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

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

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

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

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!

©DGKaye2022

Hello Mercury Retrograde 2022

It’s a new year and a clean slate, and hopes are high that this year will be the end of the Coronavirus as we know it. But the fact remains that we are globally, high in virus and numbers, due to the the recent appearance of Omicron. We can all hope that as this virus continues, it will tamper down, lose it’s hurricane strength, and hopefully, no new strains will mutate. And in the meantime, because the world is already in chaos trying to stamp out this virus, we’re about to have our first Mercury Retrograde of 2022. Crazy times 2.0. It begins January 13th, lasting until February 3rd. But these dates are not inclusive. Like a full moon, retrogrades begin their ‘retroshade’ effects within a week or two of its arrival date, and can linger just as long after completion. And I’m already experiencing the shakeup.

When Mercury retrogrades, it is said that this is because retrograde indicates the planet is moving backwards, when in actuality, a faster moving planet passes Mercury in its pause, leaving a feeling of going backwards. Mercury travels around the sun in 88 days and takes a retrograde 3-4 times a year. Since Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, its orbit is shorter than earth’s. It’s like Mercury has to slow down to let other planets catch up in-between its cycle around the earth. Things that occur during this period can make us feel exactly like things are moving backwards as Mercury pauses and other planets pass by. This first retrograde of the year will be in Aquarius. There will be three Mercury Retrogrades this year, all of them in air signs (yup, that’s me). Signs most influenced by these retrogrades are the people who have their sun or rising signs the same as the sign each retrograde falls into.

Mercury Retrograde Chart for 2022

January 14 – February 3 starts in air sign Aquarius, ends in earth-sign Capricorn
May 10 – June 2 starts in air sign Gemini, ends in earth-sign Taurus
September 9 – October 2 starts in air-sign Libra, ends in earth-sign Virgo December 29 – January 18 in earth-sign Capricorn

Refresher Course: Mercury Retrograde

How does this affect our energy levels?

We can expect to have more or even less energy during this period, mostly of the nervous, unsettling or over-zealous type, causing possible bouts of anxiety. Each MR will fall in and affect particular signs more so than others.

What kinds of things are affected by a Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury rules our daily activities – technology, communications, contracts and relationships. When the planet is in retrograde we can expect glitches, delays and miscommunications in all of the above areas as Mercury is the ruler of communications. Extra vigilance should be paid to planned dates, appointments, signing contracts, editing, buying, selling, researching, negotiating, wills, documents, deeds, leases, and more. Most often affected are, computer issues, transportation and travel. It’s a period where we can expect the unexpected. In plain terms, when a planet is in retrograde, the planet takes a nap. And while it naps, it’s like it relinquishes its duties and the territory it usually stabilizes can run amok. This period is typically a good time to take a pause ourselves from big decision-making and a good time to reflect, journal, re-organize and re-evaluate our intentions, as well, it’s a good time to re-connect with people and/or projects from the past. As you may have noticed in the previous sentence, anything to do with ‘re’ as in redo, revisit, etc. is good to keep busy with during the MR period.

~ ~ ~

And here I am, in the thick of a Mercury Retrograde. As I pretty much, limped through 2021 with a sick husband and then his ultimate dying, which left me in numb and shock and grief, and my consequent going through everything we lived and shared together and two months later, moving, and of course, all of this while living in a secluded Covid world, all that has kept me going these past few months has been to get the hell out of Dodge and spend a few months out of the dread of another cold, sunless, lonely winter, and get to Mexico.

Am I concerned about traveling in a pandemic? You bet your bottom dollar I am. This is particularly the time where I’m getting excited to go away, but I’m not. I’m feeling a surge of anxiety while constantly weighing the pros and cons of my traveling. I know I’m triple vaxxed and extremely cautious around people, but I know many on vacation sometimes forget they’re still living in a pandemic, often forgeting masks and social distancing. I have a girlfriend down there since November who I keep in touch with to get the scoop on what’s going on down there. Mexico was actually doing not too bad before the rash of carefree Christmas vacationers visiting there helping spread the germs. And as much as I feel armed with safety supplies and three jabs, I’m concerned about if things get even worse instead of calming down after the holiday rush.

Air Canada has already changed my flight three times before it flat out canceled my flight last week (thanks so much Mercury). They took off their daily direct flights into Puerto Vallarta and made them all into connecting flights to gather more passengers, leaving only two direct flights at this time, weekly. After making two phone calls – each with its own four hour wait until a human picked up, I managed to get on a direct flight again, leaving three days earlier than my original flight date. I was confirmed on the phone I’m booked, but it’s been a week now and I still haven’t received written confirmation.

Besides the airline kerfuffle, this event also entailed my trying to get hold of my agent in Mexico to first find out if the unit I’m renting was vacant for my early arrival. Thankfully it is, but I’m quite unsettled that more cancellations are coming, and the prospect of what if things get worse and I get stuck in Mexico when I’m supposed to return? These are a lot of heavy concerns floating in my uncertain mind in the already shady period of Mercury Retrograde, leaving me with uncertainty of things to come.

On the pro side, I’m not sure I can endure another long, lonely winter without sun again. I thrive in sunshine, and there are only so many times and methods in my toolbox I have to remove myself internally from the darkness around me. It’s getting real old and I need to get out of here!!! So, oh yes, Mercury Retrograde is already alive and well in my travel plans, and no doubt there will be more to come before this period gets roaring and then comes to an end. So I’m caught in this net of wondering if I’ll get to Mexico, if I can stay Covid-free, and if I’ll be able to get back home. I feel almost guilty about getting excited to go and apprehensive about preparing and packing for this trip. My long awaited vacation is living in a big question mark at the moment. I feel like I should be preparing to go, but also must be prepared not to. Nothing like trying to sit down on both sides of the fence. In my heart, I’m going, but in my head I am ever so vigilant on keeping an alert to whatever this retrograde has in store for me. It’s all quite unsettling to say the least, and that is proof that Mercury Retrograde is already warming up.

I will keep you all posted on the status of my trip. In the meantime, be forewarned and prepared for the first Mercury Retrograde 2022!

©DGKaye2022

December Oracle Reading – Change is Coming!

My last reading for the year, once again touches on all aspects of my life. Interesting how by using two decks – Akashic Tarot and Keepers of the light, so many cards reiterate the same messages. Most cards that fell today, fell in the reversed position. Reversed cards don’t necessarily mean negative messages. For example, the death card scares many people, but most notably pertains to ‘a death of a situation’. Often times, the death card is a good omen because it portends that a situation that needs to end is coming. If the card is reversed, the situation may linger.

I set up my altar, performed my ritual and asked, what do I need to know? These are the cards that fell:

Akashic Records – Karmic Trench 4 of Scrolls Reversed:

It’s time to plant new seeds. You’ve fallen out of your karmic trench. A sudden change in your life will come as you sever other relationships. Allow what happened to knock you out of a karmic pattern you’ve been in too long. This is your opportunity to overturn lifetimes of sabatoging karma and time to create a new beginning.

Queen of Roses – Reversed

This card could portend a falling out with a female family member of friend. It represents stepping out of the role of wife or mother and asks to honor the grief. This is transformation time. Time to let go of those who don’t honor you. Time to make your own self-love a priority.

The card shows that he left his love to her and walked into the sunset. In a tailspin, her life went upside down as she went from wife to widow and searched from the love inside. Time to move on from old tribes for new ones. Queen of the tower of success awaits.

8 of Roses – Community Reversed

Time to realize it’s time to walk away from people who no longer serve you.

7 of Scrolls Reversed

Intricities and industry. Be careful not to act in haste. It’s time to bring in the joy now. Take baby steps. Your tiniest efforts will create extraordinary success.

1 of Scrolls – Ontrack

This is the time to choose a direction about a project, relationship, career, or even a move. Time to decide. Get on board to the direction that calls you. You are in the waiting room to prepare for your journey.

6 of Roses – War of the Roses

This card indicates a war with either someone or within your own heart.

Well, Wisdom, Mind – I asked spirit if my husband needed me to know anything.

You’re coming into a time of enormous power. You are working intimately and unknowingly with ascended masters on power and will, love and wisdom of mind. You can raise your higher power working with ascendants now. Take advantage of this time and use the power well. Divine forces are moving through you to help manifest your power.

Spring/Autumn Reversed – 4 of Forces

This is your harvest time where great abundance is coming to you. Focus on closure for loose ends before moving forward. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Queen of Keys

This card could represent a possible argument with a female of authority. A loss of a relationship. Time to consider new aspirations. The Queen is ready to give you a step to a new life. She’s looking down from a tower. She has the authority on looking out for her own happiness, on her own now, she climbs the ladder of success.

I asked, what new life?

The Buddha Prepares – Reversed

The meditative phase is over. It’s time to prepare for action. You have the ability to influence others without your realizing. It’s time to move forward.

I asked, move forward where?

Diversity – 5 of Scrolls Reversed

You feel as though too many things going on yet not much has happened right now. Too many choices can cause hesitation. Time to make a choice and focus on one thing. Don’t be afraid to try something and find you don’t like it. You have many choices, just move on. Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened.

I asked if there was anything else I needed to know, from my Keeper of the Light Oracles Cards by Kyle Gray

Lord Ganesh – Infinite Abundance

You have spiritual support and obstacles are being removed. Ganesh is the Lord of removing obstacles. He helps people weave around hurdles. He will have a perfect path for you with his light.

Lord Shiva – Transcendance

Time to rise up, steps are there, time to dance. Lord Shiva is known as the destroyer because of his warrior-like energy and his ability to destroy fear. He offers support and guidance. He is a communicator between earth and the cosmos, here to help you move beyond fear and into clarity. Lord Shiva is with you now to award your sense of connection of life. You’re moving through a great transition and soon you’ll know what you want to do and where you need to be. You will transcend beyond any past limitation. Time to travel your soul. Lord shiva will lead the way.

~ ~ ~

This was a brief summarization of what became a lengthy reading. All in all, it leaves me with a good feeling about my new beginnings in the makings. This is what I would call a beautiful reading of possibilities that are opening up in my new life. For months, the cards were stagnant, just as my life seems to be. I feel that I must get out of my abode and explore what possibilities lie ahead for me. Certainly, these opportunities won’t be knocking at my door if I don’t make an effort to meet them. I hope doors will open for me once I get out of my environment and fly away somewhere else – perhaps to my upcoming winter getaway to Mexico!

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Time for us all to kick this year to the curb where it belongs and join the land of the living. 💖

©DGKaye2021

Sunday Book Review – Made in Acapulco – The Emilia Cruz Series

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I came across this series when the title grabbed me in a list of free books for the day I receive from Reading Deals. As a person who loves Mexico and has been to Acapulco many moons ago, and knowing how Acapulco, once the number one party vacation destination has sadly, turned dangerous to visit this past decade, I was curious to read this crime/mystery series. This book, Made in Acapulco – The Emilia Cruz Series is a prequel to the rest of Amato’s 8 book series, and I believe it is perma-free as an introduction with short stories from some of the other books in the series. The author Carmen Amato is an ex CIA officer! I love police procedural mystery solving and Amato brings it plus, through Emilia’s tough, smart and sexy character in a world full of dirty cops and criminals.

 

 

Blurb:

Acapulco never had a female police detective before . . . And nobody wants one now.

How did Emilia Cruz fight to become the first female police detective in Acapulco? This collection of prequel stories goes behind the scenes of the award-winning police series!

 

“A thrilling series” — National Public Radio

 

MADE IN ACAPULCO is a collection of 5 stories that introduce Emilia Cruz, the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force, and her first cases:

The Beast captures Emilia’s struggle to become the first female police detective in Acapulco. It previously appeared in The Huffington Post’s 50 Featured Fiction showcase.

The Disappeared sees Emilia search for a friend who goes missing. Those who have gone missing amid Mexico’s drug war violence is a continuing theme throughout the mystery series.

The Artist was inspired by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia’s efforts to bring awareness to the plight of families impacted by the drug war violence and references photos of some of the rallies held in Mexico in recent years.

The Date explores the downside of a job that pits Emilia against Mexico’s enduring culture of machismo, while also drawing on real events that occurred in a nightclub in Mexico in 2006.

The Cliff is the original Emilia Cruz story. Written for a literary critique group, the story introduces hotel manager Kurt Rucker. It became the first chapter of CLIFF DIVER, the first Emilia Cruz novel.

Grab your copy today

With hot nights on the beach and suspense straight out of the news, the series goes inside Mexico’s drug war with a fearless style and a woman who will be hard to forget.

Poison Cup award for Outstanding Series — CrimeMasters of America

Author Carmen Amato is a former CIA intelligence officer who uses her own counterdrug and espionage experiences to craft intrigue-filled crime fiction that keeps you guessing until the very end. Amato is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

If you love international police procedural series by Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, Peter May, Louise Penny, and Jussi Adler-Olsen, you’ll want to read the Detective Emilia Cruz series. It’s a must-read for fans of Don Winslow’s cartel and border thrillers set in Mexico.

PRAISE FOR THE DETECTIVE EMILIA CRUZ SERIES

CLIFF DIVER
“Consistently exciting.” ― Kirkus Reviews

HAT DANCE
“Emilia . . . is a force to be reckoned with.” ― MysterySequels.com

DIABLO NIGHTS
“Amato’s unique setting, realistic characters, and intriguing plot set her apart.” ― OnlineBookClub.org

KING PESO
“Danger and betrayal never more than a few pages away.” ― Kirkus Reviews

PACIFIC REAPER
“A thrill to crime-loving aficionados.” – Latina Book Club

43 MISSING
“Astounding.” – Nightstand Reviews

The Detective Emilia Cruz series
CLIFF DIVER
HAT DANCE
DIABLO NIGHTS
KING PESO
PACIFIC REAPER
43 MISSING
RUSSIAN MOJITO
MADE IN ACAPULCO

 

My 5 Star Review:

Detective Emilia Cruz is the protagonist of the series, and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. This prequel gives us the beginnings background of how she made detective in a city where the cartel have infiltrated, in a male dominant police force where it’s difficult to learn who is corrupt and who to trust. In this 8 book series, I believe they are each stand alone stories featuring Detective Cruz, and this prequel will give you enough background history to for reading the books randomly.  Emilia is a brave female cop in a man’s world facing having to deal with some gruesome crimes – murders, kidnappings, and counterfeits, and often not knowing who she can trust both, at work and in her personal life.

The scenery descriptions are beautiful as is Acapulco, makes me sad of the political happenings that changed the landscape from the fun, safe party vacation town to a dangerous place for tourists. Amato keeps the stories interesting with pace and action, and rich and authentic descriptions of locations and real events.

These short stories kept me glued with wondering – how do you know if you can trust your own colleagues? I am looking forward to reading more in this series as two of Amato’s books already await me.

©DGKaye2020

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