Yesterday, I decided to take a break from lounging on the beach and tour the two colonial villages of Concordia and Copala, and one 90-year old village of Malipoca. If you are ever in Mazatlan and offered to go to Malipoca and Concordia, politely decline. And don’t lose any sleep if you never get to go to Copala.
First, remember that all tours here include an hour drive from one hotel to another collecting fellow tour-goers. That’s just a warning, not a complaint – it’s a necessary nuisance. Then, all the collected tourists are gathered in yet another jewelry store in Zona Dorada and sorted out into their separate excursions. Our first destination of Malipoca took an hour to reach. We passed several residential neighborhoods, nondescript and covered with graffiti, then several industrial areas, nondescript and covered with graffiti, then rode through the countryside, nondescript but no graffiti, all the while listening to the guide cracking dull jokes (local guides probably find history way too heavy a subject for tourists), and finally arrived in the village of Malipoca. This village’s claim to fame is that the same stucco houses you see in every poor Mexican neighborhood everywhere were painted here different colors. The only other attraction is a bakery with an igloo-shaped adobe oven where we were given samples of freshly baked bread. That had to be the first time in my life when, upon sampling some fresh bread in a bakery, I walked out buying nothing. Mexican bread is a slight improvement over Wonder bread – soft crust, mushy inside, both flavor and texture are insipid, with no personality. To kill the 30 minutes allotted us to view the town, I visited the church and marveled at the little Jesus (the size of a 5-year old) snug in his glass case, all decked out in white lace, swaddled to his chin, with blood seeping out from his mouth (poor thing!)
In Concordia, we were deposited once again into the main square and given another half hour to kill. I walked around the square several times and ended up in a church once again – with no other place to go. This church was much larger than the previous, and housed many more Jesuses of various sizes and ages in their glass cases. Many were bleeding profusely. The main Jesus to the right from the altar was dressed in a Middle Eastern-style caftan, but in his arms he was holding a stature of a little girl wearing a contemporary frilly lace gown. And his beard was neatly trimmed…
Upon the expiration of the obligatory 30 min., we set off to see Copala, a village in the mountains of Sierra Mandre. This tiny village of 300 people does possess some rustic charm, mostly due to its hilly location. It consists of several crooked streets and some stone houses. We were brought yet again to a main square, where I skipped the church (could no longer bear witnessing the poor guy’s suffering!) , waved off the swarms of little boys trying to sell seemingly identical wooden carvings, and walked the couple blocks to the only restaurant in town where I had the worst and the most expensive Mexican lunch yet.
During an hour-long ride back, the guide ran out of jokes and was mercifully quiet.
The resort looks better and better after each outing.