Our Trip

How we decided to go, when we went, where we went, and what we thought... 

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 The Beginning

Nikki said, "I don't really want stuff for Christmas, I want to go somewhere." 

"You mean I don't have to buy anything for Christmas?"
Nice!  

From that point on, all we had to do was find somewhere to go and talk the rest of the family into going...

We decided to go to Mexico because it's relatively cheap, it's close, and everyone else has been there...besides, some of us speak Spanish.

But we had a problem agreeing on where in Mexico we wanted to go.  We knew that we didn't want to be locked up in some big resort, but we did want to go somewhere safe and easy to get around and explore.  Not having any previous knowledge of Mazatlan, we eventually decided to go there because it seemed like it fit all of our requirements: there were different outdoor activities, it was a small place, but there was enough English and tourist stuff that everyone felt like they would feel safe, and best of all, the pictures that we saw online made the place look very nice.

We went for the entire week during Christmas 2007.  We decided to stay at the Hotel La Siesta, by the beach and near downtown--far, far away from the Golden Zone of huge all-inclusive resorts.  

 Getting There

When we booked our flights in June, we were flying out of O'Hare International to Mexico City, then onward after a two-hour layover to the Mazatlan Airport.  

We drove from Northern Michigan to Chicago the day before and spent the night in Chicago.  We stayed at the Radisson and left our car there for the week. We took their shuttle to the airport.  It was very nice, not having to use airport parking.  We just woke up the next morning and got dropped off in front of the airport.  

Of course, this being O'Hare in  December, we had some sweet delays, so of course we got to sit there in the boarding area for hours.  I, the only person who knows Spanish, listened enviously as the little Mexican kids switched easily from English to Spanish without even a pause.  

Our flight there was very nice.  They served free food and drinks (so much better than American airlines!).  

Then the problems started when we got to Mexico City.  We were coming in at night and because of the delays, we thought we might miss our connecting flight. 

Then we got to customs.  The line was amazingly long--it stretched forever and then some.  Our connecting flight was due to leave in ten minutes.  

Great.  The best part about this was that there were like six+ counters for customs officials, but only two were open.  That, of course, made the line go so much faster...

Needless to say, we missed our flight.  Wandering around a strange, busy airport at eleven at night, our trip was already starting to feel a little stale.  And no one we tried to talk to seemed to know anything.  Nobody spoke any level of English, and although I was doing my best to explain my situation in Spanish, the Mexican accent was proving impossible for me to understand.  

(At this point, I was secretly hoping we would get to spend the night in the airport.  I haven't got to try that yet.) 

Then we found a nice lady from AeroMexico who helped us get new tickets for early the next morning, a free hotel room for the night, and shuttle rides.  

We found out one thing from that little excursion: people in Mexico City drive like maniacs!  Our ride to the hotel was terrifying and fun.  Too bad we were too tired to appreciate it.  

The rest of our travel went off without a hitch and we arrived in Mazatlan the next day.  

The Vacation 

We didn't do a whole lot for the entire vacation.  We tried a bunch of different restaurants, walked around downtown, went shopping, watched the cliff divers, took photographs, ate more food, climbed the El Faro Lighthouse hill, and that was about it.  We spent a lot of time just hanging out on the balcony or downtown at a restaurant.  

Nonetheless, it was fun and quite relaxing.  Isn't that the poing of going on vacation?  

One day we trekked into the Golden Zone and checked out the mall and Sam's Club. 

The mall was interesting. Things were even more expensive than they are in America; for instance, we found Levi jeans --that cost eighty+ dollars a pair, minimum.  Stores sold the same things they do here, in Spanish.  There was a nice bookstore that I wanted to check out further, but everyone wanted to get to Sam's Club. 

So we trekked across the road to Sam's Club.  We couldn't find a phone card, but we found a big soft-sided cooler that turned out to be one of the best purchases of our trip.  During our stay, we filled it up with ice and kept drinks and any food that we bought cold.  

Then when we came home, we just threw our dirty clothes in it and had the equivalent of another suitcase to pack souvenirs in!  

I highly recommend doing something like this, especially if you want to have cold drinks in your room for whenever you need them.  This way, you can also keep leftovers from restaurants good longer--and if you wake up in the middle of night, starving ,you have something to chow on for a midnight snack.  

The beach across from the hotel was nice.  I picked up a lot of beach glass to be made into a mosaic, if I ever get the time.  I love the ocean and it was amazing to be able to hear it crashing across the road from me whenever I wanted.  I went out one day to go swimming.

The waves (this is more of a surfing beach) curled a good four feet in front of me.  As I waded in I was definitely feeling the shock of the cold water, and my feet were numb before the water got to my knees.  It stayed shallow for a good seventy five feet.  As I waded out I could feel the undertow sucking me toward the horizon as the waves pushed me back toward the shore.  I stood there in the brilliant sparkling flying foam and forgot about everything but feeling the rhythm of the waves and staying on my feet.  

The cold was exhilarating and refreshing and felt like it was sucking the life out of me.  I loved it.  After awhile I was so numb I couldn't feel much of anything but the fresh tingling of the enormous waves as they pounded over my head.  

I stood there and fought the waves for a long time, feeling the rush and surge of the waves like some kind of monstrous cold blood flow, feeling fresh and clean and strong for being able to fight those waves and stand on my own feet, not getting swept away.  

Then I felt something slimy, and it felt like it was moving fast.  I decided to do the same thing and booked it out of the water before I could get stung by a stingray or eaten by a shark or some other nasty thing.  

So much for swimming in the ocean.  This makes the very first time that I have swum in the Pacific, but hopefully not the last. 

"Wow.  way to be melodramatic about it.  You just went and stood in the water for ten minutes.  What's so amazing about that?"

 


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