Monday, April 20, 2009

corny as sinaloa in april

I feel as if I have just met Dorothy and Yosemite Sam. Perhaps, we could title it: The Grizzled of Oz.

And why the arcane entertainment references? All will be revealed.

This was the first day we allowed ourselves a relaxing day. We slept in until 7 and then had a nice slow breakfast before we took a quick tour of Guaymas. “Quick” because our next goal (Mazatlan) was over 500 miles south.

The Guaymas waterfront was our first glimpse of the Pacific. We wandered around the plaza. Jiggs attempted to make friends with far many more people than wanted to make friends with him. But like the girl left sitting alone at the prom, he remained hopeful that one day everyone would like him.

We were then on our way south. I have not yet mentioned my impression of the cuotas: Mexico’s toll roads. They are in better shape than almost all of the roads I have driven in the States for the last decade. And they are almost free of traffic – with some very obvious sections that carry the bulk of local traffic.

On Sunday, the cuotas took us through an amazing change in climate and topography. We started in Guaymas with the typical Sonora desert. But that soon changed south of Guaymas. The brush was thicker along the road and there were fewer (but flowering) cacti. We even saw toll way traffic stop to allow genuine cowboys to herd cattle from one field to another.

Then, somewhere in Sinaloa, fields of corn appeared – stretching from horizon to horizon – more corn than I have ever seen in Kansas or South Dakota. Of course, corn is a major staple crop in Mexico. If it had not been for the mountains in the distance, I would have expected Margaret Hamilton to ride by on her way to see the sheriff.

Because we took quite a few breaks from driving during the day (for the sake of all three boys), we were pushing our luck on getting to Mazatlan before the sun went down on us.

To hear old Mexican hands tell it, vampires and werewolves (or worse) lurk in the dark looking for unwary night travelers. Well, we did not get to Mazatlan by sundown, but we finished the drive unscathed.

We checked into the Hotel del Sol in the mistaken impression that it had a pro-dog policy and free internet. Neither was true. But Jiggs got in – even though I did not get to the internet until Monday morning.

We managed to fit in a late big dinner at Roca Mar restaurant. I had jumbo shrimp. Darrel had a great beef dish called Moleajete. His was the far better choice. For 400 pesos, we could have done far better. Our entrees in Guaymas were better, and a quarter of the price.

For those of you who have been worried about our safety in Mexico, I can assure you we have been in no gun fights, we have discovered no severed heads, and drug lords have not recruited us for their nefarious ends.But, just to prove that Mexico can be every bit as colorful as Portland or Boston, a young man approached Darrel as we were leaving an Oxxo store (similar to a 7-11), and asked Darrel if he was interested in buying some coke. He apparently did not see that we already had sodas.

Why would anyone believe that two upper middle aged (and I am being kind with that description) men would be interested in recreational drugs is beyond me. I suspect the young man was either fishing in the wrong pond – or (well, I guess the possibilities are almost limitless – fill in your own).

Most likely, nothing that exciting will enliven the remainder of our trip. If all goes well, we should be meeting with at least one more fellow blogger.

Monday, we will leave both Yosemite Sam and Dorothy behind as we enter the more tropical regions of Mexico.


Anonymous said...

For all of us dog lovers, please, a picture of Mr. Jiggs on the road.

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- good idea.

Calypso said...

I haven't been offered drugs in Mexico since the 60's. And I have a ponytail and beard - maybe it was the SAIF shirt - a dead give away that you need something ;-)

I had many problems dealing with SAIF - but we will save that for another time.

Have fun Amigo!

Nancy said...

It sounds like you are having a nice trip, sorry we missed you.

Billie said...

Ahh....the adventure has truly begun.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I am enjoying every word and picture. Thankyou for sharing. Your happiness is contagious.

Babs said...

Oh my gosh, the encounter with the kid and your sentence about you already having sodas made me laugh out loud. It reminds me of the cries of "gangee" (or however you spell that) when I was in Jamaica. I had the same feeling - why in the world would they approach me?
I'm So glad you're safe and south of Mazatlan.......

glorv1 said...

I agree with anonymous. I miss Jiggs already. At least I knew he was in the US nice and comfy. Now he is on the road and probably pretty beat by now. As I said before, as long as he is with you, he will be fine. I wish I had a picture of Mr. Jiggs. He truly is a travelling hero. You need to write a story about jiggs and his life with you someday when you retire. Oh you are retired.:D Take care Steve, you and your brother and of course Mr. Professor Jiggs.

Felipe said...

I´ve lived in Mexico almost a decade and nobody has ever offered me drugs. Not even once.

Islagringo said...

I think if you check your atlas, you will discover that the beautiful water you were seeing in Guaymas was the Sea of Cortez. You didn't actually encounter the Pacific until you approached Mazatlan. Fun to read of your adventures though. Hope you enjoyed the sodas! LOL!

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- I had forgotten my apparel choice. You can take the boy out of the job, but you can't take the job out of the boy.

Nancy -- See you next round.

Billie -- It has indeed.

Corrine -- It is a pleasure to share with those who enjoy.

Babs -- And we are having the times of our lives -- even Jiggs.

Gloria -- Jiggs agrees with you. He needs his own blog. But you will see him soon.

Felipe -- Maybe you look like a narc. We look like gringo grapes ready for squeezing.

Islandgringo -- And, you are correct, of course. For me it was either water or desert, and I opted for the first name that popped into mind.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Grapes ready for squeezing, indeed. There's no way you should have paid $400 for two people in that place. Maybe $125 since it's on the malecon, but it's hardly an up scale kind of place. You need to start checking the bill before you pay it. A good habit to form wherever you go here.

As for the drug offer, the largest motorcycle rally in Latin America just ended here. Were you wearing a leather jacket? Ha!


Anonymous said...


i'm so glad that your trip is going so well, so exciting, so safely!!! i am living vicariously through you so keep up the great writing. can't wait for the next installment. a pat on the head for jiggs, hello to your brother and a great big bear hug for you.


Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- I suspect we will be picked over well before this trip is over. I was merely happy to have Jiggs in an establishment. Sorry we missed you.

Teresa -- Thank you for all the kind comments. I thought of you today during our visit to Chacala.

1st Mate said...

Hi, Steve - I'm glad to hear you got to see a little more of Guaymas, and the waterfront.

The Capt is still in Barra de Navidad and is asking when you might get to Melaque - I think he wants to meet you! Sort of a blogger-mate/blogger meet-up.

Steve Cotton said...

1st Mate -- We will be in Melaque Thursday afternoon if all goes well.

Anonymous said...

Hola Steve,

Given your admitted beginner's stage of Spanish, are you sure he offered you coke? LOL.... sorry... couldn't resist.

So did you see any other crops in Sinaloa? Supposedly it's famous for its marijuana crop too. Perhaps hidden among the corn.

And I have to agree with you on the cuotas, though given the arm and a leg they charge (even by US standards), they'd darn well better be nice.

But having a burro-free highway is priceless.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where not only do they charge us to use the highway, but they make us wait 45 minutes to pay the darned toll!

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- And then there is the disparity of wealth issue. I felt as if I was driving on the Luxury Car Highway -- what with all of the BMWs and Escalades.