My Big Fat Mexican Vacation – Part 2 – Chair Wars, Accomodations and Other Stuff



When you spend most of the day at the pool, you meet a lot of people and gather a lot of information. My friend Tim (Sudbury) dubbed our pool the ‘pool of knowledge’, a place where sunloungers congregate in late afternoons and share lots of good information on – what’s going on in town, where to buy this and that, great new restaurant discoveries, where to get your hair and nails done, etc. And of course, the pool became a gathering place of sorts in the hot afternoon sun where many conversations among people somehow wound up on the topic of politics.





The pool we hangout at in our complex edges onto the beach with the ocean mere yards away. Vendors come by daily throughout the day selling anything from T-shirts, sunglasses, silver jewelry, to fresh fruit – you name it. The trick is to always bargain. From what I found by asking each vendor how much they sell their wares for, it seems their starting prices are approximately double than what they’ll accept. Hey, everyone needs to make a living, but nobody wants to get ripped off, so a modest profit is acceptable because the vendor has to make a living too.

We made friends a-plenty and got to see friends we’d made the previous year. When hub and I would chat about certain friends we began sub-titling their names with the city, state or provinces they came from. It was easier to tell a story referring to the Minnesotas, Dakotas, Manitobas, Sudburys or the Sarnias – sometimes being easier to remember where people came from rather than having to remember their actual names when we first met them.

I didn’t note many Americans at our development, but a couple each from Chicago, New Jersey and Minnesota. Surprisingly, there were a few there from North Dakota – traditionally a republican state. I befriended a lovely couple from there and chose not to bring up politics around them, but I couldn’t believe the audacity of some other tRump lovers that were there. Don’t misconstrue my opinions with people behaving badly. These select few Americans were loud and proud tRump supporters in a country and in a pool where people were predominantly against their president. Again, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but when someone stands up in a crowded swimming pool, shooting off her mouth loud and proud that she loves her president, and continues to chant with ‘let them build that goddamn wall to keep out the Mexicans’, I cringed in disgust. I found it distasteful and disrespectful to the Mexicans and couldn’t help but wonder why in the hell hypocritical people would even bother going to Mexico.

It was mostly cold Canadians fleeing our harsh and brutal winter storms from the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and probably the biggest group from Quebec. We missed a few of those beauties (storms) so friends and family kept us updated. Some days were minus 40! Is that even a real number?

Most of our days were spent at the pool and as always, it seems wherever we travel, we encounter ‘pool chair wars’. Because it seems there are never enough lounge chairs for pool lovers, one has to develop a strategy to get a chair, which usually entails the old adage ‘the early bird gets the worm’. But being an early bird doesn’t mean going down and throwing a towel on a chair and not showing up for several hours later to actually use the chair. The pool area is patrolled by security, and they have no qualms about doing hourly surveys around the pool to look for empty chairs with towels on them, post sticky notes on them with marked time and ultimately, removing the belongings within half an hour.


chair sitting
Hub on chair duty


My husband as always when we travel to a warm destination, is downstairs by 7am latest, setting up our chairs for the day. He’s trained for years now on protocol. I have my chosen location, which always means I’m at the end of a row so I have easy access to be able to turn my chair along with the sun’s movement, while hubby sets up the big umbrella (even more in demand) beside his chair to stay more shady. Then he sits down there and socializes with the other early birds doing the same. In the meantime, I’m already working on the computer and getting breakfast ready for 8am when he comes back upstairs to eat for his half hour grace period, before returning back to the pool while I finish up my work and get ready to join him downstairs about an hour later. At lunchtime, we each go upstairs and eat lunch separately while the other stays with the chairs or often I’d make us both lunch and bring it down to the pool and eat. Everyone who knew us knew where to find us. Ours was a busy coveted corner.

And what of those late comers coming down to the pool in early afternoons expecting to have a chair? Well, some don’t care about a chair, while some are angry and quite nasty at that.

Even though we were lounging in paradise there were still some people who are naturally nasty. One day I came back down from lunch and was approaching my chair when I saw a woman I didn’t recognize, leaning into my husband, pointing her finger in his face. By the time I reached the chair, I heard her scolding my husband. The part I caught was that she was angry she couldn’t find an umbrella and was chewing out my husband, telling him he’s under that umbrella every day, asking him why the hell he doesn’t just stay on his balcony. I KID YOU NOT! At that point, many around were listening to the conversation and my blood pressure shot up, knowing my husband doesn’t like scenes, he stayed quiet. I suddenly just wanted to push her 2 feet behind her, into the pool. Instead, I went up to her face, pointed my finger at her and shouted F*CK OFF. I got some applause from some people behind me, and she never bothered us again.

Some other people aren’t happy unless they can boss others around, or make people unhappy. I think some people don’t know what to do with themselves with actual free time on their hands. We had those who would try and get our towels taken away by a fellow renter who tended to act like he owned the development and spent lots of time visiting the pool security people, and a nasty woman who I never knew who came up to my chair and started up with me over my husband holding chairs.  But besides some of the pool BS, we had a wonderful time.


cruiseship arriving
Cruise ship coming into port, watching from the pool


We didn’t have to pay for whale watching tours because we saw some daily not far from shore. They love to stay near the little boats and sometimes put on a flop show. Apparently, mid December through March is calving and feeding season for the Humpback whales who have their babies in that part of the bay because they train and feed them there knowing there are no sharks there in the secluded bay area of the ocean. I also found out from my Sudbury friends who did go on a whale watching tour, that when the whales  leave, they head up to Vancouver Canada. Imagine the miles, not to mention what smart navigators they are! Sadly though, I never really caught the whales flopping up and nosedive back down into the ocean on my camera, or their wonderful displays of fountain when they spewed up water. My timing was never good, lol. I’d keep the phone in my hand waiting, and if I did catch the moment, the seconds between where I press the camera button to when it actually takes, were always the missed moments. We did see many ships coming into port though and leaving, which we enjoyed watching no matter how many times we’d seen it.

And the sunsets – my favorite time of day. I loved to sit on the balcony, or at least pop in and out for the last 45 minutes before the sun set because the horizon was gorgeous with color. Every night the sky told another story and I tried to capture some of the best parts.


PV sunset



postcard sunset
Just like a post card


sunset balcony
The million dollar view sunset



Same sunset, a few minutes later

It was amazing how the color of the sky changed many times over in one sunset.


By day I was a lounge lizard – save for the morning or afternoon walks to Starbucks or picking up some groceries. I cooked a few dinners during the week, the other nights we went out for dinner to some of our favorite haunts and tried out a few new places – courtesy of the knowledge from the pool.

Passed this neat lovelock collection on the sidewalk while walking for groceries


For the first month of our trip we had rented our Mexican friend’s gorgeous luxury condo with the million dollar view and plenty of bedrooms. This enabled us to have visitors, my cousin D and my sister-in-law R came to stay with us for a week, which was fun having a little girl time. We went for walks and to a few markets – mainly the Saturday morning market downtown by the Malecon boardwalk and to the Thursday night market at the Marina. These are two of the more popular markets where you can buy anything handcrafted and food. There are a few popular eating spots in those markets, and the most popular is the ‘Bagel Man’ who is known for the best bagels and cinnamon buns in PV. The lineups start early for his goods so we’d get there in plenty of time while he sets up to avoid long waits. I befriended Peter the owner while there asking if he had any gluten-free bagels. He told me he could make me some and bring them to the Thursday market for me. When I went to pickup my bagels, he forgot them! But the nice guy that he is, he promised to deliver me a dozen to my condo the next day and he did!


3 amigas
The 3 Amigas


Million dollar view
A view from our beautiful rental


2 ships docked
A view from my back balcony affords me the view of docked ships


My step-daughter and son-in-law came down for a different week to spend with us in January and we also went to some markets, down to the boardwalk for a meal and had a good time together as we always do when we travel with them. And my author friend John Maberry came down with his wife for a lovely meet and greet for a few days and stayed next door to us in a hotel. It was busy times in January.


group of friends
The Sudbury crowd and John and his wife J


Then came February, when it was time to leave our first class accommodations because it was already rented out for February. I’d gotten us a one bedroom unit in the complex, which felt like a cottage, sparsely decorated and missing a lot of things such as: kitchen utensils, frying pans, chairs on the balcony, a crappy view, no coffee table or additional chairs other than the 4 at the kitchen table. I wasn’t impressed and told the girl I rented it from who I’d rented from the previous year. She managed to buy me some frying pans and promised some lounge chairs for the balcony which we never received. I made good use of those kitchen chairs – I pulled one in front of the couch to put my feet up on so I could use the computer, one went in the bedroom to be able to have something to place an article of clothing on, and they were all used when I had to hang up laundry. For the price we paid for that unit it was a huge disappointment. And I didn’t hide my dismay from anyone. But at least I was still in the warm weather and missed some terrible winter storms back home. When we checked out before leaving, the girl came to give me back my security deposit and chuckled and said, “Oh, I have your lounge chairs for the balcony.” I was not impressed at what she thought would be a humorous statement. Again, I let her know.


shit view
Our crappy view in February condo, the river runs into ocean and junkyard parking lot


A few notable photos for fun:


Pharmacies sell many drugs without prescription. Some notables are: Valium, Codeine drugs, Viagra, antibiotics, Ambien – just to name a few. This sandwich board of menu specials was outside  the restaurant we were dining at next door to the pharmacy


pharmacy sandwich board
Special on Viagra


I found this T-shirt at the market and had to get it for hubby. I almost had to beg him to wear it, lol, but he got a lot of chuckles at the pool:

google shirt
No explanation necessary


Malecon by night with some art and sculpture I took photos of:




Malecon artwalk
Malecon stroll in evening


We had a fabulous meal at the top of the hill off the boardwalk – Barcelona Tapas, where you could see the city from


Barcelona Tapas


city view from Barcelona Tapas
Gorgeous city coastline view from Barcelona Tapas ( we can see our beach condo from our dinner table)


All in all, we had a fabulous, relaxing and fun time away. It was great to see our old friends from the previous year and make friends with new people who we will no doubt see again next year.

D.G. Kaye
Our friend took our picture on our way out from the lobby to dinner



I recently posted my travel column at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord where I write monthly, all about Puerto Vallarta if you’d like to learn more about that beautiful city. The article is chock full of information from history to dining, and next month’s edition I’ll be getting more into personal experiences, recommendations and caveats, so stay tuned!


50 thoughts on “My Big Fat Mexican Vacation – Part 2 – Chair Wars, Accomodations and Other Stuff

  1. Oh, I remember those chair wars! We once went to Spain with our then teenagers. People flip-flopping past our room at 5am used to wake me up. I’d look over the balcony, and there they were by the pool, putting their towels on the best chairs and claiming their spot. They would then turn up about 5 hours later after breakfast. My son, then aged about 17, was very frustrated at us never being able to find a chair. One morning he crept down at 6am after all the 5am-ers had gone back to bed, lifted up all the towels off the sunbeds, and threw the whole lot in the pool!


    1. Lmaoooooooooo Stevie! Oh ya, there are all kinds. But it’s a lot tougher when there’s pool patrol all the time. They made a rule, no towels on chairs before 7am. People actually put their towels their after midnight thinking they reserved for morning, that plan was foiled! 🙂 x


  2. What a fabulous time Debby. Wonderful to meet and greet new people. Sadly there are always a few obnoxious individuals who think they rule the roost. We have met a few in our time of traveling.
    So loved your happy smiling photos. And this sunsets just brilliant.
    Sorry you just kept missing those whale jumping in the ocean . But what a view!!
    And glad to see you improvised with chairs etc at your second location. I guess it will not be getting any recommendations from you lol.
    I have booked us two holidays this year. The Isle of Wight and a week in Wales.
    We did lots of our oversea traveling in the past. Now we are exploring closer to home.

    Loved reading Debby. Enjoy your week 🤗💚💖😁


    1. Thanks so much Sue, lol, you know me. I’m a fun-loving empathetic soul but when you mess with my loved ones the beast in me rises LOL. And you’re right, no recommendations for that place. In fact, she’s lucky I didn’t totally exploit her on the internet with what I learned. 🙂 ❤ xxxx
      Oh, lovely vacation plans. Do you know my friend Stevie Turner? She has a 'van' in Isle of Wight she spends much time at in summer. ❤ xx


  3. Some people have no manners, do they? I often wonder if it is because no one knows them and when at home they wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Chair wars always make me smile but it seems you have it sorted 🙂 xx


  4. I can’t believe how rude that woman was to your hubby. Good for you putting her in her place. Your husband gets up early and the early bird catches the worm.


  5. Ahh…such glorious sunsets, Debby … thank you for sharing them and I bet these will always stay with you. It’s fun hearing about your holiday but I am so sorry for your husband and the very rude lady. I can’t understand people! Well done for daring to stand up to her. My mother and I were once in Greece and had gone up to get some breakfast things when we returned there was nothing there. Our table and chairs had disappeared with our bags and towels left in a heap on the floor. The owners of the taverna were so apologetic but didn’t want to face the people who’d taken the table but rather gave us another one and extra special service for the rest of our stay!


  6. Omg, what a horrible nasty woman. Well done sis, for telling her where to go. (Shake my head), some people should just stay at home and shout themselves hoarse on their own. What a nasty, nasty woman. The sunsets are amazing and the views, wow. Very interested in the whales. We get pods of whales passing by through the waters but, not so close up. xxx


    1. Thanks Sis. Yes, it’s astounding how petty people can be while supposed to be having a lovely vacation. If you like whales, I hope you clicked on the link about the humpbacks, it’s really quite fascinating. ❤


    1. Lol Jacquie! Thanks for the compliment, and I gotta tell ya, you aren’t the only who says that to me. I got stories galore, but one thing for sure, I had to live a lot of stuff to learn. 🙂 x


    1. OMGGGGGGGGGGG you’re right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. Well, I’m writing the next edition for Sally’s blog, I’ll be sure to add that in my ‘caveat’ section. LOL 🙂 xxx


  7. Ah, the memories!😎 I have difficulty just sitting/lounging around a pool or on a beach. You have found the secret–not all alone but with soon-to-be friends. LOLLL 😏 had SO much fun!


  8. Hi Debby – fun read … but yes scrabbling for chairs etc – still you seem to have it down to a fine art. So pleased it all worked out for you and it certainly sounds like you had lots of fun times. I so agree why go to Mexico if you want a wall … people – I cannot understand that they can’t think or be decent enough to ‘hold’ their comments to themselves. Lovely to read – cheers Hilary


  9. Chairwars! I think it happens just about everywhere, Debby. But I’m glad it never spoilt the holiday for you. Good for you in tackling that nasty woman. Some people have no manners and parade around a place as if they own it.
    I once witnessed a woman in a wheelchair nearly break her back trying to drag a parasol which was embedded in a huge bucket of concrete the whole length of the swimming pool. This was before 7 am, and she claimed 4 sunbeds with towels, 2 parasols, 4 small tables, ashtrays etc. She did it all with military precision and then got back into her wheelchair and disappeared.

    Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the holiday.


    1. Omg Hugh, I cannot top that one! I know well about the weight of those umbrellas lodged in cement, lol. How on earth did a wheelchair bound woman pull those heroic acts? LOLLLLLLLLLLLLL ❤ xxx


      1. I know, right? Ironically, we would see the same lady at breakfast in her wheelchair at the buffet bar. And, whilst around the pool, she would always be sat in her wheelchair. One of the little mysteries we never solved before leaving to come home. But probably best left well alone. 😀


  10. What a fun read, Debby. I can’t believe the gross rudeness of the American girl about the wall! She represents the base.
    Your first condo is gorgeous and the photos of your sunsets are incredible! I remember being in Nueva Vallarta for two weeks and every evening would go down to the beach with a margarita and watch the sunset. It was the highlight of my trip. Mexicain sunsets are truly awesome! 🙂


  11. Good for you for telling that crabby rude lady where to go, Debby. I’m glad other parts of your vacation were much more fun. And I love the “Google” tee shirt. I need to get one for my dad. Ha ha.


    1. Lol thanks Diana. So funny, I had posted that shirt on FB when he wore it and so many wanted one too. I should have bought many and sold them lol. ❤


  12. Ha ha! I know you could scare many more such ladies with that finger and F word! I would have said, what is your problem with the chairs and umbrella?
    Lovely stories and pictures of sunshine Deb, You seem to have had an awesome time and yes, I could connect with the doubled prices! I have seen many such sellers.


    1. Thanks Balroop. I can only say that I am an extremely passionate and expressive person. I am a very compassionate person on both spectrums of the scale. When someone is hurting a loved one, my lioness with her cubs, defensive nature comes out. 🙂 x


  13. What an entertaining post, Debby! I enjoyed reading all about your trip. Those chair wars were vicious. I don’t understand how some people could be so miserable even while on vacation. That lady mouthing off about ‘build the wall to keep Mexicans out’ is the kind of ‘Ugly American’ that makes the whole world hate us. Even if that was her viewpoint (and she has the right to one) yelling it out for everyone to hear was uncalled for and rude. She obviously wanted to be offensive. I think Mexicans should build a wall to keep ‘ugly Americans’ out of Mexico. Ha, ha.

    It’s wonderful that you had so many guests while over there and that you made some good friends.

    I can’t believe the drugs for sale over-the-counter there. I never knew that. Is marijuana legal over there? It might as well be, since they’re selling major drugs at the corner store.

    Loved the pictures! Your hubby’s T is awesome. I want one for my hubby too. 😉 That bench with the ears is hilarious. I guess it’s a good place to sit and gossip. You look so tan and beautiful, my friend.

    I’m glad that despite the few setbacks you and your hubby had a great vacay. ❤ xo


    1. Hi Vashti. Thanks so much for chiming in here. I am totally with you on ‘ugly’ people, that’s why I was so appalled. Yes, the availability of drugs is almost scary right? I understand marijuana will soon be legal there as it is now in Canada. I believe medical marijuana is already available. I could have bought a ton of those T-shirts and sold them here, lol, so funny. Thanks for your sweet compliments, the sunshine was great for us in so many ways – no aches or pains and a bonus suntan! Have a great weekend my friend. ❤ xx


  14. I’m sorry you met “The Ugly American” personified. It’s hard to imagine the cultural insensitivity of being in Mexico and talking about keeping Mexicans out. That would be hard for me to stomach. It’s sad how negativity has been unleashed, even in such beautiful and luxurious surroundings. I’m glad you had the ocean, the whales, and those glorious sunsets. I hope you get the accommodations you want for the whole trip next year. Closest I got to the ocean this year was a spectacular healing dream the day after cochlear implant surgery. The sand was white and the ocean was vast and aquamarine. There was much more to the unforgettable dream, but the setting alone was healing.


    1. Thanks for chiming in Elaine. No doubt, you’re on the same page with politics. And how beautiful you had such a healing dream. I do believe that was a sign of all will be alright with your new hearing. 🙂


  15. I loved seeing more pics of the vaca, Debby! OMG I can only imagine how hard it would have been NOT to cringe when that person started talking about their love for the Prez – terribly racist to Mexican people 😦 I still can’t believe people sometimes. The part of the post where you talk about hubby being trained on the protocal to go down to the pool to set up the chairs where and how you like it made me giggle. You two are such a sweet pair xo


    1. Lol, thanks Christy. I have him trained well, lol. It’s a process,but it works. And yes, the nerve of some people never ceases to amaze, lol. 🙂 ❤


  16. Lol, love that T-shirt!
    How wonderful, to have that long away. I never get away for more than 3 weeks at a time, and it isn’t enough!
    We once took a month, to go to New Zealand, but that’s the only time, and it was so worth it. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do it again, but that’s the curse of running my own business – no work, no income.


  17. Gorgeous sunset photos indeed, Debby. I can imagine going from your first accommodation to the next was disappointing. I’m glad you had such a nice time and you even managed to get work done in the mornings as well. That whole hogging the chairs scene would not be our thing, but I can see that it’s necessary to “reserve” them if you enjoy sitting by the pool most of the day. Your hubby is working hard for them! 🙂 Love his t-shirt, by the way.

    When we were in Puerto Penasco for a few days in the beginning of this month, we were constantly asked whether we needed something from the pharmacy as well. We never checked it out this time, but have bought drugs many years ago, when we explored Mexico by RV.

    I can’t believe that woman openly supporting Trump and the wall, while being in Mexico. What does she not get? Did anybody tell her a piece of their mind?


    1. Thanks for visiting Liesbet. The wonders of some people never cease to amaze. How interesting you were in Puerto Penasco. I saw a travel show once on that, what’s becoming quite a hot spot there for vacationing desert dwellers. Did you find it more expensive there than other parts of Mexico because of the ex-pat growing population. San Miguel is another ex-pat city that’s been growing, especially in the last 2 years with politics. We had friends who were staying in our complex for the winter who had taken a 2 day jaunt to San Miguel. They said it was beautiful but much more expensive than Puerto Vallarta. And yes, a friend of mine in the pool got tangled in rebuttal with the woman in the pool. I however, exited the pool before I could barely hold back anymore. 🙂


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