MazReal staff are now back in London kicking their heels staring out the window as the Atlantic gales rattle the sash windows and ruffle the feathers of the dirty pigeons pecking and sitting on the window ledge and from where belching buses slush through the dirty snow on the streets below and the night sounds of police sirens and kids vandalising cars and telephone kiosks are ever-present. In three weeks we will return to Mazatlán and begin work on our next project. A movie charting the violent history of Mexico through the ages starring Mel Gibson playing all the roles (nowadays he comes cheap and is willing to do any old thing for board and a bottle of beer).
We come to part two of the now famous MazReal Mozzie awards of the year...........
BEST DAY TRIP
Winning hands down for the 25th year running in the 'Best Day Trip' category is the frontier with USA just a few thousand kilometres north in the wondrous emptiness of the Arizona Badlands near Naco. It is here that you can witness first hand the tug of war matches between US citizens who are desperate to immigrate south and spend their pensions in the relative cheapness of Mexico and their own country's law enforcement agencies who are desperate for them not go because they want them to spend their hard earned life savings on US soil.
You can either watch or participate in this archaic struggle by grabbing an arm to help the hapless pensioner make his or her way south. The US citizens making their way across the border have become known as 'Drybacks' because they choose not to cross through a river preferring the relative dryness of a desert and this ancient pre-Hispanic struggle has now become a participation sport called Pullama where the US enforcement agency has luckily been ordered by the Obama government to refrain from shooting the migrant dead as they once used to under Bush. Now they are only allowed to grab a foot and tug. Punching and biting is also forbidden but it is not unheard of that the occasional aged arthritic limb is torn from its socket.
The border guards are allowed to shoot Mexicans and close by is a river where you can count the dead bodies of once desperate Mexican illegal immigrants floating by who have been shot by US border guards and left to the vicious piranhas and crocodiles and hippos. You can also visit the wonderfully colourful graves with bunting where those lucky enough to have been buried lie. Just across on the US side is a Rottweiler and Pit Bull ranch where those vicious dogs are bred to tear apart the Mexicans unlucky enough to have got through.
You owe it to yourselves to swing by and bring a camera too.
A close second in this category is the charming tourist town of El Keleetay that was built by Disneyland Mexico to represent a typical olde worlde Mexican silver mining town with genuine cheese shops, colourful plastic booganville, robotic old Mexicans who smilingly welcome you in their homes to partake in fast food tortillas and you can delight at the antics of young children riding and whipping donkeys half to death and then cheekily ask you for money.
THE BIGGEST FISH
more fishy stuff after the break....
This is sooooo weird that I can imagine that you all think that we at MazReal have been drinking. In fact we have. We drink a lot all the time. We drink copious amount of Russian vodka. But that has nothing to do with the Mozzie award for the biggest fish which goes to this fish we saw in the streets of Centro and as we were running out of things to enter for the Mozzies we decided this is good enough because it asks a lot of questions and doesn't answer any and as a result it will remain one of the many delightful mysteries of Mazatlán.
Why does this fish have a human body tied to it? Is this a piece of early Swiss dadaistic art? Is this man trying to tell us something about the fact that the fish he caught and is carrying is big and heavy? Is it a fish? Is he a man? Is it God he is carrying on his back? Is he Saint Christopher? Do you agree that if God existed he would be the greatest thing that there could be - "that which nothing greater can be thought"? Are mind and body distinct? In order to be rational must human beings have free will? Is this fish a "shadow" of its Ideal Form in the world of Ideas?
We can only come to one conclusion All men are mortal. A fish is a man. Therefore fish are mortal.
THE BEST HOTEL OR B+B
The Hotel Splendide
I have a hate relationship with this hotel because they not so kindly kicked me out on my arse when I threw a television out the window and drove my VW into their swimming pool whilst I was describing to the management the antics of Keith Moon in the early days of The Who's tour of Sinaloa in the late sixties.
However I spent many happy years there trying to converse every day with the sullen staff in passing the front desk as they threw my key and mail in my general direction. The Splendide on Olas Altas has garnered the votes for the best hotel because it is so cheap, the months have 35 days, the clock goes backwards, the temperature is always cold and the days are always cloudy. This is such a change from the pseudo kindness and gratitude shown in most other establishments where the staff are falling over themselves to wish you a nice day but in reality they curse you under their breath for being a cheapskate gringo. At least at The Splendide one knows that the local staff make every effort to wish you had never set foot in their country. Our photographer had to make a quick getaway after snapping a picture of the pissed off management without their permission after which they chased him down the road with a machete threatening to hang him and his dog from piano wire from the highway overpass.
Coming in close second was the Hotel Mexico on Benito Suarez. From here you can loose yourself in the wonderful sights of pool hall after hour shenanigans opposite and dried prawn smells of the prawn market in downtown Mazatlán.
Canadian Moose and Reindeer Rib Shack 'n BBQ Rooms
Where else in the world can you eat ribs underneath the animals heads that provided you with the ribcage from which the best ribs in town are served by famous French Canadian expat chef Jacque Jeff (former short order cook at Green Eggs and Ham, Patacake, Holiday Inn Kiddies Kitchen and Dezzie Arnez's Eggs Over Easy Joint) and his wife Jill the vegetable peeler, pot wash and general dogsbody. Jacque (Big JJ as we affectionately call him) certainly knows his way around a dead animal as he spent the best part of the Northern steppes winters cutting up reindeer and moose and serving the ribs in the Canadian oil sands workers canteen. He was fortunate enough to have been able to have preserved the unfortunate animals heads to decorate the Canadian Moose and Reindeer Rib Shack on Olas Altas next door to the popular Canadian drinking den the Maple Leaf Bar and Pool Hall Joint which itself is next to the popular Canadian opium den the Tonkin Universal Lounge and Massage Parlour.
Jacque started out by emphasizing the seductive allure of his ribs. “I could serve you moose ribs six days in a row, Monday through Saturday,” began Jacque in his quintessential southern Louisiana French Quarter Canadian drawl, “and on the seventh day you’d come in here and guess what you’d ask me for…”
We can only guess Jacque. Tell us, is it - Broccoli? Tarte Tatin? Holy Wafers?
Jacque and Jill* (Pronounced Jeeel) serves 'em reebs marinated and slathered overnight in his secretive CIA BBQ sauce and is winner of the Mazatlán Annual Rib Throwdown at the Sinaloa Bib 'n Rib Tucker Fest 2011. Reindeer and Moose ribs are known to be large so only enter the doors if you have a hearty appetite because these huge animal ribs are accompanied by enormous quantities of baked potatoes, acreages of salad and mountains of garlic. A Canadian Bluegrass Punch on the side will make it all worthwhile.
Don't take our word for it, take the word of rib connoisseur Guy 'Pete' Gourmet from the National Canadjin Pork and Moose Rib Equality Board who flew in specially to take a bite out of Jacques' Canadian gigantic antelope ribs.
"Jacque and Jill's is where it's at." he croaked as the ambulance sped him away for a stomach pump.
*Since writing this Jill has left Jacque and opened up a rival roast rib restaurant right next door to the Tonkin Lounge selling Canadian Pork Ribs of a more manageable size called Jill's World of Smokin' Pork Ribs. And what do you know she delivers too as she is a part-time mid-wife!
THE BEST BEACH
For the 1st year you have chosen Playa Bruja. Why? Because we love the separation bit between home in Centro and the tourist destruction of what once used to be a tranquil empty beach where you could watch baby turtles making their way to the sea on certain chill mornings of the year. We also voted for this beach as it is a wonderful place to bring your gun and shoot tourists on horseback, paragliders and surfers riding the wonderful waves that Playa Bruja used to be famous for.
Playa Bruja is also famous for the water which comes up onto the sand in the form of sea thereby making this a beach which is also full of sand on which you can lie all day. With your gun you can also ward off the hordes of local vendors selling those wonderful touristy things made out of coconuts and other bric a brac. The MazReal offices are scattered with some great stuff we bought from them, our favourite things are a squashed coke can that we were assured looks like Jackie Kennedy, a hairy coconut that looks like an Azerbyjanian's bum, a piece of wood that I was assured was part of Jesus' cross and a gold chain that was stolen from my next door neighbour.
If you are lucky enough to have booked a room at the fabulous Hotel Riu you don't have to spend any money because everything within the Rottweiler guarded hotel rope boundary is free so none of your precious dollars will be spent on the local economy. All of it goes straight back into the pockets of hotels owners in Spain.
So after a wonderful stroll along the beach stepping in steaming horse dung and dodging frisbees and flying footballs you can watch the sun sink into Pacific ocean painting with its last golden light the inebriated faces of drunken holiday makers on their knees throwing up in the surf.
A close second came Stone Island with it's hordes of vendors, noisy quad bikes, banana boat thingies and dog crap near the water's edge.
BEST SPA AND SALON
The best kept secret in Mazatlán if you are a man is this delightful place decked out in the classic Rococo style. As you can see it is a spa and hot spring where naked men with moustaches can float and chat. As this is the secret society of the M.A.N.S (Moustached And Naked Society) sect, not much is known about it except that the members come here to thoroughly cleanse themselves of non manly essence before getting on the promised spaceship that will take them away from the world of women. Here they can be themselves as God intended before the birth of the evil Eve - naked and carefree where the trials of procreation and life insurance do not come into the conversation. Just lots of manly chat about dry wall and air conditioning piping and lawn mowers and football without the thought that they are boring the bejesus out of their partners.
It has two pools and a connecting bridge. The North Pool is for the live members and the South Pool is where the dead members are allowed to float till they wait for the promised transport out of here to a distant land well out of this galaxy where they can be reborn into a world devoid of women and kids and having to clean up their doggies poop when strolling along the malecón.
Our MazReal photographer, only after growing a moustache and swearing on the holy text of THE BOOK OF MANS that he did not like the company of women, was allowed entry just long enough to snap this photo. But after plunging butt naked into the warm sulphurous waters did the Holy Seer Chairman, The Reverend Moon, see his 'naked lady' sailor's tattoo on the left shoulder and his Lady Gaga tattoo on the right he was immediately tossed out onto the street blindfolded and drugged. From where he had to explain his naked predicament to the local constabulary.
THE MOST UNUSUAL FOOD AND COFFEE HOUSE
It seems there are too many thin expats and this goes against the statistics suggesting that the majority of people living in the US and Canada are stylishly obese not to mention all those fat Europeans. Our favourite fatties coffee bar has just been voted for the 12th time in succession. It is a wonderful meeting place where we can all go and get walrus-like in no time and not feel out of place filling those airline seats to overflowing when we return on our annual northwards migration.
Starbutts, is the place in which they sell gigantic proportions of everything sweet and creamy and fluffy. MazReal sent along our delightfully perfect bodied reporter Dieter, to try a typical Starbutts creation The Fatacinno Chocolate Whale Blubber Creamy Delight of just 100,000 calories. One stomach pump later we sent her back to have a go at another popular treat, the zillion calories Starbutts Signature Fluffy Chocacinno Chocolatey Chocolate Chocey Choc with an extra of Muffins filled with Chocolatey Full Fat Creamy Cream sourced from the land of the extra cream milk of the Jersey cow which can be had for just 3 and a half pesos. Later, unable to speak from her hospital bed, Dieter, gave us the 'thumbs up'.
A couple of these artery choking, heart pounding sweet concoctions every day will soon get you and your skinny children up to a decent elephantine weight in no time at all. The great pricing will be a certain draw for the kids out there to pop in on their way to and from school.
No wonder Starbutts was voted to have the most unusual food and coffee available in Mazatlán. The "Butts" as we lardarse regulars affectionately call it breed their own full fat whales out back, roast their own coffee sourced cheaply from Latino peasants and are a majority shareholder in the sugar cane and oil sands industry. We can all be lucky that 'Bulbous' Bob (as we regulars fondly call him) has continued to encourage us to enjoy his sugary treats and keep the doors open to this 24 hour venue where we can all go and in the words of his marketing blurb - 'Come to Starbutts and get a butt as big as the cosmos at the speed of light'.
So why not get your fancy tickled and get yer skinny butts down to Starbutts.
For all those bloated bone-idle fat people out there you can also rent from Starbutts motorised wide-bodied wheelchairs and 12 foot long motorised surf boards that are guaranteed not to sink under the weight.
Runner up for the Unusual Food award was Clem's Roadkill Cafe on the Libre towards Cosalá.
THE BEST HANGOVER REMEDY
Smoking a French Cigarette and Reading Philosophy in Your Bath on The Roof Of Your House.
We I was young I was known to drink a bottle of tequila for breakfast and go to work a hour later on a cup of espresso and a boiled egg. Admittedly I did work from home and had all day to get over alcohol poisoning. A tab of E and a long line of coke smoothed out the end of hangover rough edges that evening.
But now that I am old one glass of red wine is enough to give me a raging hangover the next day. There are many so-called hangover cures and the most popular one in Mazatlán is the ubiquitous 'hair of the dog' method where the Hangover Cure Expert from another popular expat information publication suggests eating sand from the Sahara and filling your head with nuclear waste. However we at MazReal feel those two curatives are rather difficult to get hold of and don't taste so good so we have found the complete solution to this problem.....
Smoking a french cigarette and reading philosophy in your bath on the roof of your house provides a soothing restorative. French people and philosophy are known to be compatible and essential if you are a French person and go to cafe in Paris and smoke Gauloises cigarettes. A knowledge of Jacques Derrida's deconstruction is always a good Parisian starting point but it is wise to understand his approach when he says "il n'y a pas de hors-texts" before you start a conversation with the person next to you otherwise they will just laugh and point.
His central idea "Nothing exists outside of the text" is a really easy concept to get hold of and here is the explanation, that when you are sitting in your tub on the roof, will gently ease away your pounding hangover...........
I try to explain what Derrida means when he says that "there is nothing outside of the text"
But I can never completely explain the idea because......
.....the meaning of the words I use depends on their relationship to the words I am NOT using.
So meaning is always incomplete.
So I say more to clarify things.
In this way, my explanation of Derrida's idea can grow until it is infinitely large, and I realise................
..........THERE IS NOTHING OUTSIDE OF THE TEXT!
There you go. One hangover cured and the bonus of a wider outlook on life in the philosophical branch of Epistemology and its approach in Deconstruction.
Further reading which should explain the controversial Frenchman's approach:
Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida.