Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part 3, Fun, Sun, Shopping and Friends

Welcome to Part 3 of my winter away in Puerto Vallarta. Today I’m going to share more photos and a few video clips to give you the vibe and describe a bit more about interesting facts and observations about vacationing in PV.

Bartering

I’ll start with shopping. In stores, the price is the price. But when visiting outdoor markets or buying from beach vendors, don’t forget to bargain or I promise you’ll be paying too much. Typically, when a beach or market vendor offers you prices for their wares, I’ve discovered that they will usually double the actual price of what they will eventually accept. They are crafty sellers and they know there are many new tourists who they can snag in at too high prices, often not taking into account the many repeat visitors who know the game.

Often the vendors that peddle their wares along the beach aren’t always selling their own hand-crafted goods, but they are selling for other people’s stores. They have a price they must get to both, pay for those goods and make a small profit. I know this game well, especially as a seasoned shopper. I may not always be buying, but I look and always check prices. Let’s say someone is selling beach covers on the beach. Typically, if you go downtown to markets and such you will see these same covers going for $250 to $400 Pesos (range of $12-$25 US dollars) but you can be sure if you ask ‘Pedro’ on the beach, how much, he’ll ask you for $800 Pesos. That’s when I laugh and joke around and say things like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And I’d say I can get the same thing downtown for ‘x’ amount. Then the negotiations begin as ‘Pedro’ will rebutt with asking how much would I be willing to pay. It’s just the way the game goes. I know that if they are asking $800, it’s really valued around half. If I want the item I’ll offer $400, usually never accepted right away. He’ll come back at around $600 and I’ll say I don’t need it that bad for $600 but I’ll take it for $400. After all is said and bartered, I’ll walk away with the item for $450, $500 max. I get what I want, and I know he got to make some profit without ripping me off.

Le hat

Above is the perfect demonstration of waiting for the right price. I saw this unique hat downtown in an over-priced store near the beginning of my trip and fell in love with it. It came in various colors and the brim was all hand embroidered. When I first saw this hat, the store wanted $60 US dollars for it! And they didn’t even care to bargain so I left it and kept my eye out for it in my many travels, but everywhere I did manage to find this style I found it too over-priced. Until I went out for the day with my friends Jamie and Pat to Bucerias and we walked through the market, and there they were again. The goods were cheaper up there than downtown PV. I didn’t even bargain when I found this beauty, the young girl was so sweet sitting outside her little kiosk in the sun. I asked how much and she told me $380 Pesos – equivalent of about $25 Canadian dollars. Sold!

My friend Shelley and I went on a few shopping jaunts together, but we also went grocery shopping together a few times too. I can tell you that grocery prices have gone up there like everywhere else. The food in PV is delicious and freshly made in restaurants, and to my knowledge and taste buds – without preservatives, a refreshing change from North America. I felt my grocery bill had gone up about ten percent since 2020, and definitely noticed the upcharges in restaurants and bar drinks. I used to be able to eat a dinner out for $12 that became $15, and sometimes upwards of $20, depending on where I went out to eat at. Fish is relatively cheap in PV and brought in fresh daily to many restaurants. Shrimps are cheap and plentiful on every menu and marlin, mahi mahi and snapper are always on menus.

Shelley took this at the upscale supermarket – La Comer. In this section they make fresh tortillas daily

This is a glimpse of this huge, well appointed supermarket, fresh meat and fish section

The bar drinks went up quite a bit too, considering alcohol is relatively cheap to buy there. Drink prices almost doubled for the most part in most restaurants and at the pool. Beers were typically a dollar, now three dollars. Mixed drinks that used to cost about three dollars became six, seven and eight, depending where you went. I used to like to order the odd Pina Colada at the pool in the afternoon (a little easier to handle during the day than margaritas), until they doubled the price while I was there. Instead of paying eight dollars for a drink I decided to replenish my own bar in my condo and bought a bottle of rum, crema de coconut and pineapple juice, all for under $18 and made myself many afternoon drinks for less than a dollar.

Best Pina Colada with authentic recipe. Malibu Rum, Crema de Coconut, Pineapple Juice and a splash of lime

Shelley and I went downtown to the factory where they sell all the beautiful blown drinking glasses and accessories. I wanted to buy so many things but wound up only buying two giant martini glasses and two shot glasses because the glass is heavy and I had no room to spare in my carryon bag. The margarita glasses weighed more than the martini glasses. They do the safe wrapping there too. The only danger were the rows and rows of shelving full of glassware we’d walk up and down through the aisles looking at. I had my big beach shopping bag slung over my shoulder and had to hold it close to avoid being a bull in a china shop.

Beautiful blown glass

Of course we had to stop for a libation in between shopping.

Me and Shelley (Shelster) stopping in a watering hole

This a photo of the famous ‘Our Lady Of Guadalupe’ church near the center square down by the boardwalk/malecon. Many church-going folk tourists go there for Sunday morning service, and it is often referred to as a meeting point when people make plans to meet downtown.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Below is a short veryyy amateur video I took of me, Shelley and our new girlfriends from Alberta, Carol and Sharon. The four of us were crazy together and somehow we had created alias names for ourselves. Carol became Pat McGuilicutty, Sharon was Marge Simpson (because she piled her massive hair two feet high on her head most days at pool, except it wasn’t blue. I dubbed Shelley, Shirley Shelster, and I was named Sheila Tequila. We went downtown for Happy Hour and a pub crawl.

Pub crawl in PV

Here’s a small sampling of downtown Malecon. Me, Shelley and John spent the day downtown one day, walking, shopping and of course a few drink pit stops.

Downtown boardwalk

Here’s an interesting picture I took while we were at a red light on the way back from downtown. You never know what you will see in PV for a hand out.

Guy on a unicycle right in front of our cab

They come in all shapes and sizes there, geckos, lizards and salamanders

This guy was hanging out near the pool steps to lobby

On my last night in PV, Shelley and John, Wendy and Jerry, had already left the day before. Brenda and Saul were already home. Thankfully, Jamie (Ukranie) and Pat were leaving the next day also, we were the last of the diehards left and we went downtown for dinner. Jamie left early because he had to attend to a Zoom conference, leaving me and Patty Girl to our own devices. So we walked over to the Margarita Grill our favorite landing spot when going downtown for a good margarita.

Margarita Grill

Last night in PV drinking our medium sized margaritas

After margaritas and a tequila shot, Patty and I walked across the street to the always busy Dolce Vita restaurant and sat down at the bar and finished off our night with Spanish Coffees before heading home.

This vacation started off as a slow burn as I was apprehensive in going solo, discovered friends who I thought were friends, weren’t really, then ultimately, meeting some fantastic new friends who made my time in PV very special. These are not just PV friends, these are all new good friends that I keep in touch with and will not only be meeting up with again next winter, but I plan on taking Patty and Jamie up on their offer to visit them in Vancouver this summer, as well as my pals Shel, and John because they live right here in Ontario about an hour and half away. I will also be visiting them this summer. A great gang of people and blessed to make all their acquaintenances.

My Winnipeg girls, Wendy and Brenda

Dakotas
My North Dakota Girls Jackie and Kathie

Sharon, me, Carol and Shel

Wendy and Jerry (the artist)

Shelley and John

Bobbie and Shawn also from Ontario

Me, Patty, Jamie, Shelley and John

Thank you all my new wonderful friends for making my trip so much fun!

I hope you all enjoyed reading and watching slices of my winter escape to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Just Before Sunrise by Carol Balawyder

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m delighted to share my review for Carol Balawyder’s page turning story about love, lust, crime and the innocent people who get caught in between in her noir thriller – Just Before Sunrise.

Blurb:

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.
But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…
Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.
She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.
As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.
Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.

My 5 Star Review:

This book begins with different people telling the story that seamlessly converges into a page-turning dark tale.

It begins with the relationship between Joni, a women’s homeless and abuse counselor, and her younger boyfriend Adam. Their relationship is like good friends with benefits with question marks about developing into more. The two love each other, but with Joni in her mid fifties, she isn’t keen on having kids, and Adam still in his thirties, struggles with not having any. He even contemplates marrying someone just so he can have children.

At this same time, we meet Nadine, an ex call girl who uses her beauty and wiley ways to meet men with money. She craftly meets wealthy Logan, at his wife’s funeral. Nadine pretends she was friends with his wife and wiggles into Logan’s life – with an end goal of marrying him.

Nadine moves in with Logan and his step son Charlie and soon hatches a plot of pretending to fall in love with the young Charlie so she can win his attention to help her set up her end goal plan of getting rid of Logan – a man they both despise.

The convergence of this story occurs when Joni meets Maya, a sixteen year old homeless girl. Joni has a cottage next door to Charlie’s parents’ summerhouse and decides to use her cottage as a safe house for homeless young women. When Joni takes Maya up to her cottage to help prepare the place, Maya befriends Charlie. Maya begins feeling a connection with Charlie as he shares stories with her about him being abused when he was younger, to win her sympathy so he can use her for a decoy later on with evil Nadine’s dirty plans.

After Nadine and Charlie’s plan to get rid of Logan take place, they find they are left with a money hungry brother of Logan’s that they need to get out of the way of their plans to have everything. As the plot thickens, poor Maya unknowingly becomes part of a sinister plan. The two evil doers snag in this innocent girl into their dark scheme in hopes to use her as a scapegoat for their insidious crimes.

In this story we’ll witness relationship awakenings, self-discoveries, and finally, regained self-worth by Maya, while Adam and Joni grow through searching for missing Maya and both finally realize what it is they really want out of life. No surprise the author, with her criminal psychology background, does a wonderful job of writing noir and getting us invested in her richly drawn characters and her lovely setting of Quebec, Ontario in this book that will keep you turning the pages.

©DGKaye2022

Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Artist, Jerry Rubin

Today I’d like to welcome artist, Jerry Rubin to my blog with the first Q & A of 2022. I met Jerry this year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Jerry is a fun guy. His humor just clicked with mine. Even his logo signature on his email says, ‘Ciao for now’, one of my favorite goodbye slogans. He’s a casual guy with a kind heart and has the perfect relationship with his other half, Wendy.

We all met in the pool. Jerry is an interesting guy with lots of talents and when I saw his art I was really taken in with his painting style of which I call somewhere between Warhol and Picasso -ish with elaborate colors, which attracts my eye. So one day in one of our afternoon group visits in the pool, I asked Jerry if he’d like to come over to my blog to be featured and he was happy to.

Jerry has done a lot of different entrepeneurial things in his career and was successful at them all, while having fun at what he was doing. To name a few, Jerry sent me this in an email, I wasn’t sure if he was telling me this stuff or wanted me to put it in his bio. And since he’s told me many stories about his glory days, this doesn’t surprise me:

About Jerry Rubin:

I have been virtually everything in my life except a “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and my journey is not over. For the last 10 years the evolution has been to full time artist, with many artistic and stylistic digressions along the way. My paintings now have a more graphic arts look, while maintaining my signature “bold and brighter than bright” colour palette. I intend for every one of them to make a statement, to be eye catching, and to be conversation pieces. My latest series titled “Animalia” captures the fun and joy I had painting them… and that the viewer hopefully shares.

I am a lifelong proud Winnipegger with paintings hanging in homes and offices worldwide. I have exhibited in galleries in Canada, the USA, and Mexico and am overjoyed to have been “The Artist in Residence” at “The International Gallery” in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the past 7 years; sweet gig eh?

Jerry Rubin

A Bit more About Jerry:

I always had 2 or 3 businesses going while teaching: food manufacturing company, ice cream parlour owner, acrylic shelving manufacturer, sold 3,500 new items a year in the early eBay years, food concession for 17 years at the local fair (think PNE), day camp director, home renovation company, jewelry importer, author, and more. A college text book called “Small Business Entrepreneurship” had a chapter about my ventures. When I retired from teaching I took the little jewelry biz and pushed it… maybe too hard. It became a national coast to coast company with approximately 1,700 retail outlets that carried my products. I did about 30 wholesale trade shows yearly only for retailers two or three times a year in each of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto (I had dozens of retailers in Toronto with the ROM being one of the biggies), Montreal, Ottawa, and Halifax. During my business career, due to my experience in marketing my jewelry biz, I was recruited by a division of K-Tel to be their marketing consultant. Turned to art only after I sold the business. So, while I loved teaching it’s just a fraction of who I am.

.At 18 I entered the Faculty of Fine Arts but after 2 weeks I said, “Someday I’d like to eat for a living!” and switched to the Faculty of Education. Taught for 35 years while entrepreneuring, then full time biz once I “retired”. I loved and worked hard at teaching but loved business and probably worked harder then. Took up art only once I sold my business, about 10 years ago. 

~ ~ ~

Jerry the artist has a quote he mentioned to me a few times in one of our pool chats: “I’d rather write than paint.” And I said, he can do both!

Jerry has done lots of writing for national business trade magazines in Canada and the US, always with a sense of humour/fun. He did a biweekly full page article for the PV Mirror at one time. Book reviews for the newspaper and a few articles for them. Articles for teacher magazines, etc. 

“Honestly I think now that I’m busy messaging and texting people 8 hours a day on social media it has filled that need!” ~ Jerry Rubin.

Below are just some of the beautiful artworks of Jerry Rubin:

I do lots of dogs and cats… cuz dogs and cats sell; also fun to do. This shows some of my signature colours and kinda out-of-box squiggles, lines, shapes and forms that make my stuff unique. – Man, Woman and Children’s best friend.

Let Sleeping Bears Lie – OK, besides dogs and cats, bears, lions and tigers are always in demand. The lettering add distinctiveness to this piece, but I also create that through the lines, squiggles, shapes, etc.

Rhino – This guy (these guys) could have sold 3 times in 10 minutes. It was in a prominent gallery here in Winnipeg and the gallery sent out this image to their email list. The phone rang immediately and someone from Calgary bought it. In a few minutes another call, this time from Regina from someone who wanted it, then a good customer of the shop walked in wanting it. I was there at the time and we were all hooting and hollering. – Oxpecker on Dinner.

A painting commission I did for a big Buddy Guy fan in Chicago who saw Guy perform in many clubs there. He took this painting to a club and between sets had Buddy sign it; I have the pic somewhere. – “I’ma Look Around and I’m Gonna Find Me A Mojo Hand.”

This one is my favorite because something about the color and especially the title draws me in. My husband used to call me, The Lady in Red.

The Lady in Red

Now, I’ll welcome to Jerry to my blog. I hope you enjoyed just some of his artwork. Now we’ll get into some Q & A and get to know more about Jerry.

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your art?

“I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam”… OK so I’m not Popeye The Sailor Man but I yam irreverent, outspoken, colourful, creative, and with much enthusiasm uncurbed. Trust me I’m a whole hell of a lot nicer/kinder person than he is, but some of my friends call me “Jerry David” and I can see it.

DG – Lol Jer, you are a doppelganger for Larry David!

What type of art do you create and what is your favorite medium for painting, and why?

I have coined the phrase “Art That Pops” to describe my style cuz it’s sorta pop art and sorta not pop, but it definitely pops. Colour and lots of it is typically my trademark, in fact the depth of colour that I aim for is not available in a commercial form so I generally recoat each colour 4 times to achieve what I want. That’s painstaking and very labour intensive (nuts also comes to mind): the first coat is fun, the second coat not so much, the third coat is drudgery, and by the fourth coat I just wanna shoot myself in the head. I did a painting with an umbrella in it which had 17 different colours, so 17×4+=68 coats with drying time in between!!! Crazy.

DG – Wow, that is fascinating Jer. Who knew how much goes into a painting!

I love how you title your art. If feels as though you so effortlessly come up with appropriate titles. Am I right, or do you struggle with captions?

I have more fun thinking up the titles than actually doing the paintings, and once the title hits me the painting somehow gets better! A painting is much joy mixed with struggle, stress, frustration, and more brain power than anyone, other than an artist, can ever imagine. I go to sleep working things out in my mind and wake up the same way. I have occasionally solved an issue in my sleep; a subconscious “Eureka” moment. As Picasso famously said, “If the painting doesn’t give you trouble it’s no damn good.”

DG – I love that!

What spurs your creativity to paint?

Excitement is the stir stick. When I finally arrive at what I want to paint and have juggled the logistics around in my mind so I can pretty well picture it, I get almost (strike out almost!) giddy with excitement and can’t wait to begin. The fun never lasts through the entire work but it always begins and ends with that.

DG – I would have to add, just like writing. 😊

Is there an overall theme your collective art presents, or do you paint on a whim?

I go in themes and for the past year I’ve been doing a very unique form of Animalia art which has taken on a life of its own. By that I mean a few things:

1. I love every piece; before, during, and after

2. They are incredible fun to do

3. Everyone has a favourite animal so the appeal is broad and instant

4. They sell faster than anything I’ve ever done (how’s that for incentive?)

5. They are well priced; more expensive pieces require decisions but at their price range they can be impulse sales

6. I have been in galleries and shot the lights out with them

7. I even sold a piece to someone in Tehran! Tehran of all places!!!

DG – Seems to me you are a great marketing man too!

If you had a redo chance, would you have put art ahead of teaching?

Let me tell you about my teaching career and then you can decide. Usually I taught either grade 4 or 5 and my technique of hooking kids on learning was to tell stories, dance, sing, laugh, entertain… make the day a blast that they’d want to come back to. The kids thought I was God and it worked cuz I didn’t tell them I wasn’t.

DG – Lol Jer, you are so funny, but I don’t doubt for a moment how much the kids enjoyed you.

How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing overwhelming like many of us writers do?

Are you kidding? I’m a self promoter and believe that success in art isn’t necessarily based on talent but on “A Cult of Personality” ie: Andy Warhol, Dali, Picasso. There are millions of artists more talented than I but I’m much more successful than most because I market myself and my art through who I am. Sure I was a teacher but I had a huge success after teaching in creating a national company with 1,700 retail outlets and I did that the same way. That success led to a career as a marketing consultant for a division of the telemarketing industry giant K-Tel ,the the formation of my own marketing company BizBuilderCanada.

DG – You are definitely a ‘cult of personality’, and like I pegged your art when I first saw photos, Warhol/Picasso, and yes, definitely some Dali!

Thanks so much for visiting with us today Jer. Your artwork is so inspiring and I’m thrilled to be able to share it here with many readers and writing friends. I also hope they will visit your website and get more inspired.

Find Jerry on Social Media:

Facebook

Jerry’s Website

Instagram

©DGKaye2022

Yup! The Covid Got Me!

Well, it finally got me! After two years of playing safe, staying secluded, never without a mask anywhere, except for around people I know who behave with protocols, I let down my guard. Once.

I flew on a plane to Mexico, spent two months there, flew home and never caught the Rona. I never go to indoor closed events, keep a good distance from strangers, even with a mask, and then, the one time I decided to take my brother up on his invitation to a Passover dinner with ten people, who apparently all did Covid tests before the gathering, I got it.

As many of you already know, I don’t really have any family in my life anymore, save for one niece, one brother, and my husband’s siblings. You’ve read in a few of my vacation posts how people I thought were friends were no longer after I lost my husband. Well, it’s not just friends, but family who behave badly too. When you’ve lost the love of your life and your world comes crumbling down and you walk away from your husband’s gravesite mini funeral because of Covid, and get in that lonely limo by yourself to go home to be by yourself, you learn about who really gives a shit about you.

In all fairness, my younger brother had his Covid shot booked for half hour after the funeral. So he did come over to my place afterward. And besides my niece and her little one showing up, that was the extent of wonderful family. Also, not even a phone call then or since from so called family. This awakening once again reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Anne Lamott:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ~Anne Lamott

But I digress, and that’s because I wanted to reiterate that my brother was there for me, and I felt I should make an appearance after so long and go to his house. And after a year of seclusion and coming back from my winter trip, and mask mandates loosening around the globe, I thought perhaps I should take a step forward and accept my brother’s invite to Friday night Passover dinner.

I don’t recall any one on one conversations in close quarters there, other than sitting side by side at the long dinner table of trust?

Monday morning I woke with a scratchy throat, indicating to me a cold was coming on. A cold? I haven’t had one of those in a few years! I had a bit of dry cough and a lot of sneezing. I took a Covid Rapid Test and was happy to find it negative.

By Tuesday my dry, head cold became a coughing event that could push up a lung and a runny nose. But my bones! I felt (and still feel) like I was severely beat up and had equally debilitating pain when lying down or sitting.

Wednesday morning I decided whatever was going on with me was far from a normal cold with bad flu symptoms and took another Covid test. I was making breakfast and while awaiting my coffee, did the test. Five minutes later, there was that welcoming ‘one red line’ telling me no Covid. I proceeded to eat my breakfast and ten minutes later when I went to put the dishes in the dishwasher, I went to throw out the Covid test indicator and there I saw it – two red lines had developed. I have Covid?

Only moments later I went to check my phone that I had neglected to even look at the day before, and saw a text from my brother. He informed me that two dinner guests tested positive on Saturday, and my brother and his wife both have the Covid. Apparently, my brother aced it and felt better in two days, but his wife had it bad. I proceeded to let my brother know I too had it.

Today is Day Four and I’m still feeling rough. Bones still ache, gone through a box of Kleenex and terrible sleep for two nights now. What have I learned? Don’t let down your guard when you’ve been doing a great job. In this global world of craziness dropping mask mandates and all the natives running wild like there is no longer a pandemic, this thing is farrrrr from dead.

I will continue with my own safety protocols, and it will be a long, long time before I again ever partake in an enclosed indoor gathering – family or not. I would also like to add that I take a lot of vitamins, including Vitamin D, C, and Zinc and supplements daily as well as immune boosting minerals and mushroom blend immuno builders, as well as three Covid jabs, and I’m sick as a dog and my ribcage feels like broken bones from soul-wrenching coughing. I would hate to think how I’d be if I wasn’t taking care of myself before this happened. Not hard for me to see how people can die from this virus. It’s not a joke, and it’s not just ‘a cold’ as I see many ignorant comments on forums that talk about Covid. People do die.

I’m just sharing my take and experience on the subject. Everyone has their own decisions to make when it comes to public exposure. Just hope your immune system is prepped to handle this beast if you choose to roam free so you don’t become a statistic.

©DGKaye2022

The Trip – Part 2, Puerto Vallarta

Welcome back to Part 2 of my fun trip to Puerto Vallarta. In the first part, I gave a brief introduction to some of the new wonderful friends I met while there. I left off in Part 1 with our day trip to various small towns we visited north of Puerto Vallarta.

Jaimie (Ukranie) rented a car and the five us squashed in for a fun-filled ride. Our road trip barely started before we were all in search of a bank machine to get some shopping Pesos. Some of us had been having problems with certain bank machines that kept spitting out our cards and wouldn’t give us money. Finally we were all set. We piled back into the car and Jamie announced, “Everyone in?” Before he heard me say that Shelley was only half in, the car jerked in forward motion. I screamed stop as Shelley hobbled to keep up with the car. Thankfully, she was fine, but we did laugh our heads off after the moment.

We headed north to La Cruz where it’s been touted to be one of the biggest and best markets in Puerto Vallarta. It was located around a marina where all kinds of things were sold from home made goods to eco-friendly goods, to leather, hats, dresses, art, food and more.

Marina surrounding market
Market kiosks surround the marina
Musical entertainment and a shelter from the sun
Seems like miles of market kiosks
A monument to a musical philanthropist community leader whose ashes were spread in front in the Bay
A glorious hot day walking the market
Me and Pat
Watching a man blow glass at his booth

After spending around four hours at this fun market, Jamie chauffered us to nearby Punta de Mita, a quiet gem about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta where there are many hidden getaway spots for the rich and famous, spectacular golf, and so quiet as though nobody knows it’s there. We stopped into a little area for a pitstop Margarita and beers.

Marg and beers at Punta de Mita
Punta de Mita

After that pitstop, we drove over to Sayulita, an old fishing village turned into a surfer paradise, big gay community and artist hangout.

A bar sign in a local bar
Outside view from the bar with outdoor seating

Shelley me and Pat headed to have a look at the beach, and laughed as we saw people wearing the dreaded ‘Speedo’ bathing suits. As we were entering the beach, it seemed someone parked their horse there. The town is very small and narrow roads so not surprising to find horse transporation along with many driving golf carts. When we came back off the beach it seemed when I took that photo, I stepped in horse shyte. I got off the beach and was puzzled at what on earth is stuck to my sandal – stinky black and full of straw. Pat offered to take a closer look and announced it was horse shyte. And the good friend she was, proceeded to clean it off my shoe as I remained laughing out loud and ultimately grossed out. In the end, when I got back to the condo, I just threw out my shoes.

Shelley and the dirty horse

After leaving Sayulita, Jamie gave us a quick driveby tour on the way back to Puerto Vallarta, to Bucerias, another small, yet, bustling tourist town. Then we drove by Nuevo Vallarta, Paradise Village where there are many all inclusive resorts and time share rentals. We had the day together, lots of laughter, a few drinks, good sightseeing and of course, shopping.

I hoped you enjoyed reading about out little daytrip. Next time I’m going finish with Part 3, which will include more stories, random photos, trip to Bucerias and a few video captures.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a mystery that kept me turning the pages all the way till the end – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie. Craigie is a masterful storyteller who leaves plenty of red herrings in this tale, keeping us guessing right until the end.

Blurb:

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

My 5 Star Review:

Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.

Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.

Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing principal and spreads gossip.

Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?

Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.

Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.

A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.

If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.

©DGKaye2022

Writer’s Tips, April Edition – Book Blurbs, Trailers, BookBub, Canva, Formatting, More!

Welcome to my first post of the year of my collaborated Writer’s Tips. I’ve collected and saved a few of these posts as I came across them while I was away, and I know many of you will find something helpful here for writing, publishing, and/or marketing. From advice on writing the blurb, through some wonderful Canva tutorials to publshing updates and more, there’s something helpful for all writers here.

D.L. Finn at the Story Empire on Writing the Blurb Source:

WRITING BOOK BLURBS | Story Empire

Creating an Instagram story, How to Edit PDF docs in Canva, and how to Creat Page Turn Animation by Natalie Ducey Smith

How to edit PDF documents in Canva

Page turn animation in Canva

The Bookdesigner on making Book Trailers

Four ways the publishing business is changing on Amazon

7 Steps to formatting your books by Deborah Jay

Jan Sikes shares some great Marketing with BookBub Ads info

Great Punctuation Guide by The Bookdesigner

©DGKaye2022

The Trip – Part One

It’s The Small Things That Matter that form the biggest memories.

Things I love about being in Mexico – Friends, sun and ocean. The technology break is – to be cliché – heavenly, and a little bit back in time – pre-distracted times. Nobody is attached to their phones. Conversations are meaningful. Minutia can become an engaging conversation when we aren’t ruled by the clock. Nobody is in a hurry. I can watch the dolphins and whales from my beach chair or balcony, many times a day there’ll be one in view. The whales come to the Bay every February to birth the babies in a safe, shark-free environment.

What’s so great about Puerto Vallarta? It’s sunshine, ocean, books and of course, Margaritas. It’s true relaxation, an escape from life. It’s a fantastic venue for the growing art scene with a whole lot of talent from painters and sculptors to music and plays. It’s a wonderful community of kind people. It’s watching the sunset on my balcony with a Margarita, and waking up to sunrise above mountains from my bedroom window. Massages to grind the stress from my body. Admittedly, it took two or three until the pleasure part came through.

An artist on the Malecon doing charicatures

Traveling during Covid, and alone, walking for miles, with much too much carryon stuff was how it began. For the first two weeks I was taking in the beautiful sun and re-acclimatizing myself into the word, relax. I knew a few people there, quite a few other regulars didn’t come back this year, still afraid of Covid. Most of the ones there that I knew, somehow became strangers.

With the exception of our Dakota friends there til mid February, I felt like a newcomer at a place that used to feel so familiar. I’d make small talk with whomever may have been sitting beside me at the pool, had enjoyable days, but I became concerned about being home by myself every night and wondered if I’d be less lonely at home. I wasn’t looking to fit in but rather, some human beings I could connect with enough to want to have in my circle and form a friendship with. And that happened, it seemed, shortly after Valentines Day.

I met Shawn and Bobbie from Ontario as they ventured down to the pool on their first day in PV, and saw me wearing a Canadian hat, which inspired them to come talk to me. I met Jerry and Wendy from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and affectionately renamed them Je and Wen. I automatically shorten people’s names. I started calling Jerry, Jer and he laughed, telling me only his ex wife ever called him that. I apologized, he laughed and said he liked it then proceeded to call me De. Tit for tat, I took off the ‘R’ and began calling him Je. Wendy became Wen.

Shawn and Bobbie

Me, Je and Wen

When I connect with people, it’s an instant feeling when I know I’m with ‘my people’. Wen is a sweetheart and Je is equally lovely with a great sense of humor. Jerry is also an artist who I will be featuring in a few weeks at one of my Q & A interviews, so stay tuned for that. I met them in the pool and we all three instantly connected and laughed a lot. Through Wen and Je, I met a friend of theirs, Saul, also in the pool. Then eventually, a week or so later, I met Saul’s wife, Brenda, who I kept calling Wendy, mixing up her name with Jerry’s Wendy, until Brenda had had enough and began calling me Sheila. Sheila Tequila that was. We went out quite a few times for dinner after we became fast friends.

Me, Brenda and Wen

One of a few things I noticed that’s changed with the times there was that many restaurants didn’t have some of the older waiters that knew ‘old school’ waitering. Many restaurants had young staff – some quite young, who couldn’t even speak English. I discussed this with Jerry one day in the pool after a dinner night out we shared as a group at Tosca. Jerry told me he’d heard many waiters died from the Covid, hence, the rush on inexperienced waiters as tourism opened up. There, Jerry ordered an Olive Martini, a ‘nouveau’ restaurant in the new up and coming area of Versailles, which is literally a ten minute walk from our condo. The restaurant was nicely tucked under an open air – garage door-like open rooftop on a residential street. The place was recommended, so we thought we’d check it out. Besides the fact that it took an hour to bring us a drink, not comprehend menus without English speaking waiters, then another hour wait for what came, cold food, it was Jerry’s martini story that had us laughing the most.

I know my friend Jerry isn’t one to make waves. But when we finallyyyy got our drinks, Jerry commented that he was sure they forgot the Vodka in his martini. He was so perturbed he began passing around his drink around the table to Wendy, me, Brenda and Saul, and polled us all, asking if anyone smelled alcohol. After a unanimous vote ‘no’, a few began the taste test. It was still a resounding no. Jerry tried to communicate his concern to the young waiter, who had no clue what the issue was. The waiter went to another waiter to confer, with no results. Jerry called another who looked higher in command to express his complaint. That person went to consult with the bartender before coming back with a shot glass with Vodka in it. Gone was all the ‘Sorry Sir, let us make you another drink.’ Or, the customer is right and unhappy. We all had to laugh at the circus of confering going on before someone would believe him. It became ‘one of our’ standard jokes. After all that, the food was good. The service was lacking, the time it took to receive drinks and food were very long, and naturally, most food came cold. But in all fairness, the left overs were even better for next day lunch once heated up.

La Tosca
We finished dinner before the guitar player began

We had quite a few fun nights out together and other than one more crappy dining experience with Jerry, Wendy, Wendy’s sister, and my other new pals, Shelley and John at another ‘recommended’ restaurant in the same area, we were done with recommends. The still up and coming restaurant row had a long way to go before warranting the higher restaurant prices there. We were told there was a great Greek/Mediterranean restaurant in the same area. The food was average and below, my Margarita tasted like grapefruit and something. I know grapefruit. I don’t like grapefruit. But the stern, rude waiter insisted it wasn’t. Half the stuff on the menu wasn’t available. Jerry again, got a crappy fake martini. Anything Wendy wanted wasn’t available. My food was tasteless. We watched several tables who came when we did, eat and leave before we ever saw food. I asked the waiter if I could ask a question about something on the menu and he replied: “Hurry up, I’m busy.” We were all stunned at his brazen rudeness. When it was time for the bill we waited another hour. I kept asking Jerry and John to say something to our terrible waiter. Finally, the bills came – most wrong, especially Wendy’s charged for things she never ate or ordered. Wrong drinks on wrong bills and tempers flaring. We all paid without leaving a tip. Not surprisingly, I cannot find any photos from that crazy night.

John and Shelster (of course I renamed her)

This was a better meal night at one of our favorite Italian restaurants – Abraccios, Shelley, me, Je, John and Wen

I had planned on checking out a dentist while in PV. Many people I’ve heard from go there for cleanings, implants, root canals, etc. First, it’s much cheaper for dental work in Mexico than it is in Canada or U.S. There are many state of the art clinics with doctors and dentists from around the world in PV. I have my own dentist, but I’m concerned about some things I wanted a second opinion on and I was long overdue for a new nightguard, as the old one no longer fits my bite, my grinding is out of control, and they aren’t cheap. So I thought I’d check around for recommendations, and I didn’t even have to ask, when Wendy shared a story with me about dental work she’d been having in PV with an amazing dentist. Jerry went for a whitening there too and couldn’t say enough about this mother/daughter dynamic dentist duo – Drs. Lourdes Flores times two. A.K.A as Lulu Flores – both them.

Clinica Dental Flores

The daughter is a dental surgeon. They work together, no hygenists, no secretaries, they do it all, and me and Mama Flores hit it off instantly. Like we knew each other from another life, it was uncanny. She too was a younger widow and my appointment took three hours because there was a lot of talking going on between both us! I had one of the best cleanings I could ever remember (and my gums reminded me for three days), but then they felt so much better. I got fitted for a new nightguard and had it three days later. Best nightguard! No hassle, just put it in, unlike my old one which required a hot water ritual. If anyone may be going to Puerto Vallarta and considering a dentist visit, or requires expensive dental work, I high recommend my new dental amigas, Drs. Flores and Flores.

For more information on this wonderful dynamic duo of dentists, please visit their Google page where you can translate – https://dentistasyortodoncias.com/mexico/clinica-dental-flores-puerto-vallarta-jalisco-mexico/ or English version, top ten rated: https://mx.top10place.com/clinica-dental-flores-365931539.html#review_updates

Soon after meeting the Winnipeg friends – Wendy, Jerry, Brenda and Saul. I met John from my own province of Ontario, in the pool. We started yapping about everything and anything, and the next day, he introduced me to his wife Shelley. We became the three amigos and Shelley and I laughed and laughed all day long at the pool, and on our many outings together. Shelley was just a person I automatically clicked with and felt like I knew her for years. We spent every afternoon in the pool together, never running out of things to talk about. We shopped downtown together many times, sometimes with and without John, stopping for a meal and the odd Margarita for me and Sangria for Shel. There may have been many outings and drinks:

Not sure who the guy in the background is, but this is us
Shel and her new hat after shopping and stopping for a meal
Another shopping break
Can’t even remember where this is
Us at the Margarita Grill – this is the perfect Happy Hour bar downtown right in the heart of the downtown Romantic Zone. Where I typically like to get dropped off by cab for a pitstop and move on to wherever is next.

Shelley and I met a couple of girls from Edmonton, Alberta, at the pool. We had a couple of fun times with these girls, Carol and Sharon, who of course, were also dubbed nicknames, as it seems I had a new name for everyone. The four of us went downtown one afternoon and walked the Malecon, stopping along the way for some happy hour drinks and more laughter. At one of our stops, the tag in my dress was scratching the heck out of me. Carol to the rescue asked a waiter for scissors. No such thing, but he gave her his Swiss army knife. Below is Carol doing surgery on my tag at the bar. After that set of drinks we wandered down to Los Muertos Pub for some burgers.

We began at the top of the Malecon and stopped at El Patron for starters – Sharon (Marg nickname), me, Carol (Pat nickname) and Shel
Stop #2, two for one (crappy Margaritas) and Carol doing tag surgery on my romper

And finally, to round off my new circle of wonderful friends, came Pat (Patty girl) and Jamie from Vancouver, B.C. I met this fun couple seperately at the pool and was delighted to find they belonged to each other. Pat and I began chatting in the pool and I met Jamie around the pool. And it didn’t take long before I renamed him Ukranie from Jamie.

Another downtown afternoon shopping and drinking trip. Drinks on the beach! Me, Patty girl, Jamie (Ukranie), Shel and John
Fun picture of us girls laughing at something as we wait for a cab to go to the Marina for dinner with the guys

Jamie was very engaged with the Ukraine situation and has relatives stuck back there. He had passed a Tshirt making place along one of his many investigative shopping travels and ordered himself a shirt, “I stand with Ukraine” was the intended slogan, but as he modelled his shirt at the pool, my editor’s eye caught a typo on his shirt. It said, “I stand with Ukranie.”

I laughed out loud and shouted across the pool, “Spell check much?” Jamie took another look at his shirt and came back telling me he showed the printer a picture of the shirt off the internet on his phone. Again, I asked if he believed everything he saw on the internet. The damage was done. He couldn’t wangle out of that one and now he’s forever known to me as Ukranie. A week later, he ordered some new solidarity shirts and below, we are modelling them:

Three amigas stand with Ukraine

The month of March seemed to pass a lot faster than the month of February. With all my new friends and my introducing them all to each other, there was never a dull moment between pool gatherings, shopping and dining, drinks, and laughter.

One day, Ukranie rented a car for the day and drove me, Pat, Shelley and John up to a fantastic market about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, up to La Cruz. We spent half the day up there at the beautiful Marina market, then stopped at some other smaller popular towns on the way back – Punta de Mita, Bucerias, Sayulita and Nuevo Vallarta.

Next week I’ll continue on about that crazy, fun trip with the five us, as well as some other jaunts, shopping trips, sightings, and, of course, more Margaritas!

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a little about my wonderful friends and just a taste of some of our good times.

©DGKaye2022