Sinaloa

TOPOLOBAMPO TO LOS MOCHIS

The ferry arrived 26th February 2018 at 9pm in the harbour of Topolobampo. Pedestrians had to use a bridge to the building for departures and arrivals, where we also had to pick up our luggage. People with disabilities, especially when using wheelchairs, we’re allowed to cross the road directly instead. When I took the first steps of the high pedestrian’s bridge I was told to take the other way instead. I was really happy about it, even I had not much to carry. I found my big backpack easily and went outside, looking for the driver.

Unfortunately I had told the hostel, I would arrive after midnight, because I had read wrong on the ticket. I hoped, the driver had checked the time of arrival of the ferry. I did not see anyone looking for me, though I called the hostel. I was answered, that it was good, that I called, because they did not have any driver, no “Uber” either and they asked me to take a taxi, which I did. It was not so easy to find a driver, who had a GPS and could find the address of the hostel. I had first tried with mine, but the signal was not strong enough. The ride was about 20 minutes long and to a price of 250 MXN ( a driver as well as an Uber would have been for 200 MXN).

Well at the hostel I used the code, which luckily was working. I just had taken a look around, when it knocked at the door. I expected the owner or one of the staff, but it was another woman, who had booked. I let her in, when I was sure, that she also had booked. First, when she used the wi-fi, she could see the message with the code, because she had no Mexican SIM-card. We introduced ourselves and was then going out to eat. We found a restaurant, where we ordered tacos. We ordered two each, but they came with so much meat, that I only could it one of mine. They did not have bottled water, though I had to take a Coke. The other woman (from the Netherlands) had ordered a Cola light, though the waitress brought me the same. I also left half of it.

 

Casahome hostel B&B

 

Back at the hostel, we talked for a while. Elena has been travelling for over a year and been in all countries of Central America. She had saved money and even sold her household to make this trip. She also had been working in the USA for a couple of month. She told me, she had not planned to see Mexico, but people she met had told her, she should. By the way, there was no message for us, no explanation, nothing. It was easier for her, because she was told, that the bunk beds were occupied and she had to take the private room. There is only one of them. I had only booked a bed and I soon found out, that there were no other guests. I chose a bed of the four in the room. This hostel is really tiny. There is only the one private room and the one room with the bunk beds. When I booked my bed, there was stated, that the check-in is between 2pm and 9pm, but there is no reception. In addition to the two bedrooms there is a small kitchen and a corner with a sitting arrangement as well as a bathroom, which is called “women’s room”.

 

LOS MOCHIS

27th February 2018

In the price is breakfast included, though Elena as well as me were looking for, what there was. We found Nescafe, some cereals, a big pack of sweets and also a big pack of walnuts, 3 bottles of oil, salt and sugar on the shelfs. In the fridge was a rest of milk in a two liter container, bottled water, chicken soup, bread (should have been soft, but was hard and not eatable) as well as salsa. There was a water container on the kitchen shelf as well. All seemed to be left overs. We took of the coffee, the milk and the cereals, but did not get full of it.

We had finished breakfast, when the owner arrived. He had some conversation with us and got paid. He also told us, that he will go for short holidays (five days) to Guadalajara. Though I asked him, “how about the code” and he told me, it will be the same for five days in a row. Elena got the private room to the same price as I had to pay for the bunk bed.

We later left the hostel together and took the bus to the city centre. Elena already was going further and looking for the bus station. I was looking for a tourist information centre and the station for “El Chepe”, the railway. I was walking up and down the streets, but did not find a tourist information, but it would have been possible to buy a map of Los Mochis, unfortunately there were only the streets named, no tourist attractions or similar. Though I did not buy one. At a bus station (I learned later, that there are other bus stations as well) I asked, how to come to the railway station. I told them too, that I will walk there. This time nobody tried with “it is xx blocks away”, though I was walking.

I have got hungry and had a snack and a mango juice at an OXXO, before I walked all the way to the railway station. Luckily I arrived, before the counter was closed for lunch. I asked for a second  class ticket as follows:

6th of March: Los Mochis to Bahuichivo, 9th March from Bahuichivo to Cuauhtemoc. 11th March from Cuauhtemoc to Chihuahua for one person in economic class. The clerk told me, that there is no second class from Bahuichivo onwards. I first asked him, if I would buy the whole trip for the same day, if I could get an economic class ticket for the whole way, but he told me, that there is not such a ticket. I thought, this is a trip I will make once in a lifetime, though I should pay the 500 MXN more as planned and I did.

 

Old Lokomotive at Los Mochis Railway Station

I also walked all the way back to the hostel. I did not only walk this day around 15 km, I also have seen the slum. If I had known before, that I will come through the slum, I would have chosen another way, but my map did not tell me. I felt unsafe by crossing the slum, but actually there was no need for that. The people mostly ignored me or they were kind. There was no sign of any violence! On my way back I did not use that road again, but the area close to the railway station was very dirty, much more as usual and Mexico is not a clean country. On the way home I also needed a bathroom. I could not see any at the railway station, though I looked all the way, if there was a restaurant, because I also was hungry, but there were only that street stalls. They do not have one. I asked at an Oxxo, because here you also can buy coffee, snacks etc there and even sit down and eat it there, but they told me, they have not. The next I tried with a pharmacy, but they told me, their bathroom is for the employees only. Finally I found a bathroom at a gas station. I had to pay 2 MXN for using it and it was clean. Afterwards I was to another Oxxo and had a warm chocolate and a sandwich. Close to the hostel I met the owner, because he lives close to it, but I had first to go to the Oxxo nearby to buy eggs, bread, more cereals, milk and bottled water.

Back at the hostel it was just me. I warmed up in the bed, because it had been a chilly day with drizzling rain off and on. When I was hungry again I tried to fry eggs, but the gas was not working – the bottle was closed. We had found it so in the morning. Elena was able to open it, unfortunately she closed it again. I tried to call the owner, but his line was occupied and later, he did not answer. I left a message to an answering machine as well as I sent a short message. After a while a woman knocked my door. She did speak Spanish only and I could not understand her, but I told her about the gas and asked, if she could open it for me. She tried, but could not either, though she was asking a male neighbour, which did help us. Before the woman left, she told me, she lives at the corner and I could come to her, if I need more help. Actually she lives in the same house as the owner, maybe she is his wife.

Finally I fried two eggs and eat them with bread. I also had a camomile tea. Afterwards I went to bed and took the two best covers. I slept well that night.

 

28th February 2018

I awoke already at 7am, but was to bed again after have taken my medicine. An hour later I ate breakfast and dressed. I actually had found a tourist map at the hostel the evening before and planned to try to book a tour “Ruta Mayo – Yoreme”. Therefore I walked in the direction to the city centre and stopped at the tour company. Unfortunately it was not tourist season, though there was no tour. Tonny, the agent told me, i should go by bus to the town “El Fuerte” and should also go to “Álamos”, a UNESCO heritage, but each would be a day trip. I looked for and found the Museum “Valle del Fuerte”. There was a sign, that I had to pay 15 MXN, but no opportunity to do it. I did not find the museum itself without help, but people were working in a show room and one of them was keen to explain (even he did it in Spanish). Furthermore the explanations of the exhibition was only in Spanish, but I understood the most of it. The whole exhibition was about the history of Sinaloa.

 

Museo Valle del Fuerte

 

I was very hungry, when I left, though I was going to the closest restaurant, which was a Burger King and had a chickenburger, French fries and a soft drink. Afterwards I tried to find another museum, but did not. The weather had become really chilly now, there were grey clouds most of the day and they were deeper grey now. My other choice, the Botanical gardens did no longer seems to be interesting. I walked back to the hostel and tried to find out, where the bus to El Fuerte will leave the next day.

The chickenburger+ did not enjoy my stomach. I felt heavy full for a long time and had just a bread and a glass of milk later that evening. I updated my blog before I went to bed.

 

1st March 2018

Usually I do not use taxis, but I had a bus to catch and want to be sure, not to miss it. I found a taxi stop close to the hostel. The cars had signs on the windscreen about the prices in town. It was between 40 and 60 MXN, I had to pay 50 MXN (just 2.20 EUR). Well at the bus station for Azules Noroeste, I did not find a counter and had to ask, where to buy tickets. Unfortunately the people I asked did not understand me, but when a young man said hello, I asked him, if he speaks English. “A little” he answered. Anyway I have got the necessary answer of him. The bus tickets has to be purchased from the driver. The bus should have left at 9:05am, but did not arrive before 10:10am. It was 10:30 am, when he departed from Los Mochis. The price was lower as I had seen on the Internet. It was only 80 MXN (3.50 EUR). We arrived in El Fuerte, my chosen destination, because I have been told, that the old city is a “must see”, at 12:15pm.

 

EL FUERTE

We arrived in the city centre and I had to find a bathroom. For this reason and because, I was already hungry, I was looking for a restaurant. I found one in the old town, which was nice to see, even the prices were a little high. The restaurant was nice decorated and has a patio as well. Unfortunately the table clothes were not clean all over and also had holes. I chose a seat on the patio. The menu offered most fish and seafood, but also some dishes with carne. I ordered quesadilla, which was very different to the one I had eaten in La Paz. I also ordered a beer and could choose the make. The quesadillas should have had ham as well, but they had not. It was four of them and enough to get me full. The dish also contained a mixed salad and cooked beans.

Meanwhile I was waiting for the dish, I could watch colibri. There was a food automat, where lots of them were drinking. Colibri were coming and leaving all the time. At another table, three men were sitting. One of them played a guitar and sometimes he was singing, too. All was very decent.

 

Colibri

 

After I had eaten and paid 110 MXN (of which I gave the driver 7 MXN in tips) I was going to see the rest of the old city. Soon I came to an open place, where people gathered. I thought it was for the upcoming election and that a man of a political party will held a speech. The place was secured by a police officer. I stopped at a bench behind him, because I had become warm, to take off my sweater. The police officer asked me from which country I am and what I will do in the area. We I was going further, I just saw, that he did call with a very simple smartphone.

Close to that square was a church. In front of it, the letters of the town. The church was smaller as usual. It was really narrow. I took a look and a couple of photos. Even in this church a statue of Jesus was dressed (in velvet). I continued to see other buildings and passed an ice cream shop, but went back and in. I bought a small ice cream, this time in a cone. I have got a lot of ice cream for 15 MXN (0.65 EUR).

 

Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Church

 

I continued walking around for a while and took some more photos. Actually I was a little disappointed of this small town. I have expected more, but it is Mexico and I do, so far, not know much about its architecture. That is one of the reasons, why I try to see as much as possible of this country.

 

Street view

 

When I was back at the place, where the buses are leaving – it is not a bus station, a driver asked me, if I will go to Los Mochis. The bus was smaller as the one I was coming with and it was another bus company. I asked for the price, which was 60 MXN (~ 3 EUR) and therefore cheaper than the other bus. I have got a seat in the front, which I was happy about. Surprisingly this bus stopped at stalls on the side of the road, when passengers were asking for it. The bus driver waited until the passengers were back in the bus.

I left the bus in the city centre of Los Mochis, bought postcards and went afterwards to the hostel by local bus. Before I finally was going to there, I bo.ught a bottle of water and a bottle of agua horchata. At the hostel I had a light evening meal and checked then on the Internet, which bus I should take the upcoming day as well to which bus stop I have to go and change bus, because my destination will be Álamos. Actually I should have gone to Hermosillo next day, but my host told me, that she is in the state of Yucatan, but will be home in time. Though I told her, that there is no reason to hurry, because I could go to Álamos instead and arrive a day later, which she agreed to. I found out, that I have to change bus in Navojoa. This town is situated on highway 15, so is Hermosillo. Buses to Hermosillo goes around once an hour.

I finished my day by writing the postcards, washing the dishes and watching movies on YouTube. Unfortunately I was too tired to update my blog.

 

2nd March 2018

It is time to go further. I checked the buses on the Internet. My new destination is Hermosillo, Sonora. Buses to this town are leaving Los Mochis once an hour, buses to Navojoa, Sonora not quite so often. I remembered a bus leaving past 8am and thought, the next one will leave between 10am and 11am. Though I did not have a hurry, even I was up at 7am. Unfortunately I missed the 8:45am bus and the next one was not before 1:30pm. Though I spent more than four hours at the bus station. When I booked the ticket, the cashier did write the number of the bus on it, which I had to go with. Fortunately the employee, who cared about the luggage of the passengers at the bus station, asked me, which bus I will go with, because I was early outside enjoying the sun. Two buses arrived around 1:30pm, but none with the number on my ticket. Finally that employee told me, that one of the arriving buses will go to Navojoa. He also took care of my big backpack. I entered the bus, not thinking about the control ticket for the backpack, but the driver gave it to me, before he started the bus. By the way on the tickets are seat numbers, but nobody cares about them.

I looked for my seat number at the bus, but it was occupied of an elderly woman. The seat on the side of her, was empty and a window seat, though I took that one. This woman was special, so were the seats. She had her handbag beside her, though it was on my seat and she did not move it. She also took more space than her seat. The seats were comfortable, if one will sleep on the bus, but to sit in them was very uncomfortable. If I would have sat on the seat as meant, my feet would not reach the floor as well as I would not be able to really sit up, though I changed seat later, but was only using the front of the seat.

In addition to that, all buses were checked at two military controls. At the first, a military man entered and told us something in Spanish. I asked, if he speaks English as well, but I did not get any answer. Though I asked the passengers, if someone of them speaks English, but did not get any answer as well. Now I asked a young man, if he speaks English, but he answered “no”. Therefore I just followed the others and did like they did. We had to take all our luggage and put it on band for scanning. That band was unfortunately high, though a military man was lifting up the heavy suitcases. When I came with mine, it seemed he want not, even I already had put it down, though I pointed on it and he lifted it up, too. I also had to put all my small bags on the band. Meanwhile our bags were scanned, the bus was checked, which did take much longer, though we had to wait outside with our bags for a while. This happened one more time, but only the big luggage was checked. I first though, that we already had crossed the border to the state of Sonora, but we had not, I have seen on Google maps. By the way, at the check points were Mexican sellers, trying to sell sweets, tortillas and more.

The road conditions were not as good as on Baja California, partly by the road works. Anyway there were pay stations, where all drivers had to pay for using the road, though also our bus driver. We could continue without further problems and entered soon the state of Sonora. For reading about that part of my trip, please click on the following link: Sonora.

 

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17th Nov 2018

I was arriving in Mazatlan, coming from Tepic in Nayarit. The trip had been throughout beautiful nature and taken around four hours. I took a taxi to my host and we were surprised, because the house was in an industrial like area. The taxi driver asked me to pay 80 MXN, but had no change for my 200 MXN-note and could not change anywhere either, because all the shops around were closed. On the other side of the street was only a military area (with a high wall around). He finally gave me all his change, but by that I paid 91 MXN instead. I was not satisfied with it, but could not change the facts.

Graciela and her sister Mariana (both in their 30s) are living in a house, her mother ones built. The parents had been pilots, both of them, but were already dead. Mariana has a kind of bakery at the first floor. On the second floor the sisters are living together with two cats and a big mini-pig. They also have four or five dogs, but they are not in the house. Because it soon became dark, I did not explore Mazatlan this day. I tried to update my blog, but did not find any socket, which was fitting the contact of my notebook, because my notebook has a secure one. Anyway it was possible to charge my phone, though I was on twitter for a while.

 

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18th Nov 2018

There were nothing to get, but a glass of water, though I was going to the next Oxxo and had breakfast – a coffee and a donut, which were for 18 MXN and a sandwich. Then I was going downtown by bus for sightseeing. Mariana had explained to me, which buses I could use and where I could catch them. To go downtown, I just had to go to the other side of the street. There were small trees, where I could wait. This day I was waiting on the other side of the Oxxo instead. I was soon on my way and left at the market hall. From there, the bus returns to the other destination, e.g.  the colonia of Juarez.

 

The Cathedral in Mazatlan

 

I was looking around in the market hall. It is always interesting, what the sellers offer, but I did not buy anything. Afterwards I was looking for the cathedral, which I found easily and in front of it was – as usual, the Plaza of Armas. There were already Christmas decoration set up. I became a little dizzy and was looking for something to drink. With a big mug of Agua de Horchata I went back to the place and took a seat in the shadow. There was a family arriving soon and take place close to me. The little girl was entertaining even me.

 

Plaza de Armas

 

When I had finished my drink, I went to the cathedral to take a look. There was a service ongoing, though I did neither enter nor take photos. The cathedral was quite simple, but had some gold applications. This one had no baroque style. By the way, when I tried later to enter the cathedral to took photos, it was not possible, because it was closed.

 

Town Hall

 

I was walking throughout the streets in the historic city center and continued then to the Malecon, which means the beach promenade. Mazatlan has no long beach and especially no long sandy beach. Some people were on the sandy beach, there was also a place for not so good swimmers and children. A slide of stone could not be used, because it was without water and not working. I continued on the Malecon until I came to an area, which was under maintenance. I walked back all the way to the city. Finally I had a pizza somewhere in a pizza center – they actually had individual pizzas, which is quite uncommon in Mexico. When I had eaten, it already was getting dark and I was back to the market hall and caught a bus from there.

 

Mermaid at Malecon

 

This evening I got to know Graciela, but she was just saying hello and asking me, how I am, before she was entering her room and staying there. The big had made his poo in the same room as I was sleeping, even in a corner of it. Though I told Mariana and she took care of it.

 

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19th Nov 2018

When leaving the house of my host I was directly going by bus downtown. I had eaten the rest of the sandwich for breakfast, which I had bought the day before at the Oxxo. Walking around in the city, I saw postcards with views and took the opportunity to buy some for my friends. After that I was looking for a café and a second breakfast, because I was already hungry again. I found a nice one and they offered some cakes with cream etc. I asked for a slice of one of them, which came with bananas as well. When I was served, the slice was a quarter of the cake and I told her, I would like to have half of it, but got the answer, that the slices at this place have all the size of mine, which I also later could observe. I had a cappuccino as well and the whole “breakfast” was for 90 MXN without the tip. On the street again, I tried to find a supermarket by Google maps, but even I had downloaded the area of Mazatlan, the map was not working. I had to buy a top up for my data traffic and I was disappointed, that I already run out of the data again as well as by the non existing opportunity to use Google maps offline. I had to made a call, which I think, did take the charge of my data. The calls are very expensive here and it is always recommended to use of the unlimited SMS instead.

 

Street Art

 

After recharging my phone with data usage possibility I was looking for a supermarket like a Chedraui or Soriana, because I needed tissues again. The closest one was a Ley, but it was not very big and they did not have tissues. – I have seen, that Mexicans use toilet paper instead and I understand it, because tissues are so hard to find. Now I was looking for the Soriana, Google told me, there is. I had to go to a busy road and followed it for around an hour, though I was looking for a bus. A Mexican man was also looking for a bus, therefore I asked him, if there is a bus to the Soriana and he did not only answer me, which bus I had to take, but later also tell the bus driver, where I was going and that he should announce the correct bus stop. Anyway, I did see the Soriana sign, before we came to the bus stop.

At the supermarket I bought tissues and food, though I had breakfast for the upcoming day, when I will go further. It would be the easier option, I thought, because I could have it in the house of my host. Though I bought a bottle of cold coffee drink, drink yogurt, some oat biscuits and something more to eat. From the Soriana it was possible to walk back to my host in around 45 minutes, which I did. I crossed an area, which more looked like a slum, but in the same street the look of the buildings changed and I felt better again. Anyway nobody had annoyed me on my way throughout the poor area, even the people were looking surprised, to see a tourist walking there.

This evening both Graciela and her sister Mariana took time with me. Therefore I also know about the early deaths of their parents. We were mostly talking about traveling. Both sisters has already traveled a lot and Graciela also had been living for a year or a year and a half in Turkey as an exchange student by Rotary. Before we went to bed.

Mariana told me, that she might have the possibility to drive me to the bus station next morning around 10am. She meant, that it with all my bags would not be a good idea to go by bus. – Even this evening there was poo of the pig in that corner of the room, where I am sleeping – not far away from my bed. I just did not tell them. I thought, they should take a look anyway. They did not.

For more photos of Mazatlan click here.

 

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20th Nov 2018

When I awoke, I was surprised, that the sisters already were up and dressed. The reason was, that Garciela was to celebrate the Day of the Mexican Revolution together with her law class. She is, by the way, working as a pilot and her sister Mariana make cup cakes and also bigger cakes for special occasions. She is really good in decorating. Anyway, I was surprised, when I saw her “bakery”. It does not look very hygienic.

Both Garciela and Mariana were leaving and I was up and had my usual routines. When I was ready to go Mariana was back, but started with her bakery. Though I asked her, how long she would need for it. Her answer was one or maybe two hours. Therefore I told her, that I want not wait for, that she will drive me to the bus station. She ordered an Uber-Taxi for me instead, which was for 50 MXN.

At the bus station I asked at the counter of the Chihuahuense if I could get a discount for my age, but they told me, that was only possible with the Mexican card for elderly. I told them, that it will be cheaper to go by the “Omnibus de Mexico”, because on the Internet it was stated a lower price. When I well was at the counter for this bus company, the price was the same like for the Chihuahuense bus, but I asked again for a discount for elderly and there I did get it, when I showed my passport. It was actually half the price of the normal price. I had to wait for the bus until 13:15pm, there was no earlier of this bus company, the Chihuahuense has had earlier buses, but for the price I was happy to wait. There was a security guard in the waiting area, though I asked him to have an eye on my luggage, when I was going to the bathroom and he did.

The bus was in time and we also got a bag with a sandwich and a drink. We actually could choose between sandwiches with or without Jalapeño, which I was very happy about. As usual I took a bottle of water. I still had my oat biscuits and I new, I would have enough to eat for the five hours ride. More than half of the time the bus was driving throughout beautiful nature again. There were many mountains and by the new road, there were also a lot of tunnels, even each of them was not very long. Closer to my next destination, Durango, there are only hills, but there is still a lot of forest. I enjoyed even this trip for full.

To read about my days in the town of Victoria de Durango and surroundings, please follow the link for the state of Durango.