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Saturday, December 25, 2010

In and Around El Fuerte, Sinoloa, Mexico

Christmas Day in Mazatlan

Just want to quickly say that we are now in Mazatlan having arrived here around mid-afternoon. Having said that I shall return to what I started to post yesterday.

Christmas Eve day in El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

We left Huatabampito yesterday, Thursday, morning in the fog.

Getting ready to leave Huatabampito
It stayed foggy almost until we reached 15D the toll road. Pretty uneventful drive except for the bad road at the beginning and the end. In the middle we were on the Autopista but luckily no toll booths in this section as there is no Libre – free road. Turned off at El Carrizo towards El Fuerte. That section of road is more or less two lanes and pretty rough in spots. The scenery is either farm land or desert. When we saw this guy we wondered where he came from and where he was going as there weren’t any towns in sight.
The sack looked heavy!
Had to laugh as we went by this bus. It was parked on the road and the driver was going down to the irrigation ditch to fill his bucket and was washing the bus as traffic piled up in front and behind it.
Bus Wash
Arrived in El Fuerte and found the RV place we stayed last year. It is also a small hotel and it has gone downhill since last year. The electricity is less than 15amps so we can’t even run Jennie’s air conditioning. And forget the microwave completely. Did manage to make a pot of coffee though and get the satellite and Internet up and running. Miracle of miracles. Forgot to mention the last night we were in Huatabampito our Internet quit working. The campground managed to get their WiFi  up and working and it threw ours off line. Go figure. [By Saturday morning in El Fuerte we had to shut our satellite down as the electricity kept going off and on and we didn’t want anything to happen to it. So no more posting from there.]
After settling in we took a drive downtown. More and more of the buildings have been repainted and upgraded

A side street

Restoration in progress
Peeked in one building and found this painting of the founder of the town. Francisco Ibarra.

The whole building, his home, is in the process of being restored. By next year it should be beautiful. I think I mentioned last year that El Fuerte had just been designated a Pueblo Magico so a lot of government money is being used to restore the old downtown buildings
After stopping for a bite to eat we continued on to the plaza for a tour of the Palacio Municipal. This is a relatively new building built in 1903. It is built of brick and takes up an entire city block.

It is two- stories with an open air courtyard. The interior has been recently repainted. 
Columns are connected with black wrought iron railings.
Bill was talking with one of the security guards and he pointed out to us that three sides of the building around the courtyard has eleven arches and the fourth side has only ten arches. There is a story that the house of the builder (the mayor) sat just behind the building and the builder's wife did not want the view from her bedroom window blocked so the Palacio was built crooked to accomodate her wishes.
Across the street and up the hill aways is the hotel where Zorro supposedly lived when he was a boy. There is a statue of him in one of the courtyards.

More about Zorro later.....
While taking the picture of the statue this beautiful girl and her parents came to the area to take pictures of her. It was her Quinceanera - 15th birthday. They live in Arizona but came here to be with their family for the celebration. The Driver forever the shy one, asked what it cost. The answer US$15,000 - very expensive to have a daughter.
She had flip flops under the dress!
Then we went to the Hotel El Fuerte – WOW it is a 250 year old Hacienda that was almost in ruins before the present owners started to restore it. Thru out the entire structure, are high open beamed ceilings, two to three foot thick walls, Mexican tile and marble floors, various nichos and hand painted decorations. All furnishings are in keeping of the Spanish Colonial Era, including many antiques. Here are some pictures from it. The rooms are from US$60 to US$80 per night.
One of the courtyards

2nd floor and decorations and plants
Tile floor

One of the bedrooms - the carved wood headboard

These are light bulbs turned into planters
Around the corner from there is the church.

 The priest was in full robes waiting for another 15yr old to celebrate her mass.  
Her colors were rose and gold
This is how you tie a tie.
And again The Driver was right in the middle of things. He offered to tie this boys tie. The mother got a big kick out of it.
I need to figure out why the font keeps changing back and forth - so this is as far as I'm going to catch up for now. Will finish El Fuerte tomorrow.

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