Welcome back to more Mexican Tales from my winter vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. As I’ve shared in earlier posts, I have quite a few wonderful friends in PV, and I had numerous outings with all of them – some group outings and some with smaller crowds. I love that I introduced all the friends I made to each other and we became a group of friends.
I did a few shopping trips with the girls. Usually, other than Mexican artifacts, beach coverups, and silver jewellry stores, and tequila, of course, there isn’t much to shop for there. I was never one to do any real clothes shopping while there. But last year I discovered a wonderful island cotton store, and then Patty introduced me to another she’d found. All the clothing is made in Mexico, and there’s an array of styles and colors from pants to tops to dresses and more. I happen to love real cotton, and it seems harder and harder to find here at home, and more expensive. Not to mention, the price of island cotton if bought in the islands, can be quite expensive. But we found some great and reasonable stores.
One day, Lucie and I went downtown to shop at Maria of Guadalajara’s cotton store. We both bought the same dress (in different colors) and Lucie did some power shopping. Another time, Shelley and I went down there and decided to walk all the way downtown and grab some dinner. On our way we discovered another cotton store that caught both of our eyes. Luisa’s was a smaller store, but packed with beautiful things. And the best part was if she didn’t have your size, she’d have one for you in a few days. Needless to say, I went to Luisa’s a few times, and the other girls were probably there more than me, for other orders and a few alterations. Yes! No charge for the alterations, and seamstress on site while you wait. Let’s just say, my summer wardrobe is topped up.
After cotton shopping, Pat, Shelley, me and Lucie walked up to one of our favorite pitstops, El Patron, a great stop for before or after shopping. You have to walk up a lot of narrow stairs, but you can’t beat the view and the breeze in this section. And the Margs are always good there. It was about 2pm and we were surprisingly, the only ones there. It’s always busy later, especially at sunset.
The first weekend I arrived, it was the last NFL playoff game of the season before the Superbowl. Brenda and Saul had a nice big 2 bedroom condo on the ground floor with a comfy patio and a small backyard. Everyone’s internet and cable seemed different. Some people could only get the game in Spanish. Some like me didn’t have any cable, but with my VPN I could watch most anything on my laptop. Saul had the game on his huge TV but only in Spanish. I brought my laptop and we used the sound from my computer. It worked. Oh, and we also had many drinks. I think that was when I took a break from Margs to Bloody Caesars. Shelley and John came over and we had a ton of fun. We of course, repeated the even two weeks later for Superbowl.
Me with Brenda and Shelley
The clan came out for a sun break. It didn’t last long because it was hottt!!! But we were always laughing.
Valentine’s Day came while my girlfriend Alyson was down visiting me. We spent a lot of time gabbing with Brenda. The three of us decided to go downtown the day before Valentine’s Day, before it was over-crowded and over-priced, and make that ‘Galentine’s Day’. We laughed a lot. As usual, we began at a bar and we walked much further downtown and had dinner in a little charming Mexican place Brenda had suggested. The place was tiny, on the second floor of crickety stairs; the drinks were cheap and the balcony view was fun. After, we walked back to the top of the boardwalk and grabbed a cab back. We’d left around 3pm and it was 945pm when simultaneously, the taxi was pulling into our complex, and Saul texted me asking if we’re okay because he’s worried about us not being home yet. “Brenda isn’t used to staying out that late,” Saul texted me. I showed Bren the text and we burst out laughing. Of course Brenda asked him if she had a curfew. The jokes about that one went on for awhile. Saul is a sweetie and a good sport.
Brenda, Alyson and me at first bar pitstop, La Terraza di Roma
Brenda gave me a plastic flower on Valentines Day. There was a little cub below the flower.
One late afternoon, Lucie and I headed downtown to Luisa’s to pick up some things we’d asked her to order for us. Then we walked downtown to one of my favorite restaurants, La Dolce Vita down in the Romantic Zone. We finished our delicious drinks and meals after getting there early enough to get a good table outside without a reservation. It was only after 7pm and still early, so we crossed the street to go for a drink or two at the Margarita Grill – a popular outdoor bar downtown. We were surprised it wasn’t crazy packed, but not surprised being near end of March and many tourists had left. We decided to sit at the bar instead of a table. We ordered the ‘small’ chalice sized Marg and Daquiri. We had the sweetest young bartender who graciously offered to take a selfie of the three of us (and my shopping bag from Luisa’s). The house band is really good there, especially when they play oldies hits of some of the best bands.
We laughed there for hours. We met some interesting people as the bar filled up. We talked to a few people, drank, and sang to the band. It was getting loud in there – even though the place is open air. A new young French/Canadian couple sat down beside Lucie. The band played ‘Take on Me’ by Aha. Lucie and I were singing along, pretty loud, when the guy beside her got up and switched seats with his wife. Luce and I burst out laughing. She asked the guy if her singing chased him away and he said his wife was singing too in his other ear so he thought it best if she sat beside us. LOL.
The Sunday before I returned home, Shelley and I spent the day and most of the evening together. She came over to my pool then we got changed and went back downtown. We thought we may pop our heads into the cotton store again then go for dinner. When we got downtown it wasn’t so busy, especially for a Mexican long weekend. We also noticed none of our favorite stores were open. That was fine. We’d already done enough damage, lol. So we walked down to the Dolce Vita and sat in the bar with the open patio doors and had a few drinks. Had we known how crazy downtown traffic got and that the restaurant we specifically wanted to eat dinner at, was also closed, we wouldn’t have gone that day. We decided to keep walking down the main beach street and ended up where Brenda, me and Alyson ate on Galentine’s Day. We had another drink and Mexican food. After we finished we walked up the mid of the malecon to grab a cab, when we saw so much traffic and cabs weren’t stopping – or moving. This I’d never experienced. Sunday night around 730pm. The main drag that runs parallel in front of the malecon/boardwalk and ocean is a one way south street. You’d have to go over a block to catch the northbound street. I told Shel we’ll walk over to the next one since we’re going north anyway. It was gridlock! WTH? We couldn’t figure out why the streets were jammed, blocked off, and a parade coming down could be heard. It was exceedingly hot that particular day, and still at 730pm. Shelley was sweating up a storm. I told her we’ll take our time but we had to just keep walking till we got out of the Malecon zones. Along the way I must have approached seven cabs, stuck in gridlock, not even taking passengers. We kept walking, and about half hour later of walking north, we FINALLY got a cab when we were literally a twenty minute more walk to home if we’d kept walking. That journey that’s usually a ten minute cab ride took us over two hours to get back. It was a Sunday night on President’s Day long weekend. Who knew?
I’d be remiss if I left out my venture back to my wonderful Mexican denist duo, mom and daughter Lourdes and Lourdes Flores. For those who didn’t read last year’s adventure, my friends Jerry and Wendy (who weren’t in PV this vacation) recommended their dentist to me. I went for a cleaning last year and paid $40 Canadian dollars for the best cleaning I ever had, instead of the $280 I pay at home. I’d also had a nightguard made for $90 CAD dollars, which was way better than the $500 one I have from my dentist at home. And I’d made instant friends with mamma and daughter. Mamma is the dentist and daughter is the surgeon.
This year I went back for another great cleaning, plus I wanted advice about my bite that seemed to shift. We had a fun half hour visit with the three of us before I even sat in the chair. Daughter said she wanted xray to see what was going on below the gumline. These were special xrays that weren’t done in her office. She gave me a slip of paper to take over to the xray building, which was a five minute walk down the street. I was taken within five minutes of arriving and taken in a room with high-tech gadgetry. Five minutes after I finished, they handed me a large manilla envelope with the xray film to take home to my dentist, and told me they’d send one to my dentist duo. The cost? Fifteen little Canadian dollars (equivalent to pesos). I also ordered another new nightguard for my bottom teeth while I was there. When I went back to pick it up three days later, daughter looked at the xrays and reminded me how important it is I wear it at night and gave me a prescription for some fancy toothpaste and mouthwash, made in Spain, to use for my gums. Both coming in at the hefty price of $25 CAD for a tube of toothpaste and $30 for a small bottle of mouthwash. When I saw the prices I decided not to stock up. I bought one of each. Once again I didn’t get to go for a drink with those women because they were taking vacays soon after – mamma was going home to visit back to her second home in Vancouver, Canada, and daughter to her other home in Guadalajara.
The Marina area is a five minute cab ride north of where I stayed. Every Thursday night there is a big market there set up along the Marina, about a mile long. Restaurants and bars are very busy by 7pm those nights, and the sidewalks are crowded. For me, once a vacation is enough to visit that market. I went with Patty and Jamie, who invited a few more of their friends, and Shelley, John and Brenda. We ate early to avoid the big crowds, at Route 66, usually a good burger and Marg place, but it was a bad night in the kitchen as all orders were mixed up. The Marina has some great restaurants, but much quieter when not on a Thursday Market night. I went back another night with Alyson, Brenda and Saul and their daughter and son-in-law who’d come to visit for a week. We went to Bacha’s, Mexican Seafood. As usual we had lots of laughs and I snapped a very short video there so I can give you a glimpse of part of the Marina, the noisy restaurant, and the musicians who travel around to your tables.
Shelley, John, Brenda, me, the others at another table at Route 66
Here’s a few seconds of video of Bacha’s at the Marina with Alyson, Brenda, and her family.
I hope you enjoyed snippets of my Mexican tales and outings. Next episode I’ll share my day at La Cruz Sunday Market and Punta Mita in part 2 after last year’s visit there with the same crew, Jamie, Patty, Shelley, John, and this year Lucie joined us.