An Excuse For a Final Trip to the Mercado

I’ve started packing in earnest and have discovered something surprising. I’m going hiking next week and, guess, what? While I do have suitable footwear, I not only do not have any clothes for the occasion, but I don’t have my leather backpack that I use on day hikes! I guess I was so focussed on the cannonball run south that I never got as far as thinking that, hey, I might have time to go hiking on the trip north!

So I made a mental note to pop into a Walmart or, preferably, a thrift store when I get across the border to pick up a cheap backpack when I had a thought. Every single time I’ve been to the Mercado, and this includes last year, I’ve wished for an excuse to pick up a cute woven backpack… Well, this was the time to go see how much those cost! And yay for an excuse to do one last trip to the mercado!

I enjoyed my second to last lancha trip over, especially since we got a show:



Rather looks like a pirate ship from this angle, no?


There is a brand new “no fumar” notice on the steps. Particularly funny when there’s a jerry can above it!


Here we are at dock. Nothing fancy. The captain gets off first and holds the lancha tightly against the dock so people can get off. He also offers a hand for those who are unsteady or wrangling very full skirts. *whistles innocently*


Looking down to the dock. The ticket booth is in the centre (taquilla). To the right is space for vendors on the weekends and holidays. The doughnut lady was set up right in front of that guy with the blue shirt, in the shade. Usually, she’s on the street corner.


This is behind me in the last picture. It’s much busier on weekends, holidays, and some evenings, with fish vendors, more produce sellers, food stalls, and more.


Coming out onto Emilio Barragán I either turn right towards the gas station in the distance if going to the Fisherman’s Monument for a bus or to the bank/big Ley/big Waldo’s.


But today, I turned left towards Centro.


When I come home from the little Ley or am just going there, I cut through the alley next to the fishing supply store.


See the grey tower in the background? That’s the Pacifico brewery. I walk along the far side of it (calle Miguel Hidalgo) to go to little Ley.


I cross here to take Leandro Valle to get to the mercado. The perspective on this shot is a little off. The yellow building on the left has the white wall with green writing and is on one corner of Leandro Valle. Across from that, the pulmonía is parked at the other corner. So I cross here (good place to cross because there are topes and so traffic stops) then continue on down Leandro Valle.


Here’s the first, flat, section of it. I love this little community. There’s always something going on and people sitting on porches. Everyone is friendly and says hello.


The upper green sign made me laugh. She’s selling shaved ice, raspados, and didn’t have quite enough room to spell out the word. 2=dos. See what she did there? 🙂


The mix of houses on Leandro Valle is interesting. You have this run down place…


Next to this rather posh place.


These folks make ice. A truck backs right up to the opening. There are “steps” carved into the wall for getting up and down.


This water seller on a bike is probably in great shape. He gets those bottles to the top of the very long and very steep Leandro Valle hill! It’s very slow going. No, he does not pedal up, but rather pushes.


This is one of the nicest houses on Leandro Valle and is owned by an expat lady.


The house has many levels. I like the exterior because it respects the neighbourhood. It’s neat and well maintained, but doesn’t stick out. It’s what I want to do in Mérida, get an older (ie. affordable) place in a more rundown neighbourhood that I can spruce up without changing the character of the neighbourhood/gentrifying. When I spoke with folks from Mérida about my plans to move and my wanting to avoid the expat neighbourhoods, many spoke with derision of this gentrifying effect many expats have, buying super inexpensive homes and turning them into luxury compounds, driving up prices in the neighbourhood. That’s not the kind of expat I want to be.


I don’t think I’ve ever passed this house when this dog wasn’t napping on the steps!


The house is in a great location because it’s just blocks from the mercado. However, it’s right at the top of the hill (so uphill all the way home). I bet being at the top of the hill lowers the value on the house somewhat.

And right next to it is another house that has seen better days.


These folks repainted their house this year. Nothing shows pride of ownership more than a fresh coat of paint! I love the bright colours houses are painted here.


I survived the climb. Now, downhill all the way to the mercado!


Pretty flowers growing out of a foundation.


Nice house next to a ruin. I’m not sure if these façades are salvageable. There is no roof or floor behind that wall.


Looking from the corner of whatever street (no signage!) to the little Ley on Melchor Ocampo.


I love, love, love the yellow paint matching the tiles on this house. Notice there’s not only a house number, but…


An apartment number specifying “downstairs”!


A couple of busy corners later and here I am at the corner of Leandro Valle and Aquiles Serdán.



Shops along Leandro Valle across from the Mercado (heading towards Benito Juárez). Tony’s Burgers is the first door into the Mercado.


Tony’s is where I was going for lunch, but I wanted to do my shopping first. So I headed down, knowing that about two thirds of the way to Benito Juárez is a shop with the backpacks I wanted.


They only had one on display and it was hideous, so I asked if they had more. A sales lady led me inside and showed me a stack. I was surprised that the bags come in shades other than beige or bright red, green, and yellow. I immediately zeroed in on this pink and purple one and asked her if I could examine it more closely. It didn’t have “Mazatlán” written anywhere on it, which a lot of otherwise nice bags have (I don’t like my clothes and accessories to advertise where I’ve been), so that was an immediate plus. I was immediately struck by the quality. The seams were solid and there were lots of little details I hadn’t expected.


Like the flap for the pouch in front opening to reveal a zipper!


The top flap opening to reveal a draw string:


The straps on the back being sewn in such a way that you can easily hang the bag from a hook:


And the very copious storage space:


I asked how much and was shocked that the answer was only $130! I felt cheap trying to bargain that down, but replied with $110. She countered after a long second with $120 being her absolute best price. Wow! Only 9.24CAD!

She asked if I needed anything else and I said that I got what I came in for. She laughed and said that was very obvious and that it was a pleasure doing business with me. Another great mercado shopping experience. I wish they were all like that. The pushy vendors are so unpleasant.

My business done, I retraced my steps to have a shrimp burger at Tony’s. I haven’t really been in the mood for that kind of thing since I got back from Mérida (no tortas, no burgers, and barely any tacos!), but it seemed appealing today. I could have done with half the bread (so I left half of it) and no crema, but the fresh grilled shrimp, veggies, guacamole, and stringy cheese (plus the addition of chiles curtidos) really hit the spot!

I finished my last trip to the mercado by going to my favourite aqua fresca vendor, who is inside the mercado off of Aquiles Serdán, and got a whole litre of guava water! It was so hot that I drank the whole thing by the time I’d retraced my steps to the embarcadero!

I know I won’t have time to go back into town again, so thus end my Mazatlán adventures. It’s been fun! I can’t believe I’ve spent nearly a full year of my life here!

16 thoughts on “An Excuse For a Final Trip to the Mercado

  1. I’ve really enjoyed finding your blog & hearing your stories of life in Maz!

    The city has a place in my heart; and thanks to your blog I’ve discovered some new places and things to see and try when I am there!

    While I’m sad to see the end of your stay in Maz, I’m excited to keep reading if you continue blogging!

    Here’s to new adventures!

    • Suzie, Maz will always be my first home in Mexico and I could never have asked for a better one. The city is accessible and the residents are so welcoming. I’m glad you’re enjoy it too!

      If I continue blogging? I’ve been blogging regularly since the fall of ’08 and have no intentions of stopping. 🙂

  2. Remember years ago when you were hesitant about bargaining the price of stuff down? No hesitation now!

    I wonder how many gringos walk up to the taquilla and ask for a shot?

    Great memories of Mazatlan for you to savor over the next few years!

    • “Remember years ago when you were hesitant about bargaining the price of stuff down? No hesitation now!”

      Never thought of it, but you’re right! It helps that I’ve figured out where it’s expected for me to bargain.

      “I wonder how many gringos walk up to the taquilla and ask for a shot?”

      I just spit out my beer. Hilarious!

      This was a perfect last memory of Maz. Now, to come up with a perfect last Isla memory! 🙂

    • Thanks! And me too! I love that I was FINALLY able to find an excuse to get one. 🙂 They are made in Mexico.

    • Glad someone else thinks so. 🙂 I doubt it will be as robust as my leather daypack, but it’s a nice change!

  3. Ahhh, so the time has come. You’ve had a very good time living there this year.
    Cute backpack & now I know I won’t lose you while you’re here 😉
    Safe travels.

    • Can’t promise you I’ll be out and about with the backpack. Don’t like using them as an every day bag. 😉

      See you in about a week and a half!!!!!!!

  4. A special last day in Maz complete with cute backpack. So sad to read about you packing out and heading out. I will be going through some serious miss you withdrawal next winter.

    • No room for sadness when there are new adventures around the corner! 😀

      I’ll still be available for tech support by email. 😉

  5. When I saw your blog today I thought, ” I hope it includes a shrimp burger”.

    Some of those older abandoned dwelling would be so cool to bring back to life. Wish I had the money.

    Looks like a good farewell. Safe travels.

  6. “When I saw your blog today I thought, ” I hope it includes a shrimp burger”.”

    LOL I thought of you as I savoured every bite! 🙂

    “Some of those older abandoned dwelling would be so cool to bring back to life. Wish I had the money.”

    Many are not expensive to buy, but to fix up would require deep pockets!

    It was a good farewell. Thanks for the travel wishes!

  7. Loved all the pictures. Lovely. Thank you for letting us go with you on your backpack excursion. 🙂

    • Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I know I don’t take enough pictures, so I thought I could at least record one final walk…

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