By Sheila Madsen, February 2013
When you are two there are so many decisions to agree upon. Children, cat, dog, parrot, downtown, suburbs, condo, garden, squash, tennis, travel, stay, meat, vegetarian, organic, spend, save, eat in, dine out and the daily dialogues go on and on. For most of us who decide to move to Mazatlan, because of our age, the debates do become smaller. Something like this: view, no view, in Centro, out of Centro, to buy, to rent, house, apartment or condo? We knew within five days we wanted to live in Centro, and to buy a condo with a view. While we waited two years for our condo, Vue Centro Historico to be built, we lived on the wacky, winding street of Pedregoso.
Pedregoso has its ups and downs. Literally. It runs parallel to Angel Flores, but due to nature of the topography, namely a huge hill, it offers amazing views. The second floor of Pepe’s new apartment (he has since expanded and I refer to it as “Pepe’s Pedregoso Palace”) had most of our requirements. I won’t dwell on the deficits, but the assets were the location and the view. Four years ago we’d watch the surfers on Olas Altas, and a guy training his dog to surf. The dog became quite the surfer and knew exactly when to turn back to shore. We always enjoyed watching the cruise ships glide in and out. But those ships have sailed. Often we’d climb up to the roof, very carefully, with our wine, and watch the sunset then star gaze. Waking up, we’d see the sun rise over the cathedral.
Then there were the Pedregoso cast of characters. Poncho lived next door and did odd jobs and had odd hobbies. He changed his outfits three times a day and went from brown pigtails to a blond Mohawk. Susan Carnes was busy installing beautiful paintings in her windows. Angela Jackson had a lovely morning yoga practice on her roof. Sylvia, the talented seamstress in the peppermint green house, made me seven dresses. She still sews for me, as my shape is changing- probably because I am not walking up and down Pedregoso any more. Conchita would whip up a batch of tamales and we’d all traipse through her tiny kitchen to buy the sweet pineapple ones. She has since died. Patty Neal left Pedregoso when her husband died, tried different cities and has now returned “home” to Pedregoso. Bob and Diane would arrive from Canada and put a spring in our step. They walk up to El Faro every morning and are an inspiration. Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians would all gather in Joaquin’s tienda and buy one egg, one cigarette, one onion; it’s a store for every one. Lourdes takes the morning shift in stilettos, tight jeans (and a lovely cleavage) and buyers stream in for their morning munchies. Joaquin’s wife, Gerenia, manages the afternoon shift, and the two daughters assist in the evening. No need to purchase a newspaper; you heard it all there.
After two years we knew every single house, almost every single person, every single dog (and strays), and every annoying rooster. The street of Pedregoso is a community. For twenty years, the Old Mazatlan Inn has been the king of the hill. Long term renters were always friendly and would ask us in for a swim, or to watch the sunset. Short term renters gasping for breath at the top of the hill, would remark how the “trek” was worth it and how they wanted to get in shape. The manager, O’Neil, never failed to give us a ride or to extend a welcoming invitation to us. We called it the “OMI”(Old Mazatlan Inn) and the feeling was always friendly and hospitable. This past week we decided to vacate our condo on Passeo Claussen, with all the music from Carnaval, and walk to Pedregoso and spend the nights at the OMI. Nothing has changed, just improvements. It’s super clean, the drinking water is filtered, there’s Wi-Fi, the pool is immaculate, the gardens lush and from the top roof you have a breathtaking wrap around view. There is not another view like it in Centro, not even close. Immediately you feel at home, relaxed, and it’s just the right place to be.
I forgot. One thing has changed. The OMI is going condo. If we had known that four years ago…but we didn’t and hindsight is a waste of time. So if you want to rent, to buy, and have a view to live for in Centro, Pedregoso is your street, and just perhaps Old Mazatlan Condominiums is your place. This is an opportunity to rent, while you think about buying. It’s a combination we would have embraced four years ago. But it wasn’t available, and we will always have Pedregoso.