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Posts Tagged ‘Mazatlan’

The van pulled over and we climbed out of the vehicle into a sea of friendly merchants. With tourists stopping by all day, the vendors set up and greet you with ‘buen precio and muy barato” (good prices and very cheap).

the diver poses for a photo...

And only after you navigate through the wood carvings, silver souvenirs, and the other assorted common Mexican trinkets (many of which I own), can you make your way to meet the “manager.” Well, I gave him that title, I am not sure what he calls himself, but he produces the show. Most tourists in Mazatlán stop by to pay him a visit to see a cliff dive.

Just on the other side of the Malecón from Zona Dorada, on the way to Old Town, a platform among the cliffs exists where a few brave souls plunge into a shallow sea. This is not Acapulco; there is no show time (during the day, not sure about the evening). The event occurs when people arrive and offer tips. How much might it take for a diver to risk his life?

Eventually, a deal was made, and we were all prepared to give 20-50 pesos (~11.5 pesos to the USD). The diver essentially risks it all for the equivalent of $15-$20 USD. Sometimes he’ll make more, other times, he might jump for less. For them, this is their livelihood, their day job.(I gave 50 pesos)

As he climbed up to the top, we all prepared. We walked down to obtain the best view, and pointed our cameras in anticipation. At the summit, he paused, prayed and then slowly walked to the edge. An eternity passed (the minute seemed long) as we all waited. At low tide he needed to be even more careful.

he leaped off the cliff...

Suddenly, he dove. A beautiful arch and full extension delighted the crowd. A perfect 10.

Stay adventurous, Craig

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On a special “MexMonday,” (it’s Mexico bicentennial celebration week) I wanted to post a photo special to me. Not solely because of the substance, but because it enabled me to meet a great community of people who promote Mexico. People I now call my friends.

a man takes a moment outside Malpica bakery

On an excursion to visit some of the charming pueblos with in a short distance of Mazatlan, the tour stopped in Malpica. With a population of less than 1,000 and basically untouched by time, the town houses a seemingly simple bakery. In a small oven, some of the finest pastries in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico are created.  And we arrived for a taste. Breakfast. And Delicious.

Outside, in between bites, I snapped this image. A memory, a moment. A man and his best friend.

Shortly afterwards, I submitted the picture for the weekly MexMonday photo contest. (~Oct ’09-Feb ’10). This photo, along with a few others I submitted over time claimed honors – It won. It’s award winning.

So, this monday I take off my sombrero (my hat) off the creator of the weekly MexMonday, my friend Stephanie, and everyone else who promotes Mexico on Mondays. I love the photos, stories, and specials.  A Feliz (Happy) MexMonday mis amigos.

stay adventurous, Craig

Day 9 of 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute

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After a few very busy days in Sinaloa, specifically Mazatlán I suddenly realized I had yet to take in a sunset. And it’s on the Pacific coast of Mexico too. But then, perhaps aided by the pearl of wisdom found in a few Oysters, I  decided to not find the time, but make the time to watch one. I decided to create a moment and witness one of my favorite times of the day.

No more chasing another story or writing one. No more tweeting my thoughts. I put down my pen, shut my lap top and decided to enjoy a moment on my balcony at the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. The luxury resort located in Nuevo Mazatlán, one of the three main neighborhoods for tourists in the city, provides a true retreat from the everyday and a chance to watch day turn to night. Although I enjoy being in the action at times, the action the Golden Zone might provide, I definitely enjoyed some time away. Time to relax, time to pause,  time to reflect. Some time to watch the sunset.

I can recall moment, not because the sky displayed the most spectacular colors or because I witnessed a green flash. I didn’t capture the perfect picture either. Nope, it was simply because it was a shared experience. I realized someone else, somewhere, was doing the exact same thing. Somewhere, someone was watching the sunset too. I felt connected.

I hope this Sunday (on a special, emotional weekend here in New York City) you do too.

the shared experience... the sunset

stay adventurous, Craig

Day 8 of 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute

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Attending a festival in the town of El Quelite, Sinaloa, a short drive outside of Mazatlan, I took a picture of a young local performer.

she smiled to show us her braces...

Stay advenutrous, Craig

Day 6 of 20 day Mexico Bicentennial Tribute

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Oysters. For some, the ultimate delicacy, for others just another mollusk.

And whether you believe it’s a myth or a fact that about its aphrodisiac powers upon digestion, I think we all can agree, the fresher the better.  And nothing is fresher than pulled directly from ocean after you place that order. That is exactly what I found in Mazatlán.

With a city name that originates from the indigenous Nahuatl language, Mazatlán,  actually translates to “place of deer.” Yet today with access to some of the most abundant fishing, savory shrimps, and as I discovered fresh oysters, its nickname ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ seems way more appropriate.

And one afternoon on my travels in port, the quest was simple. Seafood.

buckets of fresh shrimp for sale

Every restaurant offers shrimps every which way. Buckets from the day’s catch fill the markets at prices of just over $1 per pound. And for lunch we ate many. Prepared all different ways; grilled, fried, with spices, with sauces to even raw. All delicious.

But after our shrimp fest, a fellow travel writer yearned for oysters. He loved shrimp, but his passion, his ultimate, was the raw oyster.  And that became our next mission. Our driver and personal tour guide for the afternoon made a recommendation for (a considered) an off the beaten path stop. Definitely not on the tourist trail, yet the stop was right in the heart of the city.

the view up the coast in Mazatlan

Just as the Malecón ends and right before the Zona Dorada (the golden zone), one of the three neighborhoods of Mazatlan, a turn off  takes you to the beach. Whether still dirt or just a dusty road I can’t recall, but the distance was short. And a few gentleman sat at the end on the steps to the beach just watching the pacific waves in the heat of the afternoon.

After the typical greetings, we placed our order. Oysters. A dozen to share. Two gentleman went off to see with a rubber tube to find (fish for) our Oysters.  Not at a restaurant, we realized we also need some cervezas.  Handing over enough pesos for an ochito, (an 8 pack, beers come in 8 not 6) another gentleman ran to the corner store. His tip – to share in the beer.

Men off to sea to fetch some Oysters...

The men returned from the sea and our feast began. I began to think about the story of the investment banker and the fisherman. A lesson I learned early in my Wall Street career.  I’ll sum it up.

A banker goes on vacation to Mexico and meets a fisherman. After seeing his plentiful catch, he explains to the fisherman that he has great opportunity. If  he works very hard, builds a business, then goes public (IPO) he can make a lot of money. He can become rich.

“Really, why?” replies the fisherman.

“Well, then you can retire, spend time with your family, and go fishing everyday.”

The fisherman smiled and said, “but that is what I do now.”

Something to ponder. Perhaps the pearl of wisdom found inside the oysters, perhaps a needed reminder for me.

Oysters served

I always said I’d retire by 35. And as I tasted a few Oysters, sipped a cerveza, I realized I did. Sure I was working, but I definitely retired. I was no longer chasing “society’s success,’ but created my own view of it.  A view I really enjoyed that afternoon.

Stay adventurous, Craig

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