Category Archives: #puertovallarta

Puerto Vallarta – Day 3

Saturday December 27th. We awoke today as we did yesterday, prompted by the crowing of the roosters nearby. It is now 7:00 am. My wife and I are curled up on the couch … she is reading a book, and I am journaling. Our morning tea seems to be kicking in, although we are both sleepy-eyed. This morning we plan to go for a run, Sheri on the boardwalk and I on the sandy beach. The boardwalk is concrete, which is 7 times harder than pavement … and it is too hard on my body. Besides, running on the beach could be adventurous, for there is no telling what the ocean has washed up on the beach overnight. I hope I can keep up with Sheri and keep the sand out of my shoes.

Our run this morning went well, I could not stay on the beach for as long as I had hoped. In some places rocks wash up on the store, and you cannot run the whole beach area … and I am not sure what is harder, running in the sand or on the concrete.

After showering we headed to the Pancake House where we devoured pancakes, waffles, hash browns, a quesadilla, cheese blintz, etc. Hey — we’re on vacation! (Have I already said that?). Although, if we keep eating like this, we’ll definitely have to go running for longer than 30 minutes.

After breakfast we decided to tour the areas further from the beach, acting on a tip we received from our neighbor Randy. The further you get from the high rent beach areas, the more the prices drop … and the more you support local businesses. PV is 90% Roman Catholic, and while walking “east of the tracks” we found a small shop which had all sorts of Catholic statues, crucifixes, pictures of saints, Catholic literature, and the like. It was part gift shop, part Catholic shrine. We bought a beautiful art-deco clay crucifix in cobalt blue for 80 pesos (approximately 6 dollars).

Next we headed to the sports bar to watch the football game which pitted West Virginia against North Carolina. Though we now are Utah Ute fans, we are also still diehard Mountaineer fans. Yes, we proudly claim to be part of Mountaineer Nation! And what an exciting game, the ‘Eers scored late in the game to go up by 1 point, and then intercepted the ball with less than 2 minutes left to seal the win. Pat White, the WV quarterback, has been very exciting to watch for the last 4 years. After the game, the announcers revealed that he is now the only quarterback in college football history to lead his team to 4 straight bowl game wins. An incredible accomplishment, but what makes it even better is that Pat remains a humble young man who is team-first all the way. He came to WV because all the other big name schools which recruited him told him that they would convert him from quarterback to defensive back or wide receiver in college, but Pat wanted to play quarterback so he chose WV. Surely WV will one day retire his #5 jersey, and we hope that he will be drafted by a pro team that gives him every opportunity to make it as a quarterback at the pro level.

Almost as exciting as the WV football game, today I finally found a newstand that sells English language newspapers. The papers come a day late, but I am filled with glee to know that I will be able to get my newspaper fix while we are here.

Tonight we went to Saturday night Mass at the local Catholic Cathedral, for on Saturday nights at 5:00 pm they hold the only English language Mass. The service was nice, and the facility was beautiful. The twelve stations of the cross were all hand-carved in marble, there were many ornate statues, the stained glass was gorgeous, and there were many other beautiful works of art.

For dinner tonight we decided to dine at the eatery which is below our window about 4 stories, and 1 block away. We can see all the happenings at the outdoor tables and hear the xylophone music (Sheri’s favorite – wink) clearly at night … and tonight we discovered while sitting at those very outdoor tables that you can look straight up into and through our villa. From now on we need to be more careful about prancing around in our undies. Dinner was just fine, not fabulous, but fine. We were looking for authentic Mexican, but as it turns out this grill had very few vegetarian or Mexican food options.

Tomorrow we plan to go to a Protestant church in the morning, and spend the rest of the day hanging out by the pool. I cannot wait.

It’s the end of Day 3, Saturday evening around 8:00 pm. We’ll be getting ready for bed soon. I thought I was done journaling for the day, but as I lay here on the couch processing our experience here so far, it occurred to me that travelling to the South like this in the dead of Winter is almost like having a fifth season — Winter is interrupted by a small, second Summer. When we checked the weather report for PV before coming, it projected 10 almost identical days … sunny (or mostly sunny), high of 82 degrees, low of 62 degrees. We’ll be in shorts and t-shirts the whole time we are here, and then get to enjoy approximately 3 more months of Winter when we return to SLC. For the first few weeks at least, we will have dark tans as we drive our 4-wheel vehicles around town, or even up the snowy canyons to snowshoe, ski, or just play in the snow.

Sheri and I are lying at each end of the couch, our legs our intertwined. She is reading and I am writing, and both of us are ready to dose off … so I’ll just say Buenos Noches (spelling?) now while I still can.

Puerto Vallarta – Day 2

Friday morning December 26th. We slept in until 7:00 am … which is kind of late for us, but hey — we are on vacation! We started our day in the fitness center, but then I left to go for a run through the city streets since there was only one elliptical machine. First I ran down and back up the steps which lead to our villa complex, a total of 70 steps (we counted them!). Then I ran down the cobblestone street to the pier, and out to the end of the pier where the fishermen were gathered. And then I ran up the winding street which heads uphill, which was probably not a good idea — there were no sidewalks, lots of crazy drivers, and evidently this was the main thoroughfare heading South out of town. I made it back safely, just as Sheri was finishing her workout. Then we enjoyed a nice breakfast in our room, omelets and whole grain toast.

As we were cleaning up after breakfast, we met our neighbors — Randy and Charlie, gay partners. We learned after we had arrived here that PV is a popular vacation spot for gay men in particular (not so much lesbians). As it turns out, we are only about 4 blocks from the gay beaches, and this part of town seems particularly gay friendly. We don’t judge gays and lesbians, and they don’t bother anyone … and it actually is okay, for I don’t have to worry about any men hitting on my beautiful wife, and as long as I am with her I have no one hitting on me. Oh, and Randy and Charlie just happen to be from my home state of Ohio, and Randy frequently visits SLC.

After breakfast we went on a long stroll down the boardwalk, it definitely started to get warm as the late morning sun started to heat up. We also got to experience the “Mall of Mexico,” dozens of street vendors who walk up to you trying to sell their wares. “No gracias” is becoming our favorite expression.

Lunch at Planeta Vegetariano was absolutely wonderful, and no less a source than Bon Appetit magazine has called it one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the world.

After lunch we returned to our villa and spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the pool. Lay in the sun, cool off in pool, lay in the sun again, cool off in the pool again … you get the picture.

And dinner at Archie’s Wok was equally wonderful. Just off the boardwalk, this restaurant was founded by Archie who migrated here from Santa Barbara, CA, in the 70’s when PV was still a sleepy little beachtown. His restaurant has grown into a local favorite dining spot. Sheri had tofu vegetable lazagna and I had garlic shrimp — yum! Desert was also fabulous, lime cheesecake and flan. We definitely need to hit the fitness center hard again tomorrow morning.

After dinner we took in the local nightlife, lots of people milling about in narrow streets, having dinner, drinking in bars, hanging out at internet cafes (like me now), selling goods, etc. It seems like the activities could continue all night … I am sure that they do. But they will have to go on without us, we headed back to our villa at 8:30 pm. After a late night snack of cookies and milk, we are ready to go to bed. It seems like we have been here so long already, but this is just the end of Day 2. We still have 8 more days in paradise to enjoy!

Puerto Vallarta – Day 1

We woke up early this morning, not long after 4:00 am. Weather forecasters had predicted that it would start snowing during the night, but fortunately it has held off. After a nice breakfast at home, we left for the airport by 6:45 am.

It’s 9:00 am, the snow flurries have started to come down and I’m looking out the window at our plane (which arrived moments ago from Portland). We’re relieved that our plane was not delayed arriving here in SLC, we had heard that Portland was 1 hour delayed. Of course we’ll remain a bit anxious until we lift off, we are expecting several inches of snow today and it could start snowing heavily any moment. We’ll start boarding in about half an hour.

10:30 am — we’re in the air! It’s always exciting to finally lift off when the weather is inclement and you’re never really sure if/when you’ll take flight. As it is, our scheduled departure was 9:55 am, but evidently some connecting flights we’re delayed getting to us, so it was 10:15 am before everyone was on board. Then we had to wait for two planes which had pushed back from the gates before us, and waited some more as they de-iced our plane. (It’s 33 degrees outside, so I am not worried about the temperature — they are de-icing us as a precaution). Then we were 5th in line to take off, but that is all past now — We’re in the air! And it won’t be long before we are looking down on all the clouds. Good bye Winter, at least for the next 10 days.

2:40 PM Puerto Villarta (PV) time — we just landed … woo hoo! (I don’t know how to say woo hoo in Spanish). PV is actually East of SLC a bit, so we are now on Central Time. The land looked beautiful as we were descending, sunny and warm and green and plush. Both the mountains and ocean are in sight.

Arranging for a shuttle through our property manager was definitely a smart idea. Before we had left, Sheri just happened to mention PV to a coworker who had vacationed here, and he warned her about the taxi companies, timeshares, and various other businesses which accost you as soon as you clear customs. But since we knew a shuttle driver was waiting for us with a sign and our name on it, we just waltzed right through … some of the vendors will even yell at you to stop, saying something about us needing a voucher to pass through. We found our driver straightaway, and we were in his SUV (parked just outside the doors) in just a few minutes, and he whisked us through the busy streets right to our villa. With tip, it was $60 … which we feel was money well spent.

The property manager Oscar was waiting for us at the villa, and he gave us a thorough tour. What a beautiful facility. These condos are some of the newer ones in town, built in the last 5 years. The cheapest condos here sell for about $250,000 and go up from there. Our villa is decorated with an African theme, and includes a full kitchen on the patio.

The pool here is just incredible, I am not sure I can do it justice with a description. Blue tile, lots of nooks and crannies, a whirlpool, a bar next to the pool with stools in the water for sitting at the bar. And it has a feature I have only seen in pictures, it is an “endless pool” with the far wall of the pool next to the cliff and built in such a way that you cannot see the pool wall. Thus it looks like the pool just extends into the horizon. Very cool. We plan to spend lots of time here … and oh, the fitness center is right here in the pool area.

We made a trip to the local grocery st0re, and schlepped back to the villa as much as we could carry so that we would be stocked up for the week and not have to eat all our meals at restaurants. Most of the grocery store workers did not speak English, but fortunately a few did. And when we got back to the villa we enjoyed a dinner of homemade burritos.

And I just had to take a late night dip in the pool at 8:00 pm, we had the whole pool to ourselves, and it was quite fun to swim around in the dark. We fell fast asleep after having an incredible first day here, which was Christmas Day — Feliz Navidad!