Day 3 - Ice Box Hill
Ice Box Hill is the old part of Mazatlan. The expats hang here and there are quite a few of them. We liked it so much we decided to stay an extra day. There's a new part of town, Dorado, with the high rise hotels, Twisted Mama's and Senor Frog .. . .that's absorbs the tourists. It works out well.
I drove here once before, in the late 60's, and like all of Mexico it has really changed.
There's an expat community of about 5000, contributing an estimated $5 million monthly to Mazatlan's economy. Tourism is way down, and the cruise ships stopped coming about three years ago. The Spring Breakers don't come like they used to either. The old town was the beneficiary of substantial investment, and there are still many nice restaurants and shops, but nothing like it was, according to Caesar.
Caesar came back to Mazatlan from Utah where he worked at a Red Lobster for $15 /hour. With the cruise ships he could make more money selling silver to the passengers. He's looking at going back to the US now. He originally went to the US when he was fourteen. I saw a lot of this, restaurant owners spoke the English that was not learned in school, and even the young barristas who sold me my $2.50 cup of Americano spoke an English that was probably learned at home.
There were entire streets behind the Malecon that were empty, and there was a lot of property for sale. I spoke to one expat who stays the year (many leave during the very hot and humid summer). In the summer, her electricity is discounted 50% for the four worst months. She claimed her bill was typically $5-6 for the rest of the year. The Mexican government can do this, they own both the oil and the power company CFE.
Gas runs between $3.30 and $3.50/gal, depending on whether you purchase the MagnaSin or Premium (87 vs 92 octane). The toll roads -now called AutoPista on the maps will run you as much as gas. Diesel is the same price as the Magna Sin. The toll roads continued to be excellent, with the best of them equaling what you would find on US interstates.
We ate a lot of freshly caught shrimp and left reluctantly.