Friday, May 19, 2000

Caught a local bus to the bus station about 7:45 a.m. and attempted to purchase tickets for the 9:00 bus to Mazatlan. At the ticket widow, the woman spoke way too much Spanish to us way too fast. We had no clue. The guy that worked with her sold us a ticket to Mazatlan and was very helpful. 212 pesos each. The bus was leaving 25 minutes late, which could possibly be what the first lady was telling us.

Gringos Matt and Geneva bought tickets for the same bus shortly after us. Geneva spoke fluent Spanish, and our helpful ticket man asked them to find us to make sure we got on the right bus. Then the helpful ticket man came out to the bus when it was time to leave and made sure we were on it - and this is a big, busy station. We must have seemed especially clueless to him, but it was very good of him to take care of us. Mexicans are good people.

We stopped to drop off passengers in El Salto, and a lady almost walked off with my bag by mistake! Jana spotted it in the trunk of a taxi, and I went flying off to rescue it. What could this lady possibly want with used socks that smelled THAT BAD? You've got to keep an eye on things at the stops! Always try to pick your seats on the starboard side of the bus since that is generally where the luggage is stashed. Peek out the window at the stops. Trust me, nobody in Mexico wants your dirty underwear, but in that heat they might claim it by mistake.

Dramatic vista along the legendary El Espinazo del Diablo

The scenery between Durango and Mazatlan was spectacular! Jana thinks this may be the best scenery yet. We saw a bunch of wildfires along the way. We worried a bit about the road being closed because of the fires, but we got through okay. We stopped at a tienda just on the south side of the Tropic of Cancer. Jana and I took a walk while the other passengers ate lunch.

¡El Fuego en la Montaña!

Arrived in Mazatlan just before 5:00 p.m. and opted to stay in Old Mazatlan rather than the tourist zone. We got a room at the Hotel Belmar, right across the street from the beach. The room was huge, with ocean view and balcony, 240 pesos a night! Possibly the best value this entire trip!

Hotel Belmar

We took a short walk on the beach before walking downtown and ate some enchiladas at a forgetable little place that evidently only sold cerveza to locals. A woman at another table entertained us by breast feeding her baby at the table.

Strolled over to the market after dinner, where I bought 1/4 kilo of pistachios for 20 pesos... mmm! The market had all the usual disgusting stuff, goat ankles and pigeon torsos and such, but there was also quite a selection of non-food items - Pikachu merchandise galore! hats, masks, pinatas, etcetera. Mexicans love Pokemon. Tweety is the second most popular character in Mexico. I hate Tweety. I hate Tweety more than ever after this trip.

A beautiful sunset from our hotel room balcony...

Continue to day 12.

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