Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mexico! Olah! (66)

Mexico Epilogue

If you are starting at the top and working your way down, coming up you'll be looking at about ten posts of our three trips to Mexico. It's taken me forever to get all these pix up - I think I bit off a bit more than I had time to chew.

In any event - I hope you enjoy the pix.

We were in Manzanillo for a week at the end November to first few days of December in 2005, in Puerto Vallarta in January 2007 and to Huatulco in January 2009.

I've tried to split the pix up by place and themes - not sure that I succeeded.

We like going to Mexico in the winter - it's warm. I don't know if we'll be going back any time soon - between H1N1 flu and various political problems - right now it's not looking like such a good destination. But I expect all these things are temporary - I hope, anyway.

Hope you enjoy the pix.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mexico! Olah! (65)

Manzanillo - 2005

Our first trip to Mexico was to Manzanillo. This was the year they had vicious hurricanes on the Caribbean side so we opted for the Pacific side. Manzanillo is almost directly west of Mexico City on the coast.

Manzanillo is a city as well as its surrounding municipality in the Mexican state of Colima. The city, located on the Pacific Ocean, contains Mexico's busiest port.

In the 2005 census the city of Manzanillo had a population of 110,728 and its municipality had 137,842. It is the second-largest community in the state, after Colima, the capital. The municipality covers an area of 1,578.4 km² (609.42 sq mi), and includes such outlying communities as El Colomo, in addition to many smaller communities. Manzanillo is also a beach resort and, as the self-proclaimed "sailfish capital" of the world, hosts a yearly sailfish fishing tournament.

Manzanillo is Mexico's busiest port, as measured by total tonnage and volume of containerized cargo. In 2007, the port moved 1.4 million TEUs and 18.0 million tons of total cargo.

We liked Manzanillo. It is a working city. We felt very safe there and we were told that most people have jobs, which by Mexican standards would be considered very good jobs, working in industry or in some capacity related to the port. Tourism is not the major economic focus here as it is in the other places we have been in Mexico.

We went on a tour of the city and surrounding area. Here are the pix.

These first few are of the area to the north of our resort - there are some other resorts as above and below. Many of the homes in this part of the city are owned by wealthy Americans and Mexicans - and I suppose a few Canadians as well.

I left this pix in to illustrate the difference between Mexican safety standards and North American standards. This is our tour group - we were stopped to look out over the harbour. We are standing on the unfinished roof of a building. So at the edge of the concrete there is a drop of 10 feet or so. This would never be allowed in Canada - it would have to be fenced or something.

Similarly, this is the tour bus (and Joe). No windows, no seat belts. Not too much suspension for that matter! We were bombing along the highway at a pretty good clip in this thing!

Note the haze in the background - there is a coal fired power plant across the bay - that's where it comes from.

Golf course to the right of the pix is next to our resort.

Gates to our resort.
Downtown Manzanillo - this is the "real" part of the city - away from the expensive homes and resorts. This is to the south of our resort.

Driving by Pemex gas station - the Mexican government owned oil company.

This series of pix is to show the port activity - I don't know what a lot of the stuff is - it's "port stuff."

Cruise ship in the harbour.


Mariachi band playing in the concourse.

Sailfish - Manzanillo considers itself the sailfish capital of Mexico - although I believe all the coastal cities like to say that of themselves. But Manzanillo certainly has the BIGGEST sailfish! I'm sure the others must have "sailfish envy"!

Harbour/port pix.

These two pix are in to show the nature of work in Mexico. This is fundamental development economics. Where labour is cheaper, more labour, less capital is used. Labour tends to be cheap in developing countries. So - take a close look. No backhoes, not much machinery of any kind. Just a bunch of guys with shovels. Downtown Manzanillo was under construction in this part - sort of reminded me of Calgary!

This is a revered President that I don't know the name of. He was very popular as we noticed his statue was in a number of places we visited.

You can charter these boats (with crew) to take you fishing.

City Hall.

We stopped at this beach. This is a swimming beach (the beach by our hotel was not - too much undertow). We didn't come back here to go swimming, but here are a few shots of it.

And because we just can't seem to get enough bird pix....

Next door resort at night.

Iguanas at our resort. I love these guys!

A little crab.

Joe wandered around the adjacent golf course and took many bird pix.

Our resort.

We went on a tour to the turtle reserve. On the way we passed this Coke Christmas tree downtown.
Transmission line coming from power plant.

We stopped at this "salt museum." They "make" sea salt nearby so this is where they "process" it - it's very primitive.

Driving along/walking around pix.

There were a few captive iguanas at the turtle preserve.

Here are the turtles. I loved this place. We went to another turtle place near Hautulco (see that post), but this one was far nicer.

The tiles on the bottom of the tanks are all one inch square, which gives you an idea of the size of the turtles. There were several sizes from newly hatched to 8 to 10 years old. They release most of them but hold a few back for breeding.

These are the tanks. They are about three feet deep.

We piled into boats and did a tour of the lagoon that stretches for quite a distance.

Many, many birds.

Pelicans in the trees - this was my favorite - I think this is what prehistoric pteridactyls must have looked like! Craig is such a bad influence on me!

Look closely at the lily pads - there are birds wandering around on them.

And crocodiles! Look really closely - there is a long one back there!

These are captive baby crocs.

When the turtles come in to lay their eggs, the workers scoop up the eggs and put them in a safe place - under the mesh in the sand. They are fenced off. It's probably about as safe as they can be made and still be relatively "in nature."

Turtle beach.

There was a hatching a couple of days before we got there so we were each "given" a baby turtle to release!

Here we are with ours! They are SOOOOOO CUTE!!!!

There they go! Off to the ocean.

The workers drew a line in the sand and we literally were not to cross the line in the sand. I imagine they've had the experience of over-excited tourists tramping on the babies.

Those tiny babies have to fight their way into the surf - somehow they manage to do it!

I think these baby turtles were my favourite part of the entire week!

On the way back we stopped in a town that is basically abandoned except for a few blocks where they have some touristy places. This is a part of Mexico that is smack on a fault line and frequently experiences earthquakes. They just gave up rebuilding this place - but apparently at one time it was like a Havana.

There is that power plant across the bay.

Mexico highways under construction.

We zoomed past the resort. It's long enough ago now that I can't remember exactly why - but I think we must have been dropping some other people off at other resorts.

Because here we are winding our way into the other resorts.

Next door resort in the daytime (see night pix above).

This was fairly close to our resort.