Monday, June 9, 2014

The Anxiously Awaited Week! Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Last Sunday night was the first time in way too long that we got together with our good friend, Mel Enge, who also is living here full time.  We decided to meet up at the Thirsty Cougar to watch what turned out to be the final Black Hawks hockey game of the season.  And then our friend from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, Heather Austring, met up with us for a nightcap.  Love being with my peeps!!

Mel & Heather

Mike and I had been preparing for weeks and weeks our power point presentation that we gave this past Thursday morning here at the Sheraton Hotel in PV for the International Living Ultimate Conference. We wrote and rewrote, practiced and practiced some more. Each time we would time ourselves and make adjustments so we would stay within our 20 minute time limit.

Our presentation was not about any one country or location that we lived in but was about the process we formulated and followed to choose a final destination or place to call "home". We call it Country Shopping. We used 18 slides of mostly pictures taken by Mike along our journey. We discussed the criteria we used to choose the initial 5 countries of Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Spain and then why we changed our plan along the way replacing Uruguay and Spain with Nicaragua and Mexico.

We really felt ready for it but certainly didn't get much sleep the night before. There were about 300 attendees and we met many of them. From the moment we sat at our assigned table in the vendor/speakers/networking hall, we had people asking questions. There was almost never a moment we were alone. We were extremely impressed that so many of the attendees were extremely knowledgeable and had travelled extensively already all over the world. It made for some wonderful interactions and new friendships were formed!



 

What we were so pleased with also was how many people told us that Mexico had never been on their radar much less PV but now they were both being considered as definite possibilities. We do believe we were an asset to the conference but certainly for Mexico and definitely for PV. Our way of paying it forward.  Thank You International Living for giving us this opportunity!  And, most certainly our friends, Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher, International Living editors that we met and became friends with during our stay in Ecuador.
 
But we not only met and enjoyed the interactions with the attendees, we finally got to meet so many other expat presenters and International Living representatives that I only knew from reading the magazine and daily postcards. They were from all over the world and we are overjoyed to now consider them friends!

 


Rosalind, Glynna, Wendy, Barbara, Michael, Tuy, Suzan, Dan, and Me.

                                                                  At La Palapa
Our group the last night after the conference ended.

Having been to many a conference and being a part of the process in our past life, we were very impressed with the IL organization. They put on a class act and it's a well oiled machine!!  What we were further impressed with was the amount of quality and honest information given about places all over the world. As this was their Ultimate (world wide) conference, it was incredible how they covered so many countries around the world. There were presenters that spoke about not only Latin America but European and Southeast Asian countries. Mike and I had to take a deep breath and not get that wanderlust feeling again. But there are certainly places we still want to go. 

Vendor/Networking Hall


Final departing cocktail party

During the conference we enjoyed a couple of great dinners out with some of the other IL representatives and expat speakers. And, we felt fortunate to be included in the VIP sunset cruise party boat on Friday evening. Unfortunately, the bay was quite choppy and you really had to hold on or your drinks would get spilled. Fortunately, the rain held off until we were boarded on the busses to come back. Sorry you were so green, Niamh!!

Our Boat

Marina channel




Warren & Trudy Hardy of the Hardy School of Spanish



Very threatening skies above El Centro.

This is our apartment building with its white cupola viewed from the boat.


Just Us!


Maria, Tuy, and Me.  New friends from Nicaragua!

Just before the skies let go with a horrendous night of downpours!
 
After the wonderful evening on the bay, Mike and I along with a couple of the attendees went off to enjoy some good blues music at, where else, Nacho Daddy's.  Sean Moore and his band entertained us all and it was most certainly a standing room only crowd!  Not bad for "low season" while it poured buckets outside!




I now have to pay tribute to our good friend and great musician, Joe King Carrasco!!  He was honored with HIS STAR on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi, TX this week.  So very proud of you, mi Amigo!!!

Joe with Annie, PeeWee, & Peanut.

There have been some really heavy rain, thunder, and lightening storms during the week. It's officially rainy season. But what we love about the tropical climate is that even in rainy season there is almost always a good bit of sun and no rain during the day.


 
That wasn't the case we found along the South American coast of Ecuador and Peru. There it's all day every day of thick heavy fog or cloud cover, much cooler temperatures, and almost no sun at all for 5-6 months. Not at all what we expected for countries located close to the equator. There their weather is affected tremendously by the Humboldt Current where 2 patterns collide causing the discord.  What was wonderful was learning so many new things about different areas of the world!

The conference came to a close on Saturday evening after 4 days filled with excitement, lots of talking, making new friends, and a newfound appreciation for what Mike and I had accomplished during our journey so far.  When you live it, you truly have no idea how your story will affect others when they hear it.  I was encouraged many times over the last week to write not just one book but many to truly tell our story.  We'll see.  It's been a full time job just living day to day in each country.

We leave for the states on Friday morning to begin yet another real journey.  On Tuesday, June 17th, Mike and I have an appointment in Manhattan NYC at the Mexican Consulate to apply for our Permanente Residencia visa.  The law in Mexico changed last November and we are now allowed as pensioners to apply for this permanent visa.  Before, we would have had to go for a Temporary first for 4 years, then get an automatic permanent. 

We are very excited!  Hopefully, all will go well.  If we've learned one thing on this whole journey is that NOTHING is a given no matter what the law is!  If they don't like our looks or had a bad night's sleep or had an argument with their spouse or children, it might not bode well for us.  So fingers crossed!!  We've got all of our paperwork together in accordance with the consulate's rules.  Two of our good friends both had excellent encounters - one in Ecuador, one in Seattle - and they were issued their Permanente Visas in a matter of hours.  We hope to report the same!

Today we got an update on our legal issue with our previous landlord.  David had an operation in Guadalajara 3 weeks ago but was supposed to be home a week ago.  However, whenever our legal advisor went to his home the young lady who works for him, Jess, keeps saying he's not there.  Felipe believes they are not telling the truth.  He will try one more time this afternoon to see him.

Our biggest concern is that we will be out of country for 6 weeks.  Felipe tells us that is not a problem and he will now not play nice in the sandbox.  The boxing gloves are off !!  Stay tuned.

Last night we got together with friends, Dora and Bo DuBose at their place for a BBQ.  They invited their other friends, Carol and Bob, whom we hadn't met yet.  They live in Mismaloya about 9 miles south of PV.  What delightful, wonderful people!!  Hope to see them again.



View looking south from their terrace.


Sun setting on the Marietas Islands.


Before dinner could be served, we moved the table in under the covered porch.



Dark skies that produced quiet the thunder & lightening storm!

This coming week will be one of catching up our rest.  The weeks of preparation have taken its toll on us.  It was exhausting especially because it was the first time and we had no idea what to expect.  It's also time to being preparing for our trip back to the states on Friday.  Eating what's left in the frig, freezing what we can so it won't spoil, cleaning, washing, and finally packing.  We are also both going to have massages for our June fix before we leave.  And, I'm hoping it will be sunny enough to tone up the tan a bit before we leave.

My next post will be to post our monthly expenses for our 6th month here in PV.

So until next weekend where we'll be in CT with our daughter, Denise, our son-in-law, Michael, and our grandsons, Peter, Tim, and Maddox, please have a great week of summer!!  And, thanks for following along on this continued journey with us!
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