Mazatlán sultry summer Sunday

September 4, 2011

After our big rain last week (NINE inches in just a few hours!) it has cooled off a lot here – today the temperature in my kitchen hasn’t risen over 78 degrees! We don’t expect to see temperatures this cool until November!  We know it’s just a little break, but the whole city is enjoying the cool.  I think it’s probably perfect for surfers, with nice waves and some clouds to shield them from the sun.  The picture above is some boogie-boarders this morning, but last night there were many dozens enjoying the surf at Playa Norte.  Surfers have a wonderful environment here.

>Mazatlan bamboo

What else has been going on?  Well, a couple of years ago we planted some bamboo to shield us from the apartment building adjacent to us.  It has grown like crazy – a little too well, actually!  We had it thinned not long ago and thought that would help keep the bamboo litter down a bit.  That’s it, above – three stories tall!  Below is one that seemed to commit suicide – began to hang sideways after a big rain. That was a nuisance so I spent several hours chopping it up and bagging debris.  Now that we’ve had this bamboo for a while I’ve got to say it was a mistake.  It’s very messy and breaks when the wind is gusty.  And if it breaks it bushes out at the break and becomes top heavy. It’s most redeeming feature is that the birds love to sleep there and entertain us as they settle down for the night. I imagine we’ll replace it with something else one of these days.  Any suggestions?

Mazatlan bamboo

Yesterday I noticed  our fearless and inquisitive street dog Coco investigating something on the walkway.  I went to see what it was and had to laugh.  Some things here in the tropics grow quite large, but not this thing!  Take a look, below:

Mazatlan slug

You can probably tell that it’s a slug, but can you tell how little it is?  Check out the next picture, for perspective…

Mazatlan slug
Coco is keeping an eye on it.

That slug is about an inch long.  They are weirdly dry, too.  If they get stranded mid-patio on their way somewhere they just dry up and curl into a little bit that looks like a wood shaving. I’m from the Pacific Northwest, where just your average slug looks like the one below!  I remember when I lived next to some woods when the kids were little we’d give them a coffee can and pay them a penny a slug for all that they gathered!

Photo Oregon State University

A bit of news in the Mazatlán art world this week is that there’s a new art gallery out at the airport. (Link in Spanish) The opening was last week, with Glen Rogers showing her work in the first solo exhibition.  A picture of Glen at the opening is below, and another article on the opening is here. (Link in Spanish)  You’ve seen Glen’s work here at Countdown to Mexico before, as we own several of her works and Paul has taken her monoprint workshop.  Especially if you are traveling through Mazatlán, take a few minutes to visit the gallery before or after your flight.

glen rogers
Glen Rogers (photo Noroeste)


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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Man, I hate slugs and snails. We have slugs that are really wide, not the ones I know from NoCal. they are almost flat and about half as wide as they are long. I tried putting a plate of beer out but apparently these Mexican slugs aren’t beer drinkers. They are eating my plants and I don’t want to use the pellets that my cats might eat. sigh. It’s the life of a gardener, you plant it and something comes along to eat it.

      As for the bamboo corner, what about a tree that will grow mid height but have a wide canopy so it protects your patio from view above? I know what you mean about bamboo debris, it is unending. I’m starting to think that it also inhibits the growth of other plants below, my heliconia next to the bamboo are not doing well.

    1. Oh boy, I made the mistake about 25 years ago of planting a little bamboo in my back yard in Texas. Shoots went underground and the next thing I knew I had bamboo everywhere. It took forever to get rid of it. I LOVE the look but its not worth it.
      Do you have jacaranda trees over there? I love mine. It grows really really fast. Has a beautiful shape and when it blooms in the spring, the butterflies feed on the lavender blooms. If you come to San Miguel I can dig up about 10 “volunteers” for you!
      Slugs – wow – HOW do they get up on my roof terrace which is three stories up? Can someone tell me that? I sling them off and hope they don’t survive when they hit the street below……….gosh that sounds cruel, doesn’t it? I’ve successfully used the beer system but saw the cat sniffing it one day and decided that wasn’t a good idea. Ha.

      1. Jonna, There is an evergreen tree that has an upright narrow shape in the landscaping of a restaurant we went to… I took a piece and am going to look it up and/or take it to a nursery with me to see what it is. Kind of looks like a cedar pyramidalis (sp?). So, we’ll see. It must be narrow because of the space.

        Mary, a palm would work if it could be taller than the wall when we plant it… but that would be about 18 feet high so probably not in the budget, plus as it keeps growing it only blocks a bit of the building.

        Babs, This bamboo is clumping, not running, so I don’t have that problem, but it is way messy. A regular kind of tree wouldn’t work because part of it would be on the other side of the wall – we have a very narrow bed and the growth habit needs to be upright, not round like a tree. Such beautiful ideas, though!

    1. Hola Nancy!

      This suggestion won’t help with the debris, but maybe you should cut your bamboo down to about 6″ or so. Then it will re-grow, but be bushy all the way up.

      Or maybe you just need a different kind of bamboo.

      Or maybe a translucent screen kind of thing over your patio so people can’t look through it.


      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we’ve been tempted by bamboo, but given our lazy gardener ways, fear Babs’ fate above.

    1. Please please keep the heat till we get there!! I don’t want to be chilly yet again this winter. Bamboo, eh!! I have friends who regret planting the invading plant. I’m sorry but I have no ideas for a new tree, what with keeping it within the confines of your yard. That is unless you just keep heavily trimming it along the wall until it is established.

      I hate slugs, one year while living on the West coast I took a salt shaker to each one of them, they swelled up and burst and two days later my lawn was full of yellow patches. I managed to kill the grass as well as the slugs. After that I just let them do their thing.

      We will be on the Isla 2 months from today!!!

      1. Kim & Contessa, Thanks for the suggestions. Kim, we don’t want the bamboo bushier at the top because then it becomes topheavy and in the wind and rain becomes even more of a problem. That’s probably why the one in the blog post committed suicide! I took another picture to try to show our situation better. We have a long covered patio next to the house and then about 15′ of grass. The bamboo is not so much to keep people in the apartment from looking at us but to keep us from having to look at it. So something tall and narrow is what we need. Bamboo would be perfect if only it wouldn’t shed and wouldn’t go back and forth and break itself off on the top of the wall during storms.

    1. hmmm, having looked at the other photo I wonder if you could put some of the very tall heliconia in there. It will arch and drop the long racemes of flowers. There is a solid red here that grows to 20′ or so. The long flowers are the hanging type but instead of 2 colors they are a dark red.

    1. After spending the last two months in the highlands, I was not certain how I would acclimate to the heat in Melaque. But the rain has kept the temperature — if not the humidity — down. As much as I liked the highlands, I missed the ocean.

      1. Steve, I suffer from the dry air inland, I could never last a month! I bet you’re glad to be back!

        Jonna, I am going to go see if I can find the one you mean, we have several heliconia in our yard but they are less than 3 feet tall. Google, here I come! Thanks!

    1. Yikes, slugs. That’s something I don’t miss from the pacific northwest. I MUCH prefer gekkos! Good luck with replacing the bamboo. I am a hopeless gardener, able to admire good landscaping but unable to accomplish anything but choosing things I like and putting them in inappropriate places….it figures that bamboo would be one of my favorites!

      1. Ann, I’m with you, I do love the look of the bamboo. Paul is trying to convince me to keep it, saying he is going to keep it thinned out and hopefully it will be better that way. Also it would be a lot of work to get rid of it, might have to think about that until it gets a bit cooler, anyway!

    1. Hello Nancy:

      I just might get to see the new art gallery at the airport as I might opt to fly into Mazatlan instead of Puerto Vallarta. Ms Rogers’ art is beautiful and she seems to work alot with my favorite color; orange. The brick we used on my house is orange in color.

      Sorry don’t have any suggestions on plants even though I love gardening. When I first get home I plan on planting a bougainvillea as sort of a “new beginning” in my new home.

      1. When you arrive in Mazatlan you come in on the ground level and the gallery is upstairs. It is really worth taking a minute to check it out! Let me know if you do!

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