"Many visitors are stunned by their first bullfight, viewed as an unfair contest where the bull always dies. To most Mexicans however, a different viewpoint exists. They know the bulls to be bred to fight as carefully as a thoroughbred horse is bred to run. The charge of one of these muscular, combative animals into the ring is a formidable sight indeed! Mexicans also appreciate the background of the men who challenge the bulls.
There is an old Spanish saying, attributed to Espartero, that goes: "Hunger can hurt worse than any bull." That idea reflects the fact that bullfighters, like prizefighters, are born in the ghetto and escape that destitution by successfully facing death in the bullring. And, the odds these men face are not promising. During the course of a career, one out of every 10 matadors is killed, and one of four crippled. And, of course, most are gored, some a great many times."
The bullfighting schedule is basically the same every year. Bullfights begin on December 25, and continue every Sunday until April. In addition, there are always fights on January 1, the Tuesday of Carnival (Fat Tuesday,) and the Thursday of Holy week. Bullfights start promptly at 4:00pm. A warning:When you buy the tickets, they generally try to sell the tourists seats on the "shady side" of the stadium. The truth is there is really no shady side; what it means is that the sun will be to your back, rather than in your face. If you go expecting shade, you may find yourself unprepared. New Warning:(April 2001) Apparently, the owners of the bullring have adopted a two-tier pricing policy. It works like this: If you are Mexican, the price is between 30 and 50 pesos. If you are American/Canadian, the price (for exactly the same seat) is 250 pesos. Sweet, isn't it. My suggestion, find another activity until this discriminatory practice changes. But if you must witness the slaughter of innocent animals, be prepared to pay for it.Attention Bullring OwnersPlease let me know if you decide to change this policy, and I will be happy to remove the above warning from this www site. their own internet presencewhich is currently solely in Spanish. You may purchase tickets to the baseball games at the stadium beginning on the morning of each game or you can pick them up at the Venados Memorabilia store on Guittierez Najera. Acapulco isn't the only place famous for it's cliff divers. Here in Mazatlán, these brave fellows jump twice a day from the rocky cliffs into the waters of the Olas Altas, or high waves. Timing is everything, as the water is only six feet deep at times. Co-incidentally, the timing is also in perfect syncronicity with the arrival of the city tour tourist bus. Gratuities are gratefully accepted. The third highest lighthouse in the world (after that of Gibraltar and Funfria, Spain) is located here in Mazatlán. It sits high on a hill, more than 150 meters above sea level. At night, it's light can be seen for almost 50 kilometers. You can hike to the top in about 25 minutes, but your calves will never be the same. Be sure to attempt the hike only during the daytime as, as there is some pretty rugged terrain between you and the lighthouse, and, of course, it is not lit at night. After all the lighthouse is for boats not people. Chances are the thoughtful lighthousekeepers will be willing to sell you some cold drinks once you've made it to the top. Want to know if the views are worth it. You can check it outbefore you climb. Mazatlán has one of the largest and best maintained aquariums in Latin America. We take almost all of our guests there, and none have ever been disappointed. In addition to a large collection of fish, they have a sea lion show and a bird show which is very well done. If you bring the kids be sure to bring your camera and get a shot of you little one being kissed by a sea lion. A nice way to spend a pleasant afternoon. Open daily from 9:30-6:30. The shows run as follows: Scuba Diving at 10:30am 12:30pm and 5:30pm. Seal show at 11:00am 1:00pm and 3:30pm. Bird show at 11:30 am 1:30pm and 4:00pm . Cost is adults N$25 and children N$10 pesos.
Right next door to the acquarium is the City Park, called the Bosque de la Cuidad. Right now (winter 2003) they have an animated dinosaur exhibit, for only about $2.50 USD per person. The dinos are very well done, complete with motion and roaring sounds. Of course I dragged Nadine there, and took some photos for all of you to enjoy! If you ever meet Nadine, be sure to ask her about dinosaurs, she knows all about them, especially their effect on somnambulation.Chago.The seats are comfortable, the movies are in English (with Spanish subtitles), and the popcorn and cokes are only one dollar each. The admission is about three dollars, and if you go on Wednesday you get a two for one admission. Also, if you go to the 4PM mantinee, the price is closer to two dollars. The theaters Gaviotas and are in the golden zone, just before the Sheik restaurant. There are three theaters in the Gran Plaza, home of Mega and the Fabricas de Francia department store, and there are three more theaters at Plaza las Americas, with is downtown, right next door to RED2000, the local internet provider. With these prices you might feel like you are back in the fifties. ENJOY. Finally, in 2001, a brand new ten theater complex opened up near the new Soriana department store and another seven theatre megaplex right next door to Office Depot near Soriana. The theaters are first class, and even have those scrolling LED signs above each theater to tell you what is playing inside. The only thing I don't understand is why, with all these different theatre complexes around, do they all show exactly the same movies? Looking for the best views of the city?Go to the top of the new Best Western Hotel in downtown, and have a drink on their rooftop bar. For many years this was a derilict building, known as the Hotel Freeman, but in the last few years (2002) it has been bought and restored to some of its former glory. You can ride an elevator all the way to the top, and walk around the rooftop pool for the best views of the city. Afterwards, (or before) enjoy a nice cold one from the rooftop bar. A great way to hang out and soak up some rays. The Best Western is located in Olas Altas, near the Shrimp Bucket and the La Siesta Hotel.
The cathedral features an organ built by the Frenchman Aristide CavaillÃ©-Coll, the most famous builder of organs in the 19th century. Mazatlán holds the distinction as being the first city in Mexico to have one of his organs. The organ made its first sounds on May 17, 1889, but is currently silent and in the process of being rebuilt.
Just across the street is a store called Fabrica de Francia, which is the nicest department store in Mazatlán. Also nearby is the Plaza Machado and the newly restored Angela Peralta theater, where many cultural events are held. The theatre has as an interesting history. It was build in 1874 and began its life as the Rubio theatre, named after the man who built it. In 1883, and Italian opera company tried to perform an opera there, but the diva couldn't sing because of a slight case of yellow fever she contracted while sailing over from Italy. She died a few days later in the house next door. There is a plaque commemorating this event on the outside right wall of the theatre. Things went downhill after that. The once proud opera house became a movie theatre, a vaudville stage, and eventually a boxing ring. Continuing its decline, it eventually became a parking garage for pulmonias. The last blow came in 1975, when a hurricane struck Mazatlán, and gutted the interior of the building. It wasn't until 1987 that a restoration project began. In 1992 the theatre was re-opened, and now it is better than ever. Today you will find it the site of cultural events, concerts, operas and symphonies. Every November travelling troubadors come to Mazatlán to perform there. Nadine and I saw a great performance Carmenthere, and we recommend you check out what is playing during your stay.
The schedule for the 2001 Fall Festival is now available. Ticket prices range from 30 to 80 pesos, and all performances start at 8:00pm except the Sunday matinees which start at 6pm. The box office is to the right of the theater entrance, at Calle Carnaval near Constitution in old Mazatlán. Tickets can also be purchased at the El Cid Clubhouse. For more details please phone 982-4447.
There are also three shoe stores in the area, called Tres Hermanos, or Three Brothers. If you are in the market for a nice pair of leather shoes, you can't beat the price or selection. Just down the street from the cathedral is the Farmacia Moderna, one of the biggest and best pharmacies in Mazatlán. Many of the drugs that are prescription only in the US are available over the counter here, and probably at one-tenth the price. There is also a large park in the center of the city, with trees and benches, and plenty of shoe shine vendors. If you want to get a bit of the flavor of old Mexico, the a stroll through the streets of El Centro is the place to be. Which brings us to the last but certainly not the least of the attractions to be found downtown, the Mercado.
The Mercado is a combination of tourist T-shirt shops and groceries for the locals. If we have house guests who are overstaying their welcome, we bring them down here and show them the meat market, such as you can see at the right. Then we tell them that this is where we buy all of the food they have been eating all week. They usually make their return arrangements that same day. It works almost every time. Nevertheless, it is an interesting experience, and you have probably never seen anything like it. It is much better these days, since most of the stalls are refrigerated. Before the odor was one of the main attractions. In the tourist shops you can find probably any souvenir you could possibly want. Be prepared to bargain hard however, just because you're downtown that precious Señor Frog T-shirt isn't any cheaper.
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