Here in Mexico, I am constantly bombarded with questions by my students. Where is your favorite place in Mexico? What is your favorite Mexican food? What is your favorite Mexican music? These are the three most common questions. It is obvious that they are proud of their country and their culture as they eagerly await my answers.
I have a lot of favorite places in Mexico. Culiacan will always have a special place in my heart. This is where my new life began almost five years ago. This is where I started my new career. This is where I found my Mexican family.
I took an incredible train trip through the mountains up in the Copper Canyon during Christmas break. The view was breathtaking and I made some really great Mexican friends.
Next came almost four years in Guadalajara. My favorite place there is definitely Parque Mirador. I spent hours gazing out at the canyon, sipping a Negra Modelo. This was also a great place to read and to journal. I also loved going to the zoo and exploring museums and parks.
I traveled to several smaller pueblos all over Jalisco. I enjoyed visiting magnificent old churches and sitting on benches near the kioskos in the plazas. Puerto Vallarta was the local beach although it was five hours away by bus. I also checked out Manzanillo, but it was just a little too quiet for me.
I traveled up in the Baja Norte. Rosarito was quite disappointing and Tijuana was ugly. I have yet to visit Cabo or La Paz in the south, which several of my friends have raved about. But there is a ferry out of Mazatlan, so perhaps that lies in the future.
Favorite food is definitely a tough one as there are so many amazing dishes to try here. I’m allergic to fish and seafood so I can’t comment on those items. Tacos here are fabulous and do not resemble the ones offered by Taco Bell in Canada. I adore the many stands on the streets that offer chicken, birria, tortas, burgers, roasted vegetables, mullettas, hotcakes and hot dogs. The fresh fruit juice is always welcome in the heat of Mazatlan. I enjoy the tortillas made fresh daily instead of the packaged ones in Canada. Pizza is also popular here although I can’t quite bring myself to put salad dressing, ketchup or crema on it. I have also come across some awesome Chinese restaurants as well.
Mexican music is definitely different from what I used to listen to in Canada. I was first introduced to Banda when I lived in Culiacan. I enjoy the lively style and it is most conducive to dancing. Then when I moved to Guadalajara, Mariachi strains filled the air. I lived very close to El Parian and Calle Independencia, so this type of music constantly filled the air. Interestingly enough, English rock music is very popular here among my students. Often when I am on buses the drivers have English music blaring as well. Many of my students enjoy metal and rap, but these are definitely not my faves.
But my big faves are the people and the culture here in Mexico. Smiles, hugs and kisses are the norm here. Holiday celebrations are amazing, filled with music, dancing and fireworks. People here are very proud of their country despite the political unease. When the Mexican national anthem is played, voices ring out loudly.
It goes without saying that the beach here in Mazatlan is definitely one of my favorite places. The sunsets are magnificent, as are the sunrises. I don’t miss the snow in Winnipeg winters or the torrential rains of Guadalajara. Although the temperatures and the humidity soar in Sinaloa, I am quite content to call Mazatlan home for now.