Sunday, December 16, 2012

Marvelous Mazatlan

After arriving in the Mazatlan port on Friday morning, we stopped at a bustling roadside stand nearby to eat, and I got my first taste of the warmth of the people.  There was a family at the table next to us, and the mother was holding a beautiful tiny baby girl.  She caught me admiring her child and smiled.  Later, when they finished eating, she walked over to our table and put the baby in my arms!  I knew right then and there that I had arrived someplace very special.

We headed into the historic district of Mazatlan.  Here's the front yard of one of the homes there.
The historic district is right along the waterfront, and is brimming with antique houses, art and culture.
 One of the landmarks in town is the Hotel Belmar, which has a lot of lovely tiled walls,
as well as some tile murals.  Although in a bit of disrepair, it is a favorite among many travelers, and is said to be haunted.

Walking through town I spotted this pretty embroidered cloth sitting on one of the restaurant tables.  I later found out who it belonged to.
There were many interesting building details.
We were delighted to discover that we had arrived on the day of their weekly art walk, and we got to meet some of the local artists.  We spent some time talking with Blas Nayar, the owner of Nautilus Gallery.  Blas is a painter, print maker and jewelry designer, and has shown his work in New York City.  He was a one time gallery owner in Northern California, but left the states to return to Mexico.  He's also a singer, and spontaneously performed a song for us that he had written for his sister!
We continued on the art walk and visited a gallery that specialized in art with leather.  They also had their studio workshop there and taught classes.
There were some very interesting and beautiful nude sculptures.
We enjoyed a school concert in the park, with local youth playing Christmas music.
And discovered what was in that pan with the embroidered cover!  They were fabulous homemade corn cakes, made by Maria.
After a wonderful evening in the historic district, we headed along the waterfront, and found a hotel for the night.  The hotel had some very nice murals, that were actually painted by a California artist.
The next morning, Saturday, we decided to visit the local market.  Situated in the center of town, it's where the locals go to buy their fish, meat, vegetables, candy, and all sorts of other goodies.
 Here's one of the local fish vendors.
I was amazed at this guy carrying a huge piece of meat on his shoulders.
Here are some other local goodies, and some festive Santa pinatas.
Everyone does their best to decorate the Virgin de Guadalupe this time of year.
We were able to get a recommendation from the one of the vendors at the market for a wonderful seafood cerviche restaurant nearby.
We decided to spend another night in Mazatlan, and went back to the historic district for the evening.  There is a performing arts theater in town, and we captured this lovely lady on the steps having photos taken for her  Quinceanera.
That night was the big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, and all of the restaurants around the square were showing the fight on big screens.  The town went crazy when Juan delivered the big punch to take down Manny Pacquiao!  After the fight we headed back down the waterfront to our hotel, this time a lovely renovated hotel closer to the historic district.

Sunday morning we took a stroll in the market area, and discovered that the seafood vendors were out on the street, selling shrimp, crabs and lobster.  I loved the color of these lobsters.
There were tubs filled with huge shrimp.
We headed back to the waterfront historic district one last time for coffee.  Along the way we saw an American artist doing a pastel sketch of the landscape,
and who did we find at the coffee shop, but Maria, the corn cake lady!  Of course we had to buy another one.
We also had the good fortune to meet a wonderful artist, Lopus Diarakato, who was having breakfast at the cafe.  One of the things Lopus had worked on was a series of sculptures done from live cactus, and he has a book published of his work. 
He also showed us a series of his pen and ink sketches.
 Here's a picture of Lopus with Eduardo.
Our time in Mazatlan was a really beautiful experience.  It is located in Sinaloa state, and provides heavy police protection.  We felt safe and welcome there, and will definitely spend more time in Mazatlan in the future.

xo Linda

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