Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wow!! What a GREAT Week!! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

What can I even say .... The week started with a most spectacular win for my beloved Seattle Seahawks!!  Now, the Super Bowl champs!!  Congratulations on a very impressive win with the #1 Defense beating the #1 Offense, Denver Broncos, in a 43 - 8 victory!!

And, to help our bottom line, Mike won the first quarter pool with the only box purchased and we're now $160 richer!! 
It took me a full day to recover from the pure enjoyment of watching that game at our favorite sports bar, Nacho Daddy's!  So it was a really good thing that Monday was a holiday here in Mexico and I didn't have Spanish class. 

Monday afternoon though we made our way out to meet up with our new to be landlord, Dave, to view our apartment again and work out details for our one year stay. And, we were even more thrilled when we saw it for the second time. Man, I wish we could move in right now!!  Alas, not until March 19th. The time just can't go quickly enough for us!
Looking up from the first level.  Ours will be the balcony with the towel hanging over the railing.

The Landing entry area right outside our front door with beautiful landscaping and lighting. This is Stephanie and Mitch.

The cupola covering the staircase leading up to the rooftop terrace.

Rooftop Terrace with dipping pool, lounge chairs, tables, and BBQ area.

View to the south with the Bay beautifully blue!

View to the West.

Once we're moved in, I will post interior pictures so you can see what we're able to get for our dollars on a one year lease of $1,000/month. True, it's a bit above what our goal was but the high level of quality that we're getting with everything that was on our wish list was way too good to pass up. We weighed the pros and cons against everything we had looked at and knew it was what I have always called "the right price" and it doesn't break our budget.

Having been in the real estate industry for over 40 years and Mike also for 24 years, we know there's always compromises and no "perfect" property. This apartment is as close to perfect as we could have hoped for!  We also recognize the value for the price and were not going to let this one slip through our fingers, as so many people do because they always think a "better" one will be right around the corner the next day. Nope, when you find it, snag it no matter what!!  Because 99.99% of the time you're wrong in waiting. 

At $1,000/month, it does not blow our budget. I have proved that we can live within our means while paying that amount for rent. Are there good places for less that we could have been satisfied with? Absolutely!!  And, if you want to live on less and are willing to have a more subdued lifestyle than we want, you absolutely can do that too. That's one of the big reasons we love this town. A place for almost every budget in a paradise location. 

We had our friends, Mitch and Stephanie, along with us and they might become our neighbors during next winter. How fun to be able to help pick out our neighbors!

On Tuesday after Spanish classes, we took the bus up to Mega for some minor grocery and fundamentals shopping. Then headed out to view another apartment. Since we haven't signed our lease yet and won't until Dave gets back from Portland next week, we felt it was in our best interest to take a look at another near perfect apartment just around the corner from where we're going to live. 

So we met up with one of our agents, Chuck, whose fabulous, btw!  Sure enough we walked into a very nice unit with, again, everything on our wish list EXCEPT it had no real outdoor space off the unit and it was at street level with a bit of traffic noise. It was also more expensive. So we did turn it down. 

But the funny thing was that while we were coming down from the rooftop, I heard this voice, which is highly recognizable, our neighbor, Johnny!!  Low and behold, Johnny and Jesse, were there to look at another unit but also with our agent, Chuck. We started hugging each other and the owners and Chuck were a bit stunned. It was a fun meetup!

So after the 4 of us were finished, off we went down the street for drinks to talk. Mike had a meeting at the Paradise Community Center at 5pm for his volunteer work, so he had one quick drink while I stayed behind and slowly enjoyed my margarita. Mike caught back up with us further up town at the rental office for Johnny and Jesse's unit. They were moving out and going home on Thursday and successfully retrieved their security deposit. 

After visiting with them on their terrace for evening drinks and talking more about apartment hunting, off we went for a late dinner together. It's going to be quiet around our place when they're gone!

The other event that was quite troubling on Tuesday was that the apartment below us was robbed. Whoever it was entered with keys and stole computers, iPads, and cell phones. The usual stuff that gets ripped off in Latin America because they're worth allot more here than in the states. The really disturbing fact is that the thieves got in with keys. Since we had had our locks changed and we're the only ones with keys, they weren't able to get into our unit. Oh, and this happened in broad daylight while the people were gone. 

Now, this is NOT a tale about crime in Mexico. This could happen ANYWHERE and does!!  My point is only to share my world with you. The good, bad, and ugly. We're elated that our life is good. But bad things happen to all of us and that's all part of the journey of life. 

Wednesday was an extremely busy day. First our Spanish classes in the morning then off to the beach where we met up with Johnny and Jesse and several others, Ronnie, Barb, Shannon, Greg, and Tom at Swell's. A great beach bar/restaurant where they have good drinks and really good food right on Los Muertos beach. 

So after 2 hours of talking and visiting, we had to leave for our monthly massages. Again, these are a must for us and our health. We have found a place right on the Main Street of Basillio Badillo with 2 wonderful men for a package of 2 massages for $500 pesos ($38 US)!  Mike usually gets a therapeutic, so it's just a bit more. 

We then made our way home up the stairs and hill to get ready for the farewell dinner out for Johnny and Jesse. Since Jesse can't walk the hills due to his back, we all climbed into a cab to head back down into town. Man, I'm so not going to miss our hill and high uneven stairs when we move!

Drinks at The Pitt and then off down the street to have dinner at The Old Town Bistro. We'd not eaten there before because it's a bit expensive for us on our daily budget. However, this was a special occasion and because we had joined the IFC, we get discounts at many restaurants all over town. Turns out that with the discount our meal was only $32. And, this was for a high end gourmet meal with drinks. 
Me & Ronnie.
Gorgeous food!

Jesse & Johnny
However, this old body has got to have some time to recoup!  I can only go at this speed for so long before I need recovery time. And, that's exactly what I've been doing for the last 2 days. Thursday I didn't even leave the apartment. It felt awesome!

Mike has started to volunteer at the local Paradise Community Center (PCC) with ticket sales for the show and movies that they show there. The PCC is located right around the corner from where we're moving (lower Amapas) and is a fabulous resource to this town.

They are going to be showing all the movies up for the best films at the Academy awards the week leading up to the Awards themselves. And, will be having a Gala and showing the Awards. We are going to all the movies and the Gala. Should be a great time and a great way to meet new people who live in our community. 

One of the big shows in town that is held at the PCC is the Banderas Bay Jazz Allstars with group members who are in and of themselves excellent musicians that have played with many jazz greats around the world. They played on Friday evening and we went. What a fabulous group of men with amazing talents!! And, PV is certainly a better place because they share their talents here.


And after the performance, we walked across the street to one of favorite piano lounges, Garbo's.  A nightcap, some wonderful piano and vocal music, plus this is where many of the top performers in town come to hang out after their performances.  So much fun and great energy!!
A fun thing to do that Mike and I have done over the course of our journey is to dream BIG! At one point when we were walking the beach in Costa Rica trying to figure out where we would go after our 2 months back in the states, we put together a route that would take us from Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, then down Australia, New Zealand, Figi, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, ending in Europe before heading back to Central America. 

It was a wonderful fantasy that we played with for several days until I began researching the cost. Hahaha!!  Not quite in our budget unless we wanted to deplete much of our liquid savings. That was so not going to happen!!  But it was one hell of a ride mentally!!

Well, we've just gone through the same exercise again. Only this time it's our wish list trip to Europe. We've heard so much about repositioning cruises and have looked at them before. Mike so wants to go this year in September/October, when the locals of PV pretty much go on vacation due to the heat and rainy season. 

I found a 28 day cruise that leaves from Rome and cruises through lower Europe stopping at many new places for me that I've always wanted to go to for 20 days before heading out to sea for a week and finishing in Miami, FL. The cost at this time, is $2,699 per person. That's one heck of a deal for a month of lodging, 3 meals a day, and transportation to all the ports. That's only $96 a day!!  It's hard to even find a hotel room for that price much less everything else. 

The problem is that by the time we buy our tickets to Europe, which I found for $1,000 each, visit with my family in Germany and maybe see some a bit of the interior of Europe plus money for excursions and meals off the boat, we're at a $10,000 trip. That, too, is so not going to happen!! But it sure was fun while the moment lasted. We aren't giving up on the trip but it needs to be in the ballpark of a more manageable amount.
So after our wonderful home cooked fried rice, eggs and bacon breakfast, we're off to meet up with friends on the beach.  Another beautiful day in Paradise!!
So, again, thanks for letting me into your lives.  Keep dreaming, they do come true!!

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