Posted by: Sailing Camelot | December 4, 2011

December 1st – Los Mochis

Refreshed and ready to take on the world! Or at the very least, the neighborhood… 

Bronze Statue of a Humpback Whale with its Calf outside the Marina

 

Statue honoring the Fishermen of Topolobampo

Five of us boaters decide to visit the neighboring town of Los Mochis. It’s about a half hour trip in this snazzy orange and white bus.

The shiny bus taking us to Los Mochis

I spend every minute with my nose glued to the window. This is a heavily agricultural area: the main crop is sugar cane, but there are many fields cultivated with other crops I couldn’t identify. Every now and then there’s a handful of tiny and very modest cinderblock houses scattered on the sides of dirt roads, chickens, pigs and dogs roaming lazily around.

Suddenly the scenery changes and we’re in town! Welcome to Los Mochis, population a little over 250,000.

It feels to me much more crowded than it probably is: I haven’t been rubbing shoulders with people for such a long time! But I immensely enjoy the sounds, the colors and smells of this city. Even if it’s almost overwhelming.

Tom is busy people watching, his favorite sport. The people here are all impeccably groomed, the women well dressed, hair coiffed and full make up on, the men mostly wearing white cowboy hats and shiny, beautiful cowboy boots. We are in the State of Sinaloa and these are the famous Sinaloa Cowboys!  We also see a huge number of school kids of all ages in their pristine white and navy uniforms. Everyone is chatting, calling to each other, clearly enjoying their socializing.

Cathedral downtown, with a convenient refreshments stand for the parishioners

The town center is bustling with activity. There are beautiful, modern and well stocked stores and a whole array of little stalls on the streets selling candy, food, hair accessories and a lot more. We find this big city incredibly clean! Clearly these people care about their town and take pride in its appearance. And they are incredibly friendly, too! Many men approach Tom -maybe because he’s big and blond and looks unmistakably like a foreigner-, to offer a warm welcome and wish us a pleasant visit. The great majority of people speak impeccable English, which surprises me immensely. They are curious about us, wanting to know where we come from, asking how we got here. There aren’t a lot of visitors here, and we sure stand out! We feel like the main attraction; Tom especially is soaking it all up.

After a very satisfying and very inexpensive meal, our group heads for the Botanical Gardens. The founder of this town was an American, Mr. Johnston, who started farming sugar cane and brought prosperity to Los Mochis. The Botanical Gardens are the grounds originally surrounding his home – of which sadly just some ruins remain-. But the grounds are stunningly beautiful.

Michelangelo Ibanez, a man who lives up to his name!

We encounter Michelangelo Ibanez, who works in the Gardens. Michelangelo’s job is –drum roll, please- carving trees! There are quite a lot of very old and dead tree trunks; Michelangelo brings them to life and transforms them into beautiful works of art by carving incredibly detailed scenes.

This Tree could take hours to observe in detail!

 

Nesteld in one branch...

Just a few of the guests on this tree

 

Another artful carving

Some are plainly visible; others are hidden in the natural holes and knots of the trees. You can look at one of these artworks for hours and still discover new details, like an inch-big owl head staring at you from a little hole in the tree.

The Cactus Garden

 
 

A twisted specimen from Central America

 

I never discovered where this path led to... but it's beautiful!

 
After a long time exploring the Gardens we decide to head for a shopping mall nearby. We are animatedly chatting among ourselves, when three school kids passing by stop in their tracks, turn around and strike up a conversation –in flawless English- with us.
 
Maybe they want to practice their language skills, or maybe they are just plainly curious about us, who knows… But we end up having a fun half hour talking to three 16 year old students, all still wearing their school uniform, all clearly from privileged families.
 
There are two cute girls and a handsome boy, and their jaws drop when they hear that we came here by boat! One of the girls, who had been chatting almost exclusively with Tom, dead-pans out: “Tom, I really like your eyes”.

My husband’s mouth drops open, but no sound comes out! So the girl goes on: “You have incredibly beautiful eyes!”. After a well placed elbow in the ribs (by me), Tom mumbles: “Gagaga, uh, well, uhm, thanks!”.  

I’m standing right there, trying to keep a straight face, looking at my baffled husband being hit on by an attractive 16 year old girl. Go Tom!

We part from the kids with hugs and well wishes and resume our walk. Tom’s ego is waking up, and won’t shut up. “She said I have beautiful eyes. She hit on me! Did you hear her? She did, didn’t she? I got hit on by a 16 yr old girl!”

I roll my eyes “Yes, honey, I heard her. Yes, that’s what she said. Yes, you still have it, you old dog… Now stop it, it was a honest and innocent compliment. Wipe that silly grin off your face and come back to Earth, for the love of God!”.

Eventually we get to the mall and it looks just like an American shopping center: Walmart, Home Depot, Office Depot, even a Starbucks! What??? Somehow it doesn’t feel right, but we all end up in Walmart for some shopping. I guess you can take the Americans out of America, but you can’t take America out of the Americans… Or the shopping bug!

We’re all pretty wiped out by the time we catch the bus back to Topolobampo. We’re all quiet and slumped in our seats on the ride back. Personally -much as it was fun – all I want right now is to just take off my shoes and relax on my boat!

We have already decided we’re going to leave early tomorrow morning – a day ahead of schedule-, as we want to beat some bad weather and extra strong winds coming our way. Either leave early, or be stuck for a week… With some regret, but not enough to stop us, we choose to leave.  Our friends are staying behind; they’ll catch up with us in a few days.

 
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