Monday, February 27, 2023

La Ventura quartet at the Angela Peralta Theater

 In 2019 we were treated to a wonderful concert by this very talented quartet.   At that performance they were joined by a wonderful young singer.  The quartet originates from Culiacan and is also part of the Culiacan Rondalla singers.  The Rondalla is all composed of members of the education system in Culiacan. We hope to see another Rondalla performance in the future as well.

Gordon Campbell who hosts the winter concert series introduced the quartet and mentioned that they are better known here in Mazatlan and also France than they are in their home town of Culiacan. As far as I remember the two on the right are brothers or cousins and the other two are unrelated. 

As you see from the program the concert was to be sung in many different languages.  Marco Vinicio on the left did most of the announcing as he is fluent in English.  The others spoke as well but only in Spanish.  They are a very warm, funny talented group and a pleasure to watch. 

Here we are on the bus and yes we are wearing masks.  So far we haven't been sick this year.  No covid, flu or colds so far.  The buses are very crowded and there are nationals and some North Americans who wear masks as well.  Each to their own! 

Here we are coming onto the Malecon and the bus is packed with standing room only and almost full.  You can see that the malecon is very busy as well.  Since covid has calmed down Mazatlan is busier than ever. 

On the right you can see on of the Carnival figures.  Very large and colorful and made of paper mache.  I did not travel the malecon during Carnival so this is my first trip downtown for a while. 

Coming along Aguiles Serdan which passes the Plaza Machado or large market.  

We got off the bus on Constitucion and walked down to the Plazuela and the Angela Peralta theatre.  

The concert starts at noon and the theatre was filling up.  By the time it started it was full on the main floor, first and second balconies and even lots of people on the third balcony. 

Here is Gordon introducing the quartet. 

I do wish they had introduced themselves individually and given us a history of the quartet. 

The two on the right are Bernal's and have spectacular voices.  From the right Leoncio, Alfonzo, Mario and Marco.  Alfonzo is the guitar virtuoso as well.  

As they played there were rounds of applause and clapping in time with the music where appropriate.  They laughed and joked among themselves as they played and you could see they were having a wonderful time.

The very talented Bernals.  They did mention that their concerts in Europe contain mostly Mexican music and it would seem they were enjoying the diversity of the round the world songs.

Mario on the left is the base player, back up singer and announcer.  Mario on the right is also a lead singer, percussion and guitar. 

The concert was a real joy to listen too and the audience was very appreciative.  At the end a standing ovation brought a final extra song and then there was another standing ovation to show our appreciation.  Just Wonderful!!

We headed down the street for lunch and ended up at our usual stop Chon's.  Today it was packed but we did manage to get a seat.  I did not take pictures as I felt uncomfortable being touristy in the very small restaurant.  I did try to sneak a photo of the man you see but he caught me doing it!  In years past we have chatted to him on many occasions as he speaks very good English.  He wasn't in the restaurant last time we came but he is usually here with his wife on Sunday afternoons.  Eric stopped to say hi and he said" I remember you and I am so glad to see you again!"  He always has a huge lunch.  Ceviche, soup and an entree!  He stopped  to chat to us on his way out as well as a few other tables.  He had everyone in gales of laughter.  A really nice man.  We had burritos, tacos and beer and it was all good as usual.  It is a restaurant that has been operating since 1946 and there is still an oriental owner in the restaurant.  The kitchen is upstairs and they hike all the supplies up the stairs and all the food down the stairs.  It's too small to have the kitchen downstairs.  The young waitress was a bit stressed but she handled it all very well.  Everyone is very relaxed and happy to have a drink and wait.  We have never seen it this busy

Just down the street another beautiful old building. 

Here we are in back of the market on Benito Juarez waiting for the green bus that will take us home.  We got home around 4pm and we were tired.  A short nap, a couple of beer, a few crackers and cheese, TV and bed.  A very, very good day and we look forward to next weeks concert. Life is good!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

El Tigre for of our favorite rides!

 El Tigre is one of our favorite rides and as I looked back through my blogs and the last time I could see that we'd been out that way was in January of 2017...a long time ago.  So on Thursday we were off with Frank and Sandi along with Larry and Christine from the park.  We know Larry and Christine casually and they are a nice couple. We left at around 10:30 am from the gas startion at the far end of Cerritos.  Onto the bypass, off at the airport, and south to Villa Union. Right turn at the El Walamo sign and then west to the beach.  Just over 50 miles total. 

There's Frank's Jeep right behind us.

We exit the bypass at the airport and pay a small toll.  Eric hates the toll booths because there is always oil where people stop and it's hard to keep his footing. 

Coming into Villa Union. 

It's always bustling here. 

We've turned right at the El Walamo sign.  In the early days there wasn't even a sign!

Villa Union was created in 1881 and these old buildings likely date back to that time. 

The little roadside stands are filled with the vegetables and fruits. 

Another old building. 

Frank and the crew are right behind us. 

Follow that bus to get out of town!

Another old derelict building as we leave town....I bet it's got stories to tell!

Now we're on a quiet two lane road and the agriculture starts. 

There is a very beautiful house behind that fence.  Someone has money!

The small mango trees are in bloom.  

Nicely painted. 

Huge old mango trees.  Young trees start bearing fruit at 5 to 8 years and they live and produce fruit for over 100 hundred years...amazingly tough as well.  If they are cut back hard they sprout new branches and just carry on.  We love mangoes.  

Tilling the fields. 

Welcome to El Walamo.  Just another small town in the middle of no where. 

A pretty, well kept town. 

A huge load of tomatoes.  We also saw truckloads of poblano peppers as well.  We love poblanos and I can even find them at home.  

Looks like there will be a huge crop of mangoes this year. 

Just another little village town but it has a Pacifico beer store!

That Jeep is still following us!

The pickers are in the fields and the trucks are being filled.  We did smell roasting peppers as we traveled along.  I do mine on the barbecue and then freeze them. 

It's a cloudy day and the pictures are much more vivid.  

Arrow straight rows.  

The ocean is out past those palm trees. 

In the distance you can see the buildings where they farm shrimp with sea water. 

The soil is very sandy here and without water and fertilizer nothing grows. 

Here the palm trees are under planted with staked vegetables.  

One of the commercial shrimp farms. 

The ocean has appeared and El Tigre must be close. we are and right on time at 12 noon.  This is a very large restaurant that always seems busy. 

The day is windy and cool and yet the small children are in the swimming pool. Brrrr....!

We started out at the south end of the building but then moved to the other end where there was less wind. 

Larry and Christine. 

There was a large Mexican family having lunch next to us. 

Here you can pick out your fish and they will cook it on the grill...Zarandeado style.  Split down the middle, covered in a special sauce with oil that has a type of soy sauce and other secret spices and then covered in onions and sometime peppers.  Here they put the fish in foil before putting it on the grill.  It comes out moist and tender.  Eric wanted ceviche today and there wasn't a small enough fish for me alone so I opted for fish fillets. 

Eric ordered a medium side dish of shrimp ceviche and it came out fast.  They delivered it with four plates and forks assuming we were going to share an appetizer.  Not so,  just for Eric!

I don't eat ceviche because of all the lime juice which irritates my stomach.  No problem for Eric!

When one of the little girls came out of the swimming pool she was freezing and crying.  Gramma Sandi went over to cheer her up and " shut her up" with a small package of gummy fruits.  

My filet of fish with salad, rice and tortillas.  A huge order and very good.

The fish has arrived.  Both Frank and Larry chose red snapper or pargo as it's called in Mexico.  It looks delicious.  Served with tortillas. 

Grilled onions with it today.  

Plus a plate of cucumbers and fresh red onions. 

Larry and Christine were happy with their lunch.  Nice people that we got to know a little better over lunch.  They are from northern Saskatchewan and having been RVing to Mexico for many, many years.

Frank and Sandi had a large fish and took some home. 

This hopeful young female was nursing pups somewhere.  Barely out of puppyhood herself.  The dogs are always gentle and polite in Mexico. I had shared a chunk of my fish with her and she was hoping for more.  She took it from me very gently.  

Lunch over, packed up with ceviche on the back and ready for the trip home.  

Not a very picturesque restaurant but the beach is lovely and the food is very good.  We headed back through El Rosario and then onto the free road back to Villa Union. 

There's Frank!  It was still chilly so we kept all our gear on. 

The Buluarte River on it's way to the sea. 

Rural area with crops here too. 

Water everywhere. 

Why did the chicken cross the road?  Because it could!

A night club spot in Aguaverde. 

Always a big arch as you enter and as you leave. 

I believe this very majestic tree is a Cook's pine.  

A brightly painted bus heading into town.

Everywhere you look something is growing. 

Cattle and horses eating what's left over or...didn't grow. 

Entering El Rosario.  

Huge machine heading through town. 

Turn left at the church in the square. 

Always lots of old churches in Mexican towns. 

So far so good, no detours to get us lost so far. 

Turn left for Mazatlan and we're out and on our way home. 

Need a new tractor?

There's Frank!

Here we're coming through Villa Union again on our way back to the entrance to the bypass at the airport. 

Always busy through here. 

We made it to the toll booth on a rather scenic route after Eric missed the entrance at the airport.  

Up ahead is the Riu which means we are almost home. 

It was a really good day and everyone had a good time.  Good food, good ride and good friends