12/07/2007

December in Mazatlan

We've only been here since September, but we feel like we are home. I had no idea that it would be this easy to settle in and feel comfortable.

A few things to share:

  • It's wonderful to live in sandals! My feet have never been happier!

  • I had worried a bit about how I would find enough reading material. I'm glad to say there is a used bookstore, several places to swap books and an English library. I have successfully ordered from Amate Books, a Mexican bookstore that had English language books, and am waiting for my first order from Amazon.

  • We have met so many nice people! Our frustration with our Mexican acquaintances is that we're not fluent enough to have a meaningful conversation. There's a nice man across the street who sits outside with his dog all day who someday we hope to get to really talk with. Everyone in the neighborhood stops and talks with him as they go by, and he's always smiling when we greet each other. There's the lady who loves our dog Henry and runs out to pet him when we're on our walks in the morning. There are lots of gringos, too, who are becoming friends poco y poco. The social atmosphere, the relaxed lifestyle, and the wonderful weather I think combine to make this place just about perfect.

  • Everyone we've had here working on the house have been such talented workers. I am really impressed by the way they work - five and a half long days a week. They are proud of their work and are pleased at our appreciation of their talents. Here again we are frustrated by our remedial Spanish but they can tell even if we can't always express ourselves how happy we are with their contribution to our home.

  • I had thought there would be less variation in the weather than there is. But every day is a little bit different. When we first got here it was plenty hot and soggy. We learned from the locals to take a washcloth with us to mop ourselves and we didn't worry about it if our shirts were a little (or a lot) wet. When we would come out of the air conditioned bedroom in the morning it was like being hit with the heat from an open oven door (but wet) but ten minutes later we had adjusted. Now it is cooler in the day, and at night we sleep with the windows open.

  • I'd thought that there would be way more noise. We do have the odd barking dog here and there and the various singing gas trucks, but overall it is way quieter than I expected. We do hear the bells from the school down the street, and sometimes announcements or singing. There is something I haven't tracked down yet, though - an irregular beeping like a freight lift at Home Depot. But single beeps.

  • Driving is an activity here - you can't drive and do anything else. Sometimes I can't even have the radio on! People are polite but not patient. You need to be able to flow into traffic and predict what people will do by watching. You need to be prepared for the unexpected - like someone swooping around you on the right to turn left - and also for scooters and motorcycles that are everywhere. I drive around just fine, but try not to go anywhere that I'll have to parallel park. I am no good at it when there is a lineup of 10 cars behind me, crowding me and honking.

  • Many systems are way better here than they were in the US. Our internet (DSL) is great, fast and way more reliable than our DSL in the US. They collect the garbage 3 times a week, and no huge garbage cans and hassles. Just put your bag or bags at the curb and they'll pick them up. There is only minimal recycling here - and you have to take it to the place...so I just separate all our cans and newspaper and put them out with the trash separately. They are always gone before the trash is picked up, so I know they are helping some enterprising person. All our bills are delivered in person and just slid inside our front gate. When the mailman has a delivery for you he stands outside and blows his whistle. There are cleaning people that cover all areas of the city, and they sweep the streets every day.

  • The food situation is improving for me. We're making fruit smoothies almost every day. We've found excellent bread and tortillas. With workers here all day we have been eating both breakfast and lunch at home and going out for dinner. There are a number of place with excellent salads and last night, amazingly, I had a soy burger.

  • I need to buy more clothes. Shorts and loose blouses. Most days it is just too warm for anything close fitted, like a tee shirt. I do wear skirts sometimes and once in a while in the evening, pants. I've heard of a talented seamstress and I might have her reproduce some of my favorites someday soon.
So, as you can tell we are settling in and happy. Mazatlan is a wonderful place and we tell each other every day how glad we are to be here.

9 comments:

Cynthia Johnson & Mike Nickell said...

Hi Nancy - what a nice summarization of your new life! I especially like reading about the weather. It is sunny, cool and crisp in Seattle today. I hope I can adjust to the heat and humidity in Mexico!

bloglogger said...

Hi Nancy... It's me again. I just read your latest posting at your blog and I'm delighted. Reading descriptions of daily routines written by foreign people gives me a particular insight. We grow up so accustomed to our environment that we do not pay attention to it until someone does some remarks about his/her everday activities. As I told you before I've lived in Mazatlan all my life but you surprise me once in a while by telling me the things you see the way you see them. It's amazing. I want to ask you a favor. Why don't you explain, in your own words,what problems have you encountered while strolling around as a pedestrian? Have you realized that people wait for cars to pass instead of the other way around? In Mazatlan everybody waits until cars pass by to try to walk to the other side. That's one of the reason why you can jay walk anywhere if you are patient enough. No fines from police officers for this. Just remember you are in Mexico and things happen differently. Thanks in advance for your comment on it.

Nancy said...

Cynthia & Mike - You'll adjust just fine, I'm sure. What month are you planning on heading down? We arrived in September and had about a month of hot before the weather broke. It as great to experience some of the heat so we know what's coming and also know that we can take it.

Bloglogger - It's funny, we haven't experienced any problems with walking here...once you realize that cars have the right of way, not people. It actually makes sense considering that there is so much going on traffic-wise it would be too hard for drivers to also have to yield to pedestrians. I sometimes use pedestrians as a gauge for when it's safe for me to cross the street in my car...for when they start out I know it's ok for me to go even if I can't really see!

Cynthia Johnson & Mike Nickell said...

We plan to put our house on the market mid-February and if it sells quickly we hope to drive down in early April.

We're not sure where we'll end up - it will depend on where we get jobs teaching English, but we are very interested in Guaymas. I need to ask Brenda how last April-May was as far as the heat and humidy went - and then be sure to keep us all well hydrated, including our doggie, Sitka.

CancunCanuck said...

Great post, glad you are settling in. Life in Mexico is a challenge, but one well worth the effort.

For Cynthia and Mike..... www.harmonhall.com Harmon Hall is the oldest company teaching English in Mexico. Over 100 locations all over the country, they've been operating for over 40 years, check them out, I am pretty sure they have a school in Mazatlan. The other big "national" English school is Interlingua. You will make more money at a school that is only meant to teach English than you will in the public school system (or even a private school). Good luck!

Sans said...

I will send you an official invite later, but if you have nothing to do, we are planning a casual Christmas Eve party. Details to follow!

Tom said...

Everything seems to be falling into place for you guys. I'm so glad. Honestly I thought there would be some culture shock, but You are adapting beautifully.

This gives hope to the rest of us.

Nancy said...

Sans, Christmas Eve sounds wonderful, we look forward to it! And meeting you, of course!

Tom, yes it is amazing how well we are settling in - we just love it here like crazy. Where do you live now and where are you planning to move? Your blogger profile gives no hint!

Nancy

wayne said...

The love you have for your new home and city comes through in every post. You make it all sound so wonderful! Another hot weather tip I have learned from the locals: apply baby powder anyplace you sweat. (you decide where this should be! LOL!) It works to obsorb the sweat and keeps you dry. Could that single beep be a truck backing up? I had to drive around Matzatlan this summer and it was no picnic on that busy malecon street! Keep posting please!