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Published: November 13th 2014
On Monday, after a great afternoon and evening spent with family, we checked into an airport hotel...and awoke Tuesday morning at 4:30am to leave for Mazatlan...
We got to our hotel here in old Mazatlan around 2 pm, and unpacked and napped. We were awoken by music blasting from a car; not unexpected since there is a cruising street between us and the beach... We decided to walk down to the beach and then along the malecon, which stretches for 21 kilometers and is the longest in the world! I took a quick dip, but couldn't swim since the waves were really big this afternoon....
We decided to eat in the restaurant attached to our hotel (built in 1956 and dedicated to Jack Kerouac) and found out they host karaoke on Tuesday night...A strange scene, watching ex-pats of various ages sing American pop and country, with cars and tourist police cruising by and waves crashing across the street. The singers all knew each other, and some introduced themselves to us. One group was from Spanaway and another from Tacoma...
It was really noisy when we went to bed...but it got very quiet by 11:00pm or so, and we
slept to sound of crashing waves.
On Wednesday, I woke up at 6:00am, since it was light out and traffic was beginning to stir. My headache was gone after a goodnight's sleep and the cold I'm fighting still hadn't won! I ran down the malecon to main beach (about 25 minutes from our hotel) and then ran the beach for awhile. On the way there, I managed to trip and fall...too much looking around! No injuries but my pride and a slightly bruised hand.
We breakfasted at a great little cafe (the Allegro) and then shopped for the things we couldn't carry on the plane. In the main market, we were aggressively approached by salespeople, with one woman even grabbing my arm and holding on. We had the same experience at the airport as we walked to our taxi....this has never
happened to us in Mexico before...sad. I blame it on the bad economy and the cruise ships influx here...
Tonight we walked back to center of Old Mazatlan for dinner, and stopped at an artist's coop. It turned out to be a great idea, since the woman who runs the coop gave us many restaurant suggestions,
including her daughter's gelato place across the street! Some background for Mazatlan:
In pre-Hispanic times Mazatlán (which means 'place of deer' in Náhuatl) was populated by Totorames, who lived by hunting, gathering, fishing and agriculture. A group of 25 Spaniards led by Nuño de Guzmán officially founded a settlement here on Easter Sunday in 1531, but almost three centuries elapsed before a permanent colony was established in the early 1820s.
The port was blockaded by US forces in 1847, and by the French in 1864, but Mazatlán was little more than a fishing village for the next 80 years. 'Old' Mazatlán, the traditional town center, dates from the 19th century.
Mazatlán doesn't follow the traditional Spanish city layout, dominated by a central Plaza Mayor with a church and city hall. Mazatlán had its first church built as late as 1842. Before that, Adolph Riensch in 1839 writes; "on Saturdays we used to party until dawn at local houses with inner patios and early on Sunday celebrate Mass at the same place."
Tourists started coming in the 1930s, mainly for fishing and hunting, and some hotels appeared along Playa Olas Altas, Mazatlán's first tourist beach, in the 1950s.
Actors John Barrymore, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Yul Bryner and Tyrone Power were among the artists visiting Mazatlán.
The 1900's saw Mazatlan as a working port and agricultural shipment point by both ship and train. The fishing industry began to boom and only the war years of 1910-1920 saw the industry take a drop off..
From the 1970s onward, a long strip of modern hotels and tourist facilities has spread north along the coast.
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