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Christmas in Mazatlan!  David and Maureen head into old
town to the mercado to do some first and last minute
shopping.  We carry on into what is called  the "historic"
district.  Guide books suggest the old town is comparable to
San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Sadly this is not the case ... Oh well.  
The cathedral is truly beautiful on the inside (outside is
rather drab).  David manages to purchase a colorful flower
arrangement to serve as a Christmas tree, presents are
wrapped in old "Sail" or "Cruising World" magazines.
Christmas Presents
under our tree.
:)
Our
Christmas
tree!
Within minutes of landing at the marina, K and J find old friends, make some new friends and
proceed to make daily trips to the beach north of us for surfing practice.  Kiddo's also get to
play soccer with some locals on the beach for the first time.  The day after Christmas
Katherine and Maureen head to the beach for a ride on "Ginger's bilingual horses", these are
actually fat, well cared for horses!  For another Mexico 1st, K meets a couple local surfing
dudes who are friends of her bud Kristi.  After her new Canadian boyfriend (Shane) flies
back to the cold north and leaves her broken hearted, at least she can accept an invitation to
spend an evening going to the movies (just friends !) with Kristi and the Mexican surfer
dudes.
David, Katherine, and Maureen took a trip in the rental car up to Copala, an old mining town in
the mountains.  Our journey included a stop in Malpica, a tiny town with no street names or
addresses-everything is recognized by the bright color of the house.  We knew there was a
great bakery in town, but of course we couldn't locate it (since there was no sign).  A kind
gentleman at the local tienda (store) rattled off directions in Spanish, and we knew there
was a right turn, as well as a left turn, and probably something about a hill (a lot more had
been said than just those simple instructions, but ... ).  We made the right turn and discussed
whether to make the left when we saw more people and decided that asking again for
directions would be optimal since we must be closer to the bakery by now.  Sure enough, it's
the green and yellow building just down the road on the left (our friend who recommended
this excellent bakery said it would be in a pink casa ??).   M ventured to the screen door and
looked into someones' living room.  Hmmm,  things looked funny in the shadows toward the
back of this room (through a doorway), so she bravely wandered in and found the bakery  in
the back of the house.  Sure enough the giant cinnamon cookies were a hit with David and
Maureen.  Katherine preferred the cinnamon croissant (they appeared to be out of the
cinnamon rolls we'd heard about).
We made another stop in Concordia, when David saw the roadside tamale stand (have you
noticed that food plays a major role in all of our travels?).  I'm sure he'll include something
about the tamales on his food page.  
editors note:  No special comments regarding the little
tamale stand on the food page, but they were very yummy (and we couldn't just eat cinnamon
cookies on this leg of the road trip could we ?)
On to Copala!  A tiny town (3-400 residents?), with a substantial church, a tiny square
surrounded by  little stores (four total), and one funky old hotel (Butter & Company).  The
hotel consists of 5 rooms above the restaurant, reached by a staircase that would not be
approved by any building codes north of the border.  The veranda ran the length of the
building in front of the rooms with great views of the square and church.   It had old couches
and chairs to sit in and watch the time go by. We were sold and got two rooms for the night.  
Among the little chairs to choose from were director chairs for "Clint Eastwood", "Richard
Geer" and "Richard Harrison", since the movie "La Perla" among others had been partially
filmed in this town long ago.
We wandered the cobblestone streets avoiding dogs, burros, and chickens (of course
Master Duke had accompanied us on our road trip).  Maureen expected Butch Cassidy to
come around the corner at any moment (no one else has seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
kid, so they couldn't relate to the Bolivian likeness).  We noticed that the young boys don't
get skateboards here for their birthday, they get burros.
Around 4:30 we noticed a sign on one restaurant (out of the three in town) that  gave its
hours as 8 am til 5 pm.  We then contemplated the fact that the town's tourist industry
consisted of tour buses that depart daily by 3 pm.  We hoofed it to the restaurant on the
edge of town to secure dinner while we could!  (Sure enough they all close at 5 pm).  This
restaurant even had a mine you could wander down into and through (maybe 250 yards total,
more than enough for Katherine and Maureen).
Between the roosters that crowed all night,
the burros braying at all hours, the dogs
barking, and the honking of horns as the
early birds headed out of town, not a lot of
sleep was had!  And on another note,
someone forgot the camera so we didn't get
any pictures!
fortunately we have a card with Copala on it.
     The following morning we returned down through the maze
of Mazatlan (wishing we had brought our GPS) with a quick
stop at the boat to deposit Duke and Katherine.  David and
Maureen headed off the other direction to La Noria, another
scenic little town.  This drive took us through major ranching
areas and completely different scenery than the drive into
the mountains.  We wandered off down dirt roads for miles
and eventually came to a wide spot in the road with a few
buildings and people where we can buy coke and chips ( Pueblo
San Marcos).  We also stumbled across a Agave plantation, so
of course we had to wander down their dirt road and locate
the Tequilla tasting room.  The small brewery was thoroughly
modern with classic mexican architecture  and was located in a
beautiful tranquil setting, a little ranch valley with huge trees
and gardens.  
We returned back to the boat and to fixing things.  The engine driven fridge had now given
up the ghost.  Seems the compressor had disintegrated and most likely contaminated the
rest of the system.  David contemplated life without refrigeration but Maureen was not
capable of contemplating that kind of a life.  Out came the checkbook and
Mexicolder came
to the rescue with a DC only system that was installed as soon as we got all the other
systems torn out and modified the refrigerator in order to install the evaporator box  in
the freezer section.  We can now have cold juice with breakfast and ice with our evening
beverages!  We removed about 150 lbs of hardware with the older AC and engine driven
systems and replaced it with only 34 lbs of simple, thoroughly reliable gear.
We had planned to just stay through the new year, but it's the 11th now (does time slip by
faster in Mexico?).                 - M
David gets into his
fridge work while J
and M contemplate
playing "whack-a-mole"
with the hammer.
Bruiser and his
friend await their
daily lettuce lunch
delivered by
Maureen.
Duke awaits his
invitation to join us
for dinner
Duke accepts a morsel
from Davids plate while
David is occupied with
the camera. Heidi,
Justin and Katherine
look on
Katherine with new
friends Kristi and Sophie


the town square in
Pueblo San Marcos