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

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

Mexican Tales – Leaving Puerto Vallarta – Wheelchair Madness

Anxious to get home, virus-free, I’d taken the best precautions I could with what I had. The Coronavirus wasn’t ‘a thing’ really mentioned or dwelled upon yet in Puerto Vallarta on that 12th day of March when we said goodbye to our winter friends. But I’d been keeping up with world news and knew it was going to be something real big, real soon.

I had the hand-sanitizer and disinfectant wipes I’d brought down with us, at the ready in my purse. I slipped 2 masks in my pocket for us and we were leaving, heading down to the lobby with the luggage cart Hub had brought up from the lobby to load our many bags onto. No gloves, but fully protected by the plastic bags I put on my hands to navigate that cart to the elevator and out to the cab to protect from invisible germs on my hands. I was leaving beautiful Puerto Vallarta where the sun shone, the birds sang and the ocean beckoned, all appeared as though all was right in the world. We were off to the airport, which gratefully, had yet to get busy as we departed days before the spring break and Easter crowd were to invade, and the Coronavirus had yet to become ‘a thing’ yet in Mexico, so all was calm at the airport crazy.

Grateful as always in that airport for the great check-in service and the immediate wheelchair assistance to help push my husband across what seemed well over a mile to our Toronto departure gate, a bonus was having his lap to pile more bags onto. We went on our way, walking, walking, and as usual, a long security check line that I smiled inwardly as we bypassed the crowds into the ‘special services’ lane. Bonus!

After putting ourselves and our belongings back together off the security belt, we continued on to the journey to our gate. Then we stopped at the elevator. I questioned the young man pushing the wheelchair in my broken Spanish, ‘why are we going down’, and before he could answer in broken English, I knew. Once again, we were taking the bus from the street level to the tarmac. Oye!

We had over an hour to wait for the bus boarding and our section with passengers to both Toronto and a flight to Montreal was getting busy. I’d remembered the year prior when the wheelchair assistant was assigned to someone, they were to come back before boarding to help on the bus/plane. But I never saw him again, yet, I saw other helpers standing by the passengers waiting to assist them. So off I went.

I  dashed over to the boarding gate desk to ask for an assistant, but that never came to fruition. There was no way I could carry everything and assist my hub, so off I went again to ask an assistant helping another passenger to please radio for someone to help us. Finally, someone showed.

We finally made it off the bus and I grabbed what I could while the assistant grabbed another of our bags and the arm of my husband and walked him up the airplane stairs. I was grateful. We couldn’t snag a first class seat on the return flight, but I did manage a comfort row, which offered better legroom and food included, plus 2 bags each at no extra cost. I made friends with the lady, Janice, in the middle seat between Hub’s window and my aisle seats, and it seems we blabbed almost all the way home. Once we landed, my new friend Janice was kind enough to grab our bags out of the above bins, as it seems I’m iust a tad to short to reach them, happy to have the good samaritan to the rescue. I didn’t even get a chance to thank her and she was gone, she exited the plane and I never saw her at baggage pick-up again. Definitely an earth angel who kept me company and helped out then slithered away like those kind of people we meet for reasons and seasons.

As Hub and I exited the plane there were no wheelchairs on the ramp. What? Oye! I loaded up the bags onto my tired shoulders and pulled what else I could, gave one lighter bag to hub, and dashed ahead as Hub followed and caught up to me at the end of the ramp where there were several folded wheelchairs. I picked one out. waited for hub to amble up on his cane then sat him in it, re-piled the bags on him, and as I began to push us out of the congested area, I asked a rep where wheelchair assistance was. I was told to wait with the rest of the (many) wheelchair passengers in a designated area and staff would help with chairs in about half hour. Lol, you know that wasn’t happening. I don’t do waiting well.

I have to add that pushing someone in a wheelchair with almost 100 extra pounds of baggage on me and hub’s lap, and a cane that somehow kept getting stuck in our path, is no piece of cake. And I will admit, you didn’t want to be in my way as I blazed my way through a crowd and alas, spotted ‘the’ elevator that led down to the next floor where customs was located – only about another mile or so once off the elevator.  I pushed the button, loaded us in and landed on the lower floor. The door opened with a thud to a barricade.

The door opened but there was no place to exit because it was blocked by approximately 30-40 wheelchairs! They weren’t in any organized order, just left in one huge pile in a disarray blocking the elevator door. What could I do? There was no way I could even get off to sort out that mess. No way was I going back up and waiting. I told hub to hang on tight and keep his feet tucked in as tightly as possible then proceeded to bulldoze our way through the wheelchair madness. It was like a demolition derby but a few moments later we were victorious and we were out! We laughed together as my husband kept saying I was a madwoman and he was scared of my ambition and of being on the frontline of my bulldozing. We continued to laugh.

I pushed and pushed for what felt like miles on my worn out bones and cursed my airport as usual, for having the longesttttt walks from any gate. About 20 minutes later we arrived at customs. The room was crowded and despite our advantage of going through special services and avoiding the long lines, we still had to wait first to put our passports through a kiosk security machine before approaching customs agent. Bad instructions, not a soul to help anyone, and after 10 minutes of fiddling and retrying numerous times, I finally got our clearance slip out of the machine we were to hand to the customs agent.

I was observant of the airport staff, keeping an eye around to see what my airport was doing with the emerging Covid19 problem, which had yet to be declared a pandemic for another day or so after our return. I noticed quite a few airport employees wearing masks, others not. I may have bypassed a few signs warning to wash hands and sanitize, but nothing much. The customs agent  had on no mask. He asked us where we’ve been and for how long. I handed him the form spit out from the kiosk machine that quite frankly, asked the same questions. No further questions, not even asked if we had been ill while away or anything to declare. Wow! And we were on our way to baggage pick-up.

The airport was exceptionally busy. I found a porter to come fetch our bags off the belt and take us to a limo. The luggage from our flight had already come down the belt and was placed in a section on the floor as flights were coming in fast and furious and the next flight’s luggage was already on the belt. The porter pushed our bags and I pushed Hubby out through the gates of freedom once we handed our customs slip out at the exit doors, and gratefully, we weren’t selected to go through inspection.

The cool wind was welcomed once we arrived outside and entered the limo. It was almost the middle of March, usually still in the depths of winter here, but there was no snow to be found and much warmer than the morning we left for Mexico. We’d come home to an early spring.

Since that travel day home, little did I know I came home to a new world in the making. Despite at that point there were no new rules made, no pandemic declared til 2 days after our return when our country clamped down just before the spring break weekend, we took it upon ourselves to isolate for 14 days. I did get sick on Day 5 with many symptoms of the Covid – high fever, dizzy, painful bones, freezing cold. Ironically, my fever broke the very same night of that one sick day. I woke to a sweat-soaked bed and have felt fine ever since. Gratefully, Hubby didn’t get whatever I had, but I’d kept my distance from him as much as possible. I slept with a mask on too and I’m armed and dangerous with gloves, Lysol wipes and anything I could dig out of the storage cupboard.

My Mexican vacation, only a few short weeks ago, feels like it was so long ago now. I’ve been in touch with my real estate friend who emailed me the other day to inform me that the price has already dropped on the new construction condo we’d been eyeing. The Peso is falling. While I was there it was hovering around the usual value – 1 Canadian dollar = usually at 14.5 – 15 Pesos. Today’s value was almost at 17.5 Pesos to the Canadian dollar. Like I told my real estate friend, there’s no way I’m buying anything until the fallout of this global disaster has found a place to land and our own falling dollar makes a comeback.

I have no idea what will be next year. I anticipate a lot of despair, losses, real estate falling, terrible unemployment and devastation because of the isolations and loss of jobs and businesses. Undoubtedly, this anticipation isn’t mine alone, and the reason I haven’t heard a peep since my return from the woman whom I’m supposed to be renting her unit next winter. I’m sure all those that rely on renters for their properties are very concerned what will be next year for tourism.

As it stands now, one of our Canadian friends who winters at the complex with us has sent me a photo a full-time resident friend of his has sent him of the now desolate pool and beach where we all had just spent a lovely and lively time together. Truly a very sad sight, especially at Easter when this beach should be covered with wall to wall people celebrating 24/7 for a week.

 

pool
Hubby on a floatie in the pool

 

Now desolate beach and pool
Now desolate beach and pool

I feel as though next winter is a lifetime away from us now. Who knows where we will be in the world. Nothing is certain right now for anyone. The one thing I do know – I won’t be traveling anywhere again until there is a vaccine for this virus now controlling our lives.

 

happy hour

 

Stay safe!

 

©DGKaye2020

 

 

 

Mexican Tales – Part 3 – Observations and Commercialism

I’ve been spending part of the winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the past few years now. It’s a beautiful port town with friendly natives and Mexican charm, gorgeous weather, and good value for our Canadian dollar. But I’ve also noticed commercialism making its way into the way of life there.

 

Like everywhere else in the world, prices have gone up in PV across the board – food, taxis and housing. As many tourist destinations hike prices I noticed that PV seems to be going in that direction. Typically, the average working Mexican could not afford to eat or shop in the tourist zones as their earnings are on par with their cost of living. The tourist areas have been growing in price. Similar to how Cancun has become so Americanized in recent years that some say it’s lost its Mexican charm, but not quite there yet. I hope it doesn’t lose its Mexican charm. But it’s definitely the North American expats – both Canadian and American that are surely driving up the prices with all the growth PV has been enduring, particularly in buying up real estate there.

Bartering on the beach or market has become more of an educated procedure rather than a fun past time. It used to be sellers would start a bit higher on pricing, knowing they had to leave room for haggling, which is something they expect. But there seems to be a new theme now in educated guessing if you’re a savvy bargainer – which I am. Seems to be the trend for these items when you ask the price they will charge double the price they’ll ultimately accept, plus maybe a few hundred Pesos on top for good measure. Since I love to go to markets and look at price tags, I have a good idea of how much I should be paying for something. For example, I’d bought a beautiful silver elephant pendant encrusted with colored rhinestones inlaid, at a pop-up market for something like $25 Canadian dollars. The asking was equivalent to $35. A week later I saw the same pendants at another market asking for $80 equivalent. I said thanks and walked away, and the seller was snarly when I told him I already had one for way less money. I couldn’t help but notice how the market sellers  have raised prices on everything, leaving me feeling as though something in the art of markets has been lost. Mexican prices are fast becoming North American prices, taking away part of the allure of market shopping. But it’s fun to visit the various markets just to see some of the wonderful artists and their creations, regardless if I’m purchasing or not.

I realize that everyone has to make a living, but hiking the prices more than double on items you can find cheaper elsewhere is a tad greedy. I find the fair pricing system I abide by when buying from those sellers is to offer half of what they ask. maybe even 100 or 200 peso lower than asking with leaving negotiation room. And that’s what we should be paying.

Below are some pictures of some the artwork downtown on the Malecon (Boardwalk)

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

 

art broom

donated art bench
You will find several of these beautiful mosaic art benches donated

Heart exhibit

Heart love

Cactus sandals

Cold beer humor

 

As far as taxis and restaurants, they’ve gone up a bit too, but not drastically. For example, If you ordered a beer at the pool last year it was 20 Pesos, about $1.25, now it’s 30 – $2. Mixed cocktails at the pool were 50 Pesos – about $3, are now 80 Pesos, now more like 5 bucks and change. Short taxi rides remain at 50 Pesos, but rides to downtown or marina have gone up a buck. You can’t blame them, besides cost of living inflation, when it’s the tourist area, this is where they make their seasonal bucks. But real estate has gone up 20% since last year!

In the last few years North Americans are buying up condos in PV. The construction is ongoing. Pre-sale construction is hot. Here you can purchase a property (if any left) before they’re built with 20-30% discounts. Hub and I looked at a few with my new friend Gabe from Boardwalk Realty, who I connected with when I started looking at real estate online and signed up to receive MLS listings a few months before we got there. He showed us around the trending areas and we found a lovely location we would love to buy in, only that’s on hold as the economy is in a global tailspin and our already crappy Canadian dollar has nosedived to disgusting value. But, I have no doubts that this global declining economy will be just that – global, especially after this Corona madness, and I don’t plan on doing any real estate transactions till our dollar gets healthier and the housing market gets hit again as it seems to be on its way.

As the end of our vacation neared and my husband was unwell, along with the growing threat of the Coronavirus, I was anxious to get home.

DGKaye
In our lobby going to the ‘last supper’

I always miss the most beautiful sunsets.

sunset nite

orange sky sunset

sunset

 

Stay tuned for the last post on my Mexican Tales. Yup, it’s the travel log of our journey  home!

©DGKaye2020

My Mexican Tales Part 2 – Whales, Cruiseships, Sciatica and Eviction?

Welcome back to my Mexican tales series. The vacation begins, and what a busy time it was! It was a fun and social time once again seeing all the ‘regulars’ back – the snowbirds who we’d made friends with through the last few years of renting in the same place with our wintering friends. Plenty of scoop, recommends and whale watching to see daily at our ‘pool of knowledge’ as one of my Canadian friends dubbed it last year. The place where we all congregate to stay cool in the afternoons under the hot Mexican sun.

 

beauty sky

 

Pool of knowledge
Our pool of knowledge

 

Whale season is very busy in the Banderas Bay area of Puerto Vallarta where I stayed. This area is where the whales from the north swim to safety to give birth to the babies in February each year, instinctively knowing where the waters are safe from sharks. Every morning and late afternoons we could see clearly, the whales popping up for air and flopping up and down doing a spectacular show. One day I actually saw a whale in process of giving birth, it was jumping up constantly for a time and before long, a baby whale started jumping as it made its entrance into the world. A magnificent sight for sure, sadly, despite camera ready on hand, I missed every consecutive jump, lol.

 

happy hour

 

Besides all the friends we socialized with daily at the pool and some we had meals with in the evenings at some of our favorite restaurants, we also had family visit and stay with us one week, and a friend of my husband’s for another two. After my longgg trip traveling to Mexico, my Sciatica kicked in big time. After approximately 6 massages later, I was finally in fine form . . . but that was short-lived.

 

One hot afternoon as I entered the first step into the pool, holding onto the railing tightly, it seems all that suntan lotion accumulating in the pool made for a sheet of ice on some of those steps. Down went my one foot to step, and up in the air went the other one as I gripped tightly, but to no avail, landed with a thud on the second step – on my tailbone!

If I’d thought the Sciatica I’d been enduring since a month before going to Mexico, exacerbated by the lifting of luggage on travel day was painful, I had succumbed to a new kind of pain. For the rest of the trip there were more massages (as it had taken 5 deep massages already, to finally rid of the Sciatica pain), analgesics, and taking a good 2 minutes to stand up or sit down, no bending, no comfort sleeping, and the only place I felt fine was floating in the water. I was grateful for my blow up pillow I used everywhere. I’d originally bought it to have behind my already sore back while laying on the lounger at the pool, but it quickly became my seat pillow for a few weeks.

Many of my pool friends had witnessed my slip and rushed to me to ask if I was okay. Of course, I told them I was fine. I stayed in the pool once I slid in, for a good two hours, dreading the time I’d have to get out and assess how I really felt. I found out quickly how nicely I had immobilized my tush. My trustee friends were very accommodating the next few days as they watched me limp and walk like an octogenarian to and from the pool and offered assistance anytime I had to carry something up and sometimes just to help put on my beach cover-up. And thankfully, but only the day before returning home, did the pain subside. Lord had mercy as I had a lotttttttttt of carrying and pushing to do at the airport the next day for the return home.

 

What else happened after that glorious Supermoon full moon coupled with a Mercury Retrograde – that also seemed to have unleashed pandemonium on the world at this time? Oh ya, the friends whose condo we rent there, notified me that first week we were there that she needed to know right away if I’d commit to 3 months next year with a $400 US increase on top of it monthly. I asked her if I could at least discuss this with my husband,  and get back to her, considering we were barely there 5 days when I was just unwinding without having to think about finances and commitments for a year ahead, even though I fully intended to NOT commit. Not 12 hours later did I receive a new message, “Sorry, we couldn’t wait, we have someone ready to commit.”

 

morning moon
The moon was still out at 7am over the ocean while the sun was rising behind us over the mountains. Quite ominous.

 

“Thanks so much for your giving a us a moment to think, not! Enjoy your new friends and remember, when you swim with sharks you get bit,” I emailed her in response. My sarcasm was in direct response to my investigations with my sleuth friend Liz at the pool who knows everyone and everybody. I’m not going to get into all the politics here – yes, there were plenty. But we’d figured out exactly what transpired with the people who mysteriously became the ‘new future renters’. This situation now left us without a place locked in for next year. And everyone who stays there knows well, it’s like finding gold when you find another availability there, and for a fair price without managers scooping extra bucks on top of the owner’s price.

I immediately put out my feelers, asked my pool friends for contacts and within 2 days, I’d sealed a deal for another unit next year. The caution is, to not get ripped off as the the real estate market has been booming in PV this past year in particular and beachfront properties are getting more greedy. Many property owners there don’t live there and hire property managers. Some are good, some are thieves with ridiculous prices and terms. The trick is to do your research on the ‘actual’ going monthly rates, asking around what everyone pays, and try not to get ripped off. This is where my friend Liz was extra helpful, lol. Also, in Mexico, we don’t need US dollars (thankfully), and our Canadian dollar was great value to the Peso. But all rentals are paid in US dollars.

The new owner I made a deal with knew I had no US funds on me and is expecting half the rental as deposit after I returned – that was before the world turned on its axis and our dollar dropped to almost 40% from 30 against the US dollar, once the markets fell in free-fall. I haven’t heard from her yet calling for money, although I had E-transferred her a few hundred Canadian dollars in good faith when we made the deal. I have ZERO intentions of buying US money at this god-awful rate. And since most of the renters there are Canadian, I’m sure these owners and property managers are more than aware what’s going on in the world. If she puts clamps on me for the funds now, she can have it. And no doubts, she’ll come crawling back as she finds that in this era of uncertainty, it’s quite likely that nobody is committing to travel anywhere till the world comes back to life.

Now, for the cruise ships. The Coronavirus was only gaining more acknowledgement in across the world as February progressed. Nobody seemed to be thinking about it in Mexico, not even the snowbirds. But I was. I was on the computer mornings and evenings catching up on world news. And my anxiety grew. We used to watch the ships dock and exit daily there – about 2-3 ships daily in the past, but 10 whole days had passed and no cruise ships. I began to smell a rat.

 

Ship arriving
Ship coming in

 

Ship leaving
Ship leaving

 

I was Googling daily to see if there were any Corona cases coming to light in Mexico and by first week March, there was a count of 3 or 4, said to have been detected in Mexico City – far away from where I was. Hmm, I thought, where there’s a few, there will always be more, and of course, the many cases unrecognized and not reported to consider. Then we began to see 2 ships come in 2 or 3 days a week after that. We also watched one turn around and not dock. Suspicions abounded. It seemed the only ships coming in were the ones originated on the Pacific coast, mainly from California. No big ship names like Celebrity did we see, etc. And as it turns out, the Grand Bahama Princess had in fact docked in PV just before I’d arrived, the same one that was not allowed back in port in San Francisco somewhere along its journey, tendering for days with nowhere to go until it was allowed into Oakland Harbor. Something was definitely up!

By the last week of our trip, anxiety grew within, eager to get home before the airlines started chopping off flights. My husband had also had issues with his health, and I was getting panicky if he’d be able to leave, and how the trip home was going to look like. Many ‘pool’ friends didn’t seem too concerned about the virus, but as my natural intuition antennae became raised internally to high alert, I knew full-well a Tsunami of something was coming.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s episodeObservations, Art and Commercialism

 

©DGKaye