What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Carnaval and Mazatlan

Carnaval was a blast. It took a day or two to realize that nothing gets started till 10 o’clock at night or later. The marina here organized a trip to do dinner and see the fireworks, so we joined in. The dinner was mediocre (I think they tried to do American food), but the fireworks were good. Unfortunately the balcony that we watched from was designed to provide shade from the sun, this meant it blocked some of the view as well. The fireworks commemorate a battle with the French, so part of the fireworks are launched from shore and some from onboard a boat off the shore.

On the same night is also the “Burning of Bad Humors”, where an effigy of some person or issue is burnt. This year the issue was the high price of tortillas, in the past it has been Osama bin Laden, and a Taxi strike. (See videos here) After the show we went walking on the main Carnaval street, Olas Altas. There were many stages set up each with a live band (competing with each other to be heard), wandering Mariachi bands (competing to be heard), many beer booths, and a huge crowd of people. We quickly learned that you needed to hold on to each other and get in with the flow going your desired direction (sort of a huge conga line). It was crowded and loud, but everyone was having fun. After getting another beer we started heading back but made a mistake of getting too close to the bandstand. The crowd here was very thick and we soon lost any control over our speed or direction. We were being swept along and were only concerned with keeping on our feet, tripping or falling would be bad news. Once past the stage things eased up, but that was not fun.

A few days later we went to the Carnaval Parade . This took place on the malecon, the road that was right on the ocean. Cindy and I went down early to get a good spot along the fence on the seawall. The street rapidly filled up with families coming to watch. The parade started with the sponsor’s (beer, bakery, and automakers mostly) floats which consisted of dancers throwing items and load music. The real parade consisted of some marching groups and lots of floats. The floats all had dancers (male and female), and more loud music usually live. No beads here but lots of confetti, thrown by the dancers or shot from cannons. After the parade we headed to the old town area for some food. It was nearly midnight but the Plazuela Machado and the restaurants were quite busy. When dinner was over we grabbed a pulmonia to take us back to the marina. The pulmonia (literally pneumonia) is an open air taxi unique to Mazatlan.

While in Mazatlan we have been doing work on the boat. We had some help from Rueben and his sons on getting some brightwork done. We stripped off the old varnish and put on some new Cetol. Not all the boat is done, but it looks a lot better. Various other jobs are getting done (decks, cabinetry, wiring) and the boat is clean again.

Some friends (Clarence and Sharon from Lotus) are staying at the other marina, El Cid, it has a hotel and timeshares, which also means a pool and hottub! We have spent a few afternoons as their guests hanging out at the pool, and hitting the Friday happy Hour. There are advantages to being at a marina!

Marina Mazatlan, where we are docked is a nice place to stay. They do quite a bit to support the cruisers community. They facilitate many services like laundry, bottled water, propane, a veggie truck comes several times a week. The cruisers also organize events, DVD swap, swap meet, HAM radio exams, Spanish lessons, yoga, etc… There is quite a bit going on to keep people busy.

Long update, check out the new pictures (Cabo, Mazatlan) and the video(some are quite large).