Sunday, January 26, 2014

Life in Paradise Continues..... Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

Well, we're still here in our "home". Amazing how fast things can get done when you have leverage.

At 11am, Trent, our leasing agent showed up with locks and tools. In only an hour with our landlord and Mike's help, we had new locks with dead bolt, our microwave was installed on a shelf on the wall, and measurements were made (again) with the promise that the glass for the coffee table would be ready on Tuesday. 

So with that kind of action, on Monday we made our rent payment.

They finished in time for us to make our way to Nacho Daddy's for the final game of the playoffs! What awesome games! Congratulations to both the Broncos and Seahawks!  I have to say that I found myself holding my breath allot during the Seahawks game. 

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were Spanish classes. I'm loving mine and feeling like I'm really making progress with understanding the gender's, prepositions, singular/plural, etc. It definitely feels like being back in English class but the light bulb is beginning to come on for me!

The other main focus of our week was looking at apartments. Six to be exact with three different agents. It gets exhausting trying to keep them all coordinated with what they showed us. It's like throwing goop against a wall and seeing what sticks. 

We saw some good, bad, and ugly. Unfortunately, the good had already been leased for two months of high season next year. So they wanted to know if we would move out from a 2 bedroom, 2 bath into a studio. I don't think so!!  So the hunt continues...

I also received a couple of emails this week from people who have been reading my blog. One kind soul has asked that we consider renting her home here in PV. We're quite excited about seeing it soon, as it looks very intriguing. The other was from a fellow traveler who is currently living in Spain for 3 months and is wanting information on Puerto Vallarta. I have to say that there was a quick moment of wishing we were in Spain with her!

It's very rewarding to get these emails that come out of the blue week after week!  Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself.  In the beginning when I began my blog, I probably was only talking to myself.  I've been amazed and honored that so many have chosen to follow along on this journey with us.  To date, I have people from 56 countries following me and it has been read 33,032 times since June, 2011!!

I also made contact with someone who I had run across on Facebook several times during our travels but we never befriended each other for some reason. We're now well connected and our paths have been parallel quite a bit and we have many mutual friends in real life not just on Facebook. Anyway, she owns and handles rentals in PV in the area we want to be. So off we go to look there this week!  Network, network is the way it works!

We continue to enjoy our walks through town discovering shops and making friends along the way with the local shop owners. I bought a sun dress from one who promised I would always get a discount because I spoke in Spanish with him. Hahaha, I'm sure he tells that to every lady!  But it's a good feeling when they ask, and they always do, "where you from lady?" And, I can honestly answer "I live here!"

Since our Spanish classes are in the middle of the day, it makes going anywhere outside of town difficult. So on Thursday, Mike and I got up and decided to take advantage of a 2 x 1 deal through IFC, the organization that we joined last week. They have run house tours here for 30 years, which we've gone on in the past. But last year they added a Zoo and Botantical garden tour.  And, we've not been to either of these gems.

After meeting up at the Sea Monkey, 38 of us boarded a luxury bus to be transported first to the Zoo right in the small village of Mismaloya, south of PV about 20 minutes.  The Zoo is privately owned and all of the profits are totally put back into the facility with improvements for the animals.  The animals are also moved around so that they don't get bored with their surroundings. Another terrific thing about this zoo is that you really get to be up close and personal with the animals.  And, it's a feeding and petting zoo for adults and children alike.

Immediately upon entering, we were greeted with a 2 week old white tiger playing in the lap of its handler.  I just wanted to pick it up and snuggle!!  For $30/person you could get 20 minutes of time with the babies at the end of the tour but we chose not to.  You also can purchase food to feed the animals along the way for $3.75 each.  In the bag was bread, carrots, peanuts, pellets, and corn.  The bag was clearly marked with which animals eat what food.  Quite impressive and lots of fun even for a couple of old farts!




 









 





 
After the fun time at the zoo, off we went further south past Boca de Tomatlan, to the Botanical Gardens.  This is also a privately owned garden along a beautiful river.  Botanical Gardens are usually mostly green but they have planted so many flowering trees, bushes, and plants that add so much to the visual sensory.  A luscious lunch was also had while sitting on the terrace overlooking the river where we could watch the hummingbirds right before our eyes.  A stunningly beautiful day!
 
















 

The sunsets continue also to be beautiful but this week it was hit and miss. Lots of clouds came in and on Thursday night we had a deluge of rain. The street we live on is quite a steep hill and it became a raging river!  Fortunately, by morning the clouds were gone and the sun came up in a sky so blue without a cloud anywhere. Very strange weather for this time of year here!




 

Our first friends from back home in WA, Catherine Merrill and Martin Iussig, arrived on Thursday and we were honored with getting together with them on Friday for sunset drinks at the Sea Monkey and then on to the beach for a scrumptious dinner.  They will be here for a week and we're hoping to be able to get together at least one more time before they head back north.  It's wonderful to be able to see friends here!  We're hoping that many more will make the trek down to enjoy this beautiful place!

Martin & Cathy

Gorgeous beading done by the Huichol indigenous here in Jalisco, Mexico. Each bead is set in bee's wax.
 

 
Saturday morning saw us making our way down into town for the Old Town Farmer's Market in the park.  We haven't gone for a couple of weeks and were pleased to see how crowded it was.  Definitely high season!!  Mike did buy the wonderful huge brownies that he's grown so fond of.

Our friend, Sean, from Nacho Daddy and his band.



Then off up further into Old Town and the Los Muertos area where there's another Farmer's Market at the PCC (Paradise Community Center). This is a more intimate setting inside the Center itself.  During the week this facility hosts many events, language classes, counseling sessions, etc.  And, in the evenings there are shows on the stage.  We can't wait to go to the Jazz Band show, which starts this week.  Thinking it might be a good gift to ourselves for Valentine's Day!  But, we did buy a 2 x 1 ticket special for another impersonator show called The Bird Cage at The Palm for Monday night.

This is going to be a challenge for us during High Season.  There are soooo many wonderful performances by so many talented people that we want to see them all.  So our goal is try and see 2 each month and that keeps us within budget.

Rather than come home to make lunch, we decided that we would eat out for a change.  We usually only eat out for dinner so this was nice to see different menus.  The Pancake House won our allegiance and I ordered the most wonderful cheese blintz's and Mike had Eggs Benedict.  The restaurant was established in 1987 and is quite an icon in Old Town.  A great value for a great breakfast at only $15 for both of our meals and juice!  But the big bonus was that my leftover blintz's fed us both again for Sunday brunch here at home!

This morning rather than doing his normal exercises at home, Mike and I decided to take a walk on the beach.  Another glorious morning, beautiful crashing waves, lots of people enjoying the beach and surf, and nothing better than sand between the toes!  Unless, of course, it's finding the only bee on the beach and stepping on it.  Ugh!! And, I'm highly allergic to them.

The new Los Muertos Pier.


Me & a friend!



Some of the colorful beach chairs that line the beaches.  Each bar/restaurant has their own colors.

So after making sure the stinger was out and taking a dip in the saltwater hoping that would keep the swelling at bay, we quickly found a cab to take us the few blocks back home where I put everything I had or knew would help on my foot.  It seems we did manage to do what was necessary to keep the swelling and poison to a minimum.  I'm now feeling so thankful that I didn't end up with an elephant leg and a trip to the hospital!!  Feeling very grateful.

So with that, I will end this update with a wish for all of our friends up north to again stay warm and safe in this next round of frigid cold and snow.  Thanks again for following along on this journey of ours.....
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