Puerto Vallarta - Week 2


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September 8th 2007
Published: September 8th 2007
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Another SeahorseAnother SeahorseAnother Seahorse

Seahorses are a very common theme here and we found this one on the beach where we swam this morning.
Friday 7th September
This morning we met the challenge of what we have nicknamed “Pancho's Ladder” rather than Jacobs Ladder in Perth. There are 200 steps compared to about 250 but with the humidity here it isn't any easier! With several of the locals we did our 3 (or slightly less for J) climbs before jumping into the ocean to cool off. Unfortunately, the ocean temperature is like a tepid bath and not very cooling so we had to test the pool as well when we got back to the condo.

Rosa, the cleaning lady was in for the second time this week, not much to do as we keep the place fairly tidy. She looks for work however, and pulled apart our made up bed and changed the sheets again, took the towels, and to our surprise took our dirty washing as well! This wasn't expected so we think a good tip is well deserved.
The rest of the morning was spent with both Judy and Rags having a haircut and Judy having her nails done. Next Monday week she has booked in for a manicure and a pedicure.

Lunch was the daily special of a very tender
Sunset from the balconySunset from the balconySunset from the balcony

We were standing in the kitchen when I spied this beautiful sunset.
fillet of pork at a nearby restaurant. Great value at about A$8 especially when they throw in a plate of corn chips with salsa, a banana pancake for desert (served before the meal!) and a margarita.The afternoon was spent reading, relaxing, and preparing an evening meal as we are having Jim, the neighbour, for dinner to thank him for the use of his wireless network.

On Wednesday night we felt an unexplained shudder, and on reading the local English paper this afternoon we learned that there was an earthquake at that time which registered 5.2 on the Richter scale. As the last big earthquake was in 1995 which registered 7.5 and caused little damage, this was only a small one and has allayed Judy's fear that we will slide down the cliff!

Dinner was very pleasant with Jim bringing a nice bottle of 2005 Chilean Cab Sauv to go with our steaks. The steaks called New Yorkers were bought at one of the local supermarkets and were the best we've had for many months. Jim M used to do home inspections in his home city of Boston. This is more like a what we call a structural engineer
Suspension bridge over the Rio CualeSuspension bridge over the Rio CualeSuspension bridge over the Rio Cuale

A cool spot after our walk.
in that he inspects the electrics, plumbing, drainage and structure of houses for people buying them. Here in PV he is developing a company with his friend Charlie to find tenants for condos, thereby needing to be known by the locals. (www.CasasDelMarPV.com if you are looking to find a condo in PV) Tomorrow night he has invited us to a gathering of expats at Cuetes y Cuates. Thanks for the the translation Jim H - “Pals and Drunks”. The other Jim suggested that Cuates are small explosions so take your pick!

Saturday 8th September

We got off to a slow start this morning. It being a dull day Judy slept until after 9. It was raining so we relaxed and Judy played a game of Scrabulous with her mother through Facebook. This lasted until after noon. Mum must have been tired the next day as Perth is 13 hours ahead of us!

By this time the rain had stopped so we had a lovely long swim at the beach before heading downtown to browse and explore the markets that Jim had told us about. After quite a long walk we found them closed (sensible too in the
A bit hard to takeA bit hard to takeA bit hard to take

I think this is the first time we've ever spent time just lazing around on a beach but it was quite enjoyable!
heat - not many around at this time) We stopped at the supermarket for a couple of items and decided to head back across a suspension bridge that took us to an island in the middle of the Cuale River. Here we found more tourist markets where we admired some interesting pieces. It was cooler here and we enjoyed the ramble throught the stalls before walking back along the beach to the condo where we relaxed until it was time to go out in the evening.

Jim called for us at 7pm and even though it was sprinkling with rain we walked down to C y C where quite a crowd were enjoyng themselves. We squeezed in at the end of the table and were soon embroiled in several discussions. A really friendly group who we'll see more of. After the happy hour finished the group broke up and it appeared that nobody was eating here.

Jim was going off to a party being given by a few of his gay friends so with 2 other couples we tagged along.What a hoot! We walked in on a gorgeous young Mexican (in Judy's opinion!) doing a strip and got
The streets awash!The streets awash!The streets awash!

When the rain comes down they must get the yearly Perth rainfall in one day!
a few strange looks. What a beautiful apartment the 3 young hosts owned in Vallarta. They live in Chicago but holidayed in Vallarta. Many of the young men were just that - young, but the hosts were very attentive and we eventually ended up on the terrace with a couple of people more similar in age to us. Conversation was lively and before we knew it was after midnight and most people had left, so we also bid our hosts a warm farewell, leaving them our card in case they should ever get to Australia.

Sunday 9th September

Nice lazy start to the day and after breakfast we went down to the beach and sat under a palapa. (a thatched sun shelter) There is no official charge for the use of these, it is expected you buy food or drink from the vendor.So we purchased a couple of drinks, had a swim and then read until we 'had' to repeat the process.

By about 3pm the area around us was quite full, until then the only interruptions we had were the beach sellers with their silver jewelry, bags and blankets. Judy looked a little closer once at
The local beauties parade in their national costumes.The local beauties parade in their national costumes.The local beauties parade in their national costumes.

Fiestas Patrias - Despite the rain friends asnd families cheered on their favorite as the contestants paraded in traditional regional dresses.
some woven bands with names on that held on the sun glasses. These started at 120 pesos (just over $12) but the less interest she showed inthem the cheaper they got, “100 pesos, I do your name right here”, “I do cheaper for more than one”, “I do for 90 pesons, one, ok?”, and so on until we got to 40 pesos. Perhaps the seller could see Judy was on the point of saying Yes, but Rags wasn't so no sale.

We did notice that there were only 2 women in sight, Judy and a local girl near us. Perhaps next time we'll go further up the beach to where there are more couples as the men are fairly anti-social and don't want to strike up a conversation.

For dinner we decided to go out but it started to rain so while we waited for it to stop we enjoyed a predinner Scotch. When the rain eased we headed to the centre of town. The rain started again so we dived into the nearest restaurant - San Angel. Here we were served a delicious meal of mexican food including burritos, tacos, quesdaillas and fajitas by a rather sour
SayulitaSayulitaSayulita

An idyllic little fishing village where the jungle meets the sea. Some suggest that this is what Puerta Vallarta was like 40 years ago.
faced young lady. We still only recognise a couple of these foods but they are all delicious.

As the rain had eased we headed to the Municipal Hall where the judging of the Queen of the Fiestas Patrias was about to take place. After a delayed start with most of the audience standing in the rain the contestants paraded in various gowns and answered questions which we couldn't understand. An entertaining evening.

Monday 10th September

Another late start - Judy's getting used to sleeping in! We drove 40 kilometres north up the coast to Sayulita, a small easy going seaside fishing village recently discovered by surfers. We had a pleasant lunch by the beach in the company of a young Canadian student named Ryan. He was there to enjoy some surf before he continued his master degree.

We spent a pleasant hour or so walking along the beach and around the small town and browsing several of the interesting little tourist shops. On the beach we finally succumbed to a beach seller and Judy bought an interesting bronze, “silver” and “gold” bangle.

Our next stop was Punta Mita about 15 kilometres south. Punta Mita looked
IguanaIguanaIguana

This iguana was sunning himself on the rock at Sayulita and didn't seem too worried about us.
like it would have benefitted from a couple of mini skips that the locals could have collected all the rubbish into. The beach was rocky and messy and wasn't inviting enough to swim here. The town itself was shabby and uninviting.

As we drove along the coast after leaving here we saw many gates to private properties - these may have been nicer with their own clean beaches.The road back meandered through dense jungle that joined overhead in many places to make green arches eventually taking us back to the main road.

Back in town we stopped at Walmart to replenish supplies and decided to take our time when we heard the rain pelting on the roof and even dripping through it into the store.

By the time we arrived “home” it was almost 8 and the light was almost gone. We found a note, from our neighbour asking us to join him and some friends for dinner in town. So we put the chicken we had bought for dinner in the fridge and dug out the rain jackets. We thought we'd get a taxi - they're always waiting in the street below. We headed out but no taxis waiting anywhere. By the time we got half way down the street we were soaked (despite rain jackets) and then there was lightning and a clap of thunder, Judy squealed and when we looked to the next crossroad we saw a raging torrent of water so we said “enough” and went back home to cook the chicken. (after drying off)

Tuesday 11th September

Another fairly relaxing day today. Rosa, the cleaner came and we went for a wander through the town and looked in more shops and markets. It was cooler today, all that rain last night (3 inches) must have cooled it down. We ended up at Que Pasa where we wanted to pay for our tickets for the boat cruise on Sunday but they were still closed. (We stopped by yesterday on our way out too.)

We jumped on a bus that was going past and ended up on the other side of town where we alighted as we passed a seafood restaurant. It was by the river and lovely and cool. We ate prawn empanadas and “Mexican Octopus”. Nearby were people from one of the resorts up the coast, Paradise Village and
PelicansPelicansPelicans

These giant birds are everywhere and aren't they dirty looking compared to the ones in Ascot?
we enjoyed chatting to them over lunch. They told us about a really great horseriding excursion they did into the forest so we might do one like that.

We dropped into several jewellery shops on the way back and Judy indicated she was interested in an amethyst pendant. We looked at two shops and got a good price but Judy now wants to "think about it" - as if Rags doesn't find the shopping stressful enough!

By the time we got back to Villa Santa Barbara it was after 4 so we took it easy for a few hours and Rags put some colour in Judy's hair. We were determined to book our cruise, so as it was a distance, we caught a taxi there about 7pm and found them open with quite a few people enjoying a band called “The Rednecks”. We decided to eat here and ordered some hamburgers but I don't think hamburger cooking is a Mexican specialty as they were quite raw inside.

We had a beer each and then another. Next time the waitress said “uno mas” we said “no” and shook our heads but we were given another anyway! Now as
Homes overlooking VallartaHomes overlooking VallartaHomes overlooking Vallarta

As you can see there are some lovely homes in Vallarta with great views.
Judy isn't a beer drinker, enough really is enough so Rags had to drink that too.

By this time we'd met a few of the other customers, all local English speaking residents and sang happy birthday etc.When we finally left it was pouring with rain again so luckily we found a taxi pretty quickly and were soon delivered at the back door.

Wednesday 12th September

A rather quiet day actually. Judy was not well, in fact moving too far from the w/c was dangerous! Have to expect that when travelling I guess.The prime suspect was the half cooked hamburger she had last night.

Just before lunch Rags got restless so he took off to do some grocery shopping that wasn't really needed but it gave a bit of space to both of us. On the way he was sidetracked to view some condos opposite to get an idea of value in the area.

Lunch was bacon & eggs on some delicious wholemeal bread Rags had bought. Judy only had a token amount but Rags thoroughly enjoyed the rest.

By 1830 Judy had perked up a little and with Jimmy we set off to Machis'
Rio CualeRio CualeRio Cuale

This river runs cuts right throught he centre of town and was pretty turbulent after all the rain last night.
BBQ where the expats were meeting. Here we renewed acquaintances, met a few new people and Rags spoke to an attractive young lady about real estate. She is going to send us some info on current markets as well as a business plan. Nothing like being informed!
A pleasant evening was had by all.

Thursday 13th September
Another quiet day spent at the condo as Judy woke up with the need to be close to the WC again.


Additional photos below
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"The Rednecks" at Que Pasa"The Rednecks" at Que Pasa
"The Rednecks" at Que Pasa

They sang country style music and many of their own lyrics.
The EntertainersThe Entertainers
The Entertainers

The singer and JR really got into the singing. Jr seems to be the main organiser of expat activities


10th September 2007

Scrabulous
Glad to see you taking it easy. It must be really hard to take ! My heart bleeds for you. By the time I eventually fell asleep last Sunday morning after our game of Scrabble it was 3.30am. My mind was all hyped up thinking of letters and words ! But I slept on in the morning until Steve and Yvonne woke me around 11am.By the time I went out to dinner that night I was all "bright eyed and bushy tailed". I enjoyed our game though Judy...........pity the best player lost !! With the company your keeping in P V I hope your keeping your back to the wall Rags. I don't want Jude finishing the holiday on her own. Rain is forecast 6 out of the next 7 days. Lets hope we get some really good falls. The powers that be are still telling us that parts of Australia, especially the Murray Darling Basin ,are still in the grip of the worst drought ever recorded. Bye now, love Mum
12th September 2007

walking
Go for a walk up behind town. See the tower on top of the hill. If you go up the road behind the Catherdral start walking up steps towards the towers. It is a great view when you get to the top and amazing to see how all the houses are linked together by sidewalks. A couple of great restaruants are Pippi's really loud and noisy and up on the montain top is another great one for the view, I have lost the name. You need a cab to get up there about $10 and make sure he comes back to get you it is a long way down by foot. Ask any of the locals for the name. Another, Not cheap but a great steak place is Argentina Steak house. We stay at Playa Esmeralda just by the Presidente hotel. Towards Missmaloya. Sounds like you are having a great time. I love PV, the people are so friendly, the music so happy and the atmosphere is so relaxing. Another great little town is Punta Minta at the north point and a little farther out is Saulita. You catch the bus down by the Sheraton or Walmart. Again ask the locals. You can also get locals to take you out fishing,snorkeling or just a boat ride to see the coast. The guys get a fellow by the name of Alonzoe in Boca. Enjoy your stay there I will miss not going there this Jan but will have a great visit in Auzzie land with Thelly, Judy and Rags.
12th September 2007

OOOphs
I see you went to Salulita!
12th September 2007

Restaruante
Los Carmalitos is the name of the restarante on top of the mountain. A cover charge to get in but it comes off your bill. Be sure to go for dinner, the best view of PV. PS Take a sweater!
13th September 2007

musica
las carmelitas is indeed great for the best view. go on a clear night. the wee hairy man playing guitar in your picture is bobby tanzen. he is scottish. he knows me. if you see him again tell him you are staying at our place. he calls me jamie or most commonly ""scotty". check out destiladera beach halfway to punta mita. great for a stroll and swimming. couple of little restaurants. look carefully for the entrance 'cos it comes up quickly on a curve. it's under an arch on the left hand (beach) side as you head out that way. also bucerias is interesting.
14th September 2007

pelicans
are you trying to tell me you have "cleaner" pelicans in perth than we do? those are fighting words..... i think our pelicans are worldly, not sanitized. if i remember correctly, aussies don't even have white swans, like the rest of the civilised world... harrumph
16th September 2007

White Swans
Are you in for a surprise Jim !!?? I may tell you that we have beautiful White swans in Perth along with lovely white Pelicans. Perhaps it's because we are so isolated here that our birds are so pristine. By the way, our sea gulls are clean too !

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