Follow your own path.

Mexiquillo Natural Park, State of Durango, Mexico

Our last day in Mazatlan was…I’m not sure how to describe it.  It ended with Jorge saving a boy from drowning. 

We were at the beach, and I had just left Jorge and PJ to walk to the truck.  Shortly after I arrived at the truck I saw Jorge and PJ sprinting down the beach toward me.  I immediately knew something was wrong.  He told me someone was drowning in the ocean.  He grabbed his life vest and fins, and told me to put PJ in the truck.  I said I would go and help him.  He said to grab my life vest. 

He got in the water before me.  As I ran to the ocean to follow him, all the people on the beach were standing and watching.  The waves were large and the person struggling was quite far out.  I couldn’t catch up to Jorge, but I continued to follow behind him.  It turned out to be a boy around 15 years old.  When Jorge got close the kid was yelling for help.  I was really impressed when I saw Jorge grab the kid, turn him around and wrap one arm around him so he could drag him face up.  I was impressed because Jorge didn’t learn to swim until he was an adult, and seemed to handle the kid perfectly. I eventually got to them and gave the kid my life vest.  I looked at him and he had the strangest look on his face.  He eyes were completely blank, and he looked like he didn’t know where he was.  We got into some big waves, where Jorge couldn’t drag the kid.  Each time a big wave came we would all go under, and Jorge and I were sort of taking turns pulling the kid up and keeping him above water. I was scared for the kid, because it looked like he wasn’t able to catch his breath between the waves.

We found ourselves in a rip current.  As hard as we tried, we were having a really hard time moving toward the beach.  We were just trying to keep the kid afloat.  We kept attempting to move toward shore, but didn’t make much progress.   After a while a surfer came to help, and it was like he showed up from heaven.  The kid was able to hang onto the board.  Eventually a life guard got to us and with the help of the surfboard, they were able paddle the kid to shore.  Jorge headed back to shore and I followed him, but I was having a hard time swimming against the current.  I knew to relax, and swim parallel in a rip current.  

When Jorge got to the beach he started screaming like crazy at me to come back to the beach.  I screamed back that I was fine.  I was just trying to relax, take my time and conserve my energy.  He just kept screaming, so I assumed he didn’t hear me.  I asked him later why he kept screaming, but he didn’t say.  I think he was worried I was too confident, and I wouldn’t make it back.

Eventually I made it to shore.  The kid, surfer and lifeguard got to shore after me.  Shortly after the incident, the kid came to me to return my life vest.  He said thank you, and the poor kid was crying.  I found out later that he was swimming with two friends.  They got separated in the water.  One ended up getting pushed on the rocks near shore, and the other apparently made it back to shore on his own.

So aside from that, Mazatlan was really great.  Although I loved it, I probably wouldn’t return because I’d rather go someplace else I haven’t been before.

We were very happy with the RV Park we found - Mar-a-Villas RV Park.  The park is right off the main street, but you can barely see the entrance.  I shocked we even found it, the sign was covered by trees.  You drive through a gate on a sandy road, and enter an unexpected tropical setting nestled between large hotels and condos.  There were lots of palm trees and tall bamboo growing around the park, making it feel very private. The RV spaces were on the sand, and each one had a concrete patio.  The RV spaces were separated by tall bamboo.  It was located on a beautiful and almost deserted beach.  They offered hookups and hot showers for $17 a day.  We decided to stay two weeks.  Since it’s the hot season, the RV park was completely empty.  We were the only people there the entire two weeks.  Photos of RV park below.

Mazatlan has a million things to do, and most are free or very inexpensive.  I made a couple observations from my two weeks here….

The cops drive around with their flashing lights on all the time.  The first time a cop got behind us I thought we were being pulled over.  Most visitors I saw around Mazatlan were 35 years and older.  For some reason I thought there would be college kids partying here, like in Cancun.  There are very large reptiles everywhere.  Some look very exotic.  Mazatlan drivers are aggressive and impatient.  Music and art is everywhere.  Not many people speak English, and I could probably count on one hand the number of Americans I saw in two weeks.  I’m guessing it’s the heat that keeps them away.  It’s a steamy heat, and you can actually see the steam rising from the ocean.  When you walk outside you feel the steam and your clothes and skin gets wet immediately.  I remember my friend, Natasha Emmons, said that Singapore was very hot and steamy when she was there.  She said she loved it because her skin looked great and she felt sexy.  I have to say my skin does look pretty fantastic from the steam, but feeling sexy with the heat and steam?  Not really.  The minimum wage is around $5 per day.  That really surprised me.  You can rent a nice, furnished, 2 bedroom apartment for about $350 per month.  I didn’t like the “Golden Zone” (tourist zone of shops and restaurants) much – it reminded me of Las Vegas.  I loved “Old Mazatlan” with the beautiful plazas, strolling musicians, outdoor restaurants, historical buildings, art, narrow streets and the huge, busy, sweaty Mercado.  If I moved to Mazatlan, that is where I would live.

 

We took a couple side trips while we were here.  We drove inland to Durango.  We drove on a relatively new federal highway that connects the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast.  The highway alone was worth the trip – it was spectacular.   I can’t imagine the creativity it took to build it, with 115 bridges and 63 tunnels that went right through the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental mountains.  The scenery was breathtaking. 

On the way back we stopped in El Salto, a town located on a pine forest plateau about 8500 feet above sea level.  It was an interesting place, mostly due to its unique location.

We also spent one day at the Mexiquillo Natural Park, also in the state of Durango.  For me, this was the highlight of the trip so far. It was absolutely gorgeous, and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  We didn’t plan to spend the day there, we just found it by accident and stayed all day. I love horses, and we were able to ride horses.  We followed a narrow dirt road around the edge of a steep mountain, that was created to build a railroad.  Apparently, the railroad was never completed.  It cost a total of $33 for two horses, and two hours (but they aren’t counting the minutes like they do in the US.  If you come back in three hours, no big deal).