Gay Nagle Myers visited Mazatlan, in the state of Sinaloa on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Her first dispatch follows.
Anticipation is half the fun of travel, so my first visit to Mazatlan did not disappoint.
There were Hurricane Sandy challenges, of course, but I got around those by flying from Virginia to Houston ahead of the storm, and on to Mazatlan from there.
Still, I worried all week about my family in Virginia and Pennsylvania; my friends in the eye of the storm in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; and my colleagues here at Travel Weekly.
Sporadic Internet connections added to my communication frustrations.
I also felt guilty at times traipsing through historic hotels, sipping a mango margarita poolside and kayaking at Deer Island off Mazatlan’s coast in sunshine and temperatures of 84 degrees.
The Mexican kids in full costume in Mazatlan’s Machado Square on Halloween eyed my pumpkin earrings, quickly figured I was a gringo and gave me packets of chocolate candies.
“Give to Sandy people,” one of the older kids instructed me. “We are sad for them.”
Jesus, the bartender and machete-wielding coconut chopper on Deer Island, told me that “storms make people strong. You Americans are strong. You will be okay.”
At least I think that’s what his message was, given his limited English and my even more limited understanding of Spanish.
On the Kolonahe catamaran on the way back to the mainland, we passed a lone sea lion sunbathing on a patch of rock.
Victor Urrea, our guide, said it was a good sign.
“Usually the sea lions come later to spend the winter here. This one is the first to arrive. It’s a welcome message to tell you all will be okay, and storm worries will ease.”
He also pointed out that Americans should come to Mazatlan to “recover their happiness after the storm.”
Always the tourism message resounds, and in this case it sounded like a darn good antidote.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.