Wednesday, February 13, 2013

El Quelite

El Quelite (which translates as among other things, amaranth, which we saw growing in the fields beside the road on the way up there) is a colonial town about 45 minutes northeast of Mazatlán. Our friends Cliff and Lynne on s/v Taya have recently acquired a car, and the four of us went up there for a day trip yesterday.

It's a very pretty little town:

Several of the houses had cactus growing out of their tile roofs. I have no idea how cactus manages to get a toehold on tile, but apparently it can.

This little store had a lot of very nice handicrafts - of course we have nowhere to put that sort of thing on the boat, but it was fun to look. They also sell corn ("comida para gallos" on the white notice posted on the wall)

Outside of the store, we saw these guys riding by.


Later, they posed for us with some friends.


There's a pretty little church

which had some lovely painted carvings inside

Judging from the number of ribbons on this guy there must be a rather large Lebanese-Mexican population in El Quelite. The statue is St. Charbel. The ribbons are expressions of gratitude and prayer requests, which the google tells me is a tradition with Lebanese origins.

 We had an excellent (and very large) lunch at El Meson de los Laureanos. The restaurant has a very pretty courtyard,

 which had a mural of the street in front of the restuarant on one wall

We walked around town a bit after lunch. There were a lot of chickens in the riverbed beside the restaurant and in various places around the town

 including some really spectacular looking roosters

There were also a few turkeys. 

The cybercafe:

I don't know what kind of cactus this is - isn't it odd looking?

As we were headed out of town, we saw a tree with what looked like very small oranges on it. Lynne got out of the car to ask what they were, and the guy whose house it was insisted on picking a big bag of them and giving them to us. He wouldn't take any money for them - Lynne finally convinced him to take 10 pesos for the bag he put them in. They were some sort of sour orange - the man told us that they'd make really good agua fresca. I juiced a few and mixed the juice with seltzer, sugar and vodka for a sour orange screwdriver. It was delicious.

Across the street from the orange tree I saw these downspouts - notice the iguanas?

It was a lovely day, and we're so glad Cliff and Lynne invited us to come with them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carnaval - La Lanterna Magica

We've been to Carnaval before in La Paz. But Mazatlán's is the third biggest (or second biggest, if you don't count New Orleans' Mardi Gras) in the world (the biggest is, or course, in Rio). 

We went to the fireworks in Olas Altas on Saturday night - unfortunately, it was so crowded that there was no way to set up a tripod, and thus I have no pictures. Next time, we'll rent a hotel room - they were all sold out by the time I thought to.

Sunday night was the first of two parades. It was spectacular. We purchased tickets for the bleachers at the Hotel Aguamarina,, and they were WEP. They had a very good buffet lunch before (I imagine because otherwise you'd be sitting around with nothing to do - the traffic gets so bad that trying to get to the parade area would be  nightmare within a few hours of the parade) I'll let the pictures tell the rest. (Click on a picture to enbiggen)

The crowd about four hours before the parade started

Edward Scissorhands

These light-up hair bows were very popular - no, I didn't buy one

Nice glasses!

Sunset before the parade

The crowd. The parade route is about five miles long, and it's packed the whole way

The floats were almost all movie themed.

King Tut

More King Tut - I don't remember a movie about this... maybe Raiders of the Lost Ark?

A Carnaval Queen riding the King Tut float

Another Queen - the gowns are really spectacular

Yet another Queen

Ben Hur

Ben Hur

Ben Hur


Mary Poppins




Don Quixote



 Every so often, there would be a group that didn't appear to have anything to do with a float, like this figure on stilts. He was really dancing on those things - he must have been exhausted by the end of the parade:


The Toy Story float

Mr. Potato Head from the Toy Story float

Princess Leia from Star Wars and an At At

Darth Vader and Chewbacca



Dancing Stormtroopers


The Three Musketeers

Dancers with the Three Musketeers float

The Three Musketeers and their band

Jurassic Park

The Wild One

 For this year's Carnaval, there were some dancers from the Carnaval in Brazil. They (and their tiny costumes) were spectacular.

The Brazilians' band

The band's float




 Carnaval was a fantastic experience - I'm so glad we had to stay in Mazatlán to wait for the renewal of our residency cards!