THE OOSTERDAM was a slow boat to Mexico Monday night, heading south from Cabo San Lucas at a leisurely pace of about 9 knots. We made port Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. in Mazatlán.

Cabo was a beautiful patch of paradise, but Mazatlán is more my speed: It's a small city built around three big hills on a peninsula which juts out into the Pacific. Established by Spanish settlers in 1531 as a way station for gold and silver coming out of the Sierra Madres, it's got business and industry now, as well as tourism. Mazatlán is, for example home to the Pacifico beer brewery, which is just about a half mile down the water from where we docked.

Mazatlán also has two beautiful churches, one of which is the majestic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on a little rise in the center of the city.

And today is a good day to be in town: It's Fat Tuesday and the locals are preparing for a blowout Carnival parade complete with costumes, elaborate floats, and stilt-walkers. It's a great place to be today.

Tomorrow we put into Puerto Vallarta and the WEEKLY STANDARD programs picks back up with Phil Terzian leading a discussion on Steven Hayward's book on Churchill and Reagan, Greatness, and Christian Lowe screening his documentary The Making of a Marine Corps Officer.

If you're interested in coming on next year's cruise, send us an email at with your name and address and we'll let you know all the details. (And no, we won't use your email for anything else.)

See you on Thursday.

--Jonathan V. Last

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