A Day Full of Treasures

I decided to split up the work due tomorrow so that I could take this afternoon and tomorrow morning off. I wanted to go to town to try a restaurant, the reviews for which I stumbled upon on Trip Advisor, and also go to the bank and the grocery store. Tomorrow is riding, of course. 🙂

I wound covering a lot of ground today! Here’s a bird’s eye view (click to embiggen).


I started by walking from the embaracadero to Parisina in Centro (red line at the bottom). Parisina is a chain of fabric stores. I wanted something to cover the surfaces in the office because, surprise, a plastic table cloth was unsuitable to cover a desk in a hot humid climate! I forgot just how inexpensive fabric is in Mexico and realised as I browsed that I didn’t have to get something that would to have have another purpose later because I would be paying so little.

I wound up with some super cheap cotton in colours that sort of match the bedspreads on the twin beds in the office:


I love the purple flowers and that’s quite probably my favourite shade of blue. It was only $40 (3.25CAD or 2.50USD) for two metres! Aesthetics were the only reason to cover the tables. This house is like a prison, with its neutral colours and the bars on the windows, so it’s proven very difficult to make it cozy and homey. This year, I’m adding colour where I can and that is making a huge difference to how happy I am in the house.

I then crossed the street (Benito Juárez) to catch the bus to the Golden Zone. The Sábalo-Cocos ‘local’ bus passed before the ‘tourist’ bus that goes up Avenida del Mar and that was my sign that it was finally time to figure out this bus route because it’s the one that goes by the big Waldo and passes Soriana (multiple ones, I was to learn), Home Depot, and Mega. The ‘local’ buses are super uncomfortable, with hard plastic seats that are so close to the ones in front that my knees are bruised from the ride, but the cost is only $7 versus the $10 for the tourist bus.

Go back up to the map to see the ride I got taken on (blue)! It was a long one, but very educational. What really impressed me is that I knew where I was at all times and was able to correctly guess when we were about to turn onto Rafael Buelna. Now, I know that I can catch this bus at the big Ley or Waldo, or even Soriana or Mega, and take it back down to Juan Carrasco/Gutiérrez Najera if I have only a bit of shopping and don’t mind walking from the intersection to the embarcadero. But the route is way too long to make it worth taking it back from Soriana or Mega with a ton of groceries.

Once we hit Camarón Sábalo, I knew to get off in the vicinity of Panamá so I could head to Playa Gaviotas.

I’ve seen the ads for this guy a few times. I doubt his name is truly Dr. Backman, but, then again, I once knew an electrician named Yvan Laprise (literally sounds like the French for “he sells the electrical outlet”), so who knows!


The restaurant didn’t open till 1:00 and it was about 12:30, so I wandered around in super touristy Mazatlán, saying “No gracias” a lot to vendors.

Being so early, I decided to check out the “Seashell Museum” (Museo de Conchas), which is really a store full of tchotchkes, with some tiny exhibits upstairs. But you HAVE to go there because of the fountain! I think I stared at it for a full 10 minutes and I’m very annoyed I only had my crappy iPhone camera to capture it!



That fountain is a Work of Art. I couldn’t find an inch of it that didn’t absolutely delight me. If I were ever to buy a home by the sea, I would commission an artist to build something like this with seashells for me, perhaps a bathroom counter.

Then, I wandered around in the general area looking for the restaurant, Zab Thai. The address and the claim that it is near the Seashell Museum helped me narrow things down a bit, but it was extremely hard to find. I asked a few people, but no one could be bothered to help if I wasn’t a customer. I finally had the bright idea of putting other businesses into Google so I could essentially triangulate the location I needed and found Zab Thai at the end of a very lonely looking alley:


An alley that leads to a beach:



An alley that holds another business named “Lucky Bastard”!


I went into the restaurant, which had an English menu but a server who was quite happy to serve me in Spanish. They had just opened and I was the only one there. They apparently do more takeout than eat-in business. The reviews I’d read claimed that Zab Thai is the place to go for authentic Thai in Maz.

I just ordered the chicken Pad Thai, but asked for two stars of spiciness out of three (!) and, for the first time, requested no egg. Pad Thai is something that I crave all the time, but which I haven’t had much luck finding to my taste in quite a while. I can’t articulate what it is about Pad Thai that makes it to my taste or not, I just know what I like.

When the meal arrived, it was alarmingly red:


(I can’t believe I’m still traumatized by that ketchupy Pad Thai I had on Jarvis Street in Toronto 15 years ago! :D)

I took a tentative bite and almost fell out of my seat. This Pad Thai was perfect. The flavours were just right and I think the red might have come from Sriracha, with the spice level being just right for me. When it was a bit too much, I nibbled on some of the cabbage. I do have to say the chicken was a bit bland, but that’s just being nitpicky. I can’t believe I found this meal in Mexico. I’m pretty sure this Pad Thai is the third best I’ve ever had, after the ones at Siam or Bangkok Palace in Ottawa, Ontario, and the one at the Starfire in Skagway, Alaska! Pad Thai with chicken or pork was just $95! I think with shrimp or a mix was $115. Either price is a bargain for such a great Pad Thai. I find it interesting that two of the best I’ve ever had have been in such tourist trappy-type destinations.

Then, it was time to go to the bank (red route at the top). On the way, I passed this place that has never been open before and so I’ve never noticed it:


That’s a drive-thru beer pickup place, folks. And I thought ‘Muricans are ridiculous (and terrifying) for having drive-thru liquor stores…

I cut across the McDonald’s parking lot and came across this RV from France!



I actually waited a few minutes, hoping to catch the drivers, but gave up.

The walk-in ATM at Scotiabank was down, but, thankfully, their drive-thru one worked. My landlady is going to be so happy to get her December rent early. I don’t think I paid December rent till the 15th or even 20th last year (which I had told her on the day I moved in and she was okay with).

Look at what Soriana had: LEMONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


But check out the price compared to the little round limes:


The Persian limes that look like green lemons were $14 a kilo, still a much better deal. That picture was worse than the one above. I have no idea how people take lovely pictures with their iPhones…

I decided to take a chance and buy some meat (went with hamburger) and saw this in the freezer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen rabbit sold at the grocery store before!


One of the things on my list was chocolate almond milk for a recipe, but they didn’t have any on the shelf, which surprised me since the little Ley has it and Soriana had every iteration of the plain. A store clerk tapped me on the shoulder, had me turn around, pointed to a pallet in the centre of the aisle, and told me they were having a two-for-one sale on almond milk, one plain bundled with one chocolate!!! $44 for two containers was a steal! I started stocking almond milk last summer for cereal and am glad it’s so inexpensive, even here in Mexico, since I’ll be able to use it to make fruit smoothies!

From Soriana, I took a taxi (green) back to the embaradero. I decided to walk home on this side, sorely underestimating how heavy my shopping was (thanks to the beer I bought in town, which I’ve never done, because I knew the City Deli would be closed, and the almond milk). But there was a ton of traffic (possible funeral procession), so I actually wound up getting home faster than I would have in a taxi, even with all my rest stops!

It’s been a rich, full day!

7 thoughts on “A Day Full of Treasures

  1. I did some research on foreign names in Mexico and there is quite a bit of history. The Jews for one who came during WWII (we have a large community in Monterrey and many own furniture stores and are Mexican actors and news anchors), Middle Easterners who arrived in in the late 1800s and again in the late 40s, the Spanish who came during the Spanish civil war and those who came in the 1800s were mostly engineers and geologists involved in modern day mining. I started my research when I discovered how many Mexican politicians were of European descent. A lot going on here in terms of immigration. Now in the north many Asians are arriving from China and Korea and mixing with the general population which reminds me of the Chinese on the west coast who helped forge the railroads.

  2. That really is Dr. Backman’s name. I saw him several years ago for my back issues. He moved here about 10 years ago from California, is very involved in the Mexican community and writes an article in the monthly Pacific Pearl.

    Sounds like a lovely long and satisfying day. FYI there is another Thai restaurant somewhere between Mega and Backmans’ offfice, perhaps near the DQ, can’t quite remember.

    • Guess it was his destiny to be a chiropractor!

      I’m about 99.9% sure that the restaurant you’re thinking of is Zab Thai in its old location next to the Pemex. They only just recently moved to Playa Gaviotas.

      • Could be, cuz I thought that there was only one Thai restaurant in Maz.

        Enjoy your ride today. High tide is just starting to recede and there is no cruise ship in today so you should have the beach to yourselves.

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