I’m Back! Puerto Vallarta – The Trip

Hello Everyone! I’ve recently returned from my two-month getaway to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a whirlwind trip to say the least, as usual – beginning and ending with horrendous travel day experiences to both start off and finish off my vacation.

I’ll just mention the day before and travel day home. My province conveniently lifted Covid airline testing – the day after my return. I had to pay $40 Canadian to have a rapid test I was already doing free, myself, a few times a month. I had to fill out an ArrivCan app with Covid vax info, etc., that nobody even checked for. I went to check in online and discovered the upgrade seat I’d paid $54 for last May when I booked the trip wasn’t showing and proceeded to award me some new random seat and auto sent me the boarding pass. There was no way to contact them. I’d already been warned to get to airport now 4 hours early instead of 3. I knew I’d have a problem at checkin. Online didn’t even let me fill out how many bags I was checking. I knew I had to pay $50 for the 2nd bag. Somewhere in the kerfuffle, they did forget to charge me.

The airline wasn’t lined up yet but the airport was packed. Thanks to only having two days a week our airlines fly out on, instead of the old daily flights. The agent apologized, even with the confirmation email I showed her on my phone, for my paid seat. Plane was full, nowhere else to sit, and take it up with Air Canada for my refund was all the sympathy I got. Which of course, I am currently waiting for some response from them before I have to go on another Air Canada rant. This flight wasn’t assigned a gate – the only flight in the whole airport which NEVER got a gate listed on the board. There are two floors in PV airport. I dragged my carryons up and down and back again, and I was far from feeling friendly. Finally, after inquiring for the umpteenth time, I was told a gate – back downstairs, and boarding in 20 minutes! I stood in line to get the bus that would take us to the plane. I stood in front of a lovely family of three, who happily told me they all had the Covid two weeks ago. I was glad to be wearing TWO masks. Naturally, the plane was late forty minutes. I landed into an absolute craziness and archaic system at customs, after walking about another mile from the hangar to customs. Seriously, there was a moment I thought I was going to pass right out as I trudged along with two carry bags. I can’t imagine older people with mobility problems being able to travel the unbelievable distance, only to arrive at zigzag lines set up to wait in for the automated kiosk to fill out life story, then to join a smiliar set up in new lines to actually pass through a customs officer. WHY the 90 minute lineup crap twice? Then, finally off to get baggage (porter -$15, limo $72 to get home.)

I’ve taken many photos on this trip which I’ll be sharing here in various posts of highlighted moments of my trip, but since my SIM card holder in my phone cracked while replacing the Mexican one with my home card, and my storage card full of pictures included, I’m now awaiting a new one that apparently, will take a week delivery from Amazon, I’ve been busy trying to fish out copies from the cloud download. It seems technical woes are like a magnet with me. So I can presently only be contacted by Whatsapp call and texting, while home on my wifi, until I can get my SIM card working

~ ~ ~

About the beginning… I was very apprehensive about even taking this ‘solo’ trip, and for the first two weeks of it, I was contemplating coming home early as I learned old friends really weren’t, until I met some new, ‘real’ friends.

Travel day was hard. Of course I had to play, the ‘weighing the suitcases’ game. Without my husband, this was a whole new travel experience in many ways. I had a lot of things to bring along and with 50 pound max per bag, I had to do some fancy footwork, as well as ultimately, having to leave some gluten-free food items behind because there was no way I could pack it all. I had finally opted for a carryon bag WITHOUT WHEELS, because it was a good size bigger than the one with wheels, and that became an albatross on my back.

As usual, the gate to my boarding upon departure was the furthest gate. After all the checkin and security longggggggggg lines, I must have walked a good mile, plus. Wearing a mask and gasping for air, about halfway, I’d finally decided to drag the carry on by it’s shoulder strap, like a leash on a dog as I could barely walk anymore. I was running out of steam. No sooner did I sit down at the gate, they announced GATE CHANGE….the complete opposite end of all the gates. After two flight delays, I finally landed.

The driver I’d hired to pick me up at airport was long gone and/or nowhere to be found. No surprise as I’d spent two and a half hours in Puerto Vallarta airport between immigration lines, then customs. Who would have even thought there was a pandemic going on with soooooooo many people. I must have landed along with ten other flights! Hence, my driver had vanished and I was standing in the hot sun, new lineup for a taxi. Thankfully, the agent was at my condo rental when I finally got there.

The condo: Up very high, 25th floor, beautiful view, could tell a man owned it, kitchen supplies were sparse. Grateful for the height when it came to not having to hear the crazy music on weekends from the ‘shady’ club the next building over.

Long elevator waits, especially when one is constantly out of service and never anything being done. Rinse, repeat, at least three times a week. But was happy to see mask protocol signs on the elevators. The Mexicans are mask abiding citizens, which made me feel that much more comfortable.

I came back from my first massage in two years, to a flooded front hall. Had to call manager to get maintenance up there pronto, but pronto is the complete opposite of manana time.

The condo door swelled on humid days, requiring a tug upon closing…only there was no outdoor handle on the door. The door lock is automated and won’t sense the door closed. The first episode had me standing in a hot outdoor hallway trying to devise ways to tug on a handleless door. After wasting two of my precious sun hours, waiting for assistance, it was a temporary remedy. The second time it happened, I thankfully, already had friends. I called my friend Shelley and she sent her husband John with mini tools. He took the handle off the inside of the door and put it outside the door – where it belonged! No more problems with that.

Wifi is always wonky in that building, this time, no exception. I magically managed to lose the capability to connect to the bedroom TV, after being able to for the first week. Thank goodness the TV connection worked in the living room, as I needed my night time Netflix. The Wifi sucked when it came to video calls on Whatsapp, but at least worked without video.

The view from my living room/balcony with a cruise ship coming in

My apprehnsion about even going on the trip was a mixed bag of emotions. I was going somewhere familiar where I thought I’d had friends I’d spend time with, but I quickly found out, once I had become a single from a couple, there was no room for me.

People my husband and I knew previously acknowledged condolences and then pretty much disappeared. I became nothing more than someone you’d casually pass on a lounger and say a quick hello to. Sure I talked to people. Everyday I’d sit at the pool and chat with whomever was sitting beside me. Casual chat and company to pass the day with until lonely nights came along and I had nobody to pal around with except one funtastic night with our old ‘Dakota’ friends, Kathy and Fred, and Jackie and Paul. We’d known them for a few years and the guys were pals with my husband. They had a lot going on and visitors at different times and I was never one to impose on other people’s vacation. But they had kindly invited me out with them for an evening of dinner and a tribute live show to Gladys Knight. We had a blast! We also drank too many Margaritas that night and were all a bit hung over the next day. That was week one.

Jackie, me, Kathy
Fred and Paul

We laughed a ton and enjoyed ourselves at the pool together.

A few more days rolled by and suddenly it was Valentine’s Day. The girls were out shopping when I noticed Fred (Kathy’s husband), walking across the length of the pool carrying roses in a vase. I shouted out to Fred about how beautiful the roses were as he seemed to be making his way over to me, and he then handed them to me, gave me a hug, and he whispered, “George asked me to give you these.” I had never felt so touched by someone’s kindness as in that moment as tears welled. It seemed the whole pool of people were watching where those roses were going, and once Fred presented them to me, there was applause from the spectators. It was quite a moment.

My Valentine’s flowers

That day will stay in my heart forever. And not long after that day, the universe had sent me some new wonderful friends – Canadian friends, it turned out, who I laughed with all the rest of my vacation days. My social life picked up big time and some great friendships were made. And soon enough the days were turning into nights. Up early daily by 7am, outside all day, back up for quick showers and out again, that’s how my days began to pass. I made great friends with 5 different groups of people, and before long I’d introduced them all to one another and let’s just say, there were plenty of Margaritas to be had – some better than others.

On the malecon boardwalk, margariting with a galpal

Next time, I’ll be sharing stories about my other new friends, places we went to, and observations about what had changed there since my last visit in 2020. Needless to say, my writing time evaporated, condensed to journal notes, and not nearly enough books read when busy blabbing all day and night.

In the meantime, I’ll share a few more photos:

Sunset from my balcony
Sunset taken down along the boardwalk
Stellar sky at sunset from my balcony
Another beautiful sunset
Sunrise capture from my bedroom balcony – mountain view

Stay tuned for next week’s continuation of friends and fun!


85 thoughts on “I’m Back! Puerto Vallarta – The Trip

  1. Wow! Beautiful images, and I’m pleased to hear that after the problems with the trip and the initial disappointment, you met great people. You deserved to have a nice time, dear Debby. Take care, and I’ll catch up with the rest of the pics (I hope you can sort all the phone issues as well) when I’m back. Big hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Olga. Thanks bunches. Off to fix my phone today (hopefully). But there will be many more pics and stories to come. Now, enjoy your break! ❀


  2. HI Debby, It was so great to start reading about your trip. The horror stories sounded terrible and I don’t know how you coped. Those airlines really need to start thinking about their customers. It was wonderful to read about your new friends – can’t wait for the next instalment. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Toni. Thanks so much for your interest. And yes, I shake my head at how the airlines can justify 1-2 mile walks from hangar to customs. So many people have mobility issues, there has to be a better way! Stay tuned! πŸ™‚ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Debby – sounds good and not so good … the travel would have put me off – yet the sun would be calling. I’m glad you got through – and sincerely hope that’s the worst set of travel trips you’ll be making and next time will be smooth ‘sailing’ … The roses look just beautiful – how very very kind and thoughtful. I’m pleased things came together in the end and you did meet some new people – people are just dreadful sometimes. Cheers and good to see you back – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome back, Debby. Travel sounds like a nightmare. I’m so pleased you found many new friends. And those roses from George on Valentine’s Day were perfect. I look forward to more news of new friends and adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The trip sounds unforgettable, for both the good and the bad reasons. I’m glad you made it back safely, with lots of memories, new friendships, and (hopefully) a nice tan. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awww Debby. Those roses made my eyes well up too. How incredibly thoughtful and sweet. It sounds like you had a bunch of challenges, but I’m so glad to hear that you made some wonderful new friends. Beautiful, beautiful photos. I can’t wait to see more. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So many obstacles, Debby. It’s hard doing things you always did as a couple by yourself. I understand. I admire your tenacity and glad you met new friends along the way. It’s almost comforting to meet people who didn’t know your husband. It’s like a fresh start. What a loving and wonderful gesture with the roses. And to tell you they were from George made it all the more special. So glad you managed to survive the hard times and enjoy yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Two travel nightmares Debby and thank goodness that after a couple of weeks you found some lovely friends to share the fun with, and the roses were a lovely gesture and I am sure there were tears. The photos are spectacular and will add the link in to the round up with one of them on Sunday..Welcome back sister..β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yipes with all of the travel snafus. Thank goodness that you stuck it out and made so many new friends. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Welcome back, Debby! I can’t image being away that long and all of those travel snafus. Luckily, it wasn’t a mercury retrograde. LOL. The energies have been intense nonetheless. I am happy you enjoyed moments with new friends and old. Sounds like some great memories.
    Many Blessings
    Lisa xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Debby, I am glad to read that your adventure turned out so well after the horrible travelling their and a bit of a rocky start. The roses are the nicest gesture I’ve read for a while. What a sweet man. Your pictures are gorgeous and I look forward to learning more about your events and new friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Welcome home! I think you needed two months to recover from your travel nightmare in getting there – yikes!!! But you share a fabulous story of sun and fun, relaxation and new friends; I could just feel the rhythm of your days once you settled in. Love that photo of the cruise ship, God, it’s a beautiful view and what a special gift to receive roses. You have amazing friends. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow…. Sounds like you had one heck of a travelling experience Debby.. It really must have been daunting to do this trip alone after all the times you and your husband had shared there together..

    Sad those ‘Old’ friends, parted ways.. But that I find is life… So many people we know come and go.. And its rare to find True friends that last…
    Thankfully you found some good ones to help with your door predicament.. And What a beautiful gesture with those roses… I felt those tears..

    Loved seeing you shine your light in your photos… and that lovely smile..
    Keep smiling Debby..
    Love and Well wishes and welcome home… ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue. Thanks so much for your inspiration. Yes, I always say, we meet people for seasons and reasons. Some stay, some go. I was just shocked to find ‘those’ friends weren’t really. But the universe has granted me some wonderful friends who shall remain in my everyday life, not just once a year on vacation. The good times did finally roll, and I’ll share some of that next week. Hugs to you. ❀ xox


  14. Ahhh the roses made me reach for the tissues what a lovely gesture…Jeez, that’s some nightmare episode at the airports maybe they need to remember its customers who pay their salary…So pleased that you had a fun time and look forward to the pics…Welcome back πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Welcome back, Debby! Glad that after the initial travails, you had a good time. You look absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to hear about your other adventures! Look forward to regular posts again, and sending hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Damyanti. Thanks so much for your kindness. And, my bad, oops, I’m sorry if I didn’t give you notice. I will happily be back part of the WATWB this month! Hugs xo


  16. Wow, Debby, your traveling nightmare had me exhausted just reading about it. But after the rocky start, I’m glad the fun began (with a few margaritas) and some great new friends. The rose gesture was also absolutely sweet, and the sunsets are gorgeous. Welcome back and glad you’re safe through all the snafus! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren. Thanks for the wonderful welcome. Yes, snafus galore, but once again, I prevaled. Time to share some of the fun next post. ❀ xx


  17. I have thought about your vacation for a long time, wondering how this visit would be. You are such a rock, Debby. Understanding that some of your friends when you were a couple were no longer friends was a big bite. Making new friends was a big plus. I’m so glad it was a good vacation! Looking forward to more!! πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks bunches Jennie. Yes, we really never know how things turn out with change. Gratefully, I found out, and the universe has sent some new wonderful people to my life. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, Debby. You’re so right that we don’t know how things will turn out with change. You found out on your vacation- from the lows and back to the highs. I think this was a blessing. That’s how the universe works. I could tell reading your post. What a wonderful vacation, meeting new people. πŸ’•


  18. The roses story had me in tears. How wonderful. So glad you made some new friends. Flying so much more challenging these days but still worth it. Glad you did it. Welcome home. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You are incredibly brave to take this trip yourself, Debby, I don’t think I could have done that! Other than the travel ridiculousness, your trip seemed pretty sweet! Had to LOL at your pals Jackie and Paul (my hubby’s brother and wife’s names). I teared up as I read you getting the valentine’s day bouquet. How lovely! It is important to move on and you did by meeting new people…one again, a brave thing to do. You seem happy, my friend! Can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. What a calamity sis, the travel sounded horrible and I’m saddened to hear that old friends didn’t stay friends. That sucks, big time. So happy and glad to hear you made new friends which will always be friends. Love you lots sis. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well done for taking this trip, Debby. Despite the travel chaos, I’m glad you had a lovely time and safely returned home. I bet the margaritas were great while sitting in the sun surrounded by the sea air and the sound of waves. And making new friends is always a highlight of our lives. New doors, and all that…
    Welcome home.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. You choked me up with those roses from George! What a beautiful, kind-hearted gesture ! ❀ I understand what you mean when you said many of your married friends no longer found room for you at the table. I experienced a similar thing after my divorce. Luckily, the gems sorted themselves out from the rocks, and you were blessed with companionship and fun from them. It also opened up the opportunity to make new friends, which you seemed to have done aplenty. Your pictures are wonderful, and I look forward to your next post about this vacation. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Oh, Debby, I was entertained and awed by your trip review: the bureaucracy of gathering info to board the plane, the snubbing of friends who knew you and George as a couple, and the discovery of true-blue friends, Kathy and Jackie among them. You take the bitter with the sweet.

    I admire your bravery, pressing through the fear and angst. You look radiant with the roses–how kind! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  24. It looks so beautiful out there, I totally understand you going to stay, though I’m distressed to hear people you’d considered friends gave up on once they realised you were no longer part of a couple. What’s that all about? So glad you met a new crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deb. I think it all goes back to ‘we meet people for reasons and seasons’. I guess those were seasonal people. Happy to have some new, good, wonderful friends ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh, Debby! What a nightmare to travel those days there and back. I’m so glad the tide turned after a couple of weeks. You had me well up with Fred giving you the roses and whispering those precious words to you. Then the applause. Wow. Good friends make all the difference, especially when you are traveling single. Reading that you laughed a lot made me smile!

    Liked by 1 person

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