We staked a spot out front on the Cameron Sabalo to watch the marathoners run past. Our little drum got a good workout as we did our best to encourage the runners. Lots of people walking by got a kick out of the dogs and us gringos making noise. We were watching the stragglers heading north and were waiting for the leaders to come roaring back from the turn around point. A full on salsa band was busting out rhythms at a hotel a few doors down and soon the elite runners came flying past. We waited around until the first woman came past then decided to take advantage of the main road being closed to traffic to ride our bikes down past the malecon.
Normally this road is too gnarly to ride on with the narrow lanes, heavy traffic and cars illegally parked blocking the sides. We did a long ride down to the malecon then over to the south side of Mazatlan where the cliff divers jump off of the rock tower. The Gran Pacific marathon is a major event for Mazatlan and there were lots of bands and entertainment along the route.
We rode past the beach where the fisherman go in and out. They had stalls set up selling their catch and men were working on their boats and mending their nets. Some boys were bringing in small fish with their hand nets and adding them to the day’s fare.
The policeman I asked earlier said the road would be closed until 1:00pm, but when we got back down to the north end of the malecon, we noticed that they were already opening the road back towards the RV park. We blasted through the traffic hammering hard to stay out of the way and to get home before the rest of Mazatlan realized the road was open and came filing up the potholed boulevard. Traffic was relatively light and we made it back unscathed stopping at an outdoor restaurant a few blocks away from our campsite.
We had a leisurely late breakfast and sucked down a couple of freshly squeezed lemonades to quench the thirst we built up on our ride. Nice afternoon people watching from our seats. The owner was a Mexican American from L.A., Temo and we talked a while about business and the current state of affairs with Mexico and the U.S.
Back at camp, it was time to unleash the hounds. We all went for a walk along the beach jumping in and out of the water as needed to keep our cool. The crowds have thinned quite a bit as the marathoners and weekend visitors start heading home. It was time for an afternoon nap, so we retired to the air conditioned coach and caught a few zzz’s.
Juan and his helper came by and rousted us at around 4:00. I closed up the awning and took off the ladder so they could wash and wax Lexi. I went back in to research our next stops and we relaxed in cool comfort while the motorhome got a thorough scrubbing. The sun was setting as the hombres finished their work. The RV looks new, shining like a diamond.
We walked the dogs around the camp again, then closed them up in their oversized rolling doghouse as we left for the centro. We flagged down a pulmonia, one of Mazatlan’s famous open air taxis, out front and rode the 6 miles or so to the old downtown area with the breeze in our hair. We had a blast cruising along the malecon and checking out all of the people walking around. Our driver was a fugitive from L.A. whose return to Mazatlan was encouraged by legal problems back in the states. He dropped us at the Plazuela Machado and took a picture of us, carefully avoiding getting photographed himself.
We walked around the plaza, a beautiful outdoor area surrounded by colonial buildings with balconies and ornate architecture. Sidewalk cafes line the outside of the plaza offering a variety of foods and a front row view of the activities going on in the plaza. Vendors have areas set up for selling their wares from tables spread around the garden in the center. Mostly jewelry and trinkets. We sat on a bench to relax and take in the mellow atmosphere. A short while later, I looked up and saw a couple that I recognized from reading their blog. In fact, their writing about the Plaza Machado was one of the main reasons we were there. Carol and Bill from the Golden Years. I said “hey, aren’t you the folks from Golden Years?” and they stopped and we had a nice conversation. They gave us a few more tips before returning to their bandstand front table to listen to a favorite guitarist playing for the crowd tonight in the prominent gazebo that is the centerpiece of the plaza.
We walked around a bit more then got a table at the Italian restaurant on the corner and ordered up a pair of pizzas. We sat on the sidewalk and watched as people came and went. Local families, young couples out for a romantic evening and tons of older gringos down for the winter. Our pizzas were awesome and they were way too much food to eat in one sitting. We took our time enjoying the magical atmosphere and listening to the live music floating through the air of the park.
After dinner, we did another stroll around the plaza having a second look at the goods laid out for sale then walked around the corner to the handmade ice cream shop and each got a cone. We found an open bench near some musicians playing 60s tunes and finished our ice cream before catching another pulmonia home. The plaza was just getting warmed up at 8:30 but we were tired from our twelve mile bike ride and getting too much sun. A good kind of tired from a day well lived.