Sunday, December 16, 2012

Going to Mazatlan!!

Friday, December 14th.

Tom and I both worked a full today, then went home put the finishing touches on our packing, loaded up the Mazda and drove up to Portland.  We spent the night at my favorite pre-flight hotel, the airport Hampton Inn (big, fluffy pillowtop mattresses!), with a wake-up call at 2:45 am to catch our 5:30 am flight to Mexico.  Tucker chose not to come with us on this trip and will be staying home in rainy, chilly Oregon, while we are in sunny, warm Mexico.  He just got in from Las Vegas this morning and is ready to hang out with his Oregon buddies.  He did ride up to Portland with us, however, so that we don't have to pay for long term parking.  This ride also gave us a chance to catch up with what's been going on with him over the past couple of months.  He seems to be enjoying his time at Kairos in Las Vegas, although he has come to the conclusion that he is not totally in tune with their philosophy of ministry there.  I think he will finish the year out there, then end up coming back home to Oregon.

Once in the hotel room, Tom turned on the TV (of course) to catch a basketball game.  I turned in pretty early knowing that 2:45 a.m. would be arriving WAY too soon!!

Mazatlan, here we come!!

Saturday, December 15th

We have arrived, safe and sound without any glitches in our flights.  Our layover was in Phoenix and was very, very short.  Tom was hungry and went in search of food.  While he did this, we discovered that we needed to show our passports and boarding passes at the gate before boarding.  Joe, Megan and I stepped up to the customer service desk to do so and we were treated to an upgrade to FIRST CLASS seats for the flight from Phoenix to Mazatlan, at no additional charge.  HOW SWEET IS THAT???   Unfortunately, there were only 3 first class seats available and Tom wasn't with us so he missed out.  Sorry, honey, better luck next time.

Upon arrival in Mazatlan, we were shuffled through customs where they checked our immigration documents and actually stamped our passports!!  This will be the third time we have used our passports (first time was for our Disney Cruise to the Bahamas, the second time was our road trip to Canada), but the first time they have actually been stamped.  While waiting for our luggage to come off the plane, there was a man with what we decided was a drug-sniffing dog wandering amongst all of us allowing the dog to sniff all of our carry-on bags.  Once the bags started going around on the luggage carousel,  the dog just climbed right up on the carousel and on top of the bags to continue his sniffing.  It was very interesting to watch, and fortunately, it appeared that the dog found nothing of interest.

We then had to put our bags through an x-ray machine upon leaving the luggage pick up area.  There was a young woman seated behind the screen to view what was being x-rayed as it passed through the machine, but she was busy texting on her phone and didn't appear to look at the screen even once while we were observing her.

While on the plane I overheard a young man in the row in front of me, who has been here many times, telling someone in the row in front of him to stay away from the people inside the airport offering free taxi rides.  While there is no money required for the taxi rides these folks offer, if you accept their generosity, you are obligated to listen to a time share/resort spiel, so, unless one is willing to commit some of one's valuable vacation time to such a presentation, these folks are to be avoided.  I mentioned this to Tom as we were going through customs, but he almost fell prey to it anyway.  We did escape, however, without making any such mistake and paid the $35 for a cab to our destination resort, Torres Mazatlan.

We attempted some conversation with our cab driver, but quickly figured out that he did not speak much English, so we mostly just conversed amongst ourselves on the 30 minute drive from the airport to the resort.  The ride took us through some areas that were very much what I had pictured in my mind about much of Mexico.  Poverty, graffiti, lots of people out and about everywhere.  But there is also a lot of beauty, too.  Murals painted on walls that line the road.  Lovely flowering plants, trees and bushes.  And the taxi ride, itself......Wow!!  Taxi drivers all seem to be very similar wherever one goes. They drive fast, they change lanes like crazy and seems to have no patience.  It seemed to me that there were no real "lanes" marked in the road as there are back in the states and people on motorcycles just drive in between cars, creating their own lane.  Tom even saw a family of THREE on a motorcycle, kid  in the very front, Dad, driving,  behind the child and Mom in the rear.   YIKES!!!!

The cab driver does, however, deliver us safely to our condo, where we are able to check in and move into the room, despite being a bit earlier than the 4 pm check in time.  We are very pleased with the condo.  Two nice, spacious bedrooms, one with 2 double beds in it that Megan and Joe will share, then the master for Tom and I.  There is a deck off of the living room as well as one off of the master bedroom, and both overlook the ocean.  Beautiful.  The weather, while quite windy, is what I consider to be nearly perfect.  It feels like it is right around 80 degrees and the humidity is much lower than a typical summer day in Indiana.  We wander around the resort a bit, check out the Christmas decorations (it is just so weird to see Christmas decorations in a warm, tropical place!), the pool (which has nice warm water) and the beach.  We were all a bit surprised that there are many local vendors selling their wares down on the beach, although, once I give it some thought, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all.  One gentleman selling hats also had an interesting mask for sale that Joe decided he MUST try on.

This mask reminds me Chewbacca, the Wookie, in the Star Wars movies, although I do think that Joe looks quite remarkable in it!  Joe is seriously considering buying this thing to use in some secret rituals at his fraternity at Oregon State University.  Whatever floats your boat, I guess!

Since none of us, but Tom, has eaten anything since breakfast, we decide that it is time to have our first authentic Mexican meal.  Well, all of us but Megan, who chose to have chicken strips, which she said tasted like fish.  Sorry, Megan.  Tom, Joe and I also decided to have authentic Mexican beer and each ordered a Corona.  We sat outside, nearly on the beach and listened to the ocean while we filled our tummies.
This is the life!

Once back in the room, Joe and I both decided that it was nap time and off to the bedrooms we went to catch a little sleep.  While we were napping, Tom and Megan went down to the beach and took a little walk and a few sunset photos.
We then all settled in for the rest of the evening to rest up for the rest of our trip.  We plan on heading into town for a while tomorrow for some shopping.  So, for now, Buenas Noches!

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