Los Mochis and the Cañeros (Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada)

And on to Los Mochis!

Los Mochis doesn’t seem to have a central bus station, so I didn’t quite know where I was going to urn up. And then I couldn’t find the taxi stand outside the Norte de Sinaloa bus terminal, so there was a bit of messing around to get to the hotel.  Frustratingly, the bus had stopped about 3 streets away on the same block on its way through town – but that’s what you get with no internet access on the bus and very little knowledge of town.

Hilariously, an occupied taxi did eventually stop for me – and it was occupied by the bus conductor, so that was really nice.  We had more of a chat and that was pretty fun.

The hotel had a laundry facility, which was very exciting for me.  I pretty much emptied my bag into the washing basket and wandered around town wearing the only two clean items of clothing I had left.  I didn’t get very far, just enough to get my bearings and find a coffee shop with free wireless and then collapse in the shade.

I just want to wear this somewhere. Anywhere. I don't care.

I just want to wear this somewhere. Anywhere. I don’t care.

Winter in Los Mochis is still pretty damn warm, with average highs around 30 degrees, so I was still sweating pretty hard.  Of course, a little closer to sunset the temperature started plunging, so I headed back to the hotel for yet another very welcoming reception and an evening of sitting around in the outdoor canteen chatting with Sara and her son Paul.  With the help of google translate.

I would say that it was around about here that I started getting the hang of the Sinaloa accent and at least figuring out what words were being said to me, even if I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce anything comprehensible back to people.

I spent Tuesday morning roaming around Parque Sinaloa and listening in on a school group’s introduction to the trees.

Seriscape, Parque Sinaloa

Seriscape, Parque Sinaloa

The park was really quite lovely and interesting.  I had to laugh at the eucalyptus tree they’d selected for the arboretum.  A Tasmanian mountain species.  Poor thing was huge, but completely eaten out by termites.  Sinaloa is not really the ideal place for a tree like that.

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La Paz comienza con una sonrisa. These signs were even more common that Caneros signs. And people in Los Mochis smile a lot and are very friendly.

If it wasn’t so stinking hot over summer, I definitely would have considered staying and working here as well.  So many people went out of their way to talk to me in Los Mochis and make sure that I was having a good time and that I had everything I could possible need or want.

The Los Mochis Cañeros are the baseball team and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying their @verdesxsiempre twitter presence.

You're part of the team!

You’re part of the team!

As far as I can tell, they seem to have the slickest social media team and a really great promotional push.  One of the ways to identify a bus stop in Los Mochis is to find a streetside Cañeros billboard.  It’s a more reliable technique than looking for the actual bus stop signs, which have a tendency to disappear in all cities.

I expected that the game would be a lot quieter than the Sunday afternoon game, but Los Mochis was having NONE of that.  I just about had a heart attack when the banda started, having failed to see the band come in, having been watching the game.

This turned out to be a really enjoyable game to watch.  The starting pitcher for the Cañeros was really entertaining.  Started a bit rough, but pumped himself up and got it going.  Couldn’t help but want him to succeed when he was so riled up and expressive about it.  I think it was Ben Kozlowski, but that’s 100% relying on the box score to be accurate.

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Just a small amount of preventative icing. Super-fun to watch AND recovering from injury(?). This guy just keeps getting more and more likeable.

I also heard my first English in a ballpark at Los Mochis.  I quote – “C’MON JAKE!  HIT THAT SHIT!”  Never spotted who called it out, though.   And I’m sad to say that while Jake had well and truly hit that shit in the 3rd, he was not doing it in the 7th.

Ballpark food – Once again I took it very easy.  I’d eaten properly at the motel, so I just had a papas snack. Potato chips and hot sauce, guys.  It’s the food of the Gods.

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Was it wrong to eat 2 giant cups of this? Note – we can’t be friends anymore if your answer is ‘yes’.

Ballpark michelada senillo - lime, salt, beer.

Ballpark michelada senillo – lime, salt, beer.

The ballpark was easy to find, easy to buy tickets and easy to find my seats.  Team shop was accessible, welcoming and full of stuff, but pretty light on prices.

Leaving Los Mochis required hugs from the hotel and canteen staff.  Yeah.  Like I said. Spoiled rotten in Los Mochis!

Los Mochis - parque sinaloa - baby giant cactus

Baby sahuaro cactus

Los Mochis - parque sinaloa - agave

Agave (tequila) cactus

los mochis - parque sinaloa - dead gtree carving 1

Happy to meet you!

Carved tree stumps in Parque Sinaloa

Carved tree stumps in Parque Sinaloa

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How many chins do I have? Who cares? I’m in Los Mochis watching the Caneros! (Perth Heat hat, Lowell Spinners shirt, Caneros team shop. Not at all baseball obsessed. Why would you say such a thing?)

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Guasave Algondoneros at Estadio Francisco Carrera Limon

I arrived in Guasave in the early afternoon on a Sunday. Outside of the touristy areas in Sinaloa and Sonora, Sunday morning is really very quiet, with nearly everything closed.  Guasave was shut up tighter than a drum.

If you’d seen my itinerary for Guasave it was a bit light on detail.  Because I don’t speak enough Spanish to know if the answering machine on the hotel I had selected was saying they’d call me back, or whether they were advising that the hotel had closed. What I did know is that there were plenty of hotels around in Guasave, so I was pretty comfy about arriving without confirmed accommodation.  Especially as my experience has been that I have little hotels and motels almost entirely to myself. There’s not too many people travelling around at the moment.

This feat of planning led to was me wandering around the address listed on their website  for one lap, before being freaked out by the empty streets and locked gates and settling for the posadas closest to the bus station, which was about 800m from the stadium.  Good choice me for doing this in the day and not trying to wander around Guasave at night.

I happily walked up to the stadium for the 3pm start, but Guasave had already made it quite clear to me that it didn’t want me walking around at night. The fences are higher in Guasave.  All of the business doors are locked – even during the day in the middle of the week while the businesses are open. The overall impression is that everything happens behind bars.

Anyway, Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon is around 40 years old and its interface with the outside world feels like it.  The outside is pretty unwelcoming and the entrances are narrow and you kind of have to push through vendors of various kinds to get into the stadium.  Once inside, trying to find the team store is a bit tough, but that’s mostly because I was expecting something quite different. The store runs along a wall, behind a shoulder high wall and then thick panes of glass to the ceiling. You deal with the cashier though a tiny chink in one of the windows. Just more of Guasave feeling like it’s getting ready for some kind of riot.

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Neither a prison, nor a Tecate brewery – this is Estadio Francisco Limon.

However, the seating is just fine and the Sunday afternoon crowd were seriously fantastic.  There were over 6000 in a stadium that holds 8000, so it actually felt pretty full.  The game did not start out well for the Algodoneros, who were down 12-1 to the Los Mochis Caneros after 5 innings.

This did not matter to the crowd whatsoever, who continued to be pretty rowdy.  Of course when the Algodoneros eventually did fire up for ten runs through the 6th and 7th, the crowd went absolutely nuts.  But everyone had pretty much run out of energy by the time the bottom of the 9th came around and the whole game ended with something of a whimper.

This video, however, is what the crowd in Guasave sounds like when the team is 12-1 down.

Fun and surprising things that happened –

  1. There is a song, that all of the fans know and sing, and along with it there is either mimicking two-hands-on-the-steering wheel while weaving though cones, or chopping stuff up with two big knives alternatively.  This only happened in Guasave and I have no idea what it’s about.  So fun to have something so completely unexpected, yet so unifying happen.
  2. The tomahawk chop is not even remotely dead and not even remotely confined to the USA.
  3. It is not only acceptable, it is encouraged by the PA guy and the screen to chant for the opposing team to throw a ball instead of a strike “Bola! Bola! Bola!”

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Both teams were heading out after this final game of the series, -Caneros to Los Mochis and the Algodoneros to Mazatlan, so both team buses were in the carpark. Gotta say that the Caneros bus is significantly sexier, but just about everything the Caneros do is sexier. Their promotional team is pretty slick.

Ballpark food – took it very easy, just salchicha and huichol sauce again. It’s my ‘old reliable’ of the LMP.

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Oh salchicha. You never let me down or betray me. You remain your own bland, strangely textured, meat producty self.

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Kids hunting for autographs.

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My fear of foul balls was not sufficiently allayed by the space left for the camera. One could have gotten through!

I had the worst brain-twitch the whole time I was watching the game, being completely convinced that I had seen one of the players play before. And I was right!  Good work hindbrain, that apparently stores seriously important information regarding people’s gait, posture, stance and swing.*

Guasave was the site of my absolutely dreadful attempt at Round 3 for the Australian Baseball League Fantasy competition.  This week was the first time I’d taken it vaguely seriously, so of course most of the players I ended up picking had horrible games.  The hotel staff were lovely about feeding me more coffee and biscuits while I doodled on baseball raffle ticket scraps. This was also the first hotel where staff were keenly interested in what I was doing and wanted to make sure that I was safe along the way.  Lovely, lovely peeps.

ABL fantasy league is serious business.  Have once again learned my lesson about srs bsns.

ABL fantasy league is serious business. Have once again learned my lesson about srs bsns. Also, I never won the bloody raffle at any of the ballparks. Dammit!

I also took the opportunity while in Guasave on Monday morning to do a bit of maintenance.  By this point in the trip, I’d been wearing shoes again for a whole week, after a month of being 100% barefoot in Sayulita.  Just because I can and I did, this is what my feet looked like before and after a pedicure.  And this is pretty much the closest thing to an attractive selfie I managed in Guasave, go me!

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*The player was Mark Hamilton and team was PawSox, whom I visited twice and whose social media person was kind enough to respond to my ??? and soothe my ticklish brain.   PawSox very recently put together a Mark Hamilton highlights package

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