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Published: April 1st 2010
Katrina, Elizabeth and I boarded a 5 hour bus to Puerto Vallarta at 9:40am on Valentine's Day. Tages hates the beach so she decided it was best for everyone if she stayed behind. The bus station in Puerto Vallarta is far from the city so we had to take a taxi to our hotel. At first glance, we were all a little nervous about Puerto Vallarta as we passed sparkly high rise hotels, lots of tourists and everything was a little Orlando looking. Not our scene. But once we got South of Rio Cuale, the scenery changed and looked a little more our style. We stayed at a cheap hotel near the beach and ate dinner at it's attached restaurant that night.
I was really excited about going to Puerto Vallarta for 2 reasons, one being that this would be my last beach on the trip and two, I had heard that Puerto Vallarta attracted a large gay tourist population. As we walked to what is referred to as "the gay beach", we saw many gay tourists and many gay flags and what seemed to be many gay friendly establishments. It was exciting but we all noticed immediately that the gay
population was about 99% male. That night we also went to a drag show. The crowd was again mostly male and the announcer was American (and probably the worst I've ever seen). One of the performers did a comedy routine where they made fun of Missy Elliot being fat. Had it been an entirely different atmosphere, I might have had a better sense of humor. However, after being on the gay beach with mostly men, not being waited on at a gay resort, watching Katrina & Elizabeth get harassed on the street, and feeling like an outsider when I am supposed to be on the "inside" of gay culture, I wasn't laughing. We attempted to walk to a women's social club that we had read about but it was closed. we weren't surprised.
The next day was so sunny and warm. We went to a delicious breakfast and headed to the beach. We spent most of the day on the gay beach. Puerto Vallarta has the largest gay resort in the world called Blue Chairs. I was excited to be there but again, I didn't feel like I fit in at all. I sat in the resort chairs for the
most part of the day because I didn't want to burn. At the resort, I was hardly waited on while all the men around me were frequently catered to. No one smiled at each other, there was no big gay family feeling atmosphere. A teen guy selling bracelets approached me, asked me what my name was, where my boyfriend was? or was I a lesbian? and made a sexual gesture at me. I was so mad. I was alone. And the beer was hella expensive.
Elizabeth had been laying in the sun on the gay beach and came over to chat. We exchanged our experiences and she had overheard different circles of men having conversations. One conversation overheard was about some "fat women" on the beach and why wouldn't they want to take care of their bodies, being that they were so fat? Another conversation was a gay man telling two women that the lesbians in his city were so ugly and unfashionable because they had piercings and short hair. Really? Elizabeth and I agreed they sounded hot. To top it off, as we talked over an expensive Corona, a promoter purposely passed us up while handing out flyers advertising
a gay club.
Katrina joined us on the gay beach for some swimming. We actually decided to move to the older and less gay crowd down the beach. You know its bad when I decide to move to the "less gay" area. The waves were so crazy and huge. I was actually so scared for the first time in the water. Katrina tried to keep ahold of me and make sure I didn't drown but I was still nervous. If you didn't get past the first waves, they would take you down and pull you back to the sand where many times my swimming suit would be coming off. I was anxious that I might end up being washed up on the shore, naked in front of the retirees. And of course, I would never want my dangerous curves to offend any of the muscle clad gods in zebra striped speedos down on the gay beach.
Elizabeth was hit on while trying to keep afloat of the huge waves all the while I watched his girlfriend fuming on a beach towel near me. It was straight out of Shag. She also accidentally flashed an entire family as the waves pulled
her top off. These were some of the better moments on the beach. While walking home, a whole group of dread locked bongo drum playing teens whistled and cat called Elizabeth. Katrina and I followed behind her cursing these street harassers and feeling like a pack of pit bulls behind Elizabeth. We had had enough.
That night was really the cherry on the sundae. As we started our long journey to the vegetarian buffet near the malecón area, my stomach churned once, twice, three times and I knew I had to turn around. I knew something wasn't right and there might be a bathroom emergency any second. I headed back, alone to the hotel and proceeded to have the worst stomach cramps of my life. After that followed projectile vomiting and diarrhea. And the worst part, they happened at the same time. And over and over and over. I was dizzy. My head was pounding. The bathroom was an unspeakable mess. Tages wasn't there to help me and reassure me that I wasn't dying. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had been in Mexico for almost 4 months and never had anything more than the usual traveler's diarrhea that
everyone gets upon entering Mexico and the occasional elevation sickness. But I knew this wasn't normal and it might be something more serious. I was scared too because I had never been this sick on the trip and I didn't have health insurance. And the little bit of Hosteler's International travelers insurance that we did have, I had left all of the paperwork back in Guadalajara never thinking I would need it.
A very surprised Katrina and Elizabeth opened the door to a sick sick emily as their happy smiles faded and the 5 pounds of delicious veggie buffet they brought back to me was pushed aside. They ran and bought me water and sprite and the 5 anti diarrheal pills weren't working and I knew I had go to the hospital. Katrina helped me to a taxi and we rode the bumpy way to the emergency room.
I was scared to go to a hospital in another country, scared about how much it would cost, worried the doctor wouldn't speak english and my spanish wouldn't be good enough to convey my illness well enough. And scared because Tages wasn't with me and we didn't have wifi so I couldn't
tell her what was going on. The taxi dropped us off at a very nice hospital with an empty waiting room. The lobby staff told me in perfect English that a Doctor's visit would cost about 500 pesos which is less than 50 USD. I was relieved. I saw a male doctor who looked me over, did a few tests, heard my symptoms and told me that I had a stomach infection probably from something I ate. He said I could either stay in the hospital for about 6 hours hooked to an IV with fluid or else take 5 prescriptions for a week and a shot in the behind for vomiting. I chose the latter because I figured it would be cheaper. Katrina held my hand during the shot and took care of me 100%. I was so out of it, she directed the taxis and bought all of my prescriptions. The entire thing including medication cost a little under 100USD. Definitely worth it.
The next day we left on the 5 hour bus ride home. I sat right next to the bathroom in case of any emergencies. I was so nauseous but I didn't throw up again. The
stomach cramps, headache, diarrhea and general feeling of nausea continued for about a week after that but I eventually recovered 100%.
Puerto Vallarta was a whole ball of different feelings for all of us but I am glad I was there with good friends.
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