Dear LA Times: and another thing….

January 18, 2015

A few weeks ago I wrote the post Sorry, LA Times, You’re Out Of Line and finished with this:

After thinking about how far off she was in this article I started thinking about things I should tell her if she ever comes back to Mazatlán. So here goes, Tracy…on your next trip to Mazatlán don’t be surprised if:

– you see piles of garbage on a street corner. Garbage is picked up three times a week here (and get this, for free) and bags of garbage get piled together where the streets are too narrow to accommodate a garbage truck. You put it out sometime near dusk and it’s picked up that night.

– you see people walking in the street. Sidewalks here are maintained by the property owner and there are a wide variety of surfaces in the city. From crumbling concrete to dust and weeds to stairs and tile and slanted garage entrances – sidewalks are a challenge. Sometimes it’s easier to walk in the street, especially if you have a baby stroller or a cart to carry your groceries.

– you hear a big noise outside and there are a bunch of huge roaring machines and men advancing up the street laying asphalt. No kidding, with no notice one time they came past our house and rang doors as they went to ask people to move their cars. What if we hadn’t been home? They would have gone around the car and come back later to fix it. Really.

– you see a group of women walking along arm in arm. Grandmother, daughter, grandkids, friends of all ages – might walk by arm in arm.

– you hear jackhammers outside at 8 or 9 pm. It happened last night here – there was a need to improve the wheelchair ramps that had been installed a few weeks ago. So they jackhammered their way down the block last night and this morning came and put down the cement.

– you might see forty or fifty people hanging around and sitting on the curbs outside a school. It just happens sometimes as there are registration days that are not negotiable. The parents wait, take care of business, and are gone before you know it.

– you get a knock on the door and it’s a nurse offering flu shots. Or sometimes it’s the health department checking drains for possible mosquito breeding places. They even occasionally come by and offer to give vaccines to your dogs.

– you’re driving along and see a police car driving with his emergency lights flashing. It doesn’t mean to pull over, it’s just what they do… for visibility, I think.

– you see little plastic bags tidily tied in front of people’s houses. It’s garbage day. People here don’t make a huge quantity of trash, one little bag is usually enough. To most Northerners it seems strange to not have a garbage can but people have small houses here and with it picked up three times a week, there is no need. Recycling? It’s pre-recycled on the garbage trucks and then sorted through further at the dump. (I know, the video is hard to watch but it is real. Thanks to MazReal for the video)

– you see busses driving by with their doors open, driver on his cell phone and smoking a cigarette. They’re not supposed to do any of those things, but you do see it.

– it starts raining when you’re here in the summer and the streets turn into absolute rivers. If you’ve got your car parked in the wrong place it can get swamped. When parking your car when rain is in the forecast, be sure to check out the curbs in front of the area you’re parking… if they are four feet tall, better choose a different place.

– you might see several people on a motorcycle. In the past I’ve seen up to four and even five on a moto, but they are cracking down here and all riders must have helmets and there are a limited number of people allowed (but I’m not sure how many…) You see people carrying lots of different things on a motorcycle, from surfboards to ladders to even one time – a birthday cake.

Don’t you just love Mazatlán? I know I do.

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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. And ain’t it all grand!! It’s all part of the way of life we love and adapt to over the years. Those sidewalks can get even the most stable person walking along; forget about it after a couple of margaritas. But I wouldn’t have it any different. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wow, somebody comes to your door for dog vaccinations? Now that’s progress! Just about everything on your list is something I appreciate about Mazatlan, and wouldn’t mind seeing more of here in Northern Mexico…especially those vaccinations!

    1. What a great post and hope Tracy will see and read this. Sandy

    1. LOVE this Nancy! Good job!! I call the life here a “beautiful chaos”………and we would not trade our life here amongst all of this nuttiness for anything in the world!!

    1. Well said, Nancy! Everything you say is right on, and I hope Tracy reads it, too.

    1. You don’t think it’s positively terrifying that at any moment, unannounced, a band could just start playing in an empty field? I mean, doesn’t that just strike you as the ne plus ultra of a crime-ridden society spinning out of control? If musicians can just start playing anywhere and any time they like, it’s the beginning of the end of times. The apocalypse. The second coming.

      Frankly, I don’t know how you can hold up in that hellhole between the free music, cultural events, organic vegetables, and a hungry Pacific ocean ready to swallow you up alive at any moment.

      I feel for you.

      Be strong.


      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we appear to be free from musical outbursts. At least for now.

    1. Al Kyda here in Mazatlan! Yes, folks…Al Kyda and his “Tuba Troubadors” may (contingent on discount travel deals) appear at Carnaval 2015. From what I hear on U.S. media, Al’s group is really getting around. Never knew tuba music was so popular in the Middle East. Don’t know if they have ever played Boston. Kim G…?

    1. @ Les. I’ve never heard of that group, though the name probably isn’t going to be a big hit Stateside. As for tuba music, it’s not exactly a craze here in Boston. But who know about elsewhere? Saludos.

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