Since I am on a low budget adventure, I decided to forego a taxi ride from the airport to old town Puerto Vallarta, and instead walked out of the airport in search of the nearest bus route. It’s actually fairly easy to get around PV on the bus, and cheap too – only 5 pesos (about 30 cents) for a ride across town.
As I walked down the sidewalk away from the airport, I must have had at least 20 taxi drivers offer to give me a ride. While I appreciated their offer of help, I just kept saying “no gracias” and kept walking. I finally found a bus stop about 5 blocks from the airport.
When we were here in January we learned that the Wal-Mart was midway between the airport and old town, and it is the main transfer point for catching a bus one way or the other. As we approached Wal-Mart, I expected the bus driver to turn into the bus transfer area … but he kept driving past. Immediately I thought about getting up and requesting to get off at the next stop so that I could walk back to the Wal-Mart, but something told me to just go with the flow. I rode along for awhile, and then asked the kids next to me “Hablas Ingles?” (Do you speak Spanish?). They shook their head “No.” Then I walked to the front of the bus and discovered that the bus driver also did not speak English. But as I made my way back to my seat in the back of the bus, a young lady spoke to me in English and asked if I needed help. As divine luck would have it, I just happened to have boarded one of the cross-town busses, and the young lady explained that if I just stayed on this bus it would take me all the way to old town.
She and her husband got of the bus at the next stop, but on queue a gentleman got on and sat in one of the only available seats … at the back of the bus next to me. He spoke to me in English and asked where I was going, and I told him old town and mentioned the name of the street. He said that he was going to work at a hotel, and that I should get off the bus with him because the stop he gets off is near my destination. When we got off he pointed me in the direction I should go, and then said “Adios” and walked away.
I walked about 3 blocks but still did not see my street, so I stopped to pull out a map. Just as I was about to open a map, a man stopped by with his 8 year-old son and asked, “May I help you?” He explained that he likes to walk around old town with his son to help people find their way. I gave him the street address, and I was escorted to my destination by Abel Sr. and Abel Jr. The younger Abel got to keep the tip.
The property management associate was waiting for me, and he gave me a thorough introduction to the property. However, one thing he forgot to show me was the safe, and when I found it I inadvertently turned the lever that locked it. Then I found the “Condo Manual” that explained I should set a passcode before locking the safe. So I called the property management company to explain my predicament, and they said the office was now closed and I would have to wait until Monday. About 30 minutes later I got a call from them saying that someone would be there tomorrow instead. About 30 minutes after that I got a knock on the door, it was the owner of the unit who just happened to be in town from Canada, and he was staying in the unit next to me. He said that he had received an email about my predicament, and promptly opened the safe and gave me a passcode to use.
I love that feeling of wandering along and seeing God in all the people who show up in your life to help you at just the right time. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see God showing up in your life when things seem to be going your way. Faith is the assurance of things un-seen, it’s believing that God has a purpose for your life even when things don’t seem to be going so well … when the row gets tough to hoe.
One last thing for now: Before you get too impressed by my Spanish, last night I went to the supermercado (grocery store) and could not find any associate that spoke English. The bagger knew at least one word, however, for when he was done bagging my groceries, he asked “Taxi?” I said, “No gracias, yo cocino.” He smiled, and I walked away thinking that I was able to communicate one more time in Spanish. However, a few blocks later I realized that I had told him, “No thank you, I am cooking.” No doubt “camino” (walking) would have been a better choice.