Escape

The Inn at Mazatlan | Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Good Morning Babes! 

Well we pretty much know that I came back from a MUCH needed vacation, not too long away. I went back to Mazatlan, as I love to do but this time ended up staying at a different hotel than I normally do. I usually stay at the Hotel Playa Mazatlan whereas this time I stayed at El Inn, as taxi's and pulmonia drivers call it. 

I stayed for six days and had a junior suite which consisted of a bedroom with two full-sized beds, two bathrooms and a kitchenette. 

                                     

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The Inn sits between both Isla de Vendos on the left and Isla Pajaros on the right. 

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InnAtMaz-Room-ViewThis was the view from my balcony. 

 

InnAtMaz-Big-PoolEven though it's the bigger pool, most of the kids would swim in this one. Also, a huge lizard lives on one of those island in the middle of the pool. I was sun bathing one afternoon, looked over and saw it just sitting on the edge. Needless to say I was reluctant to get back into that pool for the rest of the day. 

 

InnAtMaz-DeckYou had to claim your chair early morning or else by the time you actually wanted to come out and relax, there would be none available. 

Compared to the Hotel Playa, The Inn was much more relaxed. I took my trip right before typical summer vacation season started so it was nice and quiet. I did feel a little weird considering that there really weren't people my age. There were a lot of older people, beginning in their 40's and up and also kids between seven and 14. So for the most part, I just stayed to myself.  

InnAtMaz-PoolsideSitting poolside. 

 

InnAtMaz-View-of-CityThis is the view from the room entry side. This isn't all of Mazatlan but there's a sweeping landscape view of the entire city. 

 

InnAtMaz-Poolside-PapagayoThe hotel restaurant, El Papagayo was actually pretty delicious, but I only ate there once because the plates were huge. I ended up going to Walmart to buy some food for the week and just cooked for myself. 

InnAtMaz-SunsetThe sunsets off of the coast are AMAZING! 

 

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The Inn at night. 

So in all, if I could take the room from The Inn, and mix it with a little of the liveliness of Hotel Playa (and the seven or eight pools, and three different restaurants) it would be my perfect stay. I'm pretty sure I might stay here again when I go back. 

Amanda ❤

Panda Escapes To: Catalina Island

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For my birthday, I decided to go to Catalina Island.  I live in Long Beach and on most days, you could see the island. I've known that it existd since I was about 9 or 10, but just had never been. I had read that they give you a free trip on your birthday so I completely took advantage of that. Normally it's $70 round trip. Since I had never been, I looked up things to do and found so many activities, but since it was my birthday, I just walked around. Did touristy stuff, took pictures, laid out on the beach, and pretty much figured the lay of the land. I have intentions of going back and now I know what I'm going to do next time. It was a nice, clear, beautiful day and I'm glad it turned out as such because even two days before, we were experiencing more monsoonal weather, humid, overcast, slightly windy. There was even a flash flood warning for my area!
Catalina also known as Avalon, was awesome. I discovered it's pretty much the beachy, summer home type of place where people walk around in their bathing suits and kids are pretty much left to roam the town without worrying about them getting lost or kidnapped. Ha! It's pretty much where I want to move to. Give me beach, blue skies, and water so clear you can see the kelp, and I'm golden. 
A little history, William Wrigley Jr., chewing gum magnate and owner of the Chicago Cubs, actually bought the island and was integral in it's development. He had the casino building built, and created a way for the locals to profit off of the minerals found on the island by creating tile. 
 
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Avalon is also known to have buffalo roaming that occasionally get sent off to Montana, I believe, but they're not any place where the tourists are. I'm pretty sure they're based more around the uninhabited parts of the island. 
 
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Clear turqoise water. It felt so good to get in since it was nice and cold and the weater was really starting to warm up. 

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These Mexican blankets can tend to get a little expensive so when I saw that one of the shops was selling it for $18, I had to snatch it up. Total steal. The fact that it's pink makes me love it even more! 
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I definitely wouldn't mind going back and/or making it a birthday tradition from now on! 
 
Amanda ❤

Panda Escapes To: Exposition Park Rose Garden

I learned about this place sometime ago when I went to the LA Times Festival of Books last month. I didn't visit it that day, but I knew I had to come back, and soon. 

I went back one morning when I completely forgot that my morning class wasn't going to be meeting that day, so I thought it would be the perfect time to visit and kill some time until my next class. *UGH* Delight! There are approximately 15,000 rose bushes with about 145 different varieties of roses, and you better believe I tried to smell all of them! Some roses aren't fragrant but some roses are, and for those that were, let's just say, I was having nosegasms. They ALL smelled so good! 

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 My favorite out of all of them though, were the 'unforgettable' roses, which I believe is the second picture. For a Monday, I definitely couldn't complain about spending the morning there. 

Have you ever visited the Exposition Park Rose Garden in LA? Did you have a favorite variety? If you're ever in LA I definitely recommend having a small picnic there and taking pictures. I know I can see myself doing a shoot there! 

Amanda ❤

A Short Video on Vaycay

I didn't take very many videos on this trip but I'm making it a point when I go back. I think everyone got accustomed to me carrying my camera(s) everywhere so they shouldn't be as timid next time around. So here's just some of the stuff I did take video of. 

Amanda ❤

Hotel Playa Mazatlan | Mazatlan, Sinaloa

*slightly picture heavy*

For the last couple of years when my dad would go to Mazatlan, he would stay at this hotel. For this trip he told me to check it out and see if I wanted to stay there. I checked it out and said, "Sure, why not?". The only thing that sold me was the fact that the hotel was right on the beach. 

Getting to the hotel from the airport was a little shocking to me since I hadn't been to Mazatlan since I was about 15 so I was just shocked at how much it had changed and how much it had stayed the same. The taxi ride took about 15 minutes. I didn't think about it until right now when I was writing this post that maybe I should have taken a picture of the outside of the hotel, but whatevs. There's always next time. 

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As soon as we got to the room, you could see the other side of the pier. For some reason I've always liked that part of the city. 

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We had an ocean view room so of course, we could see the ocean. This was taken on the balcony of our room. Even though it was winter and the water was as cold as ice, some crazy people decided it would be fun to go into the water. I know, because, we dipped our toes in the water to see how it was because we were thinking the same thing. Nope, we'll just stick to the pool. 

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This little path is the only thing separating the hotel from the beach and the huts are property of the hotel so it goes to show just how close it is. 

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Another view from the balcony. 

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This was the room we had. It was nice and warm when I got there, so in hindsight, I felt like I had packed more for Mazatlan than I did for being in the valley of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains during winter. The beds were hard, which I like, but for those soft bed sleepers like my cousin, it was a little uncomfortable. 

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*Duh, I'm a blogger. I HAD to. LOL!*

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 The sunsets are ALWAYS awesome in Mazatlan so I couldn't pass up taking a few pictures even though my cousin thought I was weird. 

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One of the pools, this is the pool that's right by the front office. In total, the hotel has four different pools. Immediately off to the side of this one is a small kiddie pool being only about 2 feet in depth. This one was about 4 feet across. To the right (in the picture) you can order food and drinks to be brought pool side and to the left (not pictured) was a guy doing ceramic activities. You could chose a form and paint it any which way you wanted, he'd take it home to put it in the kiln and then come back the next day where you pick it up and pay for it. I kept meaning to paint a ceramic bull head skull but never got around to it. 

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We ate every meal at the hotel. Breakfast was always a buffet. Normally, I don't like eating from a buffet because in my head it has seemingly weird connotations but I didn't mind eating from this one. Everything looked so appetizing and tasted delicious. The restaurant has a beach view too and the waiters were always nice. But what do you expect from someone who works for tips from foreigners. I didn't see how well most of them understand and speak English simply because my cousin and I were both speaking Spanish, but I noticed a lot of Canadians there so I'm assuming they speak it decently. 

I plan on going back for a few days in July so I was checking the rates to see if they differ during summer and I found out that the hotel has a ziplining course and a rock climbing wall. Since ziplining is on my list of things to do this year, I'll do it there. If you plan on taking a trip to Mazatlan, I recommend staying at the Hotel Playa Mazatlan. I've stayed at other hotels when I was younger but I REALLY liked this one the most. I haven't stayed at this hotel during the summer but it's known that during the summer, there are small lizards running around everywhere and since I'm not an insect/amphibian type of person, I get freaked out.  

Amanda ❤

Mazatlan to Durango and Back Again

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I hadn't flown into Mazatlan since I was about 5 so I didn't remember the drive from there to Durango but I DO remember being eerily too close for comfort to the edge of the mountains and hoping that the car wouldn't roll over the side into the damn Sierra Madre mountains. So while my cousin was driving me and his sister back from Mazatlan to Durango I got a good 4 hour helping of what it's like to be on that road. 

Here's a Google Map of that particular road: 

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You're literally winding your way up and down, in and out of the mountains. There is hardly a straight stretch of road. Either you're making a sharp right or sharp left turn. You can't help but get a little nauseous. 

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On the way there, my cousin Aldo was telling me how dangerous the road really is. All along the way you see little shrines to people who have died on that highway. But don't get me wrong, the turns aren't the killers on this road. The killers on this road are the 18-wheelers and the fog/cloud cover. These are sharp blind turns so you have no idea what's coming on the other side. Well, the smart truck drivers that they are, they tend to NOT lower their speed so they're hitting these turns at 60-65 MPH. Sometimes two trucks will be turning at the same time and get stuck. One will have to back up to let the other pass because they both can't pass at the same time. 

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Fast forward to when my cousin, Said and uncle are taking me back to Mazatlan to catch my plane, and I'm winding my way back, we see an 18-wheeler overturn and not to far behind us was another 18-wheeler. Apparently, it happens all too often where the truck is carrying such a load that one of the turns just makes it tip over. 

Here's a video of what it's like to be driving on that highway.

 

Luckily, we were traveling on a clear day but the fog and cloud cover come so fast and envelope everything to the point where you have practically zero visibility. In this video, around minute 3:35 to 4, you see how the fog just creeps up. 

 

In the second video, at minute 5:05, you realize just how close these trucks get to one another. Pea.Ess: Don't mind the music in this video, my cousin was listening to some weird renditions of love songs that even I wouldn't listen to. hahaha.  

So, did I scare you yet? No? Good! As much as this IS a dangerous highway, it's also one of the most majestic and beautiful things I've seen in my life. It's something that you have to experience. Being high up in the Sierra Madre mountains looking down on everything then realizing that you're not even at the peak of the mountain because it stretches up another 1,000 feet. The lush green greenery and the rocks are awesome! 

Amanda ❤

Viva Las Vegas

Monday morning I got a call from my friend asking if I wanted to go to Vegas. I think we all know the answer. It was supposed to be for a day only but we ended up staying an extra day. Truthfully, it was fun but in the two days that we were there, I only managed to take 4 pictures. 3 of them were fairly decent.  

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Then I got to thinking that as bloggers, we get so caught up in taking pictures to show the life that we have, that sometimes we forget to actually live the life that we have. Pictures of every minute detail of everything we did for a week or however long we're on a trip. I went to Vegas and didn't take a single picture of anything that we did and you know what? I don't feel bad about it in the slightest. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and that's just fine. But since I didn't take any pictures, I'll tell you what happened.

There was lots of drinking involved. Mostly from that yard cup. Penny and Nickel slots. War. Walking the strip in 5in wedges for 3-4 hours, (No bueno). Guest listed for: XS, Blush, and Marquee. Nathan's pizza at New York New York. Excaliber rooms with faulty ACs. Coming back to the room at 6:30am. Taking pictures with Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Finding 'working lady' cards spewed on the bed as the boys' prank. Chilli dogs that got the worst of the boys. $1 margarita refills. Last minute decisions to stay an extra day. Switching to the Palace Station, way out in the boonies. A crazy prolonged attempt to find the right valet that we took the car to. Free shots. Free chocolate at Ghiradelli's and some other stuff that I can't seem to remember right now. 

Anywho, I had a blast. 

Amanda ❤