Sunday, February 2, 2014

Many New Experiences ! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

As the routine goes, MTW, are Spanish classes. This week saw more improvement in understanding some sentence structure and many more words to add to my vocabulary. And, my head doesn't hurt so bad after each lesson anymore. Does that mean it's sunk into the part of my brain for language and is more comfy??  Let's hope so ...

Off on Monday afternoon we went to look at another apartment. It's a nice walk from where we are but only a short 3 blocks from the Malecon. It does have one full block of stairs straight up but we decided we could handle that. We certainly like the neighborhood.

One of the domes of the cathedral.

Both domes & the crown!





This is the staircase we would have to take to get up from the Malecón.

 
But after waiting our obligatory 15 minutes of Mexican time for our agent, I called him. He was surprised to hear from me!  Well, you were the one that called me to schedule the appointment, remember ?  So after waiting another 15 minutes for his "return" call, I called again. He then told me his partner was on his way. But after waiting another 20 minutes, we gave up. A big disappointment and quite a bit of irritation. 

So off to Costco we went by bus to get a few important things like my wine. Only, as is customary, the wine we had been buying for a month no longer was there but replaced by some other brand. Ok, so why not try it and see. At least at Costco, if you don't like the taste, you bring it back!  However, it turns out the wine is yummy as ever!  Score, again!!

It's becoming apparent that our need to go to Costco is starting to diminish now that we don't need many items in such large quantities. And, this month, we've been able to carry everything back on the bus rather than take a cab home. This in itself is a savings. 

Monday evening we went to another show at The Palm.  Love that place!  We had purchased 2x1 tickets on Saturday for the Bird Cage, another impersonation show. This time it was 2 men. One doing Cher and Judy Garland while the other did Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, and Joan Rivers. The Cher was absolutely spot on and so fabulous!

Joan Rivers

Cher!


Barbra!

Priceless and spot on!

A rendition of "I've got you Babe" with a Soni doll. Way too funny!!

Liza Mineilli

Judy Garland!

The End!

Very tall guy!!
 
Having gotten home after midnight on Monday night, I was dragging butt big time for class. But after a little down time after lunch, we decided to take a walk into another neighborhood along the river. What a delight to really be discovering what's behind all of the tourist areas!  As we walked, I noticed a sign in Spansih about an apartment for rent. 

The owner of the apartment saw us stop and read the sign and before we knew it, we were off following her for several blocks in the direction we were headed. After passing by the mercado, that we really hadn't explored yet, she took us up a quiet dead end street and up 3 flights of stairs. (Are you finally getting the picture of this city??  Stairs, hills, ....)

To our surprise, we walked into a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath humongous apartment with a large built in bar in the living area. You could have one heck of a party here!!  Big beautiful new windows with views of the city, mountains, a bit of the bay, and looking directly onto the mercado. All for only $678 US a month!  However, it was sparsely furnished and what the heck do we need or want with that much space??  We certainly don't want to furnish it and begin accumulating that much again. But what a fun experience meeting people this way and getting to see parts of town we didn't even know existed.

The apartment is the middle full floor.
 
Our walk continued through the mercado where we bought some fresh fruit and vegetables, stopped and looked at several butcher shops where we can buy American cut pork ribs, and oh so much beauty in FRESH!  The shops are wonderful visually and with aromas that make you dizzy!  

We continued up to the river and walked up one side, crossed on the swinging bridge, and continued back down. Just exploring and enjoying the beauty of the river. As it was hitting on happy hour, we dropped into Que Pasa for the first time and had a drink at the bar. Met some interesting new people including the bar maiden before heading home. Another days adventure!

Rio Cuale

The Red Cabbage.  It's the only restaurant in PV to make the top 25 list in Mexico.  Sorry, most people don't agree.  Won't go out of our way to go.




 
Wednesday we were supposed to meet up with our friends from back home again but, alas, Cathy came down with a bug that's been going around here. So unfortunately, we didn't get to see each other again before they headed back home on Thursday. Bummer!

We decided to go for another walk to explore lower Gringo Gulch, just on the north side of the river and up on the hill. They installed a new foot stair bridge since we were here last that takes you right up over the river into an old beautiful neighborhood. Again, climbing and walking up stairs and cobble stoned streets. Charming!  This is definitely an area we would consider, if anything was available.



The new staircase bridge.




Lots of old cobble stone and narrow streets.

Ides of Venice.

 
Finding our way back down the hill toward the malecon, our destination was to a small restaurant/bar called the Bluebird where their Wednesday early dinner special is always meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sweet corn. OMG!! I needed a home cooked comfort food meal! No disappointment either. So for $18, Mike and I had our special meal and 3 drinks. Mike, had a coupon also, so he got a free shot of tequila. Oh happy days!

From there we went around the corner to Sea Monkey on the beach for another glorious sunset. I will never get bored with watching them!  






Oscar's Restaurant & Gallery on the Island.

Pedestrian bridge over the river to connect the Malecón to Old Town.
 
Our day was still not complete, as we had been wanting to experience the Art Walk that happens every Wednesday night. So off we went back into the city center and discovered a whole different world. Many restaurants we never knew were there along several blocks off the beaten path. Stopped into several galleries, met shop owners, artists, and thoroughly enjoyed a different scene that we had not experienced before. 




 
Thursday morning we had arranged to meet the manager of a very iconic apartment building in lower Amapas. It's correct name is Villa Blanca but it's referred to as the "Piano" building. quite the place and is truly unique. We toured 3 apartments but unfortunately the one that would work for us wasn't anywhere close to our price range. Oh well, at least we're getting a chance to see some real estate of all types and flavors. 

The view from the pool deck of the piano building.


Villa Blanca - The Piano Building.
 
We hadn't walked but a block back towards town when we passed by what looked like a wide driveway when, in fact, it's a dead end street. Mike wanted to walk back in there but I said it was only a dead end. I relented and we walked back into the street. 

To our surprise there's a new condominium building at the end and they were having an Open House. We were up front that we're not buying only looking for rental. They guy out front said go on in and talk to David. So we did!

The units are very nicely appointed and huge!  One bedroom, 1 bath, 1,200 square feet, fully furnished, all stainless US sized appliances, granite counters, tons of cabinets, terrace, patio, with a dipping pool, BBQ area, lounge chairs on the rooftop. But the best was the 180 degree views of the bay. You'd have sunset views all year long! And, as we were standing on the roof, we spotted a whale with baby right off the shore. The baby was being taught how to breach. It was amazing to watch!

So, of course, we asked about renting and what our budget is. Due to the location and the fact that it had everything on our wish list, we didn't want to be unreasonable, so we told him our budget was $1,000/month on a year lease. Turns out David is the co-owner and without hesitation said he would talk to his partner that night to see what they could do. It was too much to hope for and there are no hills to climb and it's a short one block to the beach!

Sure enough, he wrote us back on Friday and said they would rent it to us for the $1,000/month including all utilities except for electric. We couldn't believe it!  However, no party yet as we're still working on details. But, it sure looks good!!

Friday night we had made plans to attend a function that was being held at the River Cafe. It's one of our favorite special occasion places to go but it's quite pricey. Anyway, there's a gentleman here in town that writes restaurant reviews and he puts together a special dinner menu with great pricing at various restaurants all over the area. We thought it would be a good way to meet some new people as well as have a great meal at a more reasonable price. 

What do they say about well laid plans? Haha, not!  What was fun too was a chance to get dressed up a bit so when we got there we were definitely presentable for the occasion. We quickly walked in to find a single woman making a fuss about seating arrangements. It appeared that people were holding full large tables for their pre selected friends and wouldn't let her sit down with them. 

So rather than fight a loosing battle, Mike and I chose an empty table for 6 figuring others would sit with us and we would get a chance to meet new people. Wrong!  The only other person to join us was the woman we had encountered when we came in. Sure enough, literally everyone ended up sitting at full tables with people they knew. So much for socializing!

Despite the disappointment of the event, our meal was very good. I certainly would never have ordered a full 4 course meal because I don't eat that much. But I certainly did my best to eat it all!  Mike did just fine with his!!  And, we had a very pleasant conversation with Marcia, whose an artist but is only here a few short weeks.




 
We both decided to write to Gary about our disappointment. I wrote my tactfull email to him when I got back Friday night but have heard not a peep from him. I guess that's the answer I expected. All part of the journey to figure out where you fit in and what crowds you're most comfortable with. Many other opportunities to meet those of like mind. This just wasn't it. 

So, now we're just biding our time and taking it easy until Super Bowl time. Mike went for a walk UP the hill above us to see the rest of the neighborhood.  I'm content to see it from down below looking up the hill.  Here are a few pictures of his discoveries.  It's probably as close as I'll ever get.  No way would I live up this hill without a car!!




This building is a stair step building built into the mountain.  See the staircase to the right? Yup, that's how you get to your apartment!  The tram to the right is not in use and was built for a "dead" project.





We've purchased our table at Nacho Daddy's to sit upstairs and watch the 12' screen. Let the games begin!!

Wishing you all a great week and may the best team win without any undue referree interference, may the play be clean and fair!! Go Seahawks!!

 
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