Saturday, February 04, 2012

Mazatlan, Mexico Working Vacation - Part One

In the second half of January, my husband and I spent two weeks in Mazatlan, Mexico to break up the long winter in Breckenridge with some sun and sand. Our kids stayed with us the first week, and the second week, we were on our own. I took along some writing work, the galley of Wicked Eddies to proof and two ARCs that I'd agreed to review, but most of the time I was able to relax.

The photo below shows the building in the condominium complex where we stayed the first week, the El Cid Marina Spa & Beach Resort. The photo is taken from beside the large hot tub and across the pool and snack bar, which was called the Iguana Snack Bar.

The reason it was called the Iguana Snack Bar is that large iguanas hung out in the lawn next to the pool (to the left in the photo above), and here's a beauty giving us the eye.

One of the days the first week, we took a city tour, because my daughter had never been to Mazatlan. We drove along the beachside malacon (boardwalk), one of the world's longest at 21 kilometers. Beautiful sculptures are dispersed along the length, such as this one of sea lions below.

We stopped at a fish vendor's stand along the malecon to feed scraps to the sea birds circling overhead. Below is a photo of a sea bird snatching a scrap of fish off the end of a stick that I'm holding aloft. Can anyone identify the species?

Next stop was the shrimp market in old town, where I bought 1.5 kilos of huge shrimp to cook for our dinner. It was enough for two dinners for four, and it tasted delicious, almost like lobster. Yum! Mazatlan is well-known for its huge, delicious shrimp.

Our next stop on the tour was the central square downtown, where we poked our head in the central cathedral, shopped for candy and pastries, and strolled around the square.

On another day, we headed off into the countryside for a tour. We stopped at a small village to observe a small cheese-making factory (see below), an even smaller caramel candy factory, a farm for raising fighting cocks, a horse farm where we received a demonstration of some fancy hoof-work (horse dancing), and a leather-working shop.

Then came the highlight of the tour, the Los Osuna tequila factory. Their reposado (rested) sipping tequila won a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition. After you paid for your first shot of the reposado at their tasting patio, all subsequent tastes were free, and my family of four managed to down away sixteen of them (before lunch!). We bought three bottles to take home with us. Then we ate lunch at a small cafe and snoozed on the van ride back to Mazatlan. A great tour!

The rest of the week was spent sunning by the pool or on the beach and eating out at various restaurants, including Senor Frog's, where yes, we donned balloon hats. Below is a fun photo of the four of us behind the tequila tasting bar of the La Cascada Mexican restaurant, which served excellent food.

Tomorrow, I'll post some photos from our second week, when we stayed at the El Cid El Moro Beach Hotel without the kids.

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