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Saturday, February 4, 2012

2/4/2012 - El Faro

Decided to get off our butts and take a little hike today. We boarded the "Toreo" bus and took it to the end of the line which just happens to be right in front of the entrance to the path up to El Faro (the lighthouse).

We started down at sea level near the blue building in the photo. If you click on the image to increase its size, you'll be able to see the switchback trail heading up the side of the hill. The first part of the walk is on a wide dirt path. Not particularly steep but unrelentingly uphill. The last part is over 300 concrete steps. Gets considerably steeper during this part.

On the way up, I smelled the distinct smell of bread and butter. "Bread and butter?" you say. What the heck does that smell like? Well, in my case it smells a lot like sewage. That is NOT a slur on Lulu's cooking or baking abilities, nor is it a condemnation of my olfactory nerves. No, in my case, much of the reason that I am now retired and able to enjoy this lifestyle is that I spent 32 years in the water and wastewater treatment field. Although I spent the final 9 years of my career working on the clean (drinking water) end of the pipe, before that I cut my teeth (so to speak) on the dirty end of the pipe. Anyway, partway up the hill we got a primo view of the Mazatlán Planta Tratamiento de Aguas Residuales. And, the plant was undergoing an upgrade, an experience I am very familiar with.

Looks like they're building a couple of aerated bio-filters, new primary and secondary clarifiers, a chlorine contact basin and, possibly, a tertiary filtration system. Can't wait to check on it again next winter to see how things are coming along. And what a great vantage point.

Once we got to the top (I think I read that the lighthouse is 477' above sea level), we saw the most welcome sign we may have aver seen: "Se venta agua y refrescos aquí." Water and sodas sold here. Good thing, too, as I'd sweated out about a liter or two on the way up.

Here's a little blurb from wikipedia about the lighthouse:

Mazatlán's lighthouse (El Faro) began to shine by mid-1879. The lamp had been handcrafted in Paris, containing a large oil lamp with mirrors and a Fresnel lens to focus the light. Since the light was static, in the distance it was often mistaken for a star. By 1905 this lamp was converted to a revolving lamp. Today, the 1000 watt bulb can be seen for 30 nautical miles (60 km).

We stayed at the top long enough to get a few photos.

Had some great views of Mazatlán's "Old Harbor" from the trail.

Once back at the bottom, we decided to catch the bus and get off at a really great produce stand on Avenida de La Marina. At the stand, we got a pineapple, cauliflower, mushrooms, 4 kinds of peppers, apricots, plums and peaches for a grand total of $118 MX which is all of $9.00 US. From there we walked up the street a block or two. We decided we either needed to stop and get one of the really beautiful grilled butterflied chickens to-go or visit the taco stand down the street a bit further. Well, the chicken shack had quite a line so we decided to save it for another day and hit the taco stand instead. It was just a little place basically built in a garage and driveway. Don't know what all they had but we knew they had about four or five different kinds of tacos (at $8 pesos - about 60¢ each). Lulu had two tacos de cabeza and one taco de carne asada. I opted for 3 carne asada tacos. As always, they were delicious. However, I sure wish they'd offer flour tortillas at these little places. I prefer the taste but, even more, I like the fact that you can actually finish a taco before the filling breaks through the bottom of the tortilla. Tortillas de maíz just don't stand up. Not sure what I'm doing wrong that the Mexicans are doing right. If they had as much trouble as I do, they would have switched to flour tortillas a few hundred years ago. Before we left, we had to get a photo of the staff. It was a big, happy family and they were more than happy to pose for me.

And that was our outing for today.


Dani said...

haha..I never did understand hard tacos either. I like to think of them more as nacho chips with toppings. I've heard the bread and butter phrase before from a Wastewater guy..made me laugh.

That light house is quite fantastic. Old light! For dinner tonight I made a tomato, cucumber and mozzarella cheese salad. I could see myself buying fresh veggies at the local market and making it on our boat. $9 bucks for all of that! Seems like you could stay indefinitely in Mexico.

Such a happy looking family:) Full of pride in their work. I love it.

Steve and Lulu said...

Actually, these weren't the hard taco shells. You NEVER see them down here. Hard tostada shells, yes, but taco shells, no. No, these were the standard 6" soft corn tortillas. They just have no hold-together strength. There was a line of meat to which I added a little salsa mexicana (like pico de gallo) and a sprinkle of cilantro. I was even careful to drain most of the liquid off the salsa. And still, about halfway through, the bottom of my taco just split open and the contents fell on my plate. Next one, I supported with my and in the middle and, about halfway through, it split open anyway and deposited the goodies in my hand. Sheesh!

You will absolutely love the fresh produce stands down here. You mostly don't know what anything costs because things are seldom marked. When you're done and they tally it up, it ends up not mattering that things aren't marked because the produce is all so cheap.


Anonymous said...

Steve do you pay in dollars or change to pesos all the time? Dad

Anonymous said...

Steve, you will hve to make your own flour totillas. Really easy. The portions are as follows: 4 cuups flour, 2 tsp salt, 6 tblespoons shortening or oil and 1 to 1/1/2 cup lukewarm water.Mix all ingredients together to form a ball. Divide into 12 balls. Roll out flat and put in a frying pan. cook until brown on both sides. Wrap in towel until cool. Put in airtight container like a ziploc bag. (Cut in shortening before adding liquid) Love, Mom

Steve and Lulu said...


We only deal with pesos. We keep a couple dollars on hand so we won't be flat broke when we happen to hit the US but down here, it's pesos all the way.


Thanks for the recipe but I guess my post wasn't clear. It's not that we can't get really good flour tortillas down here. I just bought a dozen 10" flour tortillas, fresh-baked at the Santa Fe market for the US equivalent of 69¢. It's just that the little taco stands don't generally offer them. Once in awhile one will, but generally not. At restaurants, however, you always get your choice of maíz (corn) or harina (flour) tortillas.


Shelly and Randy said...

Loved that you'd post the picture of the wastewater treatment plant. Oh yeah, the rest of the article was interesting too.