Category Archives: #puertovallarta

Puerto Vallarta – Day 8

Nothing monumental today, we made french toast in our room, Sheri had a 2 hour yoga class (which I suppose felt pretty monumental to her, something like 100 sun salutations), I spent the morning at the internet cafe typing my blog, lunch in our room was followed by an afternoon at the pool, we had tacos at Joe Jack’s Fish Shack for dinner, then found an ice cream stand, and now we are laying on the couch getting ready to fall asleep. Oh, by the way, Happy New Year!

Puerto Vallarta – Day 7

In my opinion, today (Wednesday December 31st) was the best day yet.

We started our day having breakfast at LaPalapa … a famous restaurant right on the beach. They have been in business since the 1950’s, and it is especially fun to look at the many then-and-now pictures that they have posted on the walls of the restaurant. The pictures of PV from the 50’s and 60’s show a little tiny village on the beach, several straw hut and cinder block buildings bunched together. I expect you could have had an exquisite meal back then for 10-25 U.S. pennies, but now that dinner at LaPalapa is the most expensive in town — approximately $100 bucks (which is why we opted for breakfast at LaPalapa instead, which was about $30 bucks).

Then we boarded a “water taxi” for a 40 minute ride to Yelapa, a small little village South of VP which is only accessible by boat. The road that travels South out of PV is about 10 miles long, and then it turns Eastward (toward I don’t know where), but Yelapa is West and out on the Southern most tip of the Banderas Bay. Between Yelapa and the point where the road turns Eastward, there is nothing but mountainous jungle (thus there are no roads leading to Yelapa). Speaking of the jungle, the realtor who gave us the tour told us about going on a hike one time in the jungle and seeing a large cat — panther, cougar, or something like that.

Our day in Yelapa was fabulous. We first stopped at the Vortex Cafe for a yogurt smoothie (but also to use the banos), and then we strolled through the network of cobblestone walks that wind up and down through the village. Many residents have stands set up on their doorstep, just hoping that tourists will buy something, anything. Most of the dwellings are ramshackle, with open air windows … the kids run around barefoot, or ride donkeys through the village. Several times we followed paths thinking we might find another vendor around the corner, only to discover that we just walked through someones back porch area, or open air kitchen, or yard. The residents don’t mind, for tourism is probably the livelihood of most everyone in the village.

Then we hiked about 10 minutes to the village waterfall, and our swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall was one of the most glorious moments of my life. I could have stayed there all day, enjoying the cool waters of the pool, sun shining brightly overhead, the water from the falls glistening in the sunlight. My bride and I hugged and shivered as the water from the fall splashed on our heads. I finally had to force myself to get out of the water (long after Sheri got out), more tourists had made their way up the path to the falls, and they too would want to enjoy the pool.

An opportunistic restauranteur was serving Mexican food out of a cinder block shell next to the waterfall, so we enjoyed nachos and quesadillas for lunch on a patio overlooking the pool, and laughed with delight as one tourist after another waded gingerly into the cold waters of the pool before finally taking the plunge. There was even a banos nearby but away from the pool, which was comparable to some of the toilets we experienced in the poor village of Yurievets Russia. After lunch I was somewhat sad as we headed back to the village on the path, not knowing when (God willing) I will be able to return to this special waterfall.

Don’t feel sorry for me, however, for the rest of the day we spent laying on the beach and swimming in the lagoon as we awaited our water taxi ride back to PV.

Puerto Vallarta – Day 6

Sheri sprang out of bed to go to our fitness center, while I opted to journal and watch ESPN. Now Sheri is off to yoga at 7:00 AM, and I will try to stay out of trouble.

I stopped by the local fitness center to see what kind of accommodations they had. The steam room was inviting, but the aerobic machines were nothing special — so, instead of spending 120 pesos to use the facility, I just went back and used our fitness center, and swam some laps in the pool afterward.

I picked up Sheri after yoga, and we went to Planeto Vegetariano for a yummy breakfast. On our way back from breakfast, we took a different route — we have done that often since we’ve been here … let’s see, what is down this street, what is down that street — and we just happened to pass by the office of the property management company that manages the villa we are renting. Our laundry key has not worked since we’ve been here, and we have asked for a replacement a couple times … but to now avail. Well, we just happened to find the founder and president of the company at his desk, and low and behold we got a laundry key. So we spent the day laying by the pool and doing a few loads of laundry.

We’ve been curious to learn a little bit more about the real estate market here, we are having such fun that we’ve wondered what it might be like to retire here. I asked at the office about whether there were any units in the complex for sale, and they gave me the name and number of a local realtor. So, we walked down to his office, and the next thing we know we are in his vehicle getting a tour. It was actually nice to get a tour of town, we did not rent a car here (and would not want to in light of the liberal traffic laws, skinny streets, and seemingly crazy drivers everywhere), so we enjoyed the free tour that only required us to listen to his subtle sales pitch. John the realtor is a transplant from Seattle, and has been here full-time about 5 years. One place was kind of intriguing, a new high rise being built about 10 minutes from old town. We looked at the model, which of course was gorgeous and complete with a stunning view of the bay. If we had $400K to kick around, we may have just plunked it down right then — who knows?

We had a nice dinner on the boardwalk at Daiquiri Dicks, the name of the restaurant sounds kind of goofy but it is actually an upscale restaurant with an excellent reputation.

An interesting aspect of life around here is referred to by our neighbor as the “Mall of Mexico” — legions of street vendors that seem to come in waves, especially on the boardwalk an in the old town area. They carry for sale just about anything you can imagine — sunglasses, dresses, rugs, trinkets, jewelry, colorful plates and bowls, wood carvings, hats, shirts, towels, candy, roses, toys … you name it. And though the restaurant you might be eating at has a hedge between you and the boardwalk, the vendors reach over the hedge and display their merchandise to you. “Rose, Amigos?,” or “Do you want to buy something?”, or whatever broken English sales pitch they know. At dinner we were solicited no less than about 20 times during our 90 minute dinner. (We could have chosen a table inside if we wanted to). And if you dare make eye contact, or express even the slightest interest in what they might be selling, some of them are relentless and will not leave you alone. Our oft-repeated phrase has been “No gracias!,” and coupled with a firm “no” head shake they quickly move on.

You’ll also see some people around town begging (or panhandling, or whatever the PC term is), but surprisingly not that many. Almost all of them appear to be aboriginal (I think that is the correct term) women who simply sit on the sidewalk looking up at you sadly while holding a plastic cup, some of them with a nursing baby in the other harm. They have darker skin, and I expect are descendants of those who lived in this land stretching back centuries. Or, perhaps they are Guatemalans who immigrated here from the South, I believe I read somewhere that they are much poorer than most Mexicans (who are themselves poor by American financial standards). How can you not offer them a few pesos?After the first day when I was caught off guard with no change, I always collected my change and never left the villa without a pocketful of change. During our 10 days in PV, I may have offered pesos on 50 different occasions … which probably totaled less than $50 US dollars — a pittance compared to the thousands of dollars we spent on this trip.

I hesitated to share our giving in this blog — the Bible talks about giving in secret, and that the God who sees all things will reward your secretive giving and reward you — but I shared it to encourage anyone reading this blog to also carry change with you wherever you go, whether you are on vacation here in Mexico or walking in your downtown where panhandling might occur. So what if they use it for alchohol — that is between them and God — the quarter in your pocket that lands in their hand might just be the small gesture that completely changes the trajectory of their life.

I got on a little soapbox there, but I’m not done talking about the panhandling in PV. Only one time did I get approached in a way that I did not respond … an obviously drunk older teenager asked for 5 pesos, saying something like “Come on, Man! Help me out!” … but I said no. For one thing, I really did not happen to have any coin in my pocket at the time. Was that karma? Did the Universe empty my pocket for just that unwarranted request? Also, I surely was not about to open my wallet and offer him a 20 or more peso bill when all the others had asked humbly. Another time I saw an older blind man begging who shuffles along the boardwalk with that signature white cane and red tip; he is not faking it, you can tell he is blind, and when you drop some coins in his cup he makes the sign of the cross and launches into a lengthy Spanish language blessing for you.

Puerto Vallarta – Day 5

The fifth day here was quite an adventure, a bit tiring, but fun. We came home tired and gritty from a day at the beach, and it sure felt good to shower and get all that sand out of my shorts.

We started our day by walking an hour to the bus stop in the center of town. We could have just taken a bus from here to town, but since we usually exercise in the morning we let that walk be our exercise. Then we hopped on a northbound bus for a 2 hour ride to the city of Sulyita (spelling?). This is a small beach town, but still filled with lots of beach goers – local folk, as well as foreigners like us. We had Mexican food for lunch (what else?), and then hit the beach. I always enjoy a good frolic in the waves, sometimes jumping above an inbound wave, other times diving below it. Sheri got into the water a few times to cool off, but she prefers the pool to the ocean for swimming. We sunbathed on the beach for while, and pretty soon it was time to start getting ready to head back. After 2 hours by bus back to the Wal-Mart in PV (yes, there is a Wal-Mart here, with a SamĀ“s Club next door), we decided not to walk the rest of the way home and instead opted for a southbound bus which dropped us off a few blocks from home. We ate dinner in downtown PV, and fell fast asleep shortly after returning home.

Puerto Vallarta – Day 4

Today we began our day at the fitness center, which is always a good thing in light of all the calories we have been packing in. We did, however, start out this day by eating healthfully … a bowl of wholegrain cereal with almond milk, which we enjoyed in our room.

A few days ago while walking through the village we found a local theater company … and on the wall of the theater was a sign that said “worship & praise” Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. So we went to the service there today, and as it turns out this congregation is a Vineyard Church plant. It was an English language service with about 50 people in attendance.

We also had lunch in our room today, leftover burritos with peppers, cucumbers, and cheese we had bought at the local grocery store.

We spent the afternoon at the pool, and went out for pizza tonight. Now we are watching the San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos football game … the winner makes the playoffs, and the loser goes home.

Tomorrow we are taking a bus to Sayulita (spelling?) for the day, it is a small beach town 2 hours north of PV.