Monday Morning Shopping in Mazatlán

I had an early morning for some reason, awake just past 5:00 (might have to do with the fact that this was my third uninterrupted night of sleep in a row, yay!). I read for an hour then got up to do some chores, including taking the trash out. My Mexican life is no more glamourous than my Canadian one! 🙂

Dale came by at 8:00 to pick me up so we could go run some errands in Mazatlán. We arrived as things were opening up, so there weren’t too many crowds and it was still cool out. Good call!

We’re both much more orientated now, so the only question as we left the panga was which road we were going to take to the Mercado, Zaragoza or Leandro Valle. The latter is a bit shorter but has big hills, so we opted for it to get some extra exercise!

Imagine having to go up these stairs to your house every day?!

Imagine having to go up these stairs to your house every day?!

Or up this spiral staircase?!

Or up this spiral staircase?!

I wanted to hit Waldo’s and the Mercado before going to Ley. Dale wanted a bank. I led her straight to the one Grant and I were directed to a couple of weeks ago. I never even noticed that it’s right across from the cathedral!

Dale didn’t like the bank because there were no English instructions in the ATM, but is glad to know there’s one closer than the HSBC she favours if she gets stuck. She had her translator, so there were no issues with her withdrawal. 🙂

When she was done, she mentioned that she’d like to find a bakery. Lo and behold, there was one right in front of us! She sheepishly said that she wanted a pastry right then. Breakfast was already well behind me, so I was on board with her plan!

We were both awed by the rows and rows and rows of pastries, each more beautiful than the next. She went for an Oreo crumb topped doughnut and I selected a butter croissant with a drizzle of icing sugar and some sliced almonds on top. 22.50 pesos for both. Dale said her doughnut was great and my croissant was perfect for me, just enough sweet for a treat, but not enough to be sickening.

Waldo’s was just a block up and across the street, so we finished up our goodies, then headed into the store. I wanted a plastic basket for my kitchen counter into which I could store spices and found a nice one that was quite cheap, as well as a few other things for the apartment. I picked up some Stanley-brand Velcro ties for my computer cables that are something like 10CAD for 8 in Canada and only 14 pesos (1CAD) in Mexico!!!

Next was the Mercado, across the street, where I knew I was going to spend mucho dinero. I wanted to come out with two Mexican sundresses and a hat. I’d been to the Mercado twice before and knew exactly which vendor had the dresses I wanted, but I had no idea on prices.

The vendor is immediately on the right when you come in through the entrance across from Waldo’s. I made like I wasn’t sure about checking out the wares so I didn’t look like I was already determined to buy.

I picked up the dress that I wanted, a peasant style, and held it up to show Dale, whose eyes widened. She said “That’ll look good on  you!” The clerk brought out a screen so I could change and showed me where the mirror is.

My first thought before I even saw the dress on me was, “It fits!” I just grabbed a dress of a rack and it was exactly my size! Unbelievable! I checked it out in the mirror and gasped. I felt like a princess. The dress was so pretty and the exact shape that best fits my figure. When I was larger, styles like these felt like a costume, I just couldn’t get away with ‘girly’ clothes, but now I can.

I asked how much in Spanish and the lady told me 500 pesos. Oof. I was expecting something like that, but it was still a lot of money and I wanted two!

I asked how much for two and was told 480 pesos each. What kind of deal is that?!

I told Dale that I was going to think about it and the clerk said that she could go as low as 430 pesos for each dress if I bought two or 450 pesos for just one.

The price was getting better and I thought I might be able to get it lower, so I started discussing colour. I’d tried on a bright blue dress that I wanted (Dale said it brings out the colour in my eyes) and I pretended to waffle back and forth between the blue and the purple. “400 pesos for the purple one,” I finally said. The clerk looked aghast and said, “No! 450 pesos for one dress. You can have both for 800 but one is 450 pesos.”

I’m sure that all the Mexican haggling experts reading this are going to laugh at my timidity, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going any lower at that point, so I agreed.

800 pesos is a huge sum of money, but I know I will wear the dresses a lot, not just on special occasions. They are made of heavy cotton and will last a long time. And perhaps most important, I feel so good in them!

My blue dress (I'm wearing the purple one and do not have a photographer handy!).

My blue dress (I’m wearing the purple one and do not have a photographer handy!).

Next, I wanted a hat. I’d shopped for hats before and haven’t been able find anybody willing to sell me one for what I wanted to pay (70 to 80 pesos) so I set my budget to 120 pesos.

One lady lured us into her shop waving hats and bags. I pointed to the hat she was holding and said I want something with a smaller brim. The next sized brim she held up was was still too big. She then pulled out the exact style of hat that I wanted and hadn’t yet seen at any other vendor!

I call it the ball cap style, because it basically has no brim in the back, but it does cover the ears. A wide brim all around is good for the back of the neck, but I’m a little hunched back and I prefer no brim back there. The hat was pretty and feminine, with a bow at the back, almost like a bonnet, and would look good with my dresses!

Unfortunately, all her hats were brightly coloured, though, and I wanted something more neutral. I pointed to a hat the colour I wanted, a light beige, and said that I wanted that hat style in that colour. And she had one! Finally, the perfect hat!

She wanted 150 pesos. I said I’d think about it. She said that I would be her first sale of the day, so 120 pesos. I countered with 100 and she thought about it then agreed. I doubt I could have gone any lower because the cheapest hat I’ve priced so far was 950 pesos, not a centavo less!

My hat.

My hat.

I was feeling pretty broke by this point, but I still needed groceries! I bought a mango (haven’t had one of those in months!) and a jicama at the market and Dale got a few things, too.

We were both ready to head to the Ley after. Back up Leandro Valle we went a couple of blocks and then a couple of blocks over to the Ley. We really are getting to know our way around!

Ley had almost everything on my list except coffee! We could only find instant. Unbelievable! Dale and I are going to Soriana or Mega or even Walmart on my next payday because we both take our coffee seriously. I looked into coffee shops that sell their own and they’re all in the Golden Zone and a million miles away. I guess Mexico exports all its coffee and Mexicans aren’t coffee snobs… I just opened up a bag I bought in the States that should last me a couple of weeks, but my coffee situation is going to get dire fast!

I came out of Ley after spending about 330 pesos. The most expensive thing I bought was the cheese, about 110 pesos worth (which would be about 30CAD worth back home…). I also bought Kikkoman soy sauce. Last time I bought some in Canada, I paid something like $10 for two on sale. I paid 450 pesos for one bottle here. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I should stock up on soy sauce in Mexico before going home!

Our shopping done, Dale and I arranged all our bags to make them more comfortable to carry and decided that we could walk rather than take a pulmonía to the panga.

We were just at the corner of Leandro Valle and Emilio Barragán when a tope (speed bump) that was the exact colour as the pavement and my shoes attacked me! I went down pretty hard, but managed to catch myself enough that I didn’t get my full weight on my knees. I scraped my right shin pretty badly but didn’t even skin the palms of my hands. My shopping was fine. I’m no longer the gal who hit a palm tree with her truck her first night here, but now the girl who tripped on a tope!

I was just glad I fell on a street, not while getting into the panga! I had no trouble getting myself and my shopping into the boat gracefully, thank goodness!

By the time Dale and I got back to Isla, it wasn’t even 11:00 a.m.! We were surprised! It was getting HOT and we were ready to get home. I had work to do, but, surprise, the power and internet at home were out for a few hours because of work being done to the house. The internet cafés don’t have power outlets, so forget working from there. Thankfully, my deadlines aren’t too pressing and I can make up the work later.

Lunch was guacamole and chips, quick and easy. I bought a different kind of avocado today, much bigger than that Haas ones, with a smooth light green skin and more expensive than the Haas variety. It wasn’t great, more water than creamy. It was fine with lots of onions, salt, and lime juice (forgot the jalapeños!), but I’m glad I only got the one.

Large smooth skinned avocado.

Large smooth skinned avocado.

The flesh and pit are lighter and the flesh is watery.

The flesh and pit are lighter and the flesh is watery.

18 thoughts on “Monday Morning Shopping in Mazatlán

  1. Pretty and muy bonita. Oops about the fall, hope it doesn’t hurt too much. You can get coffee just north of the corner of Olas Altas and Sixto Osana at a place called Looney Beans.

    When are you coming to visit?

    • It looks like the Looney Bean moved to Cerritos. 🙁 🙁 🙁

      And I came to visit while you were commenting, LOL!

  2. You REALLY have to watch your step on Mexican streets, there are tripping hazards everywhere.

    I have never seen as much instant coffee consumed anywhere as in Mexico.

  3. Funny thing about the coffee. We used to ask folks to bring down Nabob when we lived in Puerto Rico, because I swear they exported all the good stuff off the island. The stuff that was available in the grocery stores was just horrid. And to me, instant coffee isn’t actually coffee at all.
    Had to look at the exchange, but I thought you did very well with those dresses. Two for roughly 63 bucks? And a hat for six? Nice.

  4. I like Nabob, too, Full City Metropolis. But Co-Op brand dark roast is comparable and half the price so I buy that unless the Nabob is on sale.

    Instant coffee doesn’t deserve its name!

    Contessa says I did good with the bargaining today! The hat is actually about 8CAD and I’m getting the same figure for the dresses. I haven’t bought brand new clothes in so long that $31.50 for a piece feels outrageously expensive! But I know they were a deal.

  5. Sounds like you did well with all of your shopping. Glad you mentioned the avocado. I bought one the other day, and was wondering how to fix it other than in a salad.

    • I’m new to avocados and this is what I do with them so far:

      -eat them straight out of the shell with a spoon (salt or a little dressing optional);
      -mash them into guacamole (with red onion, salt, lime juice, and perhaps some jalapeño and tomato)
      -slice them up and add them to a wrap
      -mix them up with tuna, onion, and veggies like peppers or cukes to make tuna salad (I use the avocado in lieu of mayo)

      My mother makes a great drink that mixes oranges and avocado. I need to get her recipe.

  6. I meant to compliment your bargaining powers as well. If you can get 20 – 25% off, you are doing well. The final play is to simply say it is too much and walk away. They will call you back…. or not.

    • Contessa says that I did really well and she wonders if the vendor might have made a mistake. But I got 20% off, so if your rule of thumb is average, then I don’t need to feel guilty!

      • Try the walking away sometime. I have gotten my best deals by doing this when I didn’t really want/need the item but he/she really wanted to sell it. 😉

        • I will try that. 🙂 I really doubt I could have done better today, though! I might try it the next time I look at jewellery. I’m due for a new pair of earrings…

  7. Nice job on the bargaining, I would really have to adjust my attitude to be able to do that. Your avo is just like those produced by the tree in my yard. Nice texture and good tasting but not as rich as some others. The mexican restaurants don’t care though, they use all that anyone brings them, In a good season we have gotten more than 200 lb of avos off one tree. They are good with ketchup, soy sauce, or just salt. Plain as well if they are firm and tasty!
    You have made some great choices in your life, keep on goin’.

    • I think that being on a tight budget is motivation to bargain hard! 🙂 I I found that my smooth skinned avocado was pretty tasteless on its own. The Haas and cheaper and yummier, so I’m going to stick with them. You’re lucky to have a tree in your yard! But ketchup on an avocado?! 😀

  8. Those clothes look really nice. If you get what you want for a reasonable price, then it’s going to be much better value than getting something cheaper and nastier that you haggle down even cheaper, then never wear it.

    I’ve heard a lot of smack talk about instant coffee … but I’ve become a semi-regular coffee drinker and I’m loving the granular instant coffee, French roasted, by a NZ company called Robert Harris ( It’s smooth, well-rounded and delicious. So instant coffee doesn’t have to be burnt, sharp/dull and blucky.

    • Andrew, that’s my thinking, that these dresses are investment pieces. They’ll never go out of style.

      I don’t have the patience or budget to go through 50 billion brands of instant coffee to find the one that doesn’t suck. 😀

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  10. There is a place at the Mercado that sells coffee. Look for stools and the coffee smell! We found something equivalent to the Italian Expresso we find in Canada

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