singers, Elizabeth Blanke-Biggs and Stuart Neill. They performed works by Saint-Saens, Verdi, Puccini, and more. There were several ovations and the full house at the beautiful restored Angela Peralta Theater was reminded that we are lucky to live in paradise – not just because we are on a tropical beach but also because we have a lovely historic center and a strong cultural life, too.
The ticket booths are up and the city is getting ready for Carnaval, which is March 3 – 8 this year. I am expecting a great event this year and will keep you posted. See you later!