Hotels and restaurants dot both sides of the street that takes you from the Mazatlan historical center to the marina at the north end of town. If each hotel was represented on a map with a red pin, and each restaurant a blue pin, you would have a long and uninterrupted row of pins. You could climb up on the head of one pin and walk all the way to the marina without ever touching the road. 

A half block down the calle in front of the Hotel Playa is a colorful eatery that calls itself the Gringo Lingo

A kid in front of the eatery, holds a menu, stands on the sidewalk and talks us inside for a meal and a Pacifico beer – one of Mazatlan’s gifts to the world. There is world class fishing in these waters that drew Hollywood stars in the 50’s, taking time off from the rigors of stardom and Los Angeles. You see photos of John Wayne and Robert Mitchem in brochures and huge marlin dangling from the end of ominous hooks connected to dock scales.

This evening the three of us are enticed into the Gringo Lingo complete with bright primary school colors, hanging potted plants, and an extensive menu of Mexican and American favorites. There is only a handful of patrons when we enter and few come after us. It is early in the evening and people are recovering from sunburn and too many afternoon beers.

Matzatlan comes alive in the evening with  bright lights, music spilling out of open doors, and a temp that is shirt sleeve. Our Hotel Playa is hosting a bridge tournament and during the day its tables are packed with foursomes playing duplicate bridge, racking up master’s points, and discussing strategy.

This meal we try tortilla soup and  chicken wings. Ordering food is a tricky business in Mexico even though menus show pictures and have food descriptions written in English as well as Spanish. The tendency is too order too much, not like most of what you order, and drink instead.

They like sauces on everything down here.

Some of us prefer to taste our food.



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